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Bill Shorten has pounded the pavement with north Queensland sporting royalty as he continues a three-day blitz across the sunshine state.

Rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston joined the opposition leader for an early morning run in Townsville on Wednesday.

Mr Shorten then attended a military parade at nearby Lavarack Barracks marking the 68th Korean War anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong.

There were 32 Australians killed in the April 1951 battle, holding back a Chinese advance, with more than 50 others wounded.

Later on Wednesday, Mr Shorten will visit a construction site in the ultra-marginal Labor seat of Herbert as he ramps up his pre-election jobs pitch.

He is promising 2.6 million casual workers an easier pathway to permanent work if Labor wins office.

Labor is proposing laws allowing casuals to request permanent jobs after 12 months with the same company.

Workers would also be given the right to challenge an employer who “unreasonably refuses”.

“While some people like the flexibility that casual work provides, for others it has become a constant worry – never knowing what it’s like to have a paid sick day or paid holiday,” Mr Shorten said.

“For these workers, it’s tough to pay the rent or the mortgage and the bills, let alone make longer-term decisions like taking out a car loan or buying their own home.”

Labor’s policy builds on a recent decision of the Fair Work Commission, which paved a path for casuals to ask for part-time or full-time employment if they worked a regular pattern of hours over a year.

Currently, there is no obligation for an employer to switch a casual worker into a permanent gig.

“Too often, long-term casual work is used as a mechanism to pay workers less, deprive them of leave, and make them easier to sack,” Mr Shorten said.

There are 2.6 million casual employees in Australia. More than half have been with their employer for more than 12 months and 192,000 have been in the same job more than 10 years.

Crippling unemployment is a major issue in Herbert, which Labor’s Cathy O’Toole holds with a margin of 0.02 per cent.

Labor’s clamp down on casual work is the latest in a string of industrial relations reforms the opposition has released this week.

Mr Shorten is also promising to boost the minimum wage, crack down on the use of foreign workers and pump money into regional tourism.

However he continues to be dogged by questions about Labor’s position on the Adani coal mine, with many Queensland voters focused on the jobs on offer at the Galilee Basin project.

Mr Shorten is also expected to face questions after telling a Queensland coal worker he would “look at” tax cuts for people earning $250,000.