Workers and their unions are celebrating the restoration of fairness for working Queenslanders after State Parliament recently passed the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (the Bill).
It was an election commitment from Labor that workers and their unions fought hard to obtain, and fought harder to achieve through the ballot box.
The legislation overturns the 2013 Newman Government laws that removed the rights of workers injured in unsafe workplaces, as well as other unfair changes.
The LNP government had ignored the submissions of many, many experts in removing these protections from workers’ compensation. When it removed these rights, it even ignored the opinion of the LNP chair of the parliamentary committee investigating workers’ compensation.
Queensland unions joined with other community campaigners – the Workcover Protection Coalition and the Australian Lawyers Alliance – to advocate for the rights of injured workers, and to maintain protections for all Queensland workers.
Events were held from Kawana (above) to Cairns, from Ashgrove to Toowoomba, backed up with radio ads and billboards throughout the state.
Unions campaigned on the issue in 2014 at the Redcliffe by-election and the Stafford by-election. Swings of more than 17 per cent in both ballots shows the community campaign was having a real impact.
It also added another to the many reasons to “put the LNP last” at the state election.
Repeal of the legislation shows the value of a committed, combined effort from union members and community groups.
Unions will continue to advocate for fairness and workers’ rights, especially on issues such as workplace safety and penalty rates.