Chinese companies will increasingly fight for tenders of Victorian infrastructure projects under a deal struck between the state and the communist country.
Premier Daniel Andrews agreed to the global project on Wednesday while in Beijing, deepening the state's ties to the country after signing a memorandum of understanding for the program last year.
The agreement document reveals a joint working group to promote the initiative will be co-chaired by Mr Andrews and Chinese official Ning Jizhe and will meet on a half-year basis.
The first agreed area of co-operation is to "increase participation of Chinese infrastructure companies in Victoria's infrastructure construction program and promoting co-operation of Victorian firms in China".
The Chinese government will also encourage the country's building firms to establish a presence in Victoria, while Victoria has agreed to send regular delegations to "better understand the opportunities" in China.
Mr Andrews says the deal will allow Victoria's engineering and design firms to bid for contracts for "belt and road" infrastructure projects around the world.
"This has been an important opportunity to not only showcase Victoria's massive pipeline of infrastructure projects, but also highlight the ingenuity and expertise of Victorian companies," Mr Andrews said.
"We are proud of our close relationship with our largest trading partner and will continue to work closely with China to promote Chinese investment in our state."
Former federal Labor leader and Victorian MP Bill Shorten backed the move.
"It's not unusual for Liberal and Labor state governments to try and promote their states and encourage investment in their states," he said.
"So I think this federal government should stop worrying about what state Labor governments are doing and start worrying about the fact that our economy is in the doldrums."
The deal has copped flack from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who has accused Mr Andrews of failing to act in the national interest by pursuing the agreement.
"Why does he believe this is in our national interest? Why does he believe it's in Victoria's interest?" Mr Dutton asked reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.
Mr Dutton raised work under way between ASIO and universities to stamp out foreign interference.
"The state governments, including Premier Andrews, get regular updates from the director-general of ASIO, and additional briefings available to him or to the other premiers or chief ministers if they require it," he said.
Victorian opposition leader Michael O'Brien also criticised the deal for giving China an "inside running" on local projects.
"Great for Chinese jobs, but what about Victorian jobs, what about Victorian interests," he told reporters.
Beijing's "belt and road" initiative has often been described as "dangerous debt diplomacy".
Australian Associated Press