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Secret trade negotiations put finance jobs, data security 'at risk'

20 June, 2014

Finance Sector Union National Secretary Leon Carter has slammed secret trade negotiations that may result in a tidal wave of finance job losses in Australia.

Australia is jointly leading negotiations for a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) with other WTO parties including the US, the EU and Japan. 
On the table are things like cutting government regulation of banking while at the same time lifting restrictions on the entry of overseas labour, storage and access of personal financial data and the number of banks and financial services providers that can do business in Australia.
"It is widely accepted that regulation of our finance industry sheltered Australia from the worst ravages of the GFC."
"In what appears to be a case of collective amnesia, we now we have a government willing to capitulate to the demands of our big banks and financial services lobbyists at the expense of jobs, data security and the best interests of customers," said FSU National Secretary Leon Carter.
"The danger of leaving the banking and finance industry to its own devices without any form of public accountability and regulation is the exposure to risky behaviour and practices that can cause financial harm and devastation to members of our community and to our economy as a whole."
Research commissioned by the FSU in 2008 and 2012 points to massive job losses in our services sector unless action is taken to ensure there are finance and services jobs in Australia now and in the future. There is also deep public concern about the security of sensitive personal financial data.
"There is a genuine belief that our government, under the influence of the banking and finance lobby, will lock us into an Agreement that only serves the interests of the industry and fails to even consider the interests of the community they make their enormous profits from, or the hundreds of thousands of people working in the Australian finance sector," Carter said.
"Holding a licence to run a bank in this country is like having a licence to print money. Our big four banks combined will make over $30 billion profit this year alone. Current regulation of our banks and financial institutions is clearly not a burden, nor a barrier to being successful.
"The privileged position our banking and finance sector holds should also come with the responsibility to invest in the community that the sector profits from, by providing secure jobs for Australians now and into the future," said Carter.

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