Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Pitt’s pledge on export markets rings hollow

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Madeleine King MP, Shadow Minister for Trade, Shadow Minister for Resources, Member for Brand, Media Release, 7 May 2021

The Morrison Government’s poor record on trade diversification has again been highlighted by its announcement of a vague $20 million strategy to build new markets for Australian resources exports.
 
Resources Minister Keith Pitt said today his Global Resources Strategy would develop closer relationships with key trading partners through better engagement at both government and industry levels.
 
It’s more of the same from the Morrison Government, which has a dangerous habit of ignoring practical advice on how Australian exporters can find new markets to reduce their reliance on China.
 
Since coming to the job 15 months ago, Mr Pitt has abandoned a plan to create a Strategic Resources Advisory Group, an expert body that would provide advice on the challenges and opportunities for the resources sector.
 
The establishment of the SRAG was the primary recommendation of the Government’s landmark Resources 2030 report, which then resources minister Matt Canavan promised to implement back in 2019.
 
It has since sunk without trace.
 
Separately, the Government has completely ignored a blueprint for increasing boosting trade volumes with India, an emerging giant of our region and a voracious consumer of natural resources.
 
The India Economic Strategy (IES), written by former Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade chief Peter Varghese, contained 20 priority recommendations to boost exports of resources and other sectors to India.
 
Only one of those recommendations has been implemented.
 
While the report has been gathering dust, our trade relationship with India has gone backwards.
 
It’s way past time the Government came up with a genuine strategy to diversify our export markets. This should be an urgent national and whole-of-government priority.
 
Today’s announcement is yet more proof that Scott Morrison and his Ministers are good at making announcements but hopeless on the delivery.

Related story: New global resources strategy to help diversify exports

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