Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has told the Senate today a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement would have a positive flow on effect to Indigenous communities.
Minister Scullion said he shares former Labor Party President and Indigenous leader, Warren Mundine’s frustration in watching Labor’s opposition to the Agreement.
“As Mr Mundine puts it, Labor’s opposition would be “an act of vandalism” and it would be embarrassing watching Labor dance around why they oppose this when they didn’t oppose similar deals with other countries,” the Minister said.
“The Free Trade Agreement will have a particularly strong effect on three sectors that are significant employers of Indigenous people in regional and remote areas:
- Agriculture and fisheries;
- Resources and energy, and;
“These industries represent some of the major employment sectors for Indigenous Australians and provide great economic development opportunities for Indigenous enterprises and entrepreneurs,” he said.
According to the 2011 census, over 18,000 Indigenous Australians worked in agriculture and fisheries, resources and energy and manufacturing – that’s 12 per cent of the Indigenous work force.
“Governments must put in place the framework for others to invest, create businesses and provide new jobs,” Minister Scullion said.
“That is what the China Australia Free Trade Agreement is all about.
“We should be focusing on the opportunities it will create for groups like Indigenous communities – economic development and employment in these regions of greatest need.”
Download media release:
2015-09-10 Media release – Free Trade Agreement.pdf