A Liberal Nationals Government will rescue Victoria from Labor’s lopsided and secretive Belt and Road deal with the Chinese Government according to The Nationals leader Peter Walsh.
He said while this was not a decision that has been taken lightly; it “is the right decision for Victoria”.
“The Belt and Road deal is not in Victoria’s interests. It doesn’t support our sovereignty, our security or our jobs,” Mr Walsh said.
“The Liberal Nationals will always put the interests of Victorian workers, farmers and businesses first.
“We will maintain a strong trading relationship and partnership with China, based on genuine mutual interests, not political deals.
“A deep economic and cultural engagement with China is in Victoria’s interests but first we need to get out of this secret MOU that binds Victoria to the political interests of the Chinese Government – against the advice of the Australian Government and independent observers.”
Mr Walsh said the Victorian government signed onto the Chinese Government’s Belt and Road deal in October 2018 – without telling Victorians.
He said it did so contrary to the position of the Australian Government and contrary to the position of the Federal Labor Party and every other state.
“This government’s dud deal has failed to advance Victoria’s interests,” Mr Walsh added.
“The lopsided terms commit Victoria to “increasing the participation of Chinese infrastructure companies in Victoria’s infrastructure construction program” but has no equivalent commitment on the Chinese side. Instead, we get platitudes limited to ‘promoting of Victorian firms in China’,” he added.
“While Chinese Government-owned companies have been given contracts to build the Metro Tunnel, the botched West Gate Tunnel and remove level crossings, Victorian farmers have been slugged by a punitive 80 per cent tariff on barley exports to China.
“This government’s Belt and Road deal is all one-way traffic – and Victoria is driving the wrong way.”
Mr Walsh said the Liberal Nationals remain committed to promoting trade and investment in Victoria around the world, including with China.
Adding Victoria would not be what it is today without the amazing contribution of the generations of the local Chinese community has made to our great state; a contribution he values and will always promote.
“Under a Liberal Nationals Government our engagement with China will be based on mutual interest and fair dealing – not deals that pit another nation’s strategic interests against Australia’s,” Mr Walsh declared.
“Premier Daniel Andrews refuses to answer how much of his $25 billion in new borrowings he will source from China – and what the obligations will be,” he said.
“Daniel Andrews refused to seek advice from national security agencies before signing his latest deal with the Chinese Government.
“I will not stand by while Daniel Andrews puts party and ego before Victoria’s interests.
“That is why a Liberal Nationals Government will end Labor’s Belt and Road deal with China.”