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July 19, 2018

Tonight, Shadow Assistant Minister for Workplace Relations Lisa Chesters and Senator for Queensland Murray Watt attended a public meeting hosted by Russell Robertson, Labor candidate for Capricornia to hear about the issue of unfair labour hire practices in Central Queensland.

Workers from across Rockhampton gathered at the Rockhampton Jockey Club tonight and told representatives about the rise of casualisation and dodgy labour hire within Central Queensland.

Robertson called the public meeting after listening to workers across Central Queensland who told him they were at their breaking point.

“I’m a coal miner, and have seen firsthand the damage that dodgy labour hire arrangements, that strip workers of the rights and pay they are fairly entitled to, is doing to our communities,” Robertson said.

“I am hearing stories about workers being sacked and offered their job back at reduced pay and young people being locked out of the housing market.

“Too many labour hire workers are being treated like second class citizens, with lower wages, worse conditions and no job security. The big multinationals have proven to be some of the worst offenders.

“This is unacceptable and cannot go on. Malcolm Turnbull and his local MP, Michelle Landry have done nothing to address the issue.”

Topics covered at the forum included the casualisation across Central Queensland and the wide spread of sectors it affects.

“It’s clear that casualisation and dodgy labour hire arrangements aren’t just limited to one industry,” Senator Murray Watt said.

“We are seeing it in mining, manufacturing, education, health and the public service. Every time I’m in Central Queensland this issue is raised with me.”

“It is shameful that an issue impacting so many Central Queenslanders has been ignored by your local member for so long.”

The forum was also an opportunity to discuss Labor’s recent announcement to establish new laws to tackle unfair labour hire practices in the Central Queensland region.

A Shorten Labor Government will legislate to ensure that workers employed through a labour hire company will receive the same pay and conditions as people employed directly.

“Labor’s new policy is based on a simple principle: if you are doing the same job, you should get the same pay” said Shadow Assistant Minister for Workplace Relations, Lisa Chesters.

“The announcement builds on Labor’s strong plans to improve the pay and conditions of working Australians, including examining the definition of “casual” work setting an objective test for deciding when a worker is “casual”.

“Labor is taking real action on labour hire and casualisation, something that your Labor candidate, Robbo, has been pushing hard for,” Chesters said.

“Michelle Landry thinks that the best way to help CQ workers is by giving a tax cut to the big foreign businesses that are giving them their fair pay and entitlements.”

“She’s proven once again that she’d rather side with Malcolm Turnbull and his big business mates. CQ needs a local member who’s on their side.”

Robbo is also encouraging Central Queensland residents to share their story by visiting