Palaszczuk Fails to Protect Queensland Jobs at Sea

Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has condemned the Palaszczuk Government for a failure to act in relation to Rio Tinto’s use of foreign crews on intrastate routes. He said the state government should be making sure Queenslanders are given jobs on ships taking intrastate voyager, not cheap foreign labour. Referring to Pacific Aluminium’s decision to sack Australian workers and replaced them with developing world workers, paid as little as $2-an-hour, Pyne said blame could be sheeted home to Pacific Aluminium parent company Rio Tinto.

Pyne said, “The continued use of foreign crew company contravene Australian labour, safety and wage laws. The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) are on record as saying, “They say they can’t afford Australian workers on Australian wages, yet Alfred Barrios – the global CEO of Aluminium – pocketed $3.6 million in wages and because of their generous decision to pay out US$2.15 per share, he made another $300,000.”

Pacific Aluminium was a profitable subsidiary of mining giant Rio Tinto and as a result did not have a valid business case for sacking its local workers.

In today’s sitting of Queensland Parliament, Mr. Pyne asked, “Will the Palaszczuk Government condemn Rio Tinto’s use of foreign crews on intrastate routes and make sure Queenslanders are given jobs on ships taking intrastate voyager, not cheap foreign labour?”

Pyne said he supported the MUA on this issue and levelled criticism at the Palaszczuk Government that he said “has ‘bent over backwards’ to facilitate Rio Tinto projects such as $2.6 billion Amrun project which is developing one of the world’s largest bauxite deposits in Cape York.’ He said “We must ensure corporations such as Rio Tinto meet their obligations to us as a community.”

“Why is Rio Tinto replacing Australian seafarers with highly exploited foreign labour to the complete disregard of local jobs, national security and environmental risk and what is the Palaszczuk Labor Government going to do about it?” he said.

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