Prime Minister Anthony Albanese throws support behind premiers’ China

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind the several state premiers making the trip to China this year.

Both Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Western Australian counterpart Mark McGowan have announced they will be journeying to China this year, following in the footsteps of Victoria’s Daniel Andrews.

Mr McGowan announced his five-day trip on Sunday, which is slated to begin on April 17 and aims to “reconnect” the Premier with Chinese leaders.

Ms Palaszczuk’s trip is also centred around improving her state’s trade relationship with China, but she will not be venturing over until November this year.

Mr Albanese welcomed news of the respective premiers’ visits, telling Western Australia’s 6PR radio that he was “absolutely” happy for them to visit China.

“It’s about jobs, and it’s about them looking after their state,” he said.

He noted for the “great export state” of Western Australia, China was the number one destination for exports.

“So it’s a good thing that Mark McGowan is engaged with our major trading partner,” Mr Albanese added.

The Victorian Premier’s trip attracted criticism over a lack of transparency, with details of the trip not being made public until just days before, and no journalists invited to accompany the Premier.

Mr Andrews also did not bring any business delegates with him, despite the primary purpose of the trip being to improve education and trade outcomes.

Despite this, Mr Albanese maintained the visits were a “good thing”.

“I think it’s a good thing that I met President Xi at the G20 Meeting last year,” he added.

“And it’s a good thing that just last week, my Assistant Trade Minister, Senator Tim Ayres, met with his counterpart. And I look forward to my Trade Minister Don Farrell visiting China in coming weeks.”

The Prime Minister said he had no plans of his own to go to China and indicated he had not yet been invited.

“I’ve said that if I was invited, I would go,” he said.

“I think that dialogue is always a good thing. It’s always good to talk and engage.

“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have differences, we’re a great democracy. China is not a democracy. And with that comes differences in the way that we’re structured.

“But as our major trading partner, a lot of Australian jobs and economic activity is connected with China as well as our other major trading partners.”

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns said on Monday he had no plans to visit China, saying his government were squarely focused on domestic issues. 

“We’ve got a lot of issues in NSW at the moment. And obviously with the new government in place, we want to hit the ground running,” Mr Minns said. 

“But it’s mainly domestically focused at the moment. When you look at the rising cost of living, whether it’s tolls, whether it the effects of privatisation, I’ve got my hands full right here in NSW.”

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