The Australian government plans to address casual mine work. Picture: Tara Miko
The Australian government plans to address casual mine work. Picture: Tara Miko

Casual conversion legislation coming for miners

LEGISLATION will be introduced to parliament allowing casual miners doing de facto full-time work the right to convert to permanent employment.

The Morrison Liberal Nation Government's move was outlined in a statement sent from Dawson MP George Christensen's office.

It said the Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter had written to Mr Christensen noting the government's intent to introduce the new laws.

These laws are set to provide "clear and certain statutory definition and universal and strengthened access to casual conversion".

" … I intend to have legislation in the parliament this year that addresses the two major issues surrounding casual employment, being the uncertainty around the meaning of casual employment and an employee's ability to access casual conversion," Mr Porter's letter stated.

"Both of these issues are interrelated and must be properly considered and reformed at the same time, through a clear and certain statutory definition and universal and strengthened access to casual conversion so employees can choose the form of work that suits their needs."

The announcement was made just nine days out from the Queensland election, which is shaping up to be a referendum on coal.

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CFMEU Mining and Energy general president Tony Maher said it was "beyond time" the casualisation crisis in mining was addressed. 

"We need a meaningful definition of 'casual' as intermittent, irregular and without firm advance commitment - not just full-time jobs the boss wants to call casual," Mr Maher said.

"Very few coal mining jobs are genuinely casual and coal miners deserve the entitlements and job security that should go with full-time, on-going work. 

"We will keep campaigning on this issue and holding George Christensen and the Morrison Government to account for addressing it."  

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said any legislation from the Federal Government needed to ensure there was fairness in the workplace.

"We don't want to see different tiers of workers being paid different rates and having different conditions," Mrs Gilbert said.  

The statement went on to describe the LNP's commitment to the mining industry.

"Our mining industry supports thousands of jobs and is critical for Central and North Queensland and our national economy," it read.

"We believe workers have the right to be rewarded for their efforts as permanent employees.

"The government's longstanding position is that employers and employees need certainty about their legal entitlements and obligations. They also need to be fair.

"This is what builds the confidence that will be critical to help businesses emerge from the pandemic. This will be the government's priority going forward."

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