In July I took part in a study tour delegation hosted by the Australia China Business Council (ACBC) and Huawei Australia. We visited Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hong Kong led by ACBC president and former Premier John Brumby. Colleagues on our delegation included Dr Jim Chalmers, the federal member for Rankin and parliamentary secretary to the federal Leader of the Opposition; Stephen Jones, federal member for Throsby and federal shadow assistant Minister for Health; Anthony Chisholm, federal Labor Senate candidate for Queensland; and Madeleine Ogilvie, Tasmanian state member for Denison and shadow minister for Information Technology and Innovation.
China is Australia’s largest trading partner. Last year trade between our two countries was in excess of $150 billion. The recently signed China-Australia free trade agreement will see our economic and cultural bonds grow and strengthen in the years ahead. Huawei is a global leader in providing next generation telecommunications network solutions. Its Australian base opened in 2004 and has expanded to over 600 employees. Huawei’s products and solutions are deployed by 45 of the world’s top 50 telecommunications operators and it serves one-third of the world’s communications requirements. Indeed, 50 per cent of Victorians use a Huawei product.
The Andrews Labor government recognises the significant opportunities to secure trade and jobs investment with China. We are recasting our China strategy, and Premier Andrews will visit the country later this year to open an additional Victorian government business office in western China. Our delegation was pleased to meet with Treasurer Pallas in Shanghai as part of our visit to Huawei’s research and development centre. The Treasurer also understands the significant opportunities for Victoria in China and the technological benefits to Victorians of having Huawei’s products and know-how in Melbourne.
I also thank ACBC chief executive Martine Letts and Huawei Australia’s Brent Hooley and Riana Chen for accompanying the delegation and ensuring that we expanded our knowledge and appreciation of the Australia-China trade relationship.