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Trade and Investment Growth Committee to inquire into the utilisation of benefits under Australia’s free trade agreements

THE Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth has launched an inquiry into the understanding and utilisation of the benefits available to Australian industry and communities under free trade agreements.

The inquiry will focus on the level of awareness and uptake of the benefits available under Australia’s free trade agreements, including the promotion of the benefits of trade, the difficulties faced in accessing the benefits of trade agreements, and how the utilisation of trade agreements is measured.

It will also examine the extent to which regional, diaspora and First Nations communities take advantage of trade opportunities, including through free trade agreements, and how these communities can be better engaged to build Australia’s trade.

Committee Chair, Steve Georganas MP, said, “International trade offers significant economic and social benefits to Australian industry and communities. The committee wants to hear from the exporters, small business, peak bodies, industry associations, and diaspora and First Nations communities to better understand if the benefits offered by participation in international trade are being maximised and how the utilisation of Australia’s free trade agreements could be improved.”

The committee is seeking submissions from interested parties on the inquiry’s terms of reference by Friday, June 21, 2024..

Further information about the inquiry, including published submissions and hearing transcripts, will be available on the inquiry webpage.



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Committee to inquire into Pacific priorities

THE Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, through the Foreign Affairs and Aid Subcommittee (the committee), has commenced an inquiry into Australia’s response to the priorities of Pacific Island countries and the Pacific region.

The inquiry was referred by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Penny Wong with the attached terms of reference.

Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Aid Subcommittee, Josh Burns MP, said, “We look forward to hearing a range of stakeholder views on the key priorities for Pacific Island countries and the Pacific, including their concerns and aspirations for economic, environmental and social development in the region.”

The committee is also interested in hearing about the effectiveness of Australia’s aid programs in the Pacific and opportunities to strengthen linkages and partnerships, and climate change mitigation and adaptation responses in the Pacific.

“During the inquiry, it will be important to consider Australia’s engagement in the Pacific and the alignment of initiatives and policies with the key priorities of Pacific Island nations.”

Submissions from interested individuals and organisations addressing the terms of reference to this inquiry are invited by Friday, June 28, 2024. The preferred method of receiving submissions is by electronic format lodged online using a My Parliament account.

Further information about the committee’s inquiry is available on the committee’s website.



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Public hearings to commence into Australia’s local government sustainability inquiry

THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Development, Infrastructure and Transport is commencing public hearings for its inquiry into local government sustainability.

Exploring government policy and program funding to support local government sustainability will be the focus of the opening hearing on May 16, with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

Committee Chair, Luke Gosling MP, said, "Local governments are facing a number of increasing challenges including the attraction and retention of a skilled workforce, changing service delivery requirements including infrastructure and development, and climate change impacts all within the context of an inflationary environment. The hearing provides an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of policy and program funding frameworks across the three tiers of government in supporting local government financial sustainability."

Public hearing details

Canberra, Australian Parliament House

Date:      Thursday, 16 May 2024
Venue:   Committee Room 1R3
Time:     11:10am – 12pm (AEST)

The committee will hold further public hearings and interested parties are encouraged to make a written submission to this inquiry by May 31, 2024. Further information on the inquiry, including the terms of reference and how to contribute, is available on the committee’s website.

The public can attend the hearing and a live audio stream will also be available on the APH website.



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Tourism and international education in the ACT

THE Trade Subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade will hold a public hearing today at Parliament House for its inquiry into Australia’s tourism and international education sectors.

The subcommittee will hear evidence from the National Capital Authority and the ACT government.

Chair of the Trade Subcommittee, Senator Deborah O’Neill said, "The subcommittee is excited to learn how the education and tourism sectors in the Australian Capital Territory were impacted and have recovered from Covid-19, and hear what opportunities witnesses have identified to further strengthen each sector."

Further information about the inquiry is available on the inquiry webpage.

Public hearing details

Canberra, ACT

Date: Wednesday, 15 May 2024
Venue: Committee Room 2S1, Parliament House, Canberra
Time: 9:15am – 10:30am (AEST)



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Treaties Committee to consider Australia-US Space Launches Agreement

THE Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will hold a public hearing for its inquiry into the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United States of America on 'Technology Safeguards Associated with United States Participation in Space Launches from Australia'.

The treaty aligns with Australia’s national interest to develop a space launch sector capable of meeting the growing demands for space launch. Australia has a unique geographical location which makes it strategically ideal for growing and commercialising the space launch sector. Currently, Australia exports the majority of its satellites to the US for launch by US companies.

This new agreement will allow US companies, universities, and government organisations to undertake space launching activities here in Australia, including the launch of Australian satellites on US launch vehicles. By providing legal and technical frameworks, this agreement guarantees the protection of US space technology launched from Australia. The agreement is consistent with Australia’s non-proliferation goals embodied in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Guidelines.

Committee Chair Josh Wilson MP said, “With the global space sector forecast to grow rapidly, this agreement will open new commercial opportunities for Australia’s space launch programs. The agreement will contribute to building a robust and sustainable space launch sector here in Australia, making us more attractive as a global launching hub.”

“Australia’s domestic policies and regulations have created an open marketplace that will allow countries from around the world to launch from Australia. By providing a reliable and responsible foundation for the United States to access space, Australia will strengthen an already well-established relationship, and will seek to leverage expanded launch activities into a growing Australian space sector.”

The program and more details about the inquiry are available on the committee’s website. The hearing can be accessed online.

Public hearing details

Date: Monday 13 May 2024
Time: 11:15 am approximately
Location: Committee Room 1R6



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