FOI documents bell the cat on Andrews Government’s forced labour assurances

The naive acceptance by the Andrews Labor Government of the assurances of self-interested companies and firms subject of forced labour allegations is a scandal. It’s simply not good enough when Labor seems to be refusing to see what the whole world can plainly see. What is outrageous in Jacinta Allan’s brief is that the department advised and she accepted seeking alternative suppliers may have cost implications; ‘cost impacts passed on to the state’, and that ‘DoT does not recommend this course of action’. So what’s clear is Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan signed the HCMT deal with inadequate safeguards in place and without investigating the supply chain leaving Victoria exposed, and in effect turning a blind eye to the shocking allegations that train manufacturing in China has a dark underbelly of exploitation and worse, it’s morally reprehensible. Even now the Department of Transport ‘does not recommend directing manufacturers to avoid the use of KTK’. The HCMT contract is a shambles; massively late and yet to deliver the services promised. Deals done which are not in the interest of the community or commuters. The Andrews Labor Government is so tied up with the Chinese Communist Party and its extraordinary Belt and Road Initiative it doesn’t know which way to move. Labor is entangled, beholden and frankly captured. It’s clear who is pulling Andrews’ strings.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Transport Infrastructure, David Davis: "The glib assurances provided by Jacinta Allan last year are worth nothing. What these damaging documents establish is there has been no independent investigation into the supply chain for Victorian rail purchases. “In fact, these documents show that there is every reason to suspect that many purchases may have input components that don’t bear scrutiny. “Jacinta Allan, Labor and Victoria’s transport officers have chosen to rely on the assurances of the train firms themselves; it’s a bit like asking your children to mark their own homework. “Farcical statements by groups such as the KTK group are accepted without serious scrutiny. “This group has been subject of negative reports for involvement in the use of forced Uighur labour. Key groups like the Australian Strategic Policy group have expressed these concerns. The US Commerce Department has added KTK group to a US blacklist over the alleged use of forced labour in China. “The statement provided by KTK to companies doing business raises more questions than it answers noting the provision of ‘decorated dormitories to them (Uighurs) free of charge’.”

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