Published: 11 Sep 2015
Workers from Australian Paper’s mill at Maryvale helda demonstration on Friday 11 September outside the Australia China Business Council’s forum in Traralgon.
The workers and the union, the CFMEU, will highlight the unfairness of the proposed China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChaFTA)
Under ChaFTA, Australian paper manufacturers lose tariff defence against imports from China, yet the Chinese paper industry will maintain tariff protection against exports from Australia.
CFMEU Secretary of the Pulp & Paper Workers District, Alex Millar, said the deal would put jobs at Maryvale at risk.
“China already exports around 30 million packets of copy paper to Australia every year. This is a greater share of the domestic market than Australian manufacturers enjoy.
“The unfair China-Australia Free Trade Agreement does not even allow us to export to China on the same terms that we are providing their exporters to further penetrate our domestic market under the agreement.
“There is no doubt about it – ChaFTA will cost jobs at Maryvale and hurt this community.
“Unless the Government listens to our concerns and acts, this will be the beginning of the end for the largest private sector employer in the Latrobe Valley.
“We will call on Gippsland MP Darren Chester to back these workers as he has in the past and make his support for the Agreement conditional on an Australian Government commitment to supporting jobs through government procurement and enactment of strong anti-dumping and countervailing laws.”
The reform options have been sent to Mr Chester and outlined by the CFMEU in its submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, which is analysing whether the China agreement should be ratified.
It is available online here.