Minister for Trade and Tourism Senator Don Farrell recently chaired the Ministerial Council on Trade and Investment in Townsville – the first meeting of Commonwealth, State, and Territory Trade and Investment Ministers in over four years.
The Council committed to strengthening Australia’s economic recovery with a ‘Team Australia’ approach to diversifying trade and investment, creating jobs, and generating new opportunities for Australian exporters.
Commonwealth, State and Territory Trade and Investment Ministers met in Townsville, Queensland, on 12 April 2023 for the inaugural meeting of the Ministerial Council on Trade and Investment (the Council). The meeting, chaired by the Australian Government Minister for Trade and Tourism, Don Farrell, was the first face to face gathering of trade and investment Ministers since 2019.
The Ministers reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to the free movement of goods, services, and investment. They noted trade and investment play an important role in Australia’s transition to a clean economy and in supporting new skills and capabilities to the domestic economy.
They also reaffirmed the purpose of the Council, established by National Cabinet last year, to increase coordination on international and national priorities related to trade and investment across Commonwealth, State and Territory jurisdictions.
Minister Farrell acknowledged the important contribution of each jurisdiction to advancing national priorities including boosting productivity, supporting advanced manufacturing, strengthening supply chain resilience, and transitioning to a clean energy economy. The Ministers noted the extensive national efforts to promote clean energy investment.
They recognised the importance of continuing efforts to diversify trade and investment opportunities to deliver a more productive and secure economy. To this end, Ministers noted the work of all jurisdictions in promoting uptake of opportunities created by multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements and particularly welcomed steps to deepen economic partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.
The Ministers supported the progress made by the Commonwealth in negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, entry into force of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement, and the efforts to conclude negotiations on a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement between Australia and the European Union this year.
They acknowledged that Australia’s strength lies in its diversity, that Australia is multicultural and welcoming, with a highly educated and creative workforce and International investors, companies and talent are drawn to our reputation for quality and innovation across multiple industries, including research and education, agriculture and food, health, renewable energy and technology.
The Ministers also acknowledged this is a challenging time for the Australian people impacted by cost-of-living pressures. They committed to unlocking the productivity and connectivity benefits brought by trade and investment, including support to uplift First Nations economic activities.
They agreed on the importance of free, fair and open trade and investment to economic growth and reinforced the importance of developing a ‘Team Australia’ approach in advancing Australia’s trade and investment priorities.
This approach includes:
1- Continuing efforts that support trade and investment diversification;
2- Identifying opportunities to facilitate trade at and behind the Australian border;
3- Improving national coordination in trade advocacy, marketing strategies and the conduct of trade promotion in overseas markets;
4- Improving Commonwealth, State and Territory coordination in foreign direct investment attraction focussed on sectors of national significance; and
5- Supporting the clean energy transition and supply chain resilience.
Trade Ministers tasked senior officials to implement a work plan to deliver on these shared priorities and affirmed their intention to meet again in 2023 to review the Council’s progress against the agreed actions.
The Ministerial attendees included,
- Australian Government (Chair) Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism and Special Minister of State
- Australian Capital Territory: Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Tourism
- Northern Territory: the Hon Nicole Manison MLA, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Advanced Manufacturing and Minister for Mining and Industry and Minister for Northern Australia and Trade and Minister for Parks and Rangers and Minister for Tourism and Hospitality
- Queensland: the Hon Cameron Dick MP, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment
- South Australia: the Hon Nick Champion MP, Minister for Trade and Investment and Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Minister for Planning
- Victoria: the Hon Tim Pallas MP, Treasurer, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Trade and Investment
- New South Wales: Kylie Bell, Managing Director and Deputy Secretary, Trade and Investment, Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade attended on behalf of the Hon Anoulack Chanthivong MP, Minister for Industry and Trade
- Tasmania: Kim Evans, Secretary, Department of State Growth attended on behalf of the Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP, Premier and Minister for Trade
- Western Australia: Simone Spencer, Deputy Director General, Strategy and International Engagement, Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation attended on behalf of the Hon Roger Cook MLA, Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Hydrogen Industry, Tourism; Science