Centre for Australia-India Relations speech

  • Speech, check against delivery
Parramatta HQ Launch, Sydney

Good evening.

I’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

I’m delighted to be speaking alongside the Foreign Minister tonight, and want to join her in congratulating Tim Thomas and his team from the Centre for Australia India Relations for organising this wonderful celebration.

I’d also like to acknowledge His Excellency Gopal Baglay, India’s High Commissioner to Australia, as well as my Federal and State counterparts and parliamentary colleagues here tonight.

Tonight, I will outline the progress we’ve made in deepening our economic ties with India over the last two years.

I’ll also highlight some of the key outcomes in this years’ budget to help our businesses leverage the incredible export opportunities in India, while attracting the game-changing investment needed to build a Future Made in Australia.

Finally, I will outline how our government intends on working with you - Australia’s Indian business community - to take forward our economic relationship with India in the years ahead.

Because we cannot talk about the future of the Australian economy without talking about India.

India now has the world’s largest population and is on track to be the world’s third largest economy by 2030.

Trade with India is shaping up to be a big win for Australia – now our fourth largest export market.

In the 14 months since the Albanese Government implemented our trade deal with India, Australian businesses have seen a massive boost in exports.

Over that period over $24 billion worth of Australian exports to India had zero tariffs or lower tariffs than many of our competitors.

Our trade agreement has strengthened our economic relationship with India across a range of sectors.

For agriculture, exports to India are up by a whopping 60 per cent, including delicious products like our avocados, salmon and almonds.

And manufactured goods like electric motors and pharmaceuticals made right here in Australia are being exported to India at record levels - up by 66 per cent.

But we know that signing a trade agreement with India only opens the door for exporters - it can take a leap of faith to enter new and emerging markets.

That is why, in this years’ budget, we’ve provided over 14 million dollars in additional funding to expand the highly successful Australia-India Business Exchange program.

This investment will help Australian business – just like those here tonight – get their boots on the ground in India and expand across South Asia.

The exchange program will send business missions to India across a range of sectors – including agrifood, education, technology, and energy and resources like critical minerals.

And for the first time, we are announcing an expansion of pilot business missions to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to diversify trade opportunities in the Indian Ocean region.

In July this year, Austrade will lead the first business mission to New Delhi and Mumbai in partnership with Invest NSW, with a focus on renewable energy storage and hydrogen.

These new industries of the future present a golden opportunity for Australia and a Future Made in Australia.    

A lot has changed in the past 2 years since we came to government.

We have seen a dramatic shift in global supply chains after a once in a generation pandemic.

We have lifted our ambition to tackle climate change and set new renewable energy targets.

And we have taken big steps to boost manufacturing and value adding here at home, through our $22.7 billion Future Made in Australia Package.

We will continue working with our trading partners including India, to position Australia as the best place to invest in new clean energy industries like renewable hydrogen, batteries and critical minerals processing.

Because India hasn’t stood still either.

India’s rapidly growing middle class, embrace of technology, renewable energy, and demand for top education services and tourism experiences present opportunities to grow our economic ties.

We must be willing to focus our efforts, priorities, and approach to engagement with India to best position us for the decades ahead.

To do this, I’m proud to announce tonight that the Albanese Labor Government will commence consultations on a Future Roadmap for Australia’s economic engagement with India, building on the 2018 India Economic Strategy. 

We will look to forge new areas of cooperation, beyond those first set out by Former Secretary of DFAT and High Commissioner to India, Mr Peter Varghese in his landmark Indian Economic Strategy six years ago.

We will focus and accelerate our work, and harmonise our efforts with state and federal governments, businesses and community organisations.

We think a new Roadmap will help us go even further in our trade and investment relationship with India, and help us seize the opportunities of the net zero transition.

Of course, we will also continue to negotiate our next free trade agreement with India, and push for the best possible deal for Australia.

We have kept up momentum, even while India is in the midst of elections – most recently when we hosted the Indian chief negotiator in Canberra a few weeks ago.

I am confident that we will secure an agreement with India, but we will only agree to a deal that is in Australia’s national interest. 

For us, this would mean commercially meaningful market access for our exporters - beyond what we received in our first agreement with India, particularly in agriculture and manufactured goods.

Because we know that to build a Future Made in Australia, we need to pursue better access in fast growing markets in our region.

India is the fastest growing large economy in the world – so it is vital we keep working with them on new trade and investment opportunities.

So, I encourage you all to put forward submissions as part of our Future Roadmap for Australia’s economic engagement with India.

Thank you all for being a part of this fantastic celebration and please enjoy the rest of your evening.

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