Written on the 30 June 2016


FEDERAL Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo has warned a Labor victory following this weekend's federal election could put Australia's triple-A credit rating at risk.  

"You can say I am just being political, but there is a point where you can only get so much debt," says Ciobo, addressing a Young Professionals Gold Coast event.

"Once you reach so much debt you get a ratings downgrade and that is what happened in Queensland.

"We have seen it with Annastacia Palaszczuk. They said they could do all of these amazing things and they didn't need to sell a single asset.  Well congratulations, Queensland still owns all our poles and wires, we have had a ratings downgrade and they are not investing any money.  

"It reaches a point where you can no longer continue with this ever increasing amount of debt. Another $16.5 billion from Labor, on top of where we are already at, will lead no doubt to a ratings downgrade or a very high risk of a ratings downgrade."

Ciobo, the federal member for Moncrieff, highlighted the government's commitment to the Gold Coast by building on its key economic drivers and looking to diversify the economy.

"The two key drivers are of course tourism and construction," says Ciobo.

"In time no doubt it will change; we want to become more diversified.  

"We want to have a stronger focus on the new economy and the digital economy, a stronger focus on some new services exports and we see that in particular around what we can do with education exports.  

"We want to have a stronger focus on making sure that the amenity of this magnificent city is something we can trade off by having, for example, high quality medical specialists and research development specialists.  Those sorts of people who can be anywhere in the world, so why don't we have them here and enjoy the amenity we love and actually have them adding super value to the local Gold Coast economy."

Malcolm Turnbull says if he and his government win the July 2 election, there will be no change to his cabinet, meaning Ciobo will continue in his role as Minister for Trade and Investment.

In the past three years the coalition has secured free trade agreements with China, South Korea and Japan and Ciobo says Indonesia is his next target.

"Our free trade agreement agenda is about focussing on creating more of these opportunities," says Ciobo.

"One of the first cabs off the rank for me, if I am successful on Saturday and the government is re-elected, is to focus on Indonesia.

"Two-hundred-and-fifty million people and 50 million middle-class Indonesians are looking for opportunities; opportunities to invest as well as opportunities, for example, around education.  

"Indonesia is looking to build the skills of their labour force a lot of them are low-skilled. We are fantastic at vocational education. Why would we not have Aussie businesses, run by Australians, staffed by a mixture of Australians and Indonesians, exporting the skills we know they want to learn in Indonesia?"






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