17 Oct 2005

Prominent Australian Union official criticises lack of consultation on Pacific Plan

6:49 pm on 17 October 2005

There is criticism being voiced about the way the Pacific plan is being formulated by governments in the region with too little input from other sectors.

The president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sharon Burrow, says there's been a critical lack of involvement of business, unions and NGOs over the draft plan, being discussed by heads of government at the Forum Summit later this month.

Closer economic ties are already being developed in the region but the draft plan proposes to make these more comprehensive, to include not only trade but also services, such as free movement of labour.

Ms Burrow says while the ACTU supports some aspects of the Pacific plan, the lack of widespread discussion is an issue.

"Government to government is absolutely vital, no-one would argue that but so too is businesss, unions and civil society. It needs to be debated more widely. It needs to be something that we all take seriously. And, a more open and constructive forum where unions, business and non-government organisations have a real say, would be a good start."

Sharon Burrow, the president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.