Kevin Hogan says Labor support for the China Free Trade Agreement means there is no need for a  debate that was planned for Grafton next week.
Kevin Hogan says Labor support for the China Free Trade Agreement means there is no need for a debate that was planned for Grafton next week.

Hogan cancels China trade debate

FOLLOWING the bipartisan agreement over the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement Kevin Hogan has pulled out of a debate with the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

The ACTU had earlier in the week challenged Mr Hogan to a debate on the future of local jobs and how the ChAFTA would affect them.

The debate was due to be held in Grafton next week.

"Grafton is struggling under pressure of rising unemployment of 8.4 per cent, but while the Government was busy doing a deal with China, it forgot to protect local jobs and tried to ram through a deal that would lead to exploitation of overseas workers," ACTU President Ged Kearney said.

"There remain major problems with the China Free Trade Agreement and people on the North Coast deserve to hear the facts about how it will impact jobs in their local community," Ms Kearney said.

But according to the Federal Member for Page there is no longer a need for the debate.

"I was happy to do that debate, I was more than happy," Mr Hogan said.

"But this week the Labor party supported the free trade agreement bill and it was passed so there is no need for a debate."

But according to Ms Kearney there are plenty of reasons to have the debate, the number one being that the trade agreement was passed.

"The fact is that this deal still removes mandatory skills testing for overseas workers, which is unfair to highly qualified local workers," she said.

But Mr Hogan said a clause in the agreement will prevent this.

"It is the same clause we put in all trade agreements. If a Chinese business opens here they must employ local workers first," he said.



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