Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie has called on the Federal Government to expand its planned inquiry into union conduct to also investigate mounting allegations of corruption and collusion with criminal gangs.
Mr Bleijie said reports today that senior union officials were linked to bribery and criminal gangs needed to be examined.
“These allegations are disturbing but not surprising and Queensland is not immune,” Mr Bleijie said.
“We have heard reports of extortion, blackmail and bribery occurring on Queensland construction worksites but the victims have been too afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals.
“Construction is one of the four pillars of Queensland’s economy and this Government would, as should the unions, welcome any initiative to ensure integrity is maintained in such an important industry.
“We are doing our bit to clean up industries, including construction, through our anti-gang reforms.
“The Crime and Misconduct Commission, Police and industry bodies told us certain types of businesses were being used as either fronts or vehicles for further criminal activity.
“Under our reforms, participants in criminal gangs will not be able to gain or retain a license or permit in these industries.
“Until our crackdown, criminal motorcycle gang members could work in our homes, change our locks and guard our homes and businesses.
“Cleaning up these industries is a win for everyone because businesses will be trusted and customers will know they are being served by law abiding professionals.
“Some unions have bankrolled a criminal gang challenge to our reforms in the High Court, but now it’s time for them to stand up and say that thugs and corruption are not welcome in their organisations.
“As part of our commitment to maintaining integrity in the construction industry, we have also created a new Building, Construction and Compliance Brach, which will enforce new guidelines and also provide industry education.”