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Work health and safety cuts in QLD

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Campaign Media Release

Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten


The Newman LNP Government in Queensland has once again shown what Australians should expect if Mr Abbott is elected on September 7 after failing to rule out cuts to work health and safety.

After cutting 14,000 jobs and demanding Mr Abbott pursue industrial relations reform, Mr Newman plans to attack employee health and safety protections at work.

Speaking to construction union delegates in Brisbane this morning, the Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said that every Australian worker has the right to feel safe at work and return home at the end of the day.

Mr Newman’s plans for cuts will hurt working people in Queensland and their families.

And as sure as night follows day, Mr Abbott will take all Australian workplaces down the same path if given the chance after September 7.

The Queensland Council of Unions wrote to Mr Newman last week seeking a guarantee that the current workers’ compensation scheme would be maintained.

This followed a staged review of the impact of the model workplace health and safety laws in Queensland.

Mr Newman has since refused to rule out:

- Cutting employee rights to union assistance with urgent and immediate workplace health and safety hazards; - Removing a work health and safety representative power to direct workers to cease unsafe work; - Loosening asbestos regulations to no longer require supervisors of

asbestos removal work to have additional asbestos removal qualifications; - Not requiring audiometric testing for employees exposed to over 85 decibels; and

- Exposing workers to dangerous falls from heights by not requiring fall protection for work over two metres high.

Queensland had the highest level of workplace fatalities of all Australian states in 2010-11 and the second highest level of workplace fatalities for the six years prior.

Queensland workplace health and safety inspectors on average only visit a workplace once every seven years.

Federal Labor is harmonising workplace health and safety laws across Australia to improve consistency between jurisdictions, enhance safety protections and reduce red tape.

Eight jurisdictions and six in every ten employees are now working under new modern, best practice work health and safety laws.

Federal Labor’s model workplace health and safety laws have improved health and safety rights for employees across Australia and specifically in Queensland by:

- Increasing penalties for a breach of work health and safety laws; - Broadening the coverage of work health and safety laws to include protection for independent contractors and volunteers; - Allowing unions to enter a workplace to inspect and assist workers with a

health and safety hazard; and - Allow workers to stop working where there is an immediate danger to their health or safety at work.

Whether at the state or the federal level, the Liberals simply cannot be trusted on work health and safety.


Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111

Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor Party, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600