My question is to the Minister for Trade and Investment. Will the minister inform the House on the vital role Australian aviation will play in taking full advantage of our historic free export trade deals. And how will the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement benefit our aerospace industry?
Minister Robb: I thank the member for Coorangamite for her question and acknowledge her very strong support for the airport at Avalon near Geelong and its increasing role in the export of agricultural products, particularly dairy and horticulture. Aviation connectivity is a critical factor in growing trade in goods and services in the 21st century. We saw this dramatically brought home over the last couple of years when Qantas formed a strategic partnership with Emirates and Virgin performed a strategic partnership with Etihad. We saw the flights per week going from Australia through the Middle East go from 40 a week to 150 a week. As a consequence, we saw an increase in trade with Australia on goods and services to all of the Gulf states of close to 18 to 20 per cent in one year. It really demonstrates the connectivity and importance of airlines and it is why the CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, described our free-to-trade agreements with Japan, China and Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership as great breakthroughs. He said that a bilateral trade accord with Japan is lifting demand. He said, secondly, the TPP will be a boon as most of the Qantas and Jet Star international network covers TPP countries.
In addition, the TPP provides great opportunities for Australia’s aerospace industry, providing new opportunities for high-end manufacturing and also for job creation. We know that many of our world-class car componentry manufacturers are also beginning to expand into aerospace. We saw a four per cent increase last year in high-end manufacturing exports from Australia—four per cent. Aviation manufacturers believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be a boon to the high-tech industry and will help encourage innovation in Australia. The agreement is expected to mark increased sales of aeronautic parts and aircraft across the Asia Pacific. Aviation Aerospace Australian chairman, Adam Burford, said that the TPP would secure new levels of access to companies across a range of goods and services, leveraging innovation and expertise to increase market share and revenues. As we diversify our economy in this critical post-mining boom phase as we go for growth, Australian aviation has a fundamental role to play off the back of our trade agreements.
19 October 2015