More choice for casual mine workers on the horizon
CASUAL mine workers will have the choice to become permanently employed if legislation introduced to Federal Parliament last week is successful.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the new policy would deliver far greater flexibility, fairness and better job opportunities for Central Queensland mine workers.
One Nation has also said it will introduce a policy this week to allow casual mine workers the choice to move to permanent work after six months.
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations Kelly O'Dwyer introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Right to Casual Conversion) Bill 2019 last Wednesday to amend the Fair Work Act 2009.
It would insert into the National Employment Standards a new right for eligible employees to request to convert to full-time or part-time employment.
"This means that, if they want to, all eligible employees will be able to ask their employer to move from casual employment to full-time or part-time employment," Ms O'Dwyer told parliament.
The vote is expected to take place this week and after helping to drive changes to the Bill, Ms Landry said the ALP should back the plan.
"Extreme casualisation has been something of a scourge upon the mining landscape of Central Queensland and something I have lobbied and worked to address," she said.
"We have gladly seen a number of local mining houses put on more permanent staff and tales from mining communities of mines 'handing out shirts' for the first time in many years.
"We know how important full-time work and full-time workers are to not just their employers but for their communities."
One Nation candidate for Capricornia, Wade Rothery said coal mine workers included everyone who worked on the mine sites, "not just those who dig coal out of the ground".
"People can go to different mines chasing the money and because they are casual they do that," he said.
"If we can put this into place and people can go permanent, that will give them and the mining towns more stability."
The ALP's candidate for Capricornia, Russell Robertson did not comment on the legislation but said for five years the government had denied casualisation and insecure work were real problems facing Australian workers.
"Wages growth is at record lows and the government has no plan to address people's stagnating wages," he said.
"Labor took to the last election a policy to legislate an objective definition of casual work and continues to call for the government to join us on this."