Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb is calling on Penny Wong to put the country’s future prosperity above internal Labor Party politics, and to stop peddling union lies about Australia’s landmark Free Trade Agreement with China (ChAFTA).

“Our agreement with China – our biggest trading partner – will open up huge opportunities for our resources, agriculture, manufacturing and service industries and will create thousands upon thousands of jobs well into the future,” Mr Robb said.

“But Senator Wong today continues the effort to derail the agreement by repeating the utterly false claim – in relation to Investment Facilitation Arrangements (IFAs), which sit beside the FTA – that the Abbott government “has dropped labour market testing for Chinese infrastructure projects worth $150 million or more”.

“What makes this so disingenuous is that Penny Wong knows this to be false,” Mr Robb said. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) guidelines with regard to IFAs make this crystal clear:

“Employers must show DIBP that there is demonstrated labour market need, Australians have been given the first opportunity through evidence of domestic recruitment activity (i.e. labour market testing) and there are no suitably qualified Australians.”

“In relation to the China Free Trade Agreement, Labor, under Bill Shorten face a major economic test; will they continue decades of bipartisan support for freer trade and support this outstanding agreement, which will create tens of thousands of jobs and add billions of dollars to our economy?” Mr Robb asked.

“Or will they side with the most militant elements of the union movement who are running a hugely dishonest, anti-Chinese, campaign to stop the FTA and rip away the opportunities it will bring?

“The union campaign, led by the CFMEU, is a clear diversion from the almost daily revelations of rorts, rip-offs and stand-over tactics that are coming out of the Royal Commission into union corruption,” Mr Robb said.

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