Daniel Andrews cannot stay part of China’s controversial Belt and Road deal after the latest round of import suspensions targeting Australian producers were imposed today.
In a multi-billion-dollar blow to our agriculture and resource sectors, China has suspended all imports of Australian wine, lobsters, sugar, coal, copper ore and concentrate, barley and timber.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh questioned why the Andrews Labor Government was sticking by its cosy Belt and Road deal with China – despite the punitive measures.
“China is our biggest trading partner and this import suspension will have dire consequences for our farmers and our economy,” Mr Walsh said.
“But in Victoria, instead of standing up for our local farmers and workers, Daniel Andrews is promising big rewards with major infrastructure contracts for Chinese-owned companies under the Belt and Road deal.
“This latest punitive action shows it’s all one-way traffic.
“Daniel Andrews needs to decide if he’s the Premier for Victorians or for the Chinese Communist Government.”
The Liberal Nationals recently put forward a plan for recovery from COVID-19 shutdowns, including strengthening Victoria’s economic base by diversifying our import partners to ensure we are not dependent on any single country for more than 15 per cent of our goods imports.
The plan also calls to expand Global Victoria in emerging economies throughout Southeast Asia, India and Africa by substantially increasing Victoria’s outbound trade opportunities by June 2021.
“The Andrews Labor Government signed up to Belt and Road against the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,” Mr Walsh said.
“Daniel Andrews’ dodgy Belt and Road Initiative with the Chinese Communist Party is a great deal for China but a terrible deal for Victoria.
“Dan’s deal is all one-way traffic that’s running over the top of Victorian farmers.”