Unions abuse safety concerns: Barnett

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West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has launched another attack against the Gillard Government’s mining policy, claiming harmonised safety laws will be used as a weapon by unions against companies.

According to The Financial Review Barnett said the laws would trouble companies by allowing unions to enter sites without permission if they suspected a safety breach.

Under the Fair Work Act unions must give 24 hours notice if they wish to enter a site to discuss industrial relations laws.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union has previously been accused of using safety concerns as a weapon in negotiations with BMA on its troubled Queensland coal sites.

WA has not yet agreed to pass harmonised safety laws under the Council of Australian Governments.

According to The Financial Review federal labour and CFMEU national construction secretary Dave Noonan hit back at Barnett’s comments and accused him of politicising important safety concerns.

"Where rights of entry have existed for safety, they have been used responsibly by our union and by the trade union movement, and Mr Barnett should not avail himself of the facts," he said.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association backed Barnett and said unions were attempting to run an industrial relations campaign "under the guide of safety".

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