The Export Council of Australia (ECA), Australia’s peak body for exporters, welcomes the appointment of the Hon Niall Blair MP as the NSW Minister for Trade and Industry.

This appointment comes at a crucial time for the NSW economy, with significant global uncertainty and rising risks from protectionism.

ECA CEO Lisa McAuley said the NSW Government needs to focus on strengthening and diversifying NSW’s export base, in turn supporting job growth and the overall health of the NSW economy.

“The ECA calls on Minister Blair to quickly and smoothly integrate the trade and investment functions into the NSW Department of Industry. With international engagement vital to all sectors in the NSW economy, the minister should leverage that department’s resources to significantly expand the support it provides to exports and investment.

“NSW is the largest economy in the country and home to the largest proportion of exporters. But with year after year of bureaucratic restructures and changes of strategy, the NSW Government’s support for exporters has fallen well behind the governments of Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

“It is time to eliminate the uncertainty NSW exporters have experienced when dealing with the NSW Government and lay a solid foundation on which exporters can build.”

Ms McAuley congratulated Stuart Ayres for his 21 months as Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events. “Mr Ayres made an outstanding contribution to NSW’s international engagement and was a passionate advocate for the exporters of NSW. We wish him well in his new portfolio.

“We look forward to working with Mr Blair, and continuing our close relationship with the NSW Government, to help support the exporters of NSW and grow the NSW economy,” Ms McAuley said.