Biosecurity Inspectors who were stood down after COVID restrictions were eased at Tasmania’s sea- and airports are back at the border screening passengers for foot-and-mouth and lumpy skin disease. These workers fought hard to show the government and the Department that they are essential and necessary workers. Their reinstatement to border inspection positions demonstrates that fact.
An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease could devastate Tasmania’s sheep and cattle industries, which are worth over $531 million a year combined. As diseases and viruses continue to spread easily and rapidly through global travel and supply chain networks, the need for adequate biosecurity screening of incoming passengers and their luggage is more essential than ever.
This was a point workers involved in the campaign to end 50-hour contracts in Biosecurity actively demonstrated. Not only is the work they do critical to public health, but also to the welfare of Tasmanian livestock and the agriculture industry. With rising costs of living, outbreaks of industry-wrecking viruses could be ruinous to Tasmanian low-income earners.
Moreover, workers and their unions have always fought for secure jobs and against casualisation and the use of dodgy contracts to keep workers in a weak bargaining position. Permanent work didn’t exist until workers fought for it and won. No one should be trapped in precarious employment. CPSU members are dedicated to eliminating precarious work in all its forms.
We call on the State Service Management Office to hold up their commitment to convert these workers to permanent work and ensure the protection of Tasmania’s environment and industries.