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Will Glasgow from Australian Financial Review, Dr. Clio Creswell, author of Mathematics and Sex and Senator The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos at Machiavelli.

Government Media hosts lunch with senior media and Secretary to the Cabinet Sinodinos

Will Glasgow from Australian Financial Review, Dr. Clio Creswell, author of Mathematics and Sex and Senator The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos at Machiavelli.


  • Written by admin

Minister for Trade and Investment - Media Release - Robb: Australia India Trade Ties Closer Than Ever


The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP

16 January 2015


Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb today said Australia and India were on
the cusp of a new dawn in their commercial relationship as he officially wrapped up
Australia Business Week in India (ABWI), a week-long roadshow designed to boost
trade and investment between the two countries.

"There is something special going on in India. The enormous vision of Prime Minister
Modi has excited many people. Australia is looking forward to being a part of this very
important period in India's re-emergence as a significant power," Mr Robb said.

Mr Robb had a series of high-level government meetings including with Prime Minister
Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and a number of other senior ministers.

He has been leading a trade mission to India of more than 450 Australian business
leaders, including Rio Tinto chief Sam Walsh, Woodside CEO Peter Coleman and
Hancock Prospecting chair Gina Rinehart. ABWI visited eight cities including Mumbai,
Delhi, Chandigarh and Kolkata.

"This high-level delegation has shown the Indian business community that Australians
are willing, as we would say, to put skin in the game," Mr Robb said.

"This visit has been an important step towards unlocking the vast untapped potential in
the relationship between our countries.

"We have seen a number of deals this week in a variety of sectors building the
business bonds between Australia and India," he said.

This has included agreements between Woodside and the Adani Group on LNG
supply, Wollongong University and Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University on mining
excellence, the National Australia Bank and the State Bank of India and the SAE
Institute and Reliance Media in the film sector.

Mr Robb used the visit to meet a number of Indian business leaders, including the
Adani Group’s Gautum Adani, Mukesh Ambani, from Reliance Industries, and Tata
Consulting chief Natarajan Chandrasekaran. He also welcomed Mr Walsh as
Australian co-chair and Mr Adani as the Indian co-chair of a revitalised Australia India
CEO Forum.


"Our top business leaders will be critical to the success of this relationship. I'm
confident they're up to the task of building trade and investment, which will create jobs
and increase prosperity for the people of our countries," Mr Robb said.

Mr Robb welcomed the strong reiteration from Prime Minister Modi of his commitment
to finalising a comprehensive bilateral trade agreement by the end of this year.

"I will keep coming back to India to ensure we get our negotiations over the line this
year. This is a key priority for both our Prime Ministers," he said.

During ABWI, Mr Robb attended Gala Receptions in both Delhi and Mumbai
showcasing the best of Australian tourism and premium food and wine.

He also attended Vibrant Gujarat 2015 and the CII Australia-India Business Summit
and the CII Global Partnership Summit.

Trade and Investment Minister’s Office: 0400 940 968 or 02 6277 7420
DFAT Media Liaison: 02 6261 1555
Austrade Media (02) 9392 2057

  • Written by Adrian



Monday, 15 December 2014




Over the last twelve months the Australian economy has continued to strengthen despite significant offshore headwinds.

Economic growth has increased over the last twelve months from 1.9% to 2.7%.

Export volumes have increased significantly.

Job creation across the economy is running at around 15,000 new jobs a month. This is three times larger than the average of around 5,000 jobs a month last year.

Despite many challenges the Government has made a good start on Budget repair.

There is more work to be done but we are on the right track.

As a result we have better jobs growth and greater prosperity.

And a more resilient Budget helps us to better cope with unexpected adversity.

So we need a strong Budget to help us have a strong economy.

In the last six months unforeseen events have hit the Australian economy.

In particular, we are now witnessing the largest fall in the terms of trade since records began in 1959.

This has been faster and deeper than anyone expected.

Our nation’s export income has not been what we expected. For example iron ore, which is one fifth of our nation’s export dollars, has fallen from $120 a tonne at the beginning of this year to around $60 a tonne today.

The price of wheat, which is one of our largest agriculture exports, has fallen 20% since the Budget.

