Better trade and investment links between China and Queensland would have a positive impact on employment opportunities in Australia, according to State Treasurer Curtis Pitt.
He said stronger relationships between the countries are key for jobs in Queensland across a number of sectors, including tourism, agriculture, biofuels and renewables.
The treasurer met with Chinese banks, investors and other institutions earlier this month to set out the state’s Economic Plan. He hoped this would encourage more diversification in Queensland in the post-mining boom years.
“China ranks number-one as Queensland’s trade partner both for merchandise exports and imports so there is already a strong foundation on which to build more export opportunities for Queensland and more opportunities for Chinese investors, both of which mean jobs now and in the future,” he commented.
According to Mr Pitt, one of the best ways for Chinese investors to support Queensland projects is through the Market-Led Proposals (MLP) scheme. As the name suggests, organisations are encouraged to take the initiative and generate ideas that would boost the state’s economy.
The Queensland Treasury assesses each proposal and can choose to proceed with projects that pass due diligence. Three large-scale ventures are currently under evaluation and could create 1,600 Queensland jobs, as well as potential opportunities for apprentices, if they are approved.
Mr Pitt stated: “The MLP initiative has had an overwhelmingly positive response from business and investors, and there is definitely scope for investment from our major trading partners such as China.”
Chinese banks spread their wings in QLD
The Treasury is keen to see more Chinese financial institutions setting up Queensland-based offices, following Shanghai’s Bank of Communications opening a Brisbane branch last year.
Speaking to the Courier-Mail at the time, PwC Financial Services Leader Hugh Harley said the launch was part of a larger trend of Chinese banks expanding into Australia. He claimed the organisations are attempting to support two-way trade between the countries, especially in the mining and agriculture sectors.
“With Queensland being a big contributor to both those exports, the fact that the Chinese banks are focusing on Brisbane is entirely understandable,” he explained.
Mr Pitt confirmed that he would do everything he could to ensure the Asian nation’s banks consider Queensland a fertile land for investment and job creation. He said the signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement last year would ensure the two countries have “more opportunities” to collaborate in the future.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator