PM must not be a Paper Tiger in face of Indonesian trade threat

Six thousand jobs in the Latrobe Valley remain on the line despite the Australian Government putting anti-dumping tariffs on Indonesian paper imports last week. 

It was reported this week that the Indonesian Government is threatening to terminate Trade Agreement negotiations if the tariff decision is not reversed. 

The CFMEU, who represents workers at Australian Paper - the largest employer in the region - has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him not to cave in to Indonesia’s threats. 

“Prime Minister Turnbull should not be intimidated by the threats of Indonesia and instead back Aussie workers,” CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor said.

“A trade deal with Indonesia swapped for the jobs of these workers, the livelihoods of their families and the wellbeing of the community would not be worth the dumped Indonesian paper it’s written on. 

“The Prime Minister has a choice - he can either back local jobs or back the greed of the Indonesian paper bosses.” 

The Indonesian threat follows the decision by Assistant Industry Minister Laundy to put tariffs of up to 45% on Indonesian A4 photocopy paper exports following a yearlong investigation by the Anti-Dumping Commission. 

The Commission found the paper was being exported from Indonesia to Australia below its “fair price” causing injury to Australian industry and risking Australian jobs.  Assistant Minister Laundy stated:  This decision is about ensuring a level playing field between Australia and our trading partners. The Turnbull Government will continue to protect Australian industries and workers, under Australia’s anti-dumping and countervailing (anti-subsidy) system. 

To date, the Prime Minister has been silent on the decision. 

The CFMEU is worried that a trade agreement with Indonesia would open up Australia to more dumping, asbestos imports, substandard building products and cheap labour.

“This is just another reason why this extraordinary threat from Indonesia must be stared down” 

The decision to put on the anti-dumping tariffs was made following support for the workers from Federal local National party Member Darren Chester, Federal local Liberal Party Member Russell Broadbent and the Victorian Labor Government.