Queensland Senator Matt Canavan has blasted Bob Katter’s “negativity and scaremongering” over the historic China-Australia free trade agreement.
"Bob just doesn't want to hear good news. But his negativity and scaremongering don't resonate with people any more. Everybody in north-west Queensland knows Australia's prosperity depends on trade. China is already our biggest trading partner and is going to be bigger,” Senator Canavan said today.
“Bob correctly railed against the closure of the live cattle trade to Indonesia three years ago but is now against increased trade with China. That doesn’t add up: trade with many countries will be better than trade with just one.
“This free trade agreement with China is great news for Australia, especially for people like cattle producers, farmers, fishermen and miners in Bob’s electorate of Kennedy. They will all benefit directly from the China-Australia FTA.
“More than that, it’s good news for growth and jobs across the whole Australian economy. It’s going to add billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs in coming years by axing tariffs on beef, dairy products, seafood, varieties of fruit and vegetables, coal, etcetera and also by opening opportunities for service providers in areas like legal and financial services, education, tourism, health, urban planning, transport and more.
“This agreement is a massive win for the Australian economy and especially for jobs for current and future generations. No amount of negativity and scaremongering from Bob can change that fact.”
Senator Canavan said Bob Katter’s attack on the free trade agreement bordered on hysteria.
“He is shrieking that China is gobbling up Australian agriculture but the Government has preserved the existing controls to screen proposals for foreign investment in agricultural land of over $15 million and agribusiness of over $53 million.
“This is the policy position the Coalition brought to the last election and is consistent with the approach taken in recently concluded trade agreements with Japan and Korea. Also, the FTA makes no change to the current rules applying to investments by State Owned Enterprises: these will remain subject to FIRB screening, regardless of transaction size.
“Finally, the FTA does not affect the Government’s ability to introduce a register of foreign investment in agricultural land.
“Sorry Bob, but the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is great news, especially in the bush.”