Turnbull Government targets workers and their unions, while corporations go unpunished

Published: 12 Feb 2017

Safety will be compromised if the amendments to the ABCC are passed in the Senate, following the backflip of Senator Derryn Hinch, according to the CFMEU.

CFMEU Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said workers had raised the issue in conversations with him and hundreds of officials around the country, as well as social media forums.

“These amendments will deliver worse safety outcomes for workers as it will be harder for union officials to go on site to inspect problems, lead to excessive overtime and further casualise an already itinerant industry.”

On the day of his appearance before the Senate Committee in Canberra to discuss the union’s submission on the amendments, Mr Noonan said thousands of workers are furious with Senator Hinch and Senator Xenophon for publicly declaring one thing and then voting for another.

“Both Senators like to boast about their support for safety, for jobs going to Australian citizens before the hiring of temporary visa holders and for the use of Australian made products over cheap, non- complying imports.

“Yet they are supporting amendments that severely restrict the union’s ability to deliver on all of this – and more.”

“They either don’t know what they’re doing in which case they’re not fit to be Senators or they should come clear that they’re doing the government’s bidding, despite the PR spin of being fair and independent.”

Mr Noonan said the union will fight any law that endangers the lives of working people.

“Workers are fed up with being treated as ‘collateral damage’ by the government. Workers die on the job and builders get off scot free.

“On Friday, our community in Adelaide was shocked to discover that the charges against the builder responsible for the death of Jorge Castillo-Riffo were dropped.

“A little over six months ago, in Canberra, Kay Catanzariti left the court in tears when she realised that no one would be held accountable for the failures that caused her son’s death after the charges against the builder was dropped in that case as well.

“While deaths in the industry go unprosecuted and corporations go unpunished, the government chooses to target workers and their unions, rather than tackle unsafe sites.

“And this is exactly what Senators Xenophon and Hinch are planning to vote for.”