Revelations that the Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb has disparaged Australia as an investment destination are deeply concerning and add to the Abbott Government’s track record of imposing barriers to foreign investment which will jeopardise economic growth.
It has been reported this morning that Mr Robb told a forum of 2,000 investors in Hong Kong that prospects for investment in Australia were in “a really dangerous phase,” talked up the risk of investing in Australia and engaged in partisan attacks on State Governments.
This is extraordinary behaviour from the Minister responsible for promoting Australia as a destination for investment.
What part of the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment’s job description involves making comments that will actively deter investment in this country?
Mr Robb should be condemned for using a taxpayer-funded trip to damage Australia’s reputation amongst major institutional investors.
The Abbott Government’s Budget has already hit business and consumer confidence at home.
Now one of its Ministers is actively seeking to damage confidence in our economy in global markets. Australia is a net importer of capital from overseas, and these reckless comments could reduce investment, putting economic growth at home at risk.
Mr Robb’s behaviour in Hong Kong will add to negative perceptions of Australia as an investment destination which have already been created by the Abbott Government’s imposition of discriminatory barriers against investment in agriculture and agribusiness and by its push to scrap the Renewable Energy Target.