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AFTINET's Convener speaks to ABC radio from Brunei

AFTINET's convener Dr Patricia Ranald spoke to ABC radio this morning from Brunei, where she is observing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) currently under negotiation.

Dr Ranald reports on the progress of the negotiation and talks about Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and how it could affect our health and environmental regulation, using the examples of tobacco and coal seam gas mining.

Trade Agreement could prevent regulation of CSG mining

Proposals in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement for investor rights to sue governments threaten the ability of our governments to regulate in the interests of the public and the environment, including on Coal Seam Gas (CSG) issues.

Canada signed an agreement with the United States giving investors the right to sue governments in the North American Free Trade Agreement. Now, the US Lone Pine energy company is suing the provincial government of Quebec for $250 million because they imposed a moratorium on shale gas mining pending an environmental study. In a similar way, farmers and members of the community here have influenced the NSW and Victorian state governments to also adopt moratoriums to examine the impact of coal seam gas mining on land use and the environment. If the right for corporations to sue governments is agreed in these negotiations, our governments could be sued in the same way as the Quebec government.

This would undermine the ability of our community to insist upon environmental regulations to protect our communities and farmlands.

You can send a letter about this issue directly to Trade Minister Andrew Robb

For more information, see AFTINET's leaflet: Free Trade Agreement could prevent regulation of Coal Seam Gas mining

Trade deal threatens essential services in the Pacific Islands

PACER-Plus negotiations towards a free trade agreement involving Australia, New Zealand and 14 of Pacific Island countries are underway this week in Port Vila, Vanuatu, and it is expected that trade in services will be discussed.

However, opening up all service 'markets' in vulnerable economies poses many threats to our island neighbours. Writing for Eureka Street, AFTINET campaigner Jemma Williams explains why.

Trade negotiations could affect Australia’s public hospitals

It appears that proposals on state owned enterprises in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) could also apply to enterprises at the state government level, which means they could affect our public hospitals.

A number of Australian health organisations and AFTINET have sent a letter to Trade Minister Richard Marles outlining our concerns that the TPPA could affect the operation of public hospitals and asking that public hospitals be clearly excluded from these proposals.

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