LNP ‘turn backs’ on workers

Senator Nita Green, MEU Queensland District President Stephen Smyth and members of the Mining and Energy Union call for 'Same Job, Same Pay' earlier this year.

Last week, the Liberal National Party members who supposedly represent regional Queenslanders voted against the Albanese Labor Government’s Closing the Loopholes Bill in the House of Representatives.

This is a Bill designed to stop the sort of labour hire rips off that have become all too familiar in the mining industry in Queensland.

After all these years of these local MPs claiming that they support jobs in regional Queensland, when they were given the chance in House of Representatives, they voted with Peter Dutton instead of for their community.

When the Senate Committee hearing into the Closing the Loopholes legislation came to Central Queensland Noah Chapman from Rockhampton said, “When I first started out at the mine where I’m at, all the tradesmen were on $68 an hour. I started out there on $13 an hour, which was 40 per cent of the award at the time, not 40 per cent of the tradesman’s wage.”

The Federal Secretary and Queensland Branch Secretary of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union, Matthew Journeaux, said, “You now have a situation where two workers are working side by side doing the identical job, with one employed directly and one employed by labour hire. The labour hire worker will receive substantially less for doing the same work.”

This isn’t a new problem.

Even Michelle Landry said, back in 2019, that she would wholeheartedly support the introduction of laws to prevent the amount of insecure work in the mining industry. But she didn’t follow through with that promise.

Workers have been calling for years for laws to prevent big companies making agreements with workers for fair wages and conditions and then using labour hire to undercut those wages. It’s a complete and utter rort and if we want our regional communities to thrive because workers know they have good secure jobs, we must put an end to it.

The Albanese Labor Government is determined to protect workers and lift wages for working families.

We know that that cost of living is putting pressure on households and that is exactly why we are delivering $23 billion of targeted relief to household including Energy Bill Price Relief, Cheaper Medicines and Cheaper Childcare. But surely if you want workers to have more money in their pockets you would support laws that lift wages and make jobs more secure.

Shame on local members from the LNP. They turned their backs on their communities once again and we will never let them forget it.