Union’s fury over alleged COVID border breach

A WAR of words has erupted between the Electrical Trades Union and Energy Queensland contractor Zinfra over travel of a disputed non-essential worker to the Far North from Victoria.

The ETU is calling for immediate action against overseas-owned Zinfra, claiming it breached COVID-19 border crossing and quarantine requirements.

The ETU said a Zinfra HR employee arrived at Cairns Airport on Tuesday without self-isolating before departure or entering quarantine on arrival.

ETU state secretary Peter Ong accused the company of flying in the worker for "low level, non-urgent meetings".

The ETU's Peter Ong, Brisbane. Photographer: Liam Kidston
The ETU's Peter Ong, Brisbane. Photographer: Liam Kidston

"It's 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," he said.

"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."

A spokesman for Zinfra responded by stating the employee was a power services quality adviser who was conducting essential work to ensure the safe operation of the local electricity grid.

"We sought expertise from within Queensland, which was not available, before sourcing an appropriate worker from Victoria," he said.

"In our applications for travel, we fully disclosed the intended purpose of travel, which was approved in advance by the relevant authorities.

"Following concern from the ETU, local police investigated the reason for travel and confirmed it was consistent with the application and approval granted from the Queensland Government.

"The employee followed all social distancing and hygiene protocols and attended two sites while in Cairns. They have since returned to Melbourne."

Originally published as Union's fury over alleged COVID border breach