Ms O'CONNOR question to ACTING PREMIER, Mr ROCKLIFF
Now that we have established that the Premier is more concerned with cosying up to a communist regime than he is with representing Tasmanians in this parliament, could you please detail to the House what memoranda of understanding the Premier has signed in Tasmania's name on this trip? What has been agreed to in detail? Further, will you commit to tabling all agreements signed between the Chinese government and Tasmania during this taxpayer-funded trade mission?
Madam Speaker, I did not realise the Greens were so anti-trade and, as a consequence, anti-jobs.
Ms O'Connor - We're pro-Tasmanian.
Mr ROCKLIFF - We make no apologies for taking Tasmania to the world. Along with it are hardworking local businesses, employing local people and producing the finest quality of goods from around the world.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, under standing order 45, relevance. We kept the question very simple. Would the minister please detail to the House what memoranda of understanding the Premier signed and will he table them?
Madam SPEAKER - As you would appreciate, Ms O'Connor, and as I express daily my frustration with standing order 45, I cannot instruct the minister to answer the question in any other way than he sees fit. I ask the Acting Premier to attempt to address it, please.
Mr ROCKLIFF - Thank you, Madam Speaker. The aim of the trade mission is to help foster a long-term and reliable source of business, reinforce existing government and business relationships, promote investment opportunities, and retain and build on Tasmania's position as China's preferred gateway to Antarctica. Already we are seeing positive outcomes, including the identification of many new opportunities to increase trade, which will further boost investment and jobs in rural and regional Tasmania. Tasmania exports some $3.5 billion annually -
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. It is really important that the Tasmanian people understand what MOUs have been signed and what the content is of those MOUs.
Mr FERGUSON - Madam Speaker, on that point of order. This is very disorderly and disruptive from Ms O'Connor. You have already ruled on her earlier point of order and this is a repeat of her earlier point of order. The Acting Premier is answering the question and the member should give him the opportunity to do so without disruption.
Madam SPEAKER - Thank you for that comment. I rule as I did before, Ms O'Connor, and remind you that constant interjections will see you removed from the House. I ask the Acting Premier to answer that question as best and as quickly as he can. We have many questions to get through and we only have half an hour to go.
Mr ROCKLIFF - As I was saying, Tasmanian exports are worth more than $3.5 billion annually to the state's economy and have increased some 36 per cent over the last year, with China and Hong Kong both key markets driving the export growth. Nine of our biggest export markets are in Asia and China recently became our first ever $1 billion export market.
Additionally, we have announced that the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long will dock in Hobart twice this summer, bringing huge benefits to Tasmania's Antarctic sector and our local economy.
We have signed an MOU with China's largest fresh produce platform to support trade and pathways to market for Tasmanian exporters. That is a positive and important step for our exporters with the potential to increase pathways into Chinese markets. In other words, we are selling more of our produce so our businesses can grow and employ more people. That is good.
The second MOU was signed between the Tasmanian College of English and the Chongqing Education Technology and Research Institute establishing a commitment for a strategic partnership to grow opportunities for academic and education exchange. On Thursday an MOU was struck between the Department of State Growth and Potuo District of Education to encourage visits and exchange trips between Tasmania and Potuo, which supports the Government's global education growth strategy. Good news.
More than 150 Tasmanian and Chinese guests attended the Tasmania showcase event, hosted at the Shanghai restaurant of Australian Michelle Garnaut AO. Good news. Taking our local businesses to international markets, promoting Tasmania as a quality destination and growing quality produce is a good thing so that businesses can grow in Tasmania and can employ more people. When those opposite were in government we lost 10 000 jobs. In government we have grown our job numbers to 15 000 more than there were under the Labor-Green government. We want that to continue and that is what these missions are all about.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, again under standing order 45, relevance.
Will the minister commit to tabling the MOUs signed in Tasmania's name?
Madam SPEAKER - I believe the minister has addressed the MOUs. They will be on Hansard so they will be recorded.