Chinese workers to flood in: report

LABOR frontbencher Penny Wong has called on the Turnbull Government to talk to the Opposition about the Chinese trade deal, after fresh reports it could disadvantage Australian workers.

A report by University of Adelaide legal expert Dr Joanna Howe, funded by the Electrical Trades Union, was released on Tuesday.

It showed that without mandatory labour market testing, the agreement could spark a wave of new Chinese workers replacing Australians on major infrastructure projects.

But Trade Minister Andrew Robb dismissed the report on Tuesday, despite Dr Howe being a recognised expert on migration law.

Labor's Senator Wong said the report found serious deficiencies in the trade agreement, calling on the government not to ignore the report.

"Dr Howe finds that the agreement will greatly increase access to the Australian labour market by temporary workers," she said.

Sen Wong said the report also showed the deal lacked safeguards against employers' choosing overseas workers instead of locals.

Mr Robb has previously said the trade deal made no changes to the existing labour market testing requirements, and would not require any changes to migration or industrial relations laws.

But the existing rules allowed proponents of major projects - worth $150 million or more - not to test the labour market for local skilled workers before hiring from overseas.

Topics:  employment free trade agreement jobs unions

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