My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Will the minister update the House on the government’s efforts to promote economic links between Australia and markets in the Indo-Pacific? Is the minister aware of any examples that generate economic and tourism benefits to Australia, particularly in the electorate of Corangamite?
I thank the member for Corangamite for her question and I acknowledge her magnificent advocacy on behalf of the people of Corangamite. The coalition government has an ambitious agenda to drive economic growth and more job opportunities, and we have seen the results: 403,000 new jobs last year. But we are continuing to find new markets and enhance existing markets so that Australian businesses large and small can export their goods and services into the Indo-Pacific region. The potential is enormous, because of the huge and growing middle class in the Indo-Pacific, and Australia is exquisitely positioned to take advantage of these opportunities.
I pay credit to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment for the conclusion of TPP 11, because this will bring enormous job opportunities, particularly into regional Australia. Importantly, TPP 11 includes Malaysia, our 11th largest trading partner.
Yesterday, the member for Corangamite and I attended a very important event at Avalon Airport, where it was announced that AirAsia, Malaysia, will commence twice-daily flights from Kuala Lumpur into Avalon Airport. This will mean enormous opportunities for the area of Geelong and surrounds. It will mean that regional Victoria will have its first international airport. That means more jobs, more business travellers, more tourists and more investment for regional Victoria. It will mean more opportunities for businesses in regional Victoria to sell their quality goods—wine, food and other services and goods—into South-East Asia’s very important hub.
I want to congratulate the member for Corangamite for her continued advocacy for this development.
We mustn’t forget that the member for Corio said that this would never happen, and it has happened. The Avalon Airport-AirAsia-Linfox agreement has now occurred under a coalition government. We should never forget that it was the Leader of the Opposition who said the TPP-11 agreement would never happen, and it has happened under the coalition government. The choice is clear. Labor talks down the economy. Labor talks down job opportunities. The coalition supports economic growth and more jobs.