Turnbull’s latest attack on workers trashes Victorian safety law

Published: 17 Nov 2017

In another vicious attack on workers safety, the High Court has ruled Malcom Turnbull’s anti-worker laws override Victorian safety laws, putting workers lives at risk.

“The Minister responsible for workers safety in this country has gone missing since organising media stunt raids on union offices. Safety doesn’t get a look in,” said John Setka, Victorian Secretary of the CFMEU Construction Division.

“Michaelia Cash is putting the Liberal Party’s anti-union political agenda ahead of the lives and safety of workers. She should resign and let unions get on with their job of keeping workers safe.”

“Twenty percent more construction workers have been killed so far in 2017 than the same time last year. That’s 27 lives lost, 27 families devastated. What does the Turnbull Government do? Attacks unions, giving workers less power to improve safety.”

“The Victorian OHS Act is there to protect workers, and it’s been trashed by a government bent on attacking workers and their union.”

Section 58 of the Victorian OHS Act states that:

A health and safety representative for a designated work group may do any of the following—

(f) whenever necessary, seek the assistance of any person.

The High Court has ruled that union officials who do not hold valid entry permits, including some of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in the industry, are excluded from this by federal laws. Entry permits have previously been stripped at the call of Turnbull's ABCC for breaches as minor as use of everyday language or failing to give notice when dealing with an urgent issue.

“Trying to ban Union Officials with 30 years of industry experience and expertise from assisting in resolving safety issues on site will just result in more risks, more injuries and tragically, lives will be lost,” said John Setka.