International affairs

VIC: Trade partnerships with Asia key to economic growth

On his 100th day in office, Premier Denis Napthine announced two new initiatives to direct Victoria’s push into Asia while giving CEDA’s State of the State address.

On his 100th day in office, Premier Denis Napthine announced two new initiatives to direct Victoria's push into Asia while giving CEDA's State of the State address.

The South-East Asia Market Engagement Plan for 2013 includes four priority areas, trade and export growth, internationalisation of businesses, to foster better relationships with South-East Asian countries and to improve Victoria's understanding of the region.

"The plan consists of initiatives across education and training, tourism, infrastructure, the environment, ICT, food, financial services, healthcare, automotive and sustainable urban development," Dr Napthine said.

He said this week a trade mission will travel to six different countries to launch the new engagement plan and strengthen ties in key markets including Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

"That trade mission will have over 450 delegates representing more than 310 Victorian businesses across 10 sectors of our economy," he said.

At the CEDA function forum the Premier also announced he will chair a new Food and Agriculture into Asia Taskforce which will include senior ministers and business leaders.

"Food and fibre are our greatest assets here in Victoria," he said.

"So as this emerging consumer class grows across South-East Asia, we in Victoria are well-placed to provide the clean, green, high-quality, nutritious food that we need for those areas, but we must learn to tailor that food to the requirements of those areas," he said.

Dr Napthine also emphasised the importance of the region for the state's economic growth.

"It's absolutely certain over the next century that Asia will drive the economy and the world," he said.

He said Victoria is in a position to capitalise on the growth of Asia and future economic changes.

"Yes, there are big economic challenges on the horizon, but we do have a dynamic, diverse economy and a very resilient economy and I think that stands us in very good stead," he said.

During the address, the Premier also reiterated the State Government's commitment to local infrastructure.

"We have on our agenda, as a Government, three major game-changing pieces of infrastructure - East West Link, Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel and the Port of Hastings…they are things that we are committed to," he said.

As the world enters the Asian Century, the Victorian Government will focus on growth in the region and the sustainability of  the state's economy.

"I think Victoria is extremely well-placed to continue to grow and develop, and lead Australia both in the economy and jobs growth," he said.

"We are well-placed geographically in the Asian region which is the region of the next century."