In agriculture and resources Australians produce far more than we consume.

So we use the export of excess produce and services to build our nation’s income.

Income volatility from exports can however have a negative impact on our economy and on the Budget bottom line.

When external events turn against us our domestic Budget strength needs to cushion the blow.

As a result of these recent events tax receipts are expected to fall by $6.2bn this year and a total of nearly $32bn over the next four years.

Company tax receipts are expected to be $2.3bn less this year ($14.4bn over 4 years).

Income tax is expected to be $2.3bn less this year ($8.6bn over 4 years).

To try and recover these falling revenues now, through new or higher taxes would unquestionably harm the Australian economy.

Falling wage growth has also had an impact on both revenue and expenditure.

Means tested payments such as Family Tax Benefits ($3.2bn) and income support payments ($1bn) have had larger than expected increases as families remain in lower income thresholds and therefore claim more benefits.

Child care payments ($2.4bn) have also increased on the back of more parents looking to participate in the workforce.

We will announce a comprehensive families’ package in the new year, including child care and parenting leave initiatives. This package will deliver greater work participation opportunities for parents.

Although the Senate has passed the great majority of the Government’s Budget (75% of the over 400 measures) there are still a number of outstanding structural savings.

These initiatives in health, education and welfare are essential for the medium and long term benefit of the Australian people.

Negotiations in the Senate this year for the repeal of the Mining Tax package have cost $6.6bn over the next four years but the costs are more than recovered by the end of 2023.

The failure of the Senate to accept all the Government’s policies has cost the Budget $10.6bn. There is a further $34bn still to be legislated including $5bn of savings announced by the previous Government.

Where the Government has made new spending decisions we have more than offset the costs with new savings.

In particular, Defence and national security commitments totalling $1.3bn are more than offset by savings in our foreign aid Budget of $3.7 bn.

Where we have made savings we have worked hard to ensure that there will be no negative impact on the Australian economy.
The Commonwealth Budget is stronger today than it was last year.

This is despite a fall in expected revenue of around $100bn since the 2013/14 Budget.

Debt is projected to be almost $170bn less than expected one year ago.

This means $6,000 less Government debt for every man, woman and child in Australia within ten years.

Rather than never ending deficits the Budget is on track for a credible surplus.

Deficits will decline each and every year at the same pace that we expected in the May Budget (an average 0.6% fiscal consolidation each year).

We continue to be disciplined on spending with real spending growth limited to just 1% per year over the next four years.
Our response to the current economic challenges is not to spend more money but to spend what we have carefully.

2014 has been a better year for the Australian economy than last year. We have more jobs and greater wealth.

We need to lift economic growth to 3% and beyond to create more jobs and reduce unemployment.

We need to pursue structural reform to lift our growth rates to levels that Australians expect.

2015 will be a better year for the Australian economy.

Lower energy prices, a lower Australian dollar and interest rates at historic lows continue to facilitate stronger economic growth.

Massive investment in new and upgraded roads, and in transport and business infrastructure, will strengthen the productive capacity of the Australian economy.

In addition new trade deals with Korea, Japan and China will deliver broader and deeper market access, particularly for Australian small businesses.

We also expect housing construction to strengthen which will further boost economic activity.

I say directly to the Australian people that whilst we have faced many challenges we have made a good start fixing the Budget.

There is still much work to do but we are on the right track.

Over the months and years ahead, we are determined to strengthen the Budget and the economy so that all Australians benefit through more jobs and greater prosperity.


  • Written by Adrian






The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP

4 December 2014


Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said new data released today shows a surge in
resource and manufacturing exports has led to a sharp narrowing in the trade deficit for October.

According to the latest ABS International Trade in Goods and Services data, the trade deficit
narrowed by 40.8 per cent to $1.3 billion in October 2014, from a $2.2 billion deficit in September
2014, driven by both an increase in export values and a decrease in import values.

Resources exports rose 3.4 per cent in October to $12.6 billion. Metal ores and minerals exports
contributed 72 per cent to the increase in the total value of exports for the month.

“Strong investment in the sector has driven these results and continues to produce solid
dividends for the economy," Mr Robb said.

