Article – Victorian Farmers Federation call for China FTA to be ratified

31 August 2015
Emma Brown
ABC Rural

The Victorian Farmers Federation has joined calls to ratify the China Free Trade Agreement.

The agriculture lobby group said the agreement would trigger growth in the agriculture sector and delaying its ratification could risk agriculture jobs.

The CFMEU recently released an ad campaign warning the free trade agreement would allow Chinese workers to come to Australia and compete with Australian workers for local jobs.

But VFF president Peter Tuohey said he did not believe there would be changes to foreign worker numbers and the reduction in tariffs on Australian produce would be a win for Victorian farmers.

“Reduction of those tariffs will put Australian agricultural products on a level footing with many of the other competing countries in to China, so that will really bring a huge amount of money on to Australian farms so we need to get it signed and done,” he said.

“There’s a whole amount of mechanisation coming in to many different forms of agriculture. Workers like fruit pickers and those sorts of things are gradually being replaced by mechanisation, because of the difficulty in getting workers.

“What this China Free Trade Agreement will do is actually increase employment opportunities for Australian workers, particularly in processing, packaging, transport and other areas as well.

“There are some really good benefits, not just for farmers but for all of the Australian community.”

PHOTO: Victorian Farmers Federation president Peter Tuohey says the China Free Trade Agreement needs to be ratified.

Courtesy of ABC Rural

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