Trade opportunities

I’m very pleased to stand in this place and talk about trade and the opportunities for businesses right around Australia, particularly those in rural and regional Australia. As we know, the TPP-11 is one of the most comprehensive trade deals ever concluded and will eliminate more than 98 per cent of tariffs for the 11 members. The TPP-11 countries are not only Australia but Brunei, Dar es Salaam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam. When you look at all of these countries, there are opportunities for a range of Australian businesses and service providers.

I notice that there’s new modelling undertaken by economists from Brandeis International Business School and John Hopkins University showing that Australia is forecast to see $15.6 billion in net annual benefits to our national income by 2030 and increases in exports of $29.9 billion as a result of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is great news for the Australian economy, building on the work that this government has done previously in securing a number of free trade agreements. It means so much to businesses in rural and regional Australia, and I’ve spoken about this previously in this House—better access for exporters, especially for those who are primary producers. I am very proud to be an Australian farmer. I think I’m the only dairy farmer in this place. What I’m hoping to see is more of our great dairy products, and I will be parochial and talk about some fantastic products out of my electorate that I hope to see going into these TPP-11 countries. We have not only great dairy products but beef and lamb as well and a whole range of very good quality products from my part of the world.

One of the things we’ve heard a lot about is the $1-milk issue. I’m hoping that more of our milk processors and dairy processors will take advantage of the TPP-11 and use those agreements to export even more of our great product, one of the most respected dairy products in the world due to the quality of our fresh milk. However it is manufactured, I hope more of our dairy processors and manufacturers use this opportunity to get the milk out of the hands of the Coles and Woolworths of this world and put some genuine competition into that market. That is exactly what is needed, and that’s the opportunity that free trade agreements give in a direct as well as indirect sense.

I’m also hoping that a number of our amazing education providers, the service providers in education, take advantage of this TPP-11 to establish even more sound and direct relationships in each of these TPP-11 countries. The education that people receive from our universities and training providers is also of great value and is valued by business as well as the individual around the world. I can see many more very direct relationships being established, both in country and in Australia, as a result of this TPP-11 agreement. It will provide so many additional market-access opportunities, whether it’s farming, mining or manufacturing. It is really important that we ratify the TPP-11 as soon as possible.

We really need to lock in the forecasted benefits as quickly as we can. The businesses on the ground want to get on with doing business, which is why this needs to be ratified as quickly as possible.

A number of businesses in the south-west of Western Australia, in my electorate, have so much to offer, and reducing tariffs would present many opportunities for them. Once this agreement is ratified I’d encourage each of them to look very closely at the opportunities that it provides for small businesses as well as for some of our major manufacturers and also for the service sector. In this particular agreement, I think there’s a great opportunity for our service sector.

In particular, as I’ve already mentioned, I can see a great opportunity for our education providers. I would encourage everyone in this sector to have a very close look at the opportunities that present themselves with TPP-11.