JOINT STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTERS KEY AND GILLARD: FEBRUARY 2011 REPORT ON TRANS-TASMAN COOPERATION
Prime Ministers John Key and Julia Gillard held bilateral talks in Wellington on 16 February 2011 during Prime Minister Gillard's first official visit to New Zealand.
The Prime Ministers welcomed the opportunity to meet and committed to holding annual Prime Ministerial talks.
They reiterated their expressions of deep sympathy for the victims of recent disasters in Australia and New Zealand, including floods in several parts of Australia, Cyclone Yasi in northern Queensland, fires in Western Australia and, in New Zealand, the Pike River mine disaster and Canterbury earthquake.
They also expressed their appreciation for reciprocal assistance during these and other natural disasters and welcomed the meeting of senior officials to discuss emergency management cooperation on 15 February 2011. In particular, the Prime Ministers welcomed the agreement by senior officials to develop a joint framework for crisis management cooperation to include annual consultations and a joint crisis management exercise aimed at enhancing our ability to provide reciprocal assistance.
The Prime Ministers reaffirmed that both countries' interests were served by the closest possible cooperation, coordination and collaboration on national security and defence, noting in particular the continuing importance of their contributions in Afghanistan and commending the successful operational collaboration in the Solomon Islands and East Timor. Defence White Papers in both countries have committed to the contemporary ANZAC relationship, including by sharing key capabilities. The Prime Ministers welcomed the establishment of an ANZAC Ready Response Force to respond to regional contingencies.
The Prime Ministers agreed on the importance of strengthening regional cooperation, including through the East Asia Summit and APEC. They committed to working closely together to achieve a substantial agenda for this year's East Asia Summit meeting in Bali and to support the US in its year as host of APEC. The Prime Ministers also welcomed US, and Russian, participation in the East Asia Summit.
Recognising both countries' commitment to the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination in the Pacific, the Prime Ministers welcomed the coordinated efforts by New Zealand and Australia to assist Pacific Island countries to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, achieve broad-based economic growth and build sustainable livelihoods.
The Prime Ministers expressed concern about the continuing deterioration in Fiji's political and economic situation. They agreed to continue working together, within the Pacific Islands' Forum and with other international partners to encourage Fiji to return to democratic and constitutional government.
The Prime Ministers committed to accelerate efforts towards greater trans-Tasman economic integration to provide an enhanced foundation on which to build future prosperity. In this regard, the Prime Ministers welcomed the signature of the Closer Economic Relations Investment Protocol, which will facilitate trans-Tasman investment by reducing regulatory barriers. Noting the very successful progress thus far in the Single Economic Market agenda, including on financial reporting standards and business law coordination, the Prime Ministers committed to work towards establishing a joint patents examination system, more competitive mobile roaming charges and accelerating cooperation on joint trade and investment initiatives.
Recognising the economic and social benefits accruing to both countries from the free flow of people across the Tasman, Prime Ministers reinforced the value of the Trans Tasman Travel Arrangement. The Prime Ministers acknowledged that the free flow of people has been a key factor in the integration of our two economies and reiterated their commitment to maintaining that freedom of movement. The Prime Ministers further welcomed the positive steps aimed at making travel across the Tasman a domestic-like experience, including the roll-out of SmartGate and joint studies looking at further improvements to trans-Tasman travel.
In pursuit of shared trans-Tasman objectives, the Prime Ministers encouraged engagement between Ministers of the two countries and welcomed the recent decision by the Council of Australian Governments to invite New Zealand to be a member of relevant standing councils, select councils and legislative and governance forums in the reformed ministerial council system. The Prime Ministers also welcomed on-going involvement by New Zealand on COAG's Business Regulation and Competition Working Group (BRCWG).
The Prime Ministers discussed the global economic outlook and agreed on the importance of implementing the G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth to secure the global economic recovery. Australia welcomed New Zealand's participation in G20 discussions through the Global Governance Group (3G).
The Prime Ministers agreed on the need to push hard for a conclusion to the WTO Doha Round this year. They also committed to work closely together to deliver an ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
The Prime Ministers agreed to continue the joint work of their trade promotion agencies to create new trade opportunities in third countries, including by leveraging the benefits of ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. They also agreed on the importance of developing the wider potential of CER, including by collaborating on a CER-ASEAN Integration Partnership Forum to share the lessons learnt from CER and the SEM within ASEAN.
The Prime Ministers welcomed the close cooperation and constructive bilateral dialogue following release of the WTO Appellate Body's report on the Australia-Apples case and looked forward to implementation of the findings within the agreed timeframe.
The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the elimination of whaling in the Southern Ocean. In this context, Australia welcomed New Zealand's decision to intervene formally in Australia's action against Japan at the International Court of Justice while continuing to pursue diplomatic efforts to bring about an end to Southern Ocean whaling and to resolve the current impasse in the International Whaling Commission.
The Prime Ministers agreed to continue close collaboration on climate change. Australia agreed New Zealand's emissions trading scheme provided useful guidance as it developed its own policy approach carbon pricing.
The Prime Ministers welcomed and encouraged further cooperation on science and innovation and highlighted the importance of the joint bid to host the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope Project (SKA). The joint work on the SKA is a powerful example of the potential to enhance the bilateral science and innovation relationship.
The Prime Ministers tasked officials with drawing up a joint work program to progress trans-Tasman cooperation as agreed during their talks and committed to take stock at their next bilateral meeting.