National Farmers' Federation

Political horse-trading holding up China FTA

The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is a landmark deal for Australia, and one of the biggest and best trade deals ever struck with China.
It will be good for jobs and it will set up the Australian economy for strong growth in the years ahead. In the farm sector, it will boost our capacity to meet ever-growing demand for high-quality Australian food and fibre.
Australian farmers and the broader community have too much riding on this agreement for it to be sidelined by politics. We need the China FTA ratified this year.
Bipartisan support is essential, and it needs to be achieved without political horse-trading on employer access to skilled foreign workers more broadly.
Labor’s proposed amendments appear to be less about the China FTA and more about building new fences around the ability of all employers to sponsor 457 visa holders in Australia, whether under the China FTA or otherwise.
NFF will look closely at the proposed amendments and their implications for the farm sector. Measures that increase costs and add to the already difficult task of finding skilled employees in the agriculture sector will be of serious concern.

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