In a speech to parliament today, Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry has labelled the Palaszczuk Government’s move to back out of Free Trade Agreements as “fundamentally flawed”.
“By its very definition, ‘trade’ is an exchange of goods and commodities, not a one way street,” Ms Landry said.
“We all wish to see Queensland business grow and prosper, but jeopardising export industries is not the way to go about it,” she said.
“I welcome long overdue moves to make doing business with the Queensland government easier, but draw the line when this risks Central Queensland exports."
“It will turn Queensland into a protectionist laughing stock and undermine Australia’s credibility as a trading nation."
Industry representatives have said the policy will jeopardise agreements with Chile, Japan, the United States, Korea, New Zealand – and the deal with Singapore that will see $1 billion of investment in Capricornia.
“The Shoalwater Bay Military expansion will be a game changer for Capricornia. While the Palaszczuk Government refuses to budge on water infrastructure and tourism developments, it’s probably the only chance we have to diversify the economy."
“If the Palaszczuk Government had any economic acumen, they would understand the importance of free trade deals for our regional economy."
“They would understand that in Capricornia, Free Trade deals underpin economic growth in Agriculture, Defence Industry and Tourism."
“Labor either support beef exports from Central Queensland, or they don’t."
“They either want local businesses like Dobinson’s Springs to continue exporting to over 50 countries, or they don’t.
The Palaszczuk Government spends $14 billion a year buying supplies and services. The value of Queensland exports is around $70 billion, over five times the value of Government spend. 60% of exports go to countries that have a free trade agreement with Australia.
“If the Labor government persists with unravelling Free Trade Agreements, they will be guaranteeing that Queensland businesses, already constrained by electricity price gouging and red tape, will be slammed with a 30% penalty on exports.
“Queensland business can grow and compete by reducing the cost of doing business, not by initiating protectionist policies that belong in the 1950s."
“They’ve already antagonised New Zealand, risking $5 billion in Queensland exports and the 20,000 jobs that go with it."
“Imagine if Korea turns around and does the same, imposing a 30% tariff on Queensland beef or sugar. How will our producers compete with that?”
A number of industry leaders have come out in condemnation of the plan:
Export Council of Australia CEO Lisa McAuley said:
“Backing out once they’re in force undermines the whole agreement. The way international trade works is that you have to deliver what you say you will. Otherwise, who’s going to trust you in future negotiations?” (Source: Media Release, 4 August 2017)
“A trading partner could pretty easily work out which of their Australian imports mostly come from Queensland, and put in place retaliatory measures that focus on Queensland exporters.” (Source: Media Release, 4 August 2017)
“If the Queensland Government does anything to back out of its trade commitments, it is putting its exporters at risk.” (Source: Media Release, 4 August 2017)
National Farmers Federation
Economist Gene Tunny said:
“It risks turning Queensland into a national laughing stock.” (Source: The Courier Mail, 10 August 2017)
“The “Buy Queensland” policy will make Queensland taxpayers worse off, through higher prices for goods and services purchased by the Government.” (Source: The Courier Mail, 10 August 2017)
Economist Nick Behrens, a former executive at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said:
“The state’s procurement policy is not the place for achieving secondary agendas to appease union interests.” (Source: The Courier Mail, 10 August 2017)
“This will undermine value for money for the taxpayers of Queensland, not to mention creat
ing more barriers for businesses to participate.” (Source: The Courier Mail, 10 August 2017)
“The State Government’s policy is clearly at odds with the Australian New Zealand Government Procurement Agreement and other free trade agreements.” (Source: The Courier Mail, 10 August 2017)