Fresh warnings that a controversial China trade deal will invite a wave of Chinese workers are nonsense, the federal government says.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed the findings of a new report which says local wages and conditions would be driven down if the deal goes ahead without labour market protections.
The report is commissioned by the Electrical Trades Union but the union claims it had no editorial input.
Labor has labelled the findings as damning, adding they revealed serious deficiencies in the agreement.
Opposition trade spokeswoman Penny Wong say it’s time the government discussed safeguards for Australian jobs and protections for foreign workers from exploitation.
But Mr Turnbull says it’s just part of the ongoing unions campaign trying to frighten Australians into poverty by blocking the deal.
“The dire forecasts that some of the unions have been putting out there are grossly misleading,” he told Melbourne radio 3AW on Tuesday.
Claims about a foreign worker influx already had been disowned by prominent Labor leaders such as Bob Hawke and Bob Carr.
Mr Turnbull urged Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to unshackle himself from the stance of unions.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the report wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.
“It is consistent with the nonsense that they’ve been peddling from day one before they even saw what the details were of the agreement,” he told ABC TV.
Mr Robb insists the deal does not remove worker protections from what existed under the previous Labor government.