“Overall exports rose 1.5 per cent in October to $26.9 billion, while net exports contributed 0.8
percentage points to GDP growth in the September quarter.”

Mr Robb said the three trade deals concluded by the Abbott Government, will help underpin
export growth into the future.

“Since coming to office, the Government has pursued an aggressive trade agenda which has led
to the conclusion of transformational agreements with Korea, Japan and China – three
powerhouse economies of our region,” Mr Robb said.

“The benefits of those agreements will begin flowing through the economy soon, with the Korea-
Australia Free Trade Agreement coming into force on 12 December.

“KAFTA is expected to result in an annual boost to the economy of close to $650 million when
fully implemented. It’s also projected to create many thousands of jobs over the next decade,” he

Exports to several major trading partners were up in October from a year ago, including to Japan,
up 9.7 per cent to $4.1 billion, to the European Union, up 23.7 per cent to $1.1 billion, to the USA,
up 27.2 per cent to $1.0 billion, to India, up 24.4 per cent to $896 million, and to Singapore, up
13.9 per cent to $623 million. Exports to China were down 5.3 per cent to $8.5 billion.


Sectoral highlights include:

 Metal ores and minerals were up 4.3 per cent from September to $7.1 billion.
 Coal, coke & briquettes were up 3.3 per cent to $3.0 billion.
 Metals (excluding gold) were up 19.6 per cent to $1.1 billion.
 Machinery was up 3.3 per cent to $789 million.
 Other manufactures were up 3.1 per cent to $1.4 billion.
 Meat & meat preparations were up 5.4 per cent to $1.1 billion.
 Travel services were up 0.8 per cent to $3.0 billion.

A complete ABS International Trade in Goods and Services data report can be found at:
Trade and Investment Minister’s Office: 0437 971 721 or 02 6277 7420
DFAT Media Liaison: 02 6261 1555




  • Written by Adrian







4 December 2014


The National Accounts released this week reiterate the need for Australia to work hard for future economic growth.

Complacency is our enemy.

After an almost unprecedented 23 consecutive years of economic growth, prosperity will not come our way with a policy to do nothing about our future.

Today I reiterate to the Parliament the Government’s plan for strengthening Australia’s economic growth and future prosperity.

Our plan will ensure that the high living standards we enjoy today will continue for future generations.

The Government is embarking on a range of structural reforms that will help our economy be more competitive and more resilient in the face of ongoing global economic change.

Without economic reform, the economy will drift.

Without economic reform, the economy will be more exposed to global volatility.

Without economic reform, our future prosperity is not assured.

Since coming to Government just over twelve months ago much economic reform has already been achieved.

Some of these decisions are delivering benefits now, and others are providing exciting future opportunities.

To start, we have removed the Carbon Tax, which is already delivering lower electricity prices and helping ease cost of living pressures on everyday household budgets.

And lower energy costs, which lower the costs of production, have helped Australian businesses cope with the downside impact of a stubbornly high Australian dollar.

We have also honoured our pledge to abolish the Minerals Resource Rent Tax. The Mining Tax raised just 2% of its forecast revenue. But the fiscal mess came about because the previous government committed to new spending as if the tax raised 100% of its forecast revenue.

It was a disaster on many fronts but most significantly it discouraged investment and raised sovereign risk around a sector that already has long term, inbuilt, price and construction risks.

So now is the right time to create a more positive investment environment for the mining and resource sector.

In the last twelve months we have accelerated planning approvals for over 300 major new projects that will deliver over $1 trillion of output for Australia.

Many of these projects in the mining and resources sector will help fuel Australia’s future growth.

As we witness the emergence of a new 2 billion people strong middle class in Asia over the next three decades, what Australia has to potentially export will be in more demand than ever.

This is our growth opportunity.

By 2030 two-thirds of the global middle class will be residents of the Asia-Pacific region.

China currently has a middle-class of around 150 million people. This is expected to reach 1 billion people in just 16 years. India’s middle class of 200 million people will triple in size over the same period.

So during this massive period of unprecedented growth our energy and resources will help build the cities and infrastructure of a rapidly growing India, China, Indonesia and greater Asia.

