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Shorten backs Victoria signing China deal



3:40pm Nov 12, 2018

The much-anticipated release of Victoria's secret infrastructure deal with China has prompted federal Labor leader Bill Shorten to label the agreement as the everyday business of state politicians.

Premiers of many political colours tried to woo China into business deals, and Victoria's Labor leader Daniel Andrews was no different, Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.

"Premiers of both sides of politics have taken delegations to China trying to interest investment in their particular part of Australia," he said.

"That is the normal day-to-day work of our state politicians."

The Victorian government released the terms of its memorandum of understanding with China on its Belt and Road Initiative late on Sunday.

It was revealed that Victoria was the first Australian state to sign up to the initiative on October 8. Premier Daniel Andrews first mentioned the deal on October 25.

The premier said it had been the intention to release details of the deal on Friday, but it was "not appropriate" following the Bourke Street terror stabbing.

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On Monday he gave an outline of the deal and what it means for Victoria.

"It's about a framework and it sets us apart from other Australian states and it sends a very powerful message to those in China who are making these key decisions that Victoria is a destination where the quality of our produce is absolutely trusted and the quality of our offering is absolutely trusted and that's good for jobs," Mr Andrews said.

Victoria could send more produce overseas and more export income could come from a better relationship with China, and other important relationships, he added.

Liberal MP Michael O'Brien said it was concerning Mr Andrews had signed up Victoria to an agreement with far-reaching impacts.

"What does that mean for Victorian businesses to have unimpeded trade with China? Simply means a lot of Victorian businesses will be put under massive pressure," he said.

"Daniel Andrews has signed Victoria up to a secret deal with no consultation beforehand that can't be terminated unless the Chinese government agree to it."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously levelled criticism at Mr Andrews for signing the deal, arguing that foreign policy is the Commonwealth's domain and he should have checked first with Canberra.

© AAP 2018


https://www.9news.com.au/2018/11/12/14/36/victoria-s-china-deal-normal-shorten

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