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Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Page: 2055

Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (13:56): It was very good news to hear this week that the Oaky North lockout has ended and workers can return to the job. I met with decent men from my electorate who were locked out by Glencore and just wanted to get back to work. I impressed this upon Glencore in several meetings, and my colleagues the member for Capricornia and the member for Flynn did the same. The minister for resources publicly called on the mining company to end their lockout, and the minister for workplace relations did the same in private meetings with that company. As a result, Glencore told the government they would not oppose a CFMEU application to Fair Work to end that lockout.

No company should lock its workers out for even 50 days, let alone more than 200 days. The workers went on strike, but the response was not commensurate to that action, nor was it helpful to enterprise agreement negotiations. I will lobby the government as a backbencher to change the laws around these lockouts. Casualisation of the mining industry workforce played a role in this dispute. I say to all mining companies: I am a strong supporter of coalmining, but you cannot continue to employ people, even via labour hire contractors, on a casual basis when in reality they are full-time workers. Mining companies need to stop this practice, or government is going to stop it for them.