Trade Minister Todd McClay says he is deeply disappointed Queensland is pushing ahead with discriminatory government procurement rules which will unfairly disadvantage and potentially harm New Zealand companies.
Mr McClay has today initiated formal consultations with the Australian Federal Government to fight for the fair and balanced trade access that New Zealand companies have a right to expect across the Tasman.
“Initiating consultations sends a strong message that the Bill English-led Government will not stand by whilst an Australian state government undermines our mutually beneficial relationship,” Mr McClay says.
“The NZ Consulate-General has been engaging with Queensland over the last 2 weeks, however this has not led to a satisfactory outcome. Queensland has confirmed that New Zealand companies will be impacted by its policy from tomorrow.”
“The Queensland Government's policy means everyone comes second. Queensland companies have been welcome to bid for government contracts in New Zealand and under Closer Economic Relations we expect New Zealand companies to be treated exactly the same in Queensland.”
The initiation of CER consultations follows an urgent visit to Canberra by Mr McClay to register his grave concerns with ministerial counterpart Steve Ciobo.
"I am grateful to Minister Ciobo and the Federal Government for taking this issue seriously. We have agreed to a constructive process that protects our important trading relationship."
“Queensland companies continue to provide millions of dollars worth of goods and services to our Government. New Zealand businesses must be shown the same courtesy in Australia,” Mr McClay says.
“Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has raised his concerns with the Queensland Government under the Australia-New Zealand Government Procurement Agreement.”