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2015-07-03

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China-Australia trade agreement poses safety risks say unions

Unions have vowed to oppose elements of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which they say will dilute current skill standards and pose safety risks for both workers and the wider community.

The Electrical Trades Union and other unions in the construction sector have warned that the agreement removes current requirements for Chinese electricians to undergo a skills assessment before being approved for a work visa. The union says the arrangement is reckless, dangerous, and will lead to lives being lost.

The aim of removing the requirement for mandatory skills assessments for ten occupations, including electricians, is to reduce, or eliminate entirely, the requirement for Chinese workers in other occupations to undergo skills assessments before receiving temporary work visas within the next five years.

Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks described the agreement, reached without industry or community consultation, as 'a dangerous policy that will lead to electrocution deaths, house fires, and other safety problems'.

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