New open and transparent IR laws

Published Tuesday, 30 April, 2013 at 08:55 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Jarrod Bleijie

Queenslanders can have greater confidence in the governance of industrial organisations under new laws introduced by the Newman Government today.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the amendments would provide greater accountability for all industrial organisations in Queensland.

“These organisations occupy a unique and privileged position in the industrial relations system,” Mr Bleijie said.

“In light of that position, members deserve to know where and how their membership fees are being spent.”

“The new laws will apply to 32 employer associations and 34 trade unions currently registered in Queensland.

“The Newman Government believes in freedom of association, and the amendments if passed will support workers’ rights to choose whether to join an association or not.”

Mr Bleijie said these laws would also delete union encouragement clauses in public service contracts.

“If unions want to increase their membership, they can do it themselves; this government is not a recruitment agency,” he said.

“Having greater accountability and transparency is in everyone’s interest. It’s time to put an end to the scandals and let the light shine in.”

Under the amendments, four publicly available, retrospective registers will be set up and required to be kept up to date from 1 July 2012.

These include a register of material personal interests declarations, gifts and benefits given and received by officials and employees and a register of ballots for expenditure on political items greater than $10,000.

Maximum penalties for dishonesty will be increased from $22,000 to $340,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment, in line with the Corporations Act.

The amendments will also end confusion over the definition of ‘worker’ under workers compensation legislation and will align with the tax office’s model.

“These changes will ensure that the current duplication and overlap of contractors carrying their own private insurance as well as being covered by WorkCover Queensland will end,” Mr Bleijie said.

[ENDS] 30 April 2013

Media Contact: Katherine Hornbuckle 0402 862 351