Labor is deeply concerned about reports of a decision by Chinese authorities to block shipments of Australian coal.
The resources industry is critically important to Australia’s economic recovery and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in export revenue for the nation.
These reports follow China’s actions against Australian barley growers, wine producers and meat processors in recent months.
The Morrison Government must explain how it plans to save jobs that are under threat as a result of these trade disruptions and limit further fallout.
With Government ministers unable to even speak to their Chinese counterparts, it is baffling that the Government is preparing to downgrade the importance of the Trade portfolio at such a crucial time.
Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham will take on the additional roles of Finance Minister, including Special Minister of State, and Government Leader in the Senate, at the end of this month.
Questions must be asked about whether Senator Birmingham is able to effectively handle all these portfolios at once.
Australia needs a Trade Minister who can focus on fixing our trade problems with China.