Multiple unions gathered in the CBD today protesting the loss of Australian jobs to be replaced by foreign workers allegedly earning as little as two dollars an hour.
Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Ros McLennan said cost cutting by multinational organisations was bad news for worker safety, the environment and the Great Barrier Reef.
"Yesterday I spoke with Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles, who is really concerned of the impact that foreign workers, working on domestic shipping routes will have on our environment," she said.
Dr Miles said the federal government's shipping laws would remove regulatory support for the Australian shipping industry and jobs.
"As an exporting state with a huge coastline it is in Queensland's interests to support Australian[-flagged ships and Australian jobs, he said.
"As custodians of the Great Barrier Reef, shipping safety is absolutely crucial to the more than 60,000 Queenslanders who rely on the reef for their livelihoods."
Ms McLennan said a loophole in domestic shipping laws was allowing Australian workers to be replaced with exploited workers.
Maritime Union of Australia deputy branch secretary Jason Miner said unions were taking action after seeing Australian workers forcibly removed from their place of work by 50 police officers last week.
"All of this is done behind closed doors in a very secretive way but it has come to light that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority together with the government, Rio Tinto and Pacific Aluminium collectively determined how to remove these workers from their place of work," Mr Miner said.
"The union didn't know, the workers didn't know, it was done with tactical precision."
Mr Milner said there could potentially be another 2000 Australian job losses.
The group met at Anzac Square before congregating at Rio Tinto's headquarters on Albert Street.
A Rio Tinto Spokesperson was unavailable today to comment on this matter.
The Maritime Union of Australia and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union also rallied outside a Grocon project site on Adelaide Street in Brisbane's CBD in support of three CFMEU members who were removed from the site early Friday morning.
The three men said they were working at the 480 Adelaide Street site on Thursday when a Grocon worker allegedly "came at" one of the men with a pole and allegedly hit the man in his head and caused damage to his hand.
One of the three men then allegedly "took a pole to the side of the head" and then "grabbed the pole and punched him (the alleged Grocon worker) in the head".
The men claim the situation was unprovoked and was in "self defence", and were removed from site Friday morning.
CFMEU assistant state secretary Jade Ingham said the union was in talks with Grocon about what to do in the short term, and was taking legal advice.
"Ultimately we are trying to secure these blokes employment so they don't get sacked for standing up for their mates," Mr Ingham said.
"It is a dangerous industry, we have to stand by each other."
A Grocon spokesperson confirmed there was an "altercation" at the 480 Adelaide Street site on Thursday, however said there were "no Grocon employees involved".
"That altercation involved three employees from one subcontractor and a single employee of another subcontractor," a statement from the company says.
"We are undertaking our own investigation of the incident and have also referred the incident to the Queensland Police."
Grocon confirmed all four individuals involved had been stood down until an investigation had been completed.