Fiji’s Opposition leader Inia Seruiratu says Fiji should also be able to raise concerns about some of Australia’s decisions such as its ongoing production of fossil fuel and its labour laws.

Responding to Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s statement on the Vuvale Partnership with Australia, Seruiratu highlighted the need for Fiji to discuss these concerning issues with its Trans-Tasman partner.

Seruiratu said a study conducted in Australia revealed that agriculture was not a viable sector domestically and this could impact Fijians working in farms under the Labour scheme program.

“It is not even attractive to Australia and we hope our workers will not be exploited particularly in their working conditions,” said Seruiratu.

“They have to be treated with respect.”

He said Fiji should also raise its concerns on Australia’s ongoing production of fossil fuel.

“We know that Australia is a big contributor to fossil fuel exports.

“It cannot be denied. While we are benefitting from the partnership with Australia at the same time, as true friends speaking not only on behalf of Fiji but for the Pacific, we need to tell them that they need to slow down on fossil fuel.

“That is key to our survival.”

Seruiratu said under the Vuvale Partnership, the two countries had agreed to work in collaboration under several key principles.

“We need to continue to raise to the Australians particularly when it comes to the principles under the Vuvale partnership such as the will to engage with each other with trust, respect and understanding, we will share the responsibility and we will listen and speak carefully to understand each other’s point of views when differences arise,” said Seruiratu.