what's happening / news / Asian Australian Business Council Dinner - Speech from the Hon. Mark Coure MP

Asian Australian Business Council Dinner - Speech from the Hon. Mark Coure MP

Ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure to be with you all this evening at this special Asian Australian Business Council Dinner. I had the honour of speaking at the A-A-B-C inaugural dinner in 2017.

I am so pleased to be back this year and to see so many familiar faces. To celebrate the many efforts of the Council, its leadership and its members. You work hard to expand and diversify Australian exports and imports to and from all Asian countries.

You work hard to promote and develop business, trade and industry networks between Australia and Asia. Your efforts to promote and strengthen these business ties are incredibly important and appreciated. This is because fostering our people-to-people links is key to building on our multilateral trade and business successes with the many beautiful countries that make up Asia.

In 2018-19, the value of the merchandise goods that NSW exported to Asia was nearly $41.2 billion and the value of the merchandise goods we imported from the region was $73 billion.

To help put the export figures into context, in the following year New South Wales’ exports worldwide were valued at $95.2 billion made up of $55.6 billion in goods and $39.6 billion in services. These are massive numbers.

And they show that the robust relationship between our great State, and countries across Asia will only continue to grow. Exciting opportunities exist to grow business in markets where New South Wales has strong links and a reputation for reliable, high-quality products.

Global NSW is a NSW Government initiative that works to support our State's industry, innovation, trade, investment and industry area development. Its goal is to build the prosperity and international status of New South Wales.

Because international trade and investment will be key drivers of economic growth for our State in the post-Covid world. Exporting businesses are set to experience unprecedented growth, backed by active government promotion. With this, of course, is massive potential from several of our State’s Asian markets.

Let’s begin with ASEAN—the Association of South-East Asian Nations. Its 10 member countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. I know this region is notable for its digitally savvy demographic with increasingly affluent young, urban consumers.

These switched-on young people represent huge opportunities for New South Wales exporters and these opportunities are enhanced by the region’s status as a major logistics hub boasting several free trade agreements with Australia.

With a combined population of nearly 650 million, the ASEAN region is forecast to become the world’s fourth-largest economy by 2030. Considering it’s in our Asia-Pacific neighbourhood this is a wonderful opportunity for New South Wales.

On to China… China provides both ongoing and emerging opportunities for New South Wales businesses. They made up 20 per cent of New South Wales exports in 2019-20, reflecting the strong reputation our goods and services enjoy there.

Demand from middle-class consumers is expected to remain high while China’s focus on high-quality, food and future energy requirements provides new revenue potential. It’s also important to note that Taiwan and Hong Kong are also significant markets for New South Wales.

And South Korea… With a GDP of $US1.6 trillion, South Korea is already a hugely important export market for New South Wales. The extensive Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement also creates more opportunities for growth.

South Korea is already a good customer for our commodity exports, which include minerals, energy, and beef. There are also possibilities for our manufacturers and service providers to link with Korea’s growing consumer class. And also, a notable renewable energy sector worth watching.

The country aims to boost its renewable energy output from seven per cent to up to 35 per cent by 2040. This in turn will create opportunities for New South Wales companies to operate in this field.

And finally, Japan… a nation of 126.8 million–five times Australia’s population–Japan is home to a number of companies seeking innovative, sustainable and secure solutions. It is a powerhouse for technological development and one of the oldest and largest sources of Foreign Direct Investment for New South Wales.

Its investment interest in recent years has expanded beyond traditional sectors such as resources and agribusiness. New projects in infrastructure and renewable energy will continue attracting investor interest.

We’ve talked about the ASEAN nations, China, Korea and Japan and the exciting opportunities they represent as markets for exports from New South Wales. The work that is being done to increase our trade and business ties with all our economic friends in Asia is greatly appreciated.

And I am so proud of the NSW Government’s commitment to continuing to invest in our multicultural communities. We do this to continue to make NSW the most desirable place in the world to live, visit, study, invest and do business.

And we want to work to build and maintain a harmonious multicultural society that enriches the lives of everyone in New South Wales. We also work collaboratively across government to deliver culturally appropriate and responsive policy, programs and services.

Because about half of our residents are either first or second-generation migrants and we want to make sure we do what we can to assist longer-term migrants and new arrivals.

The NSW Government has a proud history of standing up and speaking out on behalf of everyone in our society. We do this to build a deeper understanding of the value of cultural diversity and inclusion. We continue to welcome new communities as we adapt to global economic, political and demographic trends.

We are lucky to live in a state where people from different cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds are willing to live together. We are willing to learn together, work together, play together, grow together, thrive together – and help each other in times of need.

Harmony and resilience have become increasingly important in the face of challenging global issues. When the NSW Government was elected in 2019, commitments were made to provide $12.5 million to multicultural community organisations and associations over four years.

This includes funding for multicultural community festivals and events, community projects, aged care and other community support programs. Then, of course, the world changed. We had challenging times in the form of fire, drought, floods and the global Covid pandemic. But throughout these challenges, our communities unite to help each other.

Community and religious leaders – together with our impressive multicultural media – across the State have stepped up to share essential messages in language to help keep people safe. And your continued support – and this includes the support of the Australian Asian business community –has also been invaluable.

Thank you for your leadership and for staying the course. Your efforts in fostering the partnership between community, business and government, are helping us emerge as an even stronger society.

I am optimistic about the future. Because the NSW Government is working together with communities more closely than ever to build lasting partnerships. Because multiculturalism is our State’s treasure.

Whether you work for a big, medium or small enterprise, I commend you all for your entrepreneurial spirit and for your drive as businesspeople.

Thank you for helping build business links and trade between New South Wales and the thriving economies of Asia. Thank you all – and this includes the Asian Australian Business Council – for helping to build a better future here in Australia.

And thank you all for your wonderful support for the harmony of our multicultural, multilingual and multifaith society and our peaceful way of life.