Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Council Work Dries Up for Bay Whistleblower

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Council Work Dries Up for Bay Whistleblower

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessica Grewal

Hervey Bay's Brendan Czislowski says he was fired, traumatised and blacklisted because he dared to question the safety standards of the Fraser Coast Regional Council's worksites.

The 45-year-old worked as a contractor for the former Hervey Bay City Council for three-and-a-half years and says the only reason he was asked to leave was because he sent letters to Workplace Health and Safety officials about what he thought were potentially deadly work practices.

He says his breaking point came on February 11 last year when he was asked to lift and support an underground conduit in Hervey Bay without knowing there were live wires involved.

He claims that when he realised he was lifting live wires he asked the supervisor if he should put some wood in front of his legs to protect himself but was told not to worry about it.

He sent a letter to Workplace Health and Safety authorities.

A week later the council told him there was no more work for him.

"I was concerned for workers' safety.

"We could have been killed."

Before working for the council Mr Czislowski and wife Jenni had run a successful earth moving business but he said that after a year of working "pretty much" full time for the council he gave up the private side of his business because he didn't have enough time for the customers.

During the three-and-a-half-year period he was asked to buy three more excavators on the promise it would be worth it for him.

"I had sold my soul to the council," Mr Czislowski said.

"Then one day I asked the supervisor what he had for me the next week and he said 'Nothing for you'."

FCRC external services director Ron Smith said the only reason the council stopped using Mr Czislowski was because the contracting work dried up.

"I know he'd like to believe that it was because of the workplace safety issues but I think he's just trying to find an excuse or reason other than himself for why the work wasn't there."

Soon after Mr Czislowski stopped working for the council he was driving out to Dundowran when he spotted council workers using excavators on a site. …

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