Labor agree to pass China free trade agreement

An agreement has been reached between the federal government and opposition on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), following a meeting between the trade minister and shadow minister last night.

AAP reports that there were three conditions accepted by the ALP, which had a caucus meeting this morning to endorse the compromises.

These were around labour market testing (to be done by regulation, rather in legislation, but this will be binding), the market salary rate for 457 visas now being equal to the relevant EBA rate, and an occupational licence needing to be obtained within 90 days by a 457 visa holder.

"It's a very positive development for the country," trade minister Andrew Robb told AAP.

The Australian Financial Review notes that regulation on imported workers and labour market testing – employers must first try and find local workers with suitable skills before importing these – now applies to all work agreements rather than projects worth $150 million or more.