Enhanced transparency for free trade agreement negotiations

  • Joint media release
  • Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator for South Australia
  • The Hon Andrew Gee MP, Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education, Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment, Federal Member for Calare
17 June 2020

The Morrison Government has today announced it will establish a Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) to help inform the Government’s ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) agenda.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the MAC would form an important part of the Morrison Government’s commitment to enhancing transparency around FTA negotiations.

“This forum brings together a broad cross-section of business, industry and community representatives with trade expertise to help inform Australia’s negotiations and policies going forward,” Minister Birmingham said.

"Our commitment to free trade and open markets continues to play a major role in our strong position that has seen Australia record 28 consecutive monthly trade surplus in a row.

“With our free trade agreement negotiations with the UK starting today, and our ongoing negotiations with the EU, this forum will provide an important opportunity to hear the views of experts from industry and consumer groups.

“The MAC will also build on existing consultative processes for our FTA’s which includes ongoing stakeholder engagement programs, complementing the important work of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.”

Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education, and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Gee said the establishment of the MAC would help inform the Government’s work to deliver free trade agreements for Australian farmers and businesses.

“The Government has a strong record of delivering high-quality FTAs that drive export opportunities, economic prosperity and job creation, especially in country Australia. This is a record we are proud of and want to continue to see grow,” Minister Gee said.

“In these challenging times, it is critical that Australian exporters, especially those impacted by the recent drought and bushfires, take full advantage of the opportunities available under these FTAs. At the same time, we must draw upon our business community and their diverse perspectives.

“The MAC will provide a mechanism that enables us to build upon and strengthen our engagement with a range of businesses and community leaders, stretching from the cities to our country towns, to ensure that all Australians no matter where they live benefit from our growing FTA agenda,” Minister Gee said.

Minister Birmingham and Ms Christine Holgate will co-chair the Committee. The first meeting will be held next month and it’s expected the Committee will convene at least twice a year.


Ministerial Advisory Council (MAC) Members
Name Title, Organisation
Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
The Hon Andrew Gee MP Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment
Mr Tony Battaglene Chief Executive, Australian Grape and Wine
Ms Laura Berry Chief Executive Officer, Supply Nation
Mr James Bond President, Australian Services Roundtable
Mr Gerard Brody Chair, Consumers’ Federation of Australia
Ms Kate Carnell, AO Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
Ms Tania Constable, PSM Chief Executive Officer, Minerals Council of Australia
Prof. Andrew Conway, FIPA FFA Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Public Accountants
Ms Bridget Fair, GAICD Chief Executive Officer, Free TV Australia
Mr Scott Farrell Partner, King & Wood Mallesons
Mr Kevin Gallagher Chair, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association
Ms Christine Holgate Group CEO and Managing Director, Australia Post
Ms Veronica Papacosta Acting Chief Executive Officer, Seafood Industry Australia
Mrs Fiona Simson President, National Farmers Federation
Mr Andrew Stoler International Trade Consultant
Mr Jason Strong Managing Director, Meat and Livestock Australia
Ms Jacqui Walshe BBS, MBA, GAICD Deputy Chair, Australian Tourism Export Council
Mr Dan Walton National Secretary, The Australian Workers’ Union
Prof. Paul Wellings, CBE Vice Chancellor, University of Wollongong

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