POLICY QUESTIONED: A South Burnett magistrate has questioned the drug testing policy at the region's biggest employer.
POLICY QUESTIONED: A South Burnett magistrate has questioned the drug testing policy at the region's biggest employer. Will Hunter

Magistrate questions Swickers' drug testing policy

A SOUTH Burnett magistrate has questioned the drug testing policy at Kingaroy's Swickers Bacon Factory in court twice this week.

In Kingaroy Magistrates Court on Monday, November 26, duty lawyer Chris Campbell was giving submissions for a client facing charges of possession of methylamphetamine, and possession of a pipe and scales used in relation to administering a dangerous drug.

Mr Campbell said his client had worked at Swickers in the past, and was in the process of regaining employment at the facility.

"Swickers has quite a rigorous urine drug testing policy," Mr Campbell said.

Magistrate Louisa Pink interrupted Mr Campbell.

"Well, that's what I'm told, but I seem to get quite a large number before the court that work there," she said.

Magistrate Pink again questioned Swickers' drug testing policy in Murgon Magistrates Court on Tuesday, November 27.

"Curiously, I'm continually told that people who work at Swickers don't use drugs because you're drug tested. It doesn't appear to me to be the case," she said.

Robert van Barneveld, the CEO and Managing Director of Sunpork Group, which runs the Kingaroy factory, said Swickers had a strict policy on drugs and alcohol.

"Swickers has comprehensive drug and alcohol policies and procedures in place that include pre-employment and other screening," he said.

"Swickers meets and focuses on its obligation to maintain the safety and well-being of all employees at all times, including ensuring no employee has the capacity to endanger themselves or others as a result of impairment from drugs or alcohol."

Swickers is the largest employer in the South Burnett region and Dr van Barneveld believes it is unreasonable to draw a correlation between court appearances and employment at the factory.

"It would be presumptuous and incorrect to suggest that there is any relationship between court appearances for drugs-related charges, employment at Swickers and the policies and procedures applied by Swickers to ensure the workplace is drug and alcohol free," he said.