Regional demand for our hard commodities, such as iron ore, coal, copper, uranium and gold will not diminish. It will grow substantially.

And regional demand for our soft commodities such as wheat, beef, lamb, dairy products and the like will also grow substantially.

So now is also the time to diversify and strengthen our other export industries to meet head on the massive growth in demand out of Asia.

In the case of services industries, that represent 70% of the Australian economy, we have massive export growth potential.

Australians involved in businesses that deliver services such as aged care, financial services, health care, construction and engineering, logistics and property services all have big growth opportunities across Asia.

Some service industries like education, tourism and hospitality have realigned over time to focus more on the Asian century of growth. But that does not exclude the need for further reform to cope with new and increased competition. That is why, for example, the Government’s Higher Education reforms are essential. They not only deliver better quality education services for Australians but they provide our campuses with the opportunity to capitalise on massive growth across the region.

In other areas such as communications, media and entertainment, and sport and culture, we have sophisticated skills that can meet the increasing demands of the world’s new affluent consumers in Asia.

Currently services exports represent only 17% of all our exports.

New growth in services exports is a blue sky opportunity for many Australians, particularly those involved in small businesses.

That’s why this year we have successfully negotiated new Free Trade Agreements with some of our biggest trading partners after years of procrastination.

New trade agreements with Korea, Japan and China make our exports more affordable for their citizens, and make their exports to us more affordable for everyday Australians.

The Government recognises that it has been hard for Australians to give away industry subsidies this year. But if we are to successfully convince other countries with much larger markets to make room for Australian exports, then we need to give them the same sort of equal access to our marketplace.

At the same time we should never discount our ability to compete with, and beat, the best of the world in advanced manufacturing, software development, and medical research.

Our innovation is world class, and with new streams of capital available, we can commercialise and export to our own great advantage.

As a nation we produce much more than we consume, so breaking down global trade barriers makes us a richer country and it future proofs our prosperity.

In order to facilitate our future we must have productive and efficient infrastructure.

This year we have cleaned up the inherited mess of the National Broadband Network. We have quarantined the losses and are now building the network to ensure that Australians receive affordable and accessible high speed broadband.

As planned in the Budget we are also delivering the largest national infrastructure program in our history.

Australians have often said we need a new Snowy Mountains Scheme. Well it took 25 years to build the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

The Coalition Government is facilitating the delivery of the equivalent of eight new Snowy Mountains Schemes over the next decade with projects like Westconnex, upgrades to the North/South Corridor in Adelaide and the Perth Freight Link.

As a result of our new spending, and our Asset Recycling Initiative in particular, this is driving unprecedented microeconomic reform at the State level.

The sober reality of constrained finances is now hitting state and territory governments that are facing massive infrastructure demands.

We are facilitating a new wave of construction, by rewarding states with new additional funding for infrastructure if they redeploy locked up capital in existing assets.

This will support near term economic growth and boost productivity over the medium to long term.

By putting government businesses into the productive hands of the private sector, we can deliver both better and greater services to households, and improve the productive capacity of our economy.

Of course we have done our part this year by selling Medibank Private, which was the third largest initial public offering in the world this year, returning $5.7 billion to the Budget to pay for new infrastructure.

For business to be less constrained we have to remove the logjam of regulation.

Through dedicated Parliamentary Repeal Days we have removed around 57,000 pages of government regulation and legislation. This saves Australian businesses around $2 billion of red-tape costs each year.

And at the beginning of this year we inherited nearly 100 announced but unlegislated taxation measures dating back 12 years that created uncertainty and regulatory instability for taxpayers. We have, this year, resolved the mess and removed that backlog of uncertainty.

Yesterday’s National Accounts highlight an Australian economy continuing to grow, and an economy transitioning from a mining boom to one with broader based growth.

This is an adjustment that we expected.

Going forward, there are reasons to be optimistic about continuing economic growth.

Consumers are becoming more confident and are showing early signs of a willingness to spend more. Retail sales figures released today rose for the fifth consecutive month and are now nearly 6% higher over the year.

Consumer confidence data has rebounded to above long-run averages. This is a further positive sign for our retailers going into the Christmas trading season.

