Doorstop - China-Australia Year of Tourism
STEVEN CIOBO: We'rehere today for the official launch of 2017 as the Year of Australia-ChinaTourism. We know that inbound Chinese tourists is a very important market forAustralia – it generates over $9 billion worth of export income for Australiawhich helps to drive, of course, thousands of jobs all across Australia.Today's launch is a symbolic launch. A launch of bringing closer together therelationship that we have between Australia and China. It's also, of course,half of the equation. The other half of the equation is the work that we'll bedoing in country in China and, of course, heading our efforts in China is thegreat work that Tourism Australia does. Tourism Australia is Australia's premier marketing body. The agency that'scharged with responsibility for selling Australia to international tourists tocome and visit. As the Minister for Tourism I've been very focused on makingsure, as part of the Coalition Government, that we're putting record fundinginto Tourism Australia. Record funding means more tourists. More touristsstaying longer and spending more money is great news for Australians that areemployed in the tourism sector, more than 500,000 of them. And I'm veryconfident that as our most lucrative export sector, which is the Chinesesector, that we can continue to grow this relationship in this, the Year ofAustralia-China Tourism. I'm joined by John O'Sullivan, the Managing Directorof Tourism Australia, who'll be able to make a few remarks about some of thestrategies that we'll employ as well in this year of Australia-China Tourism.Over to you John. [John O'Sullivan remarks excluded] So, all I'd simply say isthis: Chinese tourists are very welcome in Australia. They are, of course,crucial to driving employment now that the Coalition Government has liberalisedair services between Australia and China, we'll get more Chinese tourists coming'down under'. So we say G'Day, welcome, it's great to have you in Australia.Happy to take any questions.
JOURNALIST: Minister can I take you to Pauline Hanson's blueprint?
STEVEN CIOBO: PaulineHanson, and other political parties will, of course, put forward theirblueprints about where they believe Australia should be going. That won'tdistract us from the agenda that we've got. A strong agenda to make sureAustralia is competitive into the future; that we keep growing the Australianeconomy; that we keep creating jobs that are good for Australian workers.
JOURNALIST: Doesthat flat two per cent tax rate have merit?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well,look, as I said. We have a strong policy agenda of policies that we're going toimplement as a Government. We've already had great success last year atimplementing legislative change to reflect that. Ultimately, Australians willbe the ones who determine which parties they want to back and which policiesthey want to pursue. So we'll have, of course, the contest of ideas that isAustralian politics and I look forward to that over the coming months and yearsahead.
JOURNALIST: Whatabout her idea to force foreign companies that own critical Australian assetsto sell them back to the Commonwealth?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well,again, I can only repeat my same answer. The Government has a clear policyagenda of policies that we've put in place. Policies that we're putting throughthe Parliament. Policies that are focused on delivering on our plan to drivethe Australian economy, to get strong economic growth and to get employmentopportunities for Australians. That's what is core for the Coalition. Otherparties will put forward their ideas and Australians can assess them on theirmerit.
JOURNALIST: Butcould you borrow some of those good ideas?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well,certainly it's my view that we should adopt ideas and policies that are goingto be good for Australia and good for Australians. As a Coalition we've putforward our full suite of policies – we took them to the last election and weare having great success of getting passage through the Parliament of ourpolicy initiatives.
JOURNALIST: Is therea chance Pauline Hanson could follow in the footsteps of Donald Trump andbecome Prime Minister one day?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well,look, we're only seven months since the last Federal Election. We have a fullsuite of policies and changes that we as a Government are implementing. We'reinto our 26th year of continuous economic growth in this country. We're focusedon making reforms. I'm not going to worry about the next election for anothertwo plus years.
JOURNALIST: Onanother note, should we be concerned about our relationship with the US giventhe events in the past week?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well,I think the events of the past week make it very clear that Australia'srelationship with the United States, the Prime Minister's relationship with thePresident, is very strong. The fact is that Australia has seen the UnitedStates honour its agreement with Australia. We continue to have a high level ofengagement between both our Government and the US Administration. In manyrespects that was reflected in the visit by Ambassador Hockey in WashingtonD.C. only yesterday.
JOURNALIST: Greens leader Richard Di Natale said that these relations that have beenhappening over the week could, I guess, annoy some other trading partners likeChina. What do you say to those comments?
STEVEN CIOBO: Look,we've had a really successful day of high-level discussions between Australiaand key Chinese authorities when it comes to tourism. The relationship betweenAustralia and China, especially in relation to trade continues to go fromstrength to strength. Likewise under the Coalition, we've seen a really strongrelationship with respect to Korea and Japan and also the United States. Ithink Australians get that under the Coalition they've seen our trade andinvestment relationship go from strength to strength and frankly it's incontrast with the Labor Party - when Labor, the moment there's a small hurdle,says, 'Well let's just walk away. The going's too tough for us'. So I believeAustralia's trade and investment relationship really is going from strength tostrength and we will continue to pursue great export opportunities forAustralian businesses. Alright? Thanks very much.