The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
FORMER MINISTER FOR TRADE

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Media release

Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile
20 March 2001

Vaile Urges Business to Take up Export Challenge

Trade Minister Mark Vaile has today reinforced to regional Australia the successes secured by its exporters, and the advantages of taking up the export challenge.

Launching the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade publication From Sheep's Back to Cyberspace at the Victorian Farmers Federation Annual Grains Conference in Horsham today, Mr Vaile said rekindling national pride in Australia's export industries was a key priority.

"Regional Australia generates around half of Australia's export income with one in four jobs in regional Australia dependent on exports," Mr Vaile said.

"Australia once 'rode on the sheep's back', and thanks in part to the prosperity generated by wool, grains and other commodity exports, Australia now has many more export opportunities and faces a very different global environment. 

"The new economy is here and has taken root in regional Australia. It tells a positive story about the export achievements of a diverse range of businesses, from the traditional rural and mining to the wide variety of manufacturing and services exports.

"We should be proud of our regional exporters, many of whom have risen to new challenges, sought out new markets and become more innovative in both marketing and production.

"More jobs and more opportunities will flow into regional Australia if country businesses take up the challenge.  From Sheep's Back to Cyberspace is based on the experiences of more than 300 exporters, many from remote parts of Australia, who have risen to the challenge of competing overseas.

"Opinions, views and the experience of regional leaders and exporters are reflected in the publication based on hundreds of interviews conducted by DFAT officials across Australia last year," Mr Vaile said.

From Sheep's Back to Cyberspace examines the challenges and opportunities of trade reform, market access, transport and telecommunications.  It explores the way in which cyberspace, in the form of e-commerce, is changing the way regional export industries do business.

"There is a need to foster better understanding of the significance of trade and exports to the continuing prosperity of regional Australia.  Australia has made great strides in leveraging access to new markets.  Nevertheless, a lot more progress can be achieved and the Government will be doing everything it can to deliver additional market access gains at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels," Mr Vaile said.

"This publication will be a useful reference on trade and exporting for those living in country centres Australia-wide.  Copies will be provided to trade development agencies, schools and regional libraries."

Contact:  James Baker (Ministerial) 02 6277 7420
              Nicole Guihot (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

MVT22/2001


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