The Hon. HENRY TSANG (Parliamentary Secretary) [10.31 p.m.]: This morning I had the great pleasure of attending the opening session of the China Guangdong-Australia Business Conference. It is the first Australia-China business conference of its kind to be held here, with an impressive business and government delegation from Guangdong Province flying to Sydney for the occasion. As members would know, since 1979 Guangdong Province has had a sister-State relationship with New South Wales, an initiative of the Wran Labor Government. What started with diplomatic links has recently turned into a mature relationship based on trade, tourism and cultural exchanges. That has been aided by a combination of Australia and New South Wales paying closer attention to China and Asia in general, and also China's developing economy and emergence in global trade.
The Guangdong delegation is led by the party secretary, Mr Zhang Dejiang, and comprises 400 officials and business people, including mayors from 20 of the largest cities in the province. On our side, hundreds of Australian companies and organisations responded to this great opportunity of meeting with potential partners from various fields requiring investment. The Guangdong Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation identified 150 major investment projects for closer co-operation in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, textiles, machinery, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and services. China's economic development has helped reduce poverty and brought benefits to its people. This economic development has also brought opportunities for New South Wales and Australia. As the Minister for Primary Industries said on the Premier's behalf:
I am not one of those who feel threatened by China's rapid economic expansion. There is no way that China could have stood apart from the global free market economy. And we must accept that no bilateral trading partnership can bring equal benefits to both sides. In our trading relationship with Guangdong the benefits so far have gone mainly to the Chinese side. NSW buys from China roughly eight times as much as China buys from NSW. So I welcome this conference as an opportunity for Australian businesses to discover new and fruitful export markets in Guangdong and other parts of China.
The Minister is right. That is why the New South Wales Government focused early on in its trade and investment strategy with Asia and created the New South Wales-Asia Business Advisory Council. As well as promoting the trade relationship between New South Wales and Asia, the advisory council provides advice to the Government. One of its recommendations was adopted by the Government and acted upon: business migration. The Premier has said:
I lead a government committed to growth and development, and if Australia is to secure the higher population and the skilled workers we need to compete in the global marketplace, we need more migrants.
That creates jobs locally for young Australians and helps us to address the trade imbalance with the region. Using expatriates who have a deep knowledge and existing links in these markets helps us greatly, and with Guangdong's gross domestic product increasing at an annual rate of more than 10 per cent over the past decade, the climate is right for our exporters to seize this opportunity—not only traditional exporters of raw materials and mineral resources, but new, innovative, knowledge-based industries.
The Premier has identified the massive investment in the ports and other infrastructure which will benefit trade and exports: tripling the capacity of Port Botany, transforming Port Kembla into the leading port for handling motor vehicles, and the provision of a third coal loader in Newcastle. These facilities will be used for exports as well as imports. I congratulate the Guangdong delegation for choosing to hold this conference in New South Wales. We value our bilateral relationship and hope that through exchanges such as this conference we can forge new trade links and promote economic growth and development for our mutual benefit. Growth and development creating jobs for young Australians, securing our future, and maintaining Australia as the most successful multicultural society in the world.