Government backbencher Andrew Laming has spilled the beans on the China Free Trade deal live on radio.
The member for Bowman told the ABC the agreement would allow major resources projects to be staffed by Chinese workers.
“For a Chinese project in the middle of nowhere, they can now employ Chinese electricians,” Mr Laming told ABC Queensland’s Steve Austin.
Mr Laming also came clean on the government’s plans to recognise the qualifications of Chinese tradespeople, including electricians.
“We mutually recognise qualifications, and if there’s any concerns the Department of Immigration can check a person,” Mr Laming said.
He justified the removal of safeguards for high-risk trades by saying Indian universities had improved their rankings in medicine and IT.
Mr Laming went on to detail the absence of plans to ensure that imported products – like the recalled Infinity cables that have placed thousands of Australians in danger of fire and electrocution – comply with Australian standards.
“We don’t have a rule that if a product arrives at port and it doesn’t meet Australian standards we immediately send it back. We actually leave it to the owner who purchases it,” he said.
Electrical Trades Union National Secretary Allen Hicks welcomed Mr Laming’s candour.
“Finally there’s someone in the government who’s willing to tell the Australian people that they’ve been sold out,” he said.
“Mr Laming might have mentioned that these ‘Chinese projects in the middle of no-where’ are the major resources ventures that have driven our economy for the last decade.
“He could also have mentioned that in addition to resources, Chinese companies can bring in their own workforce in the food, transport, agriculture, energy, tourism and the environment sectors.
“But any amount of honesty is welcome after weeks of name-calling and weasel-words from the Trade Minister.”
Click here to listen to the full interview. Discussion of the China FTA begins from 4:50
Media contact: Lachlan Williams – 0447 682 027 [email protected]