Wednesday’s edition of The Australian exposes the deal the Barnett Government did with Chinese proponents for the Oakajee Port and Rail (OPR) project, that will give preference to Chinese companies to supply engineering and fabrication services to the project.
Read the article here.
Our campaign revealed details of Mr Barnett’s deal a year ago, launching a TV commercial in the lead-up to our rally and march on Parliament last March.
As highlighted in The Australian and mentioned by AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney on Radio National yesterday (listen here), the State Development Agreement Mr Barnett signed with OPR remains largely secret and local industry and unions, as well as the WA Opposition, had to work hard to get Mr Barnett to release the clause that gives preference to Chinese companies.
Read the Parliamentary debate here.
As this issue continues to be debated, it is becoming clear that our local engineering and manufacturing sectors do not operate in a free-trade environment. The market is stacked against them, with overseas governments fighting hard to support their local industries, and Australian governments taking a hands-off approach and leaving Australian businesses to sink or swim.
The Oakajee example is the worst example of its kind – an Australian government doing a deal that will specifically lock out local engineers and fabricators. We are pleased this issue is now getting the attention it deserves and we hope we will see a marked change in policy as a result.