Western Australia at the centre of visit by the Premier of China

Prime Minister

Welcoming an international visitor to our shores is an opportunity to showcase Australia’s qualities, our people’s values and our economy’s strengths. So it’s fitting that Western Australia is playing such a prominent role in this week’s visit by the Premier of China.

For a start, WA is home to a proud, generous and growing Chinese-Australian community, people who have worked hard and made a profound contribution to every facet of Western Australian life.

Having shared in Perth’s spectacular Lunar New Year celebrations hosted by the Chung Wah Association in February, I’m looking forward to attending another fantastic community event on Tuesday and the opportunity it will provide to acknowledge so many great Western Australians.

Just as the aspiration and drive of the Chinese-Australian community is an important part of WA’s success story, WA has played a hugely significant role in China’s extraordinary journey.

For decades, the workers, expertise and resources of WA have shaped the skylines of Beijing and Shanghai and helped power an economic transformation that has resulted in hundreds of millions of people no longer living in poverty.

Western Australians have contributed to this and benefited from it. China is Australia’s largest trading partner and three-quarters of Australia’s exports to China, come from here in WA. Furthermore, nearly 60 per cent of everything that WA exports, goes to China.

Yet when our Government was elected two years ago, trade impediments imposed by China were costing Australian exporters $20 billion a year.

The patient, calibrated and deliberate approach we have taken to stabilising the relationship between our countries means Australian farmers, growers, producers, miners and exporters are benefiting from being able to sell their products to China again and we will continue to press for outstanding impediments on lobster to be resolved.

Today in Perth, Premier Li and I will be attending a roundtable hosted by business leaders, a gathering that recognises how important our economic ties are for jobs and prosperity in Australia and China, as well as looking ahead to future opportunities for Australian services and expertise, particularly when it comes to the global shift to net zero.

Our Government understands that growing worldwide demand for critical minerals, rare earths and the metals essential to clean energy technology is good news for WA and our nation as a whole.

WA’s resources industry is world-renowned for quality, safety and skill in extraction.

Our Government wants to build on these strengths to create a new generation of secure, high-paying Australian jobs in processing, refining and manufacturing, powered by clean energy.

This commitment to revitalising local manufacturing doesn’t mean cutting trade ties or pulling up the economic drawbridge, this is about moving Australia up the international value chain. Adding more value to WA resources here, so we can sell a wider range of products to a broader range of markets.

Just as we want to build Australia’s economic resilience by deepening and diversifying our trade relationships, we’re also taking action to ensure foreign investment continues to serve our national interest. This includes reforming the foreign investment framework so that it’s more efficient, more transparent and more effective at managing risk.

In all this, our Government’s vision for a future made in Australia is about building on our strengths, engaging in our region and succeeding on our terms.

When you consider the growth and transformation our region has known in the past few decades, WA was at the very centre: building economic ties with the Indo-Pacific and creating jobs here in Australia.

When you look at the economic shifts that will shape our region and our world in the decades ahead, WA will be pivotal once again.

As Premier Li will no doubt discover during his time here, Western Australians are wonderful hosts and when it comes to creating economic opportunities in our region and building connections with our trading partners, West Australians are great ambassadors.

Hosting this visit is a valuable chance for WA to show its qualities to the world and I know this State will shine.

This opinion piece was first published in The West Australian on Tuesday, 18 June 2024.

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