The Premier was joined by representatives from 33 companies and nine universities, who would accompany him to a series of meetings in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing during his 10 day visit.
Mr Iemma says trade between NSW and China is worth more than $15 billion, and it is a market that demands the attention of the state’s leaders.
Before departing for China, the Premier warned his MPs he expects solidarity when enabling legislation covering electricity privatisation comes to a vote next month.
The legislation was introduced into Parliament yesterday.
Mr Iemma admits there is dissension in Caucus, but had this to say to any wavering MPs. “I’ve participated in lots of debates and sometimes I’ve been on the losing side,” he said.
“Every single time I walked out of that Caucus room, I walked into the chamber and I put my hand up with my Labor mates.”
Unions NSW boss John Robertson says that is hypocritical.
“You can’t say it’s ok to ignore one vote and not the other, particularly when conference is the supreme policy making body,” he said.
Mr Robertson says a state-wide day of protest is being planned and communities will be asked to vigorously lobby their MPs.
“I would be still urging those MPs, as they leave the vacuum of Macquarie Street, to think long and hard about how they vote,” he said.
Greens MP John Kaye thinks there is still a chance of defeating the legislation.
“We only need three ALP backbenchers to cross the floor,” he said.