Morrison government tears up Belt and Road deal between China and Victoria
The controversial Belt and Road deal between China and the Victorian government has been torn up by the Morrison government.
The federal government says it’s not in the national interest.
The Andrews government signed a memorandum of understanding with China in 2018 and worked out the finer details a year later.
Four months ago, new foreign veto laws were passed in Canberra that enables federal governments to ditch state deals they view as detrimental to Australia.
The new foreign minister, Marise Payne, wasted little time enacting them for the first time.
“The programs we are talking about are development programs or programs of another country,” Ms Payne told Neil Mitchell.
“They may have a purpose for that other country, but that does not mean it is in Australia’s national interest to engage with it in an unconditional or overarching way as these agreements might seek to do.”
Ms Payne said the decision was not aimed at China and the Australian government would continue to work closely with China economically.
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Dr Bates Gill, Professor of Asia-Pacific Security Studies and inaugural Scholar in Residence with the Asia Society Australia, said the Belt and Road deal was “typical” of the Chinese government.
“They want to set the tone first and get to the specifics later,” he explained.
“That’s the purpose of these memorandums.
“That in itself is a kind of political victory for China because there are something like 200 or more of these type of memorandums around the world.”
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