Dirty Senate deal on building code to hit safety, jobs and training

The LNP’s backdoor deal today with Senate crossbenchers on a national building code will reduce safety, increase casual and insecure employment and mean fewer Queensland workers on local construction sites.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said the LNP was crying crocodile tears about low wages growth causing a Budget revenue shortfall but then negotiating dirty deals that would see hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders workers worse off.

“This dirty deal to change the national building code will open the industry to the dangerous practices of labour hire operators, with their disregard for safety, eagerness to cut decent wages and no thought to train Australian apprentices for the future,” she said.

“Turnbull and Morrison are simply hypocrites for lamenting low wages growth and then introducing legislation that will keep wages down for an important industry that employs more than 200,000 Queenslanders,” she said.

The Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Amendment Bill 2017, introduced to the House of Representatives today, will accelerate the introduction of the new national construction code.

This code prohibits agreements that give equal wages and conditions to labour hire workers and which restrict visa workers in favour of developing the skills of young local workers through apprenticeships.

“Now this dirty deal allows big government to insert itself – unasked and unwelcomed – into the bargaining process between employers and employees,” she said.

Ms McLennan said these changes will have serious consequences for workers in the construction industry.

“After the numerous inquiries and findings across Queensland and Australia about the dangers of dodgy labour hire operators, removing restrictions on labour hire will only encourage bad practices and result in damage to workers and the construction industry,” said Ms McLennan.

“By ignoring the interests of working people the LNP and the cross-bench Senators – Hinch and One Nation – have shown no regard for health and safety or job security for construction workers in Queensland.”