June 4, 2016: The Sydney Morning Herald reports that temporary skilled workers brought to Australia under the "streamlined" provisions of the China FTA were given bogus health and safety training and were paid less than the minimum wage. Health and safety breaches resulted in failure to complete the job, which had to be completed by local workers.See ACTU meme here.
MEDIA RELEASE October 21, 2015: The deal reached by the ALP and the Coalition on the China FTA falls short of previously proposed changes to the Migration Act and other problems In the agreement remain," Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today. Read the full release here.
MEDIA RELEASE October 19, 2015: “The majority and dissenting reports of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on the China FTA show sharp divisions between the Coalition, ALP and Greens on on temporary workers and labour rights, and investor rights to sue governments," Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today. Read the full media release here.
October 14: The China FTA would allow Chinese companies investing more than A$150 million to import many temporary workers without testing if local workers are available, and it will allow Chinese companies to sue the Australian government in international tribunals over changes in domestic legislation (ISDS). Parliament will vote on the implementing legislation in November.
The ALP proposed amendments to the Migration Act would provide some protections for the rights of both temporary workers and local workers and would apply to all trade agreements, including the China FTA and future agreements. AFTINET supports amendments to the Migration Act that would protect workers' rights. We still oppose the inclusion of ISDS and other aspects of the China FTA. See our latest briefing paper here.
AFTINET's updated China FTA fact sheet on labour rights, investor rights to sue governments is below.
September 9, 2015: The Prime Minister's claim in Parliament that the China FTA allows " no possibility of placing any foreigner in an Australian job without labour market testing" was flatly contradicted by the evidence of a senior officer from Department of Immigration and Border Protection to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on September 7 .
September 3, 2015: the Sydney Morning Herald reports that ALP Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is sticking to his criticism that China FTA does not require testing for local workers for projects over $150 million, despite government denials. Associate Prof Stuart Rosewarne and migration law expert Joanne Howe writing in The Drum agree with this criticism after analysing both the text of the agreement and the government’s response.