Queensland anti-bikie laws to target gang members in construction industry
- The Courier-Mail
- January 03, 2015
The controversial move to ban “participants in criminal organisations” from the building industry was meant to come into force last year but was postponed for 12 months in June – two weeks before it was due to start.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said at the time the move was postponed to allow for the Federal Government’s trade union inquiry to report back.
While the trade union inquiry has been granted an extra 12 months to conduct further inquiries and hand down its final report, Mr Bleijie’s office has confirmed that at this stage, there is no plan to further postpone the licensing crackdown.
A spokesman for the office of Mr Bleijie said the State Government was currently reviewing the union inquiry’s interim report.
The licensing changes will mean that electricians, plumbers and builders will have to relinquish any ties they might have with motorcycle gang members or face deregistration.
The Electrical Trades Union, among the most vocal opponents of the changes, argues innocent people with no criminal records could lose their jobs as a result and is calling on the government to reconsider the plan.
“It’s manifestly unfair to pick on people because of who they hang around with,” ETU state secretary Peter Simpson said.
Mr Simpson added that at least 50 of his union’s members could be affected.
The union had planned to launch a High Court challenge to the changes but Mr Simpson said they had received legal advice which stated they would have to wait until a member lost their job before they could do so.
Mr Simpson said at this stage he was yet to receive any information on exactly how the new licensing regime would be implemented.
Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams also called for a reassessment on the licensing crackdown, labelling it “too broad a brush”.
At least 300 of the State’s estimated 1500 outlaw bikies are believed to have severed ties with their old gangs since the Newman Government first rolled out its bikie crackdown.
The crackdown came about following the infamous Broadbeach brawl in 2013.
Exactly how tradies can go about proving they are no longer members or associates under the new licensing regime is yet to be revealed.