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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 24 October 2019) . . Page.. 4293 ..

Thursday, 24 October 2019

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Ministerial delegation to India

Ministerial statement

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tertiary Education, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (10.02): I am pleased today to report to the Assembly on the delegation I led to India in September. The purpose of the mission was to build links between our tertiary education sectors and further build awareness of Canberra as a tourism destination to visit, which are both important as we seek to diversify our city’s international student base and continue to grow our local economy.

India is identified in Canberra’s international engagement strategy as one of our 10 key markets, with education and research, and tourism representing the greatest opportunities in our key capability areas. The delegation travelled to Delhi and Mumbai. I was accompanied by an adviser, the Commissioner for International Engagement, an ACT public servant from the tertiary education area, representatives of both the University of Canberra and UNSW Canberra and, from the Legislative Assembly, our newest MLA, Mr Deepak-Raj Gupta.

Madam Speaker, India’s economy is of global importance. It has a young and large population who are seeking out opportunities across the globe. It is the third largest economy in the world. It is clear from the discussions we had there that there is considerable untapped potential for partnerships between our two jurisdictions.

India is already Australia’s fourth largest trading partner, with Australian merchandise and services exports to India valued at $21.1 billion and two-way trade valued at $29.1 billion in 2018. Total Indian investment in Australia is near $15.5 billion and total Australian investment in India is over $13.9 billion. Already we have a strong and productive partnership, but there is no doubt that there is ample opportunity to further build on this.

As is now a tradition for ACT government trade missions, the first meeting for the delegation was with the Australian High Commissioner to India, Her Excellency, Ms Harinder Sidhu. The High Commissioner and her team provided useful insights into the delivery of the commonwealth’s India engagement strategy and guidance on where the best opportunities were for the ACT in the market. The High Commissioner also hosted a reception at her residence for the members of the delegation to engage with local representatives with an interest in furthering relations with Canberra.

The Australian Consul-General in Mumbai, Mr Tony Huber, was also an integral part of the mission. Mr Huber and his staff briefed the delegation on opportunities in

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