The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by Tony Abbott is set to shut out thousands of Western Sydney workers from construction and infrastructure projects.
The AMWU is launching radio ads into Western Sydney today. Click here to hear the ads.
Under the terms of the FTA signed by Tony Abbott, an overseas Chinese investor with 15% investment in construction projects valued at as little as $150m can employ overseas workers at below Australian minimum employment standards.
“Under this FTA, thousands of workers will miss out on jobs in some of Sydney’s biggest construction projects” said AMWU NSW Secretary, Tim Ayres.
“These are jobs that could skill up young people in Western Sydney and regional NSW” he said.
Analysis conducted by the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union shows that there are currently over 300 construction projects in the pipeline in NSW valued at $150m or more. These include iconic infrastructure projects such as Barangaroo and Badgerys Creek Airport, as well as smaller suburban in-fill developments.
“These are projects that could sustain thousands of high-skilled jobs across NSW” said Mr Ayres.
“Instead, they will become cash cows for overseas Chinese investors who will be able to profit off the back of exploitation of overseas workers” he said.
Under the terms of the agreement, an overseas Chinese investor can sign up to an Investment Facilitation Arrangement (IFA). An IFA allows an investor to import workers to the site without any minimum standards applying to employment conditions.
“Just as we have seen in the 457 visa scheme, this will expose overseas workers to terrible employment practices” said Mr Ayres.
“Decent paying jobs that would normally go to local workers will be replaced by low paying jobs that will bring misery to the overseas workers that will be employed in them” he said.
This week, the AMWU will embark on an advertising campaign to highlight the dangers of the FTA. The campaign will include radio advertising into Western Sydney and social media. The public are being encouraged to email their MPs at www.saveaussiejobs.com.au.
“The Australian public needs to know where Tony Abbott stands on these issues” said Mr Ayres.
“At the end of the day, Tony Abbott needs to decide whether he stands for local workers or whether he is in the pocket of wealthy overseas investors”.
Media Contact: George Simon 0400 055 081