Freedomroo – Details on workers, agriculture, exports revealed

Employee takes cheeky gibe at CEO Christine Holgate

Australia’s free trade deal with the United Kingdom will make it easier for people to work in both countries.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with his British counterpart Boris Johnson in London on Tuesday and they made the announcement at a joint press conference.

“It will make it easier for British people and young people to go and work in Australia, without having the traditional compulsion of having to go and work on a farm for 80 days, which used to be the rule,” Mr Johnson told reporters.

“People can go and work much more easily in Australia, both ways, there will be free exchange of British rent-a-Poms and indeed Australian campaign managers will be able to come more easily to work in this country.”

Asked how many more Australians would be able to work in the United Kingdom, Mr Morrison said it would be “totally demand driven”.

“We go into this boldly and confidently, and it’s a great opportunity for both countries,” he said.

“It’s been happening for a very long time and now it will continue, and in Australia it means that we’ll be moving forward on our agricultural visa as well.

“That will provide other opportunities when it comes to the agricultural workforce.”

Mr Johnson also highlighted the benefit to farmers under the free trade deal.

“It will be good news for, I hope, for the agricultural sector on both sides and here we’ve had to negotiate very hard,” he said.

“I want everybody to understand that this is a sensitive sector for both sides, and we’ve got a deal that runs over 15 years and contains the strongest possible provisions for animal welfare.”

Asked if Australian farmers would be forced to increase their standards to reach the UK level, Mr Morrison said Australia already had “very high” standards.

“We are well respected for our standards for animal welfare all around the world,” he said.

“So we are confident and very proud of our record when it comes to dealing with animal cruelty. So, we set standards in those places.

“We understand, especially for agricultural sectors in both countries, that we will have to demonstrate the real benefits for both countries, and we’ll do that together.”

Mr Johnson denied British farmers had been sold out under the deal.

“We’re opening up to Australia, but we’re doing it in a staggered way and we’re doing it over 15 years,” he said.

“We’re retaining safeguards and making sure that we have protections against sudden influxes of goods and also making sure that we adhere to the strongest possible standards for animal welfare.”

Mr Johnson described the free trade agreement as a “long-running negotiation”.

“The exports between our countries has been quite extraordinary. We already sell cars, we sell whiskey … we sell boomerangs to Australia — of the non-returnable variety,” he said.

“Now, thanks to this deal, we hope that there will be even more trade between the UK and Australia.”

Mr Johnson joked it would mean the UK would get a better deal on Tim Tams and Vegemite.

“The idea is that we will be able to do even more because we are taking tariffs off.”

The trade agreement is the UK’s first independently-struck deal since Brexit.

“It is also therefore a prelude to further deals, and it’s the way into the comprehensive and progressive trans-Pacific Partnership,” Mr Johnson said.

Mr Morrison agreed it was a good deal for both countries, describing it as a foundational partnership.

“Everything else we do stems from that relationship,” he said.

“Our economies are stronger by these agreements. This is the most comprehensive and ambitious agreement that Australia has concluded.

“The only one which comes into close connection with that is the arrangement we have with New Zealand under the closer economic relationship arrangements we have there.”

Mr Johnson said the pair also discussed climate change, defence, working together on security and what the UK was doing to expand its diplomatic presence in the Pacific.

He said he was impressed by Australia’s ambitious climate change plan.

“I think that Scott has declared for net to zero by 2050, which is a great step forward when you consider the situation Australia is in – it is a massive coal producer, it is having to change the way things are oriented,” he said.

“I am impressed by the ambition of Australia and obviously we’re going to be looking for more the whole time as we go into COP26 in November.”

Mr Morrison said they also discussed the mental health of young people.

“In Australia, we have an extraordinary program that supports young people with mental health and we’re very keen to work with the UK government to share that experience, and working together to deal with large multinational media platforms as well,” he said.

“That was a topic of keen discussion, on the work Australia has been doing there, and of course the clean energy technology partnership, which we are in the process of finalising as well.”

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