New Zealand 'Forward Together' Dinner
Premier of Queensland, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszcuk MP and Ministers; New Zealand Prime Minister the Right Honourable Chris Hipkins and Minister for Agriculture, Trade and Export Growth, the Honourable Damien O’Connor; Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Her Excellency Harinder Sidhu; New Zealand High Commissioner to Australia, Her Excellency Dame Annette King; Lord Mayor of Brisbane, the Right Honourable Councillor Adrian Schrinner; New Zealand Consul-General for Queensland, Mr Bill Dobbie; Councillors; distinguished guests.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people with us this evening.
Graeme and I were delighted to receive the invitation from New Zealand Consul General, Bill Dobbie, to join you for tonight’s celebration as guests of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
I thank you for the invitation and, on behalf of all Queenslanders, warmly welcome Prime Minister Hipkins and the other members of the New Zealand delegation. At this time of the year, our weather is superb, and I do hope you have an opportunity to explore more of the Sunshine State during your stay.
Forty years ago last month, Australia’s then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Mr Lionel Bowen, and the then New Zealand High Commissioner to Australia, Sir Laurie Francis, signed the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement – the CER.
That agreement has now been in force for 20 years longer than any other of Australia’s free trade agreements and is regarded as one of the most comprehensive, diverse and effective trade agreements in the world.
That is an achievement worthy of celebration and Queensland is proud to have helped create the close and enduring bonds that have guided our two nations towards that success.
For Queensland, the bond is largely due to the fact that, like New Zealand, we have an export-oriented economy that relies heavily on tourism, agriculture and the services sector, but if proof is needed of the closeness of the ties between us, you need look no further than our population statistics: there are more than 200,000 New Zealanders who currently call Queensland home – the highest per capita representation of New Zealand-born residents of any Australian State or territory.
Thank you again for the invitation to be with you this evening. I wish you every success for the remainder of your time with us and for the future, as our two nations continue to move forward together.