Page 1537 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 April 2013

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Economy—trade mission

MS BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. Could the minister update the Assembly on the purpose of his upcoming trade mission commencing on 20 April?

Opposition members interjecting—

MR BARR: I thank Ms Berry for the question and for the obvious interest that we are seeing from those opposite. I am pleased to advise those who are interested that I will be leading the ACT government’s first-ever trade mission to Indonesia between 20 and 24 April. As I am sure members are aware, Australia and Indonesia are indeed significant neighbours with strong links that encompass political, security, commercial, environmental, cultural and people-to-people connections. As national capitals, the cities of Jakarta and Canberra are well placed to take the lead in nurturing and sustaining this relationship.

This mission will provide a unique opportunity for ACT businesses and our significant international education institutions to explore opportunities to build longer term economic relations with Indonesia. I am pleased to advise there has been a great response to this trade development opportunity. In fact we have a record number of ACT businesses taking part in the trip. The trade mission will build on this, and is themed around the ACT’s significant competitive strengths in the areas of international education, knowledge intensive business services, ICT services and public administration.

The Indonesian trade mission has been proposed for some time by industry, and I am pleased to advise it has the extensive support of the International Business Taskforce of the Canberra Business Council, the ACT branch of the Australia Indonesian Business Council, and the ACT Exporters Network. Austrade has been engaged as a mission partner to provide in-market support and business matching for mission participants.

In the 2011-12 fiscal year, Australia’s two-way trade with Indonesia approached $15 billion and is achieving growth rates of approaching 10 per cent per annum. Indonesia is our fourth largest trading partner in ASEAN and the 12th largest trading partner overall for Australia. Indonesian investment in Australia has been increasing by more than 10 per cent per annum and in 2011 achieved a $454 million investment figure.

These are indeed impressive statistics but there is no doubt there is considerable potential to grow this market. In particular, the ACT can take advantage of the size, proximity and complementarities of our economies to increase bilateral trade and investment. As much as the trade mission is designed to help boost ties and business between the ACT and Indonesia, the mission is also a broad way of telling a major international economic player that the ACT is open for business and that our businesses are thinking and acting globally.

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