| November 30, 2016

Murray Electorate: Free Trade Agreement Seminar


Delivered: House of Representatives, Parliament House, 30th November 2016.

I take this opportunity in the adjournment debate to inform the electorate of Murray that next Wednesday we are going to be holding a free trade agreement seminar.

It will be held in Shepparton and, to our delight, the Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Keith Pitt, will attend.

The concept of having a free trade agreement seminar in Shepparton builds on the enormous number of businesses within the Goulburn Valley region that are exporting.

There are also a huge cohort of businesses bringing a lot of farm machinery and equipment into Australia through their various trade arrangements with overseas companies.

Businesses will be invited to attend to better equip them with the information that they will need to help them realise the benefits created by the Chinese, Japanese and Korean free trade agreements, including tariffs, grants and other assistance that is available.

There are many opportunities within the Goulburn Valley for businesses to start up and for existing businesses to increase the amount of trade and the capacity that they have via various trade arrangements.

This seminar will give them the chance to capitalise on those opportunities, certainly with the opening up of larger markets that are happening now throughout northern Asia.

Some of the entrepreneurial talent within the Murray electorate is well placed to take advantage of these new free trade arrangements.

There are so many new ideas that are emanating now from around the globe and we will be inviting some government officials to Shepparton next week, including Michael Growder, Assistant Secretary, Free Trade Agreement Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Chuyang Liu, China Adviser, Austrade; Tim Carroll, State Director Victoria and Tasmania, Austrade; and Paul Henderson, who is the regional manager for AusIndustry.

Their knowledge is aimed at stimulating growth and trying to continually drive the coalition government's agenda for growing the economy, creating jobs and opening up Australia to a much richer relationship with trade, both export and import.

The Goulburn Valley is the home of many great companies that have long histories of trade.

These include SPC, Campbell's soups, Kagome tomatoes, Murray Goulburn, Bega and Fonterra.

Obviously, all of the dairy products coming out of the Goulburn Valley certainly create a large section of the industry.

Unilever is a little less well known but has some of our biggest brands.

Pactum-ACM is moving into Asia with long-life milk, and there are Heinz and a whole range of others.

So many opportunities exist, but there are also a whole raft of barriers that keep people from taking the plunge and creating these understandings and relationships with other countries, suppliers and potential purchasers in overseas destinations.

This seminar is what we need to work through some of those issues, break down some of those barriers and, hopefully, give the people of the Goulburn Valley who are interested in developing an export business or looking at opportunities to import goods into the Goulburn Valley region the assistance to do so.

At these seminars we are hoping to clear up a lot of those issues and assist the next wave of businesses that will move into this area.

It is a great opportunity to have the Hon. Keith Pitt with us next week.

We are expecting a good crowd at the seminar, but it will also give me and Keith Pitt the opportunity to visit many of those larger businesses and employers around the Goulburn Valley, who are employing so many people but also doing great work with their trade. 



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