Will the FTA with China cause safety standards to slip? 196



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It’s hard enough finding a tradie you can trust and rely on, but at least you can check whether they are properly qualified here in Australia.

Now, thanks to the Fair Trade Agreement with China, the opposition and unions are telling us standards could slip.

In a letter written by the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb tells China’s Minister of Commerce, “Australia will remove the requirement for mandatory skills assessment for the following ten occupations”.

The trades listed are:

  • Automotive electrician
  • Cabinetmaker
  • Carpenter
  • Carpenter and joiner
  • Diesel motor mechanic
  • Electrician (general)
  • Electrician (special class)
  • Joiner
  • Motor mechanic (general)
  • Motorcycle mechanic

This is what the Minister describes as “streamlined skills assessment” for Chinese applicants of a Temporary Australian Work Visa.

Bill Shorten has raised concerns about the impacts this will have on job security and safety.

“I want the government to come clean on potential downside for Australian jobs and Australian safety and labour standards,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Electrical Trades Unions say the move is downright dangerous.

ETU boss Allen Hicks told SBS electrical trades are stringently licensed for a good reason: “They are extremely dangerous”.

“If we stop assessing the skills of overseas workers and just start handing licences around, it’s not a matter of if, but when, somebody is killed,” he said.

In response Mr Robb told the ABC the union was mounting a scare campaign.

“The FTA does not, I repeat does not, change the skills and experience requirement that needs to be met by a skilled worker applying for a visa to work in Australia,” he said. “Applicants will still be required to demonstrate to the Immigration Department that they possess the requisite skills and experience to work in this country.

“This includes evidence of qualifications, memberships of relevant bodies or associations, references, CVs, documents showing English language skills and so on”.

Are you concerned the Fair Trade Agreement could mean an influx of unskilled tradies or do you think the screening process will be sufficient to protect us? 

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  1. No way they can’t even speak our language properly let alone how to read so no way come anywhere near my house

    1 REPLY
    • If you live in NSW – they’ll be the ones working on your power lines so recently sold. The company who now owns them can lawfully employ whoever they like. That’s the reason Mike Baird is so smug.

  2. Would having someone without the proper Australian qualifications working on your Household equipment void the warranty. Much to consider.

  3. Didn’t enough inexperienced Australians die doing something as seemingly simple as just putting in roofing batts? Apparently not. So this is why LNP have been cutting down, cutting out and closing TAFE’s all over the place. Cheap Chinese electricians and 9 other trades are going to be available. Mr Abbott you are traitor and detrimental to Australians. You should be deported.

    7 REPLY
    • Yeah we won’t be needing TAFE colleges any more. And the Aussies who’ll be denied the chance to learn a trade will have to look for 20 non-existent jobs a week just to get the dole . . which will probably also be harder to get once Abbott gets around to hammering poor people in some other way.

    • Well said. I agree he and all the government’s are traitors. They used to hang draw and quarter traitors like that.

    • Abbot was a muppet before he was voted in and nothing has changed?!!! He’s still a muppet!!!

    • And you would prefer a corrupt ALP union muppet ?
      One who thinks our roads are not important . Our hospitals are not important . But lining the pockets of union officials is !
      Wow !! Priorities Folks .
      Where you all come up with this rubbish is out of shortens idiot gob I suspect .

    • So, Carolyn . . It’s OK to be the puppet of big corporations, and now a foreign country (China) and to make things easy for huge companies to make big profits? Because that’s exactly what Abbott’s become. At least the Unions are doing their job. Labor makes no secret of the fact that they’re run by the Union movement. Didn’t you know that? Thanks to Fraser, Howard, and their minions over the past decades the Union movement has been demonized and vilified in and by the press. To be associated with Unions is now like hanging out with folks in a leper colony . . or you’d think so after watching any Liberal party ads on TV.

  4. Certification needs to meet Australian Standards and the government are not in a position to negotiate anything lesser. What sort of fools are they.

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