Australian State of Victoria Government will not be pausing its Belt & Road agreement with China while an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus was being conducted; Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said.

Whereas the Victorian Opposition has been critical of the Government for remaining with the agreement, after China imposed an Import Ban on Four Australian Abattoirs in apparent retaliation to trade tensions escalation with Beijing.

Bridget Vallance, Shadow Minister for Environment & Climate Change informed the Public Accounts & Estimates Committee (PAEC) it was time to “Stand Up” to China. “The Chinese Government has threatened 80% tariffs on Australian Barley and has blacklisted four Australian Meat Producers” she said.

“We need to stand up to these bully tactics”

Mr. Pallas told PAEC Victoria would “absolutely not” be pausing its relationship with China, but said there did need to be an inquiry into the origins of the virus. “Victoria’s relationship with China benefits all Victorians from farmers exporting their produce to universities.”

“There does need to be an inquiry into this pandemic, but I think the idea of vilification of any single nation in this context is dangerous, damaging & probably irresponsible.”

On questioning about China’s Belt & Road Initiative deal, Victorian MP Martin Pakula told the inquiry he would engage in “sabre-rattling”. “The Government will continue doing what is believed the best for sector, we believe relationship with China is a very important relationship,” MP Pakula said.