Businesses are more optimistic about trading conditions, which is a precursor to greater investment and hiring. This is supported by job vacancies, which are now at a 20 month high.

And our export volumes continue to increase. This is reaping the dividends of past investments, not only in the resources sector but also in service industries like tourism and education.

Yes, we face many challenges. We are feeling the headwinds of weaker global demand, which has led to the considerable fall in commodity prices. Iron ore represents around a fifth of our export income and prices have fallen by more than 30 per cent since the Budget. We have also seen falls in prices of other major commodities such as thermal coal and wheat.

Despite these headwinds, the economy will continue to grow and jobs will continue to be created.

But government revenues have been impacted by a larger-than anticipated decline in our terms of trade. This means the Government will collect less in tax, which makes it harder to pay for existing government services.

On top of this we have softer wages growth as the labour market adjusts to the transition underway in our economy. This too has a detrimental impact on revenue.

While these factors have made budget repair harder, they do not alter its necessity.

Without the measures announced in this year’s Budget, deficits were projected for at least the next decade – a total of 16 years of deficits – leaving Australia vulnerable to external shocks, less equipped to cope with the ageing population, and increasingly reliant on future generations to pay off our debt.

Without action every Australian born in 2024 would start life with a Government debt of $25,000.

This intergenerational buck passing is unfair.

When preparing the Budget, the Government was very mindful that we should deliver an economically responsible fiscal consolidation, both in size and timing.

The structural Budget savings we put forward such as making Medicare and the PBS more sustainable, and welfare distribution fairer, were designed to ensure that the financial impact was relatively small in the short-term, but delivered increasing budget repair over the medium to longer-term.

We have also delivered a plan that carefully navigates the transition from the resources boom.

Australia’s incomes and living standards have, over the past decade, been boosted by unprecedented investment and profits in our resources sector.

As the resources investment boom abates, the transition of our economy to more balanced sources of growth will depend on demand for goods and services in other sectors. That demand will then attract resources to those sectors, drive investment, and create jobs.

A sustained improvement in public finances is an essential part of these plans.

The current economic environment reinforces the importance of getting the Budget back in order.

I urge the Labor Party, together with the Senate, to take a more mature and collaborative approach to addressing the challenge of Budget Repair.

This is what Australians want if we are going to be able to afford our future.

Blanket opposition and mindless resistance is nothing to boast about if you truly care about Australia’s future.

Early next year, the Government will be releasing an Intergenerational Report, containing 40 years of budget projections.

Like earlier IGRs, it will show that as Australia’s population ages, labour force participation will fall. Without economic reform this will slow the economy, reduce growth in the Government’s revenue base and create additional demands on government spending, particularly in health, aged care and pensions.

With the terms of trade in decline and population ageing weighing on workforce participation, the key to sustaining growth in living standards is raising Australia’s productivity.

Over a year ago as a new Treasurer I said; “There could even be periods where living standards actually decline. We don’t want that. If we want to sustain national income growth at its thirty-year average, there will need to be a very significant lift in productivity growth.”

The drop in national income recorded in yesterday’s national accounts highlights that this risk is real. All of the government’s actions are being taken with these risks in mind.

The Government will support Australia’s productive potential in 2015 by investing in infrastructure, improving the efficiency of the Federation and the tax and financial systems, and by sustaining our focus on competition and deregulation.

We are transforming industry policy to support innovation and entrepreneurship. We have provided more incentives for new start up business growth with landmark changes to employee share schemes.

Enterprise will drive our growth.

Business will drive job creation.

This combination of investment and structural reforms will support Australia’s long-term rate of economic growth.

In 2014 we made great progress in strengthening the Australian economy so that it is better able to cope with external challenges and internal transitions.

More work needs to be done.

Reform has no finishing line.

With the Government’s Economic Action Strategy underway we will all be able to achieve what we hope for – a better and more prosperous future for our nation.




  • Written by Adrian

Government Australia Advisory Board

Simon Crean MP

John Brumby 

Kristina Keneally

Mark Vaile

Nick Greiner

Alexander Downer

Peter Charlton

Trevor Rowe

Warwick Smith


Bob Carr