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Mine safety 'could' be compromised under FTA

19 November, 2014

Australia's new free trade agreement with China will permit Chinese companies to apply to bring in their own workers at sites faced with skills shortages.

It's a measure that mining groups fear could compromise industry safety standards.

Australian Mining Association Chairman George Edwards said his apprehension came from nearly 40 years spent at mines in China where standards were not nearly as high.

"I believe they are used to lower safety standards in general and therefore it makes it difficult for them to operate in an environment with higher standards," he told reporters at the Asia Pacific Resources Conference on Tuesday.

FTA's impact on local mining jobs

Edwards' concerns were shared by Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy CE Michael Catchpole, who also warned about the impact FTA labour provisions would have on local jobs.

"As far as the FTA is concerned, we would want to ensure that if miners are brought in at a technical, operational or professional level that they have the required skills and training, and that they work within the same health and safety conditions that we expect in all Australian operations," he said.

"Mining professionals in Australia are experiencing a level of unemployment that really we haven't seen in more than a decade.

"Any moves that could further exacerbate unemployment across the professional sector would be of concern."

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