John Gass

Bleijie to crack down on unions using safety as 'weapon'

QUEENSLAND Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie  has announced proposed changes to legislation to ensure unions cannot use safety as an industrial weapon at building sites across the state.

Mr Bleijie revealed the changes at the Master Builders Building and Construction Awards ceremony on Friday in Brisbane.

He said building sites across the state would now be better protected under proposed amendments to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

"For too long, we have seen construction unions using safety as an industrial weapon in this state," he 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."

Mr Bleijie said amendments to the Act would stop unions bringing constructions sites to a halt while ensuring legitimate safety issues were appropriately addressed by the regulator.

"Every Queenslander deserves to go to work, do their job, get paid and be treated fairly," he said.

"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."

Mr Bleijie said under the government's plans, union officials would have to provide at least 24 hours' written notice before they could enter a workplace.

"This will align with the Federal Government's Fair Work Act," he said.

"These amendments will ensure the safety regulator is the first port of call for any safety concerns.

"As part of our commitment to making Queensland workplaces the safest in the nation, we are putting the focus back on safety."

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union could not be reached today for comment.