Greens caution Cabinet on China bank
Tony Abbott's Cabinet is expected to make a formal decision to sign Australia up to the new Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank on Monday, but the Greens say tighter environmental and human rights standards must be agreed to first.
"Cabinet should not commit to joining the new bank until tighter environmental and human rights standards have been agreed to," said Greens Leader Christine Milne.
"Many countries in our region would clearly benefit from greater funding for much-needed infrastructure like rail, roads, telecommunications and renewable energy projects, but not at the expense of the rights of local people or the environment.
"Any international financial institution Australia backs should have sound democratic structures that promote ecologically sustainable and socially just trade and development.
"That includes protections to prevent vulnerable people being removed from their lands and to prevent workers from being exploited with low wages and unsafe conditions.
"Nothing we have seen to date about AIIB's structure gives me any peace of mind," said Senator Milne.
"The Chinese might consider the new bank a necessary geopolitical counterweight to existing institutions like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the IMF, but those are similarly flawed and the Greens warn against emulating them."