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QLD_GCB_NEWS_JEWEL_26SEPT

Worksite walk-off rule straight from CFMEU

TRIAL "minimum conditions" the Palaszczuk Government wants builders to agree to if they want state construction work have been copied and pasted from a controversial CFMEU agreement that sends workers home on hot and humid days.

But the national construction watchdog has warned it has a "high risk" of "unlawful discrimination" and putting contractors foul of federal laws.

Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni is behind the controversial “minimum conditions” for building contractors. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni is behind the controversial “minimum conditions” for building contractors. Picture: Alix Sweeney

The extraordinary "minimum conditions", being trialled for the Cairns convention centre project, give workers on major projects inflated pay and forces them to down tools on hot and sticky days when the temperature hits 28C with 75 per cent humidity when working on projects in southeast Queensland.

Swathes of the document have been taken directly from the CFMEU's Queens Wharf enterprise agreement.

Builders who don't agree to sign up to the conditions, for themselves or their subcontractors, will not be considered eligible for state government construction projects they are applied to.

While it has been trialled for the Cairns project, it is being considered for a wider rollout, with the Gatton Correctional Centre expected to be next in line.

But correspondence from the Australian Building Construction Commission, seen by The Courier-Mail after it was circulated around major Queensland construction companies, warns if contractors accept it and refuse to hire subcontractors who won't sign up to it, they are at "high risk" of breaching the Federal Fair Work Act.

This could see them banned from tendering for lucrative Commonwealth projects.

The ABCC warned against "exerting undue influence or undue pressure … to make above entitlement payments in respect to building projects" and contractors signing up to the conditions to "exercise caution".

LNP Opposition deputy leader Tim Mander said the proposed conditions would be a “hammerblow” to the construction industry. Picture: Tara Croser.
LNP Opposition deputy leader Tim Mander said the proposed conditions would be a “hammerblow” to the construction industry. Picture: Tara Croser.

Master Builders Queensland boss Grant Galvin said it risks blowing out construction costs without improving safety or productivity.

"It beggars belief that the State Government would even consider a policy which ensures that the most expensive and restrictive work practices in the state are applied to all major government jobs across the state," he said.

Opposition deputy leader Tim Mander said it proved the government was "owned by the unions".

"Rolling out unworkable conditions statewide will be a hammerblow to the construction industry and drive up the cost of projects," he said.

Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said the documents were designed in accordance with state and Commonwealth legislation.

LNP Senator James McGrath said the state government had been "busted like a fat kid in a lolly shop".

"They need to explain why they are acting as a middle man for the CFMEU," he said.


UPDATE: Six crews contain fire, traffic still blocked

UPDATE: Six crews contain fire, traffic still blocked

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