Premier says union influence claims ‘misleading’ as extra $15m allocated for sport

Sports vouchers for $200 are now available to 200,000 Queensland school kids to help their parents pay for community sports.

Premier Steven Miles on Saturday at Logan announced an expansion of the existing program from 50,000 to 200,000 vouchers.

He also addressed suggestions of inion influence on construction businesses applying for government contracts.

premier says union influence claims ‘misleading’ as extra $15m allocated for sport

Queensland Premier Steven Miles on Saturday announced his government would expand the existing sports voucher scheme and provide 200,000 sports vouchers worth $200 to parents to pay sports fees.

“We’ve upped them to $200 and made them available to 200,000 kids,” Miles said at the Cornubia Sports Club in Logan.

The Queensland government has also removed the means testing for the vouchers to restrict who can apply.

“All Queensland families can now access these vouchers,” he said.

The newer sports vouchers are part of a suite of junior and community sports programs financed with an extra $15 million in Tuesday’s state budget.

About $9.5 million of the funds go to sports clubs and sporting organisations to build new club facilities as extra young people join sports clubs in Queensland.

At the media conference to announce the sport funding, Miles described reports his government was asking businesses hoping to win government tenders to meet with unions as “misleading”.

The accusation by Civil Contractors Federation Queensland chief executive Damian Long is that union influence takes place at meetings of Queensland’s Building Industry Reference Group.

The CFMEU, the Australian Workers Union and the Electrical Trades unions – who represent a high proportion of employees on construction sites – are on a panel of 24 industry representatives providing advice to government on firms hoping to win government contracts over $100 million who pay well and provide safe worksites.

Premier Miles said reports excessive union influence ruled businesses “in or out” of government contacts over $100 million was misleading.

“While there are unions on the Building Industry Reference Group, most of the participants there are the employers,” Miles said on Saturday.

premier says union influence claims ‘misleading’ as extra $15m allocated for sport

The Cross River Rail worksite has been involved in several union claims over worker safety.

“The industry itself knows who the reputable operators are, so it is useful to get the feedback from them.”

Miles said he was getting “sick and tired” of attacks on construction site workplaces.

“I am determined they are well paid, that they should have safe workplaces and that there should be First Nations employees, women employees and apprentices too.”

Miles said the Building Industry Reference Group did not make decisions, but provided advice to government.

Long on Saturday said the policy to take advice from industry stakeholders was “wrong” and “eroded the probity of government”.

He told News Corp: “To go outside of government to get subjective opinion to select contractors for government work absolutely erodes that independence.”

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