Question Time – Hervey Bay seafood

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Mr PITT (Hinkler) (15:01): My question is to the Minister for Agriculture. Will the minister inform the House how the world-renowned Hervey Bay seafood industry will benefit from recent free trade agreements?

Ms MacTiernan interjecting—

Mr JOYCE (New England—Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of The Nationals) (15:01): I thank the honourable member for his question.

The SPEAKER: The member for Perth will leave under 94(a).

Mr JOYCE: The honourable member comes from a farming family, so has great experience in farming. I was reading about the honourable member and also found out he was the Queensland electrical apprentice of the year. So he also has experience as a tradesman. This is very important. We might return to that later on.

It was also great to have the seafood industry down here today. We had a barbecue, and some of that product was an absolutely exemplar of why Australia can export $1.2 billion worth of seafood a year. Because of the work that the trade minister has done—it is not just in the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement; it is all three trade agreements—we have a great new expansion of markets. With Korea, a 20 per cent duty on rock lobsters and a 10 per cent duty on bluefin tuna is going to be removed. It is going to be removed because of the work the coalition does to try and make sure that we expand our economic base. Under the Japanese free trade agreement, which is a very important market for Australia, the tariff on lobsters, crustaceans and shellfish will be immediately eliminated. The tariff on Australia’s largest seafood exports, tuna and Atlantic salmon, will be phased out over 10 years. In the Chinese free trade agreement, for abalone, a major market, a 10 to 14 per cent tariff will be removed over four years; rock lobster, 15 per cent removed over four years; prawns, five to eight per cent removed over four years; crabs, 10 per cent removed over four years; whole fish, 10 to 12 per cent removed over four years; shellfish, 14 per cent removed over four years. This means that money is going back into the Australian economy.

This means we are getting a better price for our product. This means that we have a greater economic future because of the work this side of the chamber does to grow our nation’s economy. We should have realised that would happen, because we saw what happened to the exports from New Zealand when they had a free trade agreement—the massive increase in exports that New Zealand had. But, of course, whilst we were frustrated, the Labor Party were in government. So what did they do? They did nothing. Well, they did suggest that they would have the largest world marine park, and they actually closed people down, put people out of work. It is not just the fishermen and it is not just the shop owners; it is also the tradespeople.

I was thinking, if we have the former Queensland electrical tradesperson of the year, how many tradespeople are on the Labor Party side? How many do you have? Just put up your hands. Who has actually got a trade there these days? Who has got a trade? None. Yet they say they represent the Australian people. I know that the member for Oxley actually does have a trade, but I cannot see another one there. Not one. Yet you are supposed to be the party of the working man and woman. But you have no-one these days with a trade, and that is why you are so out of touch.

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