Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 September 2015) . . Page.. 3431 ..


enough to save this motion from endorsing what could be a bad free trade agreement for this country and a bad outcome for local industry, workers and our local environment. There are broader issues that I and the Greens have concerns with. On that basis, I will not be supporting the amendment.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.01): To speak to the amendment and to close, I thank members for their support for this motion. It would appear it is going to get more votes this time than it got last time in 2000. But that is a good thing. Obviously people have learnt the value of the relationship that we have and I am pleased that they will support that.

Mr Barr’s amendment is interesting. I suspect that what he said when he said that this does not change the FTA might not be true. The FTA was signed with certain things in mind. There are protections in the FTA and I will just run through some of them. I have been provided this information by Andrew Robb’s office:

In addition to these projected positive outcomes for jobs and the economy, the China-Australia free trade agreement commitments around temporary labour mobility will support increased trade investment between Australia and China within the context of each country’s existing immigration and employment frameworks.

These are some of the protections:

Australia’s existing visa arrangements, including the 457 visa program, will continue to be the basis for implementing Australia’s commitments on labour mobility under ChAFTA. The 457 visa program does not allow unrestricted access to the Australian labour market but assists employers to address labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers where they cannot find an appropriately skilled Australian.

Let me read that again:

The 457 visa program does not allow unrestricted access to the Australian labour market but assists employers to address labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers where they cannot find an appropriately skilled Australian.

We have to go to the market first. If you cannot find an Australian workforce to do it, then you can bring in other skilled tradespeople. There is a side letter to ChAFTA:

Australia will cooperate to streamline skill assessment processes for temporary skilled labour visas including changing the administrative pathway through which Chinese 457 visa applicants will have their skills verified for 10 nominated occupations. For those nominated occupations this brings China into line with the process Australia applies for most other countries.

Nobody disagreed with Korea. Nobody disagreed with Japan. I am curious as to why suddenly we have to make it difficult for the Chinese:


Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video