QUEENSLAND worksites will soon be better protected against union right of entry abuses under amendments to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 announced earlier this week.
Speaking at the Master Builders Building and Construction Awards ceremony in Brisbane, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the amendments would stop unions bringing construction sites to a halt while ensuring safety issues are adequately addressed by the regulator.
“For too long, we have seen construction unions using safety as an industrial weapon in this state,” Mr Bleijie said.
“Quite frankly, their abuses of the current right of entry provisions are designed to bully contractors until they get their way.
“Sites are being hijacked and workers held to ransom.
“I have personally heard of stories from hard working Queenslanders who have been locked out of their workplace because of militant union activity.
“Earlier this year, a major contractor lost 42 days of work due to illegal strike activity in the first year of their enterprise agreement.
“This practice will end.
“Every Queenslander deserves to go to work, do their job, get paid and be treated fairly.”
Mr Bleijie said under the Newman Government’s plans, union officials would have to provide at least 24 hours’ written notice before they could enter a workplace, reflecting the Federal Government’s Fair Work Act.
“These amendments will ensure the safety regulator is the first port of call for any safety concerns,” he said.
“As part of our commitment to making Queensland workplaces the safest in the nation, we are putting the focus back on safety.
“Recent figures show Queensland’s non-fatal injury and disease claim rate for the construction industry has decreased by 24%, which is above the Australian average decrease of 15%.
“We will continue to the lead the way when it comes to workplace safety.”
“These new laws will complement the Building Construction and Compliance Branch (BCCB) that the government recently established to crackdown on militant union activity on construction sites.
“Construction is a key pillar of our plan to get the State’s finances back on track and supercharge the Queensland economy.
“I will be seeking the agreement of other states and territories to get on board to break the unruly behaviour by unions in construction workplaces under the guise of safety.”