Good Morning Britain
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS: Joining us now in the studio is the Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo. Good morning to you.
STEVEN CIOBO: Good morning.
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS: Thanks very much for coming. A lot of countries are of course saying, "No, we don't want any extra people coming in to our country". So why are you saying actually, "Come. We're welcoming you?"
STEVEN CIOBO: Well because we know that Australia has a very high, intensive aspiration for young British backpackers and it's our biggest source-market - around 60,000 come every year to Australia. And frankly we also need working holiday makers. We've made it cheaper, they're going to get a unique experience coming to Australia, and so we think it's a great time to come.
KATE GARRAWAY: What sort of skills are you looking for? Are you looking for people to pick fruit or are you looking for junior doctors? Who are the people that should be answering this call?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well typically we find that backpackers, working holiday-makers want to come to Australia to do a variety of different things. It's the chance to travel, it's the chance to see whether it's the Great Barrier Reef and the white sands of Northern Australia, through to some of the fruit-picking regions around to the south. They'll often engage in seasonal work like fruit-picking, or they'll work in hospitality. It's the ability to move around Australia while getting some of the best take-home pay available out of any countries that we find is particularly alluring for them.
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS: Now there's always, of course, been a strong relationship between the UK and Australia. We're coming to a time now where we're having to sort out separate deals with everybody. What about the process of how that's sorted out between Australia and the UK?
STEVEN CIOBO: In terms of the trade deal, do you mean?
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS: Yeah, in terms of a free trade agreement.
STEVEN CIOBO: Well I've had some really good conversations with Liam Fox. He and I are very committed to doing what we can to boost trade between Australia and the UK. We know that we've got really strong historical links, and of course there's a lot of investment between both countries. As the UK moves now through its Brexit period and Article 50 is presented, we'll look at it in, I guess, more detail.
KATE GARRAWAY: Will you pick us over the EU?
STEVEN CIOBO: It's not a case of picking one or the other. We're in conversations with the EU already...
KATE GARRAWAY: I think Liam Fox says it is.
STEVEN CIOBO: Well I want to make sure we're getting a win-win outcome for both countries. We've got a really good start, we've formed a working group between the two countries that is the UK and Australia. We've got to work together to try and develop a framework that will apply to a free-trade agreement once the UK is formally out of the EU.
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS: Something we're talking about that's in the news today is, of course, the situation in Calais. The clearing of the jungle camps and how the migrants are being distributed and how that burden of refugees is being shared. Do you feel that Australia is doing its fair share when it comes to the refugee crisis?
STEVEN CIOBO: Absolutely. Australia has one of the highest per capita intakes of refugees in the world. What we've been very...
KATE GARRAWAY: Got a lot of land, as well though, haven't you? That's one of the criticisms I think that people feel, that Britain is a small country very heavily populated and this is a world crisis.
STEVEN CIOBO: Sure.
KATE GARRAWAY: And actually countries like Australia which are very under-populated in certain areas could be doing more.
STEVEN CIOBO: Well as I said, we've got one of the highest per capita refugee intakes in the world.
KATE GARRAWAY: Per capita means small population, doesn't it?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well, no. Per capita means the numbers of people that come in per the number of Australians, but we still have to deal with the fact that there's infrastructure, there's housing, there's all those same pressures. What Australia has done is we've been very firm about our border's sovereignty. We've been very clear that we intend to maintain strong borders and by Australians having faith in our border's sovereignty, we've been able to be more generous. In fact we've increased our refugee intake to reflect the fact that we want to do our bit, but do it within firm channels about the appropriate way that people should come into Australia.
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS: Okay that's the Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.