The Courier-Mail

Unions say jobs not protected


TRADE unions insist the free trade agreement with China has to be renegotiat­ed, describing it as a “dud” for safeguardi­ng Australian jobs but Treasurer Joe Hockey has warned it would take a decade for China to come back to the negotiatin­g table if the agreement is blocked in Parliament.

Mr Hockey spoke to Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei on the sidelines of the G20 finance ministers meeting in Turkey at the weekend.

“It will be a very long time before the Chinese would ever approach Australia with a freetrade agreement should the Labor Party undermine and ultimately destroy this agreement,” he said yesterday.

But ACTU assistant secretary Scott Connolly said the deal can’t be saved just by stronger migration laws in terms of labour market and skills-assessment testing.

The latest Newspoll shows that while 43 per cent support the Government’s efforts to secure the Chinese FTA, more than a third oppose it.

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