Last week, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews repeatedly opposed calls for the agreement to be unblocked and said the federal government had not issued an agreement with China on the same initiative. The federal government has not signed a similar agreement, but said BIS projects will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, instead of signing a cross-cutting moU or approving a roadmap like Victoria. But opposition leader Matthew Guy has promised to unblock the agreement if the coalition is to end regional elections. Since at least his visit to China in May 2018, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has been personally following China`s commitment to Victoria`s multi-billion dollar “Big Build.” In October of the same year, he signed the Belt and Road Initiative in a Memorandum of Understanding with Beijing. He refused to make the agreement public and did so only after strong pressure during the last Victorian election campaign. Australian Strategic Policy Institute Executive Director Peter Jennings said he hoped other governments would not follow Victoria`s lead when such agreements were signed. Victoria`s treasurer, Tim Pallas, said this month at a parliamentary inquiry that the state would “absolutely not” reconsider its belt and road agreements, accusing the federal government of “denigrating” China because of its push for an international investigation into the Covid 19 pandemic. He said that it was not known what Victoria`s rights were to terminate the contract. He referred to the part of the agreement that stated that the objective was “to increase the participation of Chinese infrastructure companies in Victoria” in relation to “promoting the cooperation of Victorian companies in China”. Victoria`s Liberal opposition questioned why the deal failed to protect Victorian farmers from the 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley that the Chinese government put on Australian barley this month. Nothing.
This is not a legally binding agreement, but so far the Victorian government has not turned away from it. The memorandum is in line with the draft agreement presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in June. “We did not support this decision at the time of the agreement. And asking for national interests in foreign affairs are determined by the federal government and I respect its jurisdiction when it comes to the issues for which they are responsible, and it has always been customary for states to respect and recognize the role of the federal government in defining foreign policy. In addition to Victoria said it was not and would not be an agreement with China on a telecommunications project, federal law in 2018, which prohibits the federal government`s veto power over telecommunications infrastructure partners effectively prohibits Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE from working on 5G and other similar projects in the future. At the time, Andrews said the agreement was part of his extensive state infrastructure program. Victoria has been attacked by members of the federal coalition for its agreement on China`s belt and road initiative, but what does this mean for Victoria and Australia`s foreign policy towards China? Being involved in the Belt and Road project is technically a legally non-binding agreement for Victoria; The Silk Road for the 21st Century, which includes new ports, highways and railways around the world.