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Feedback sought on Queensland construction long service leave scheme

A Queensland company has been selected to redevelop a former heritage rail station into a mixed-use urban precinct.

Feedback is being gathered on proposed changes to Queensland’s construction industry portable long service leave levy arrangements, which aim to ensure the scheme’s long-term financial viability.

Administered by Qleave, the scheme aims to ensure workers can accrue leave even if they change employers or work interstate.

It is funded by a levy based on building project costs, with similar portable long service leave schemes in other states. It is one of three levies collected under the Building and Construction Industry (Portable Service Leave) Act 1991, with the other levies being a building and construction industry levy and a workplace health and safety levy.

Queensland Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the Newman Government made changes to the scheme in 2014, which have significantly compromised the financial viability of the scheme, reducing it by $91.3 million between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2018.

“The State Government is proposing to restore the scheme to its former fairer structure, ensuring its longer-term financially sustainability,” Grace said.

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“We want to hear from everyone who has been or will be affected by any changes to the scheme.”

Public comment is also being sought from industry stakeholders on support for a small increase in the workplace health and safety levy to enhance support for mental health and suicide prevention in the construction industry.

“Tragically, suicide rates in the building and construction industry are much higher than in other industries, particularly amongst younger workers who are two to three times more likely to take their own lives than other Australians,” Grace said.

“In August 2018 the Queensland Government announced additional funding of $1 million to help Mates in Construction expand its suicide prevention program to rural and remote areas of the state.

“A 0.005 per cent increase in the work health and safety levy would provide long-term funding certainty for suicide prevention and mental health programs in the construction industry at minimal cost.”

Submissions for the proposed changes should be made by close of business on Thursday 30 May 2019.

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