The Business Council of Australia welcomes the plans by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to change Labor Party policy to open the way to sell uranium to India with important safeguards.
Council President Tony Shepherd said if agreed, the move would be a welcome boost to the economy and to relations with India, which was one Australia’s most important trading partners.
“The announcement reflects the growing maturity in Australia’s recognition of the importance of strengthened engagement with Asia, the fastest growing region of the world,” Mr Shepherd said.
“Diversifying our exports in terms of the products and services we supply and the destinations we supply them to will help strengthen our economy against the potential of economic shocks internationally.
“Trade has always been important to Australia’s economy and this announcement lifts the potential for mutual benefits to flow from the relationship with India, which is Australia’s fifth biggest trading partner.
“Two-way trade between Australia and India is at $21 billion a year and growing fast, with India among the top markets for Australian educational services exports.
“Helping India to meet its future clean energy needs through the sale of uranium will contribute to that country’s continued growth, which will have benefits for Australia and the rest of the world.
“Supporting India’s growth through a stable supply of important resources will help maintain a strong demand for educational and other services that Australia is well positioned to provide.
“Importantly, implementation of the Prime Minister’s announcement would require that India meet international standards, including transparency requirements, to ensure the uranium is only used for non-military purposes,” he said.