I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional elders on whose land we stand today, and their ancestors, past and present.
Thank you very much for arranging this breakfast meeting with economic leaders of Queensland. I am honoured and very encouraged by this large turnout. Congratulations to Queensland and Brisbane for hosting such a wonderful G20. For the past few days, you have shown what a world class city you are. Queensland's economy has been performing well, on basis of your traditional strengths in areas like tourism, resources and agriculture, but also through your investments in areas of advanced technologies and services. This is a tribute to your leadership and to the government and business in Queensland. I am delighted to be here for a number of reasons. One, I have always placed great emphasis on relations between states, not just between national capitals. Premier Newman, you and your Government are doing a lot to pursue economic opportunities with India. You have sent a number of trade missions to India. Just this September, there was a Queensland-Gujarat Energy Roundtable in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat. And, I am naturally pleased that Queensland will be participating in Vibrant Gujarat in January 2015 to showcase your infrastructure capabilities. I know that you are not partial to Gujarat, but you are sending delegations to Kolkata and Delhi and elsewhere!
The second reason is that today, India is your fourth largest export destination. For us, Queensland is emerging as a major investment destination. We welcome the efforts you have made to make it possible for an Australian Dollar 16 billion investment to take place in coal mining. It will set a new standard for India-Australia cooperation and demonstrate how Australia and Queensland can be a vital partner in meeting India's requirement for energy and other vital resources. Queensland can be an important partner in India's development – in energy, mineral resources, agriculture and food security, education and advanced technology in some areas. We have launched a major set of reforms to boost economic growth and improve the quality of life of people. We have set an ambitious agenda and a brisk pace. In the area of policy: o We have eased foreign direct investment laws in key areas like railways, defence and insurance;
o We have set up a commission to reform railways, which has always been seen as a just another government department – this has never been done before.
o We have introduced labour reforms
o We have made big changes in our policies on fuel – coal, natural gas, diesel
In the area of processes: o changing the way we work as government. Good Governance is the starting point of change. It is as important to business as it is to ordinary citizens.
o eliminating unnecessary laws and regulations, making processes easier and shorter, ensuring that our government is more transparent
o Focus on ease of doing business
o We are partnering with state governments and even going doing to districts and villages.
o Digital India Campaign
o Facilitation Cells have been set up.
In terms of institutions o set up a new department for skill development;
o set up a special authority for industrial corridors
o eBiz Portal for integrated application process – 24x7
o Closely monitoring implementation of decisions
o set up an Expenditure Reform Commission;
In terms of Initiatives o We have launched Make in India as a new mission to promote manufacturing in India.
o creating world class infrastructure
o 100 Smart cities; Metro projects for 50 cities; modern waste management system for 500 cities;
o affordable healthcare within everyone's reach; sanitation for all by 2019; a roof over every head by 2022; electricity in every household;
o Clean Energy – with special focus on solar energy; energy efficiency
o Water conservation
o Clean Ganga Programme , which is also a major urban renewal and environment protection programme
I see great opportunities for our cooperation. Let me highlight some of them. Coal is already a major item of exports to India; but, I see vast potential in resources in general, as Indian industrial sector gathers momentum and grows. We could also commence import of Liquified Natural Gas from Queensland. You are leaders in many areas of mining and mining technologies, services and equipment, mining consultancy, mine safety, coal washeries and mine management. I invite you to participate in India. We have made our policies transparent and predictable. We have made our procedures clearly defined and smooth. Queensland can also be a partner in strengthening India's food security. We already import a fairly significant amount of fruits and vegetables and some quantities of fertilizer. What we need is an integrated partnership –joint research to improve yield and farm productivity to development of agriculture supply chain infrastructure and food processing. This is an area of great priority for my government. Infrastructure , where we aim to invest over a trillion dollars over the next five years. Queensland's strengths in advanced areas of technology also offer enormous opportunities for collaboration such as biotechnology and your growing strengths in aviation sector We can develop strong synergies in the area of information and communication technology and its every growing application in all areas of life and business. I hope Indian IT companies will enjoy good access. Conversely, Digital India offers enormous opportunities. Queensland can take justifiable pride in its success in the tourism sector. Indian investors would be willing to partner with you, as more and more Indians are drawn to the incredible beauty and hospitality of your state. You can participate in India's ambitious plans for smart, sustainable, habitable cities to cater to its growing urban population. It is expected that nearly 11% of the world's urban population in 2025 will be in India. You can make India a manufacturing hub, for India, for exports and for import back into Australia. Let us foster closer cooperation in skill development and education; and, research and development.Your Universities and Research Institutions have already contributed significantly to the growing science and technology relationship between India and Australia. This is particularly true of the collaboration between the two countries under the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. I know that most of you are aware of the opportunities in India and have looked at the market.
You will begin to find a difference in India. There will no longer have to reach those opportunities through uncertain and unpredictable pathways, crossing hurdles along the way. You will not only be able to convert opportunities into partnerships, you will do it in an environment that is welcoming and easy to do business in. Let me conclude by saying, India-Australia relationship is comprehensive, involving economic cooperation, a growing security and strategic partnership and increasing cooperation in international forums, which are vital for peace, stability and prosperity in our region. I am keen to hear your views. I will make sure our team here follows up on them. I thank you all for coming here this morning and wish you a very productive day ahead. Thank you.