SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

19 August 2015

ABBOTT MISLEADS PUBLIC ON CHINA FTA

TOPIC: CHINA FTA

Tony Abbott has made a series of misleading statements about the impact of his Free Trade Agreement with China (ChAFTA) on job opportunities for Australian workers.

Mr Abbott’s comments on ChAFTA today reveal he has either not read his own agreement or is deliberately misleading the public.

ABBOTT CLAIM: “There is no change to investment facilitation agreements required by the free trade agreement.”

FACT: ChAFTA does make changes to temporary migration arrangements by introducing new “Investment Facilitation Arrangements”. These new Investment Facilitation Arrangements allow the use of temporary migrant workers on Chinese-funded infrastructure projects with no requirement for labour market testing.

ABBOTT CLAIM: “Labor’s workplace laws stay, Labor’s investment facilitation agreements stay.”

FACT: Labor did not introduce Investment Facilitation Arrangements. They are a new arrangement being introduced by the Abbott Government under ChAFTA for Chinese-funded projects worth $150 million or more.

ABBOTT CLAIM: “It is an absolutely dishonest campaign by the CFMEU and the CFMEU, as always, are being egged on by Bill Shorten.”

FACT: Tony Abbott is the one who is being dishonest about his own agreement. ChAFTA’s provisions on Investment Facilitation Arrangements are here. They show that Mr Abbott has misled the public.

If Mr Abbott was serious about ensuring that ChAFTA will support local jobs, instead of spending $25 million of taxpayer funds advertising the deal he would address community concerns and fix the agreement.

Labor will fight to ensure there are safeguards around ChAFTA’s temporary migration provisions because we believe trade should enhance local job opportunities, not put them at risk.