​Media Release

Coalition Government expands overseas counsellor network​

19 September 2015

The Coalition Government is funding five new agricultural counsellors in strategic markets to promote our agricultural credentials with trading partners across the globe from January 2016. 

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that the Coalition Government is delivering $30.8 million in new funding as part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to establish new agricultural counsellor positions in Vietnam, Malaysia and the Middle East, as well as additional high level counsellors in Bangkok and in China, the world’s largest agricultural importer.

“The government’s investment is about ensuring that Australian producers gain better access to premium overseas markets, with help to tackle technical barriers to trade and expand emerging markets as well as to maintain existing markets,” Minister Joyce said.

“I consulted with industry groups across a number of commodities and states in determining which markets were a priority and where to post these five new positions. I would like to thank all those groups that provided their advice and input into this process.”

These new positions will substantially strengthen Australia’s existing overseas agricultural counsellor network in key markets based in Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Jakarta, Washington, Rome and Dubai.  

“With food demand in Asia and China forecast to increase by 100 per cent between 2007 and 2050 Australia is well placed to press our competitive advantages home through strong trade representations in growing Asian markets,” Minister Joyce said.

“Australia alone cannot satisfy the increased food demand from Asia or from China—but we can make sure we’re top of the list for those countries looking for a reliable trading partner who can provide quality produce.

“We are establishing two new agricultural counsellor positions in Vietnam and Malaysia—two emerging markets that have the potential to increase even further in importance for Australian farmers.

“The additional counsellor position in China will work with the two counsellors already in this vital market to make sure our farmers are able to make the most of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement that will give so many of our producers preferential market access over international competitors.

“We’re introducing another high level counsellor to Bangkok to strengthen Australian engagement with our ASEAN trading partners.

“And we’re increasing our representation in the Middle East—up from one to two agricultural counsellors working to get a broad range of products into a number of growing and new markets.”

The successful candidates for the new counsellor positions are undergoing intensive training and industry consultation so that they can deliver the best benefit for Australian farmers when they take up their posts in January 2016.

“We said we had a plan to make the sector even more competitive and that we’d deliver practical actions to keep our farmers and farming families profitable and resilient,” Minister Joyce said.

“This measure to expand our network of agricultural counsellors overseas is one of the ways we’re delivering on that plan.

“The Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper is a blueprint to build further upon the existing strength of Australian agriculture. A strong agriculture sector contributes to a strong economy—and that means more jobs, more exports, higher incomes and better services to the community.

“About two thirds of all Australia's agricultural production, or more than $40 billion a year, is exported overseas each and every year.

“This export focus underlines agriculture's contribution to our economy—and it is something we want to maintain as well as expand in order to provide greater profits back to the farmgate and to the nation,” Minister Joyce said. 

For more information on the overseas counsellor network go to: www.agriculture.gov.au/market-access-trade/overseas-network​.