ETU slams Zinfra over serious Covid-19 breach in FNQ

Attention Political and General Reporters

For Immediate Release

ETU names and shames Zinfra over COVID -19 quarantine breaches

Victorian HR worker flouting of COVID-19 protocols puts recovery at risk

The Electrical Trades Union has called for immediate and appropriate action to be taken against overseas owned Energy Queensland Contractor Zinfra for its blatant breaches of COVID-19 protocols regarding border crossing and quarantine requirements.

The ETU was made aware on Wednesday that a Zinfra HR employee who in our view is not an essential worker as defined in the Border Restrictions Direction (No. 8) arrived from a COVID -19 “hotspot”, namely Victoria on Tuesday 14th July 2020 and is not complying with the self-isolation provisions of the directive. The ETU is aware that she was scheduled to meet multiple Zinfra employees for low level, non-urgent meetings on Thursday this week.

ETU state secretary Peter Ong said it was beyond belief that we have tourists and workers being turned away at the border, “while companies like Zinfra believe they are above the law by falsely declaring to Queensland Health that this was an essential activity. To make matters even worse we believe the employee did not have a COVID-19 test prior to leaving Victoria and has not had one in Queensland.” Mr Ong said.

Mr Ong said the reckless actions of Zinfra could put the state’s economic recovery in jeopardy.

“We have seen how quickly this virus can spread, it beggar’s belief that any company would make a decision to recklessly fly an employee from the epicentre of Australia’s Coronavirus outbreak into one of our states most important tourist destinations namely Far North Queensland.” He said.

Mr Ong raised issues about how many more companies may be using the tag of essential service to avoid testing and quarantine and questioned the effectiveness of the definition of what constitutes an essential service if an HR consultant could be deemed as one. “It throws the whole system out if companies can wrongly self-identify a clearly non-essential service like HR as an essential service, we call on the State and Federal authorities to review the definitions to ensure they are accurate and reasonable.”

“We are calling on Zinfra to immediately quarantine the employee from Victoria, self-report the honest facts to Queensland Health, and quarantine any other employee of Zinfra who has had contact with this individual. Further to this contact tracing of the wider public should also be performed as a matter of urgency and if any member of public should also be required to self-isolate, Zinfra must pay the costs of the isolation and any loss of wages due to the company’s reckless and dangerous flouting of rules and protocols.” He said

The police and health authorities have been informed of this reckless and dangerous breach.

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