Strippers, drugs at bikies’
desalination plant parties, says whistleblower
Stephen Drill and Matthew Johnston
November 10, 201410:08PM
plant at Wonthaggi was a hotbed of drugs
and parties, say workers.
WORKERS on Victoria’s
desalination plant have told how bikies supplied
strippers at drug-fuelled midweek parties.
A whistleblower, speaking on
condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, has
claimed bikies working on the project would
encourage co-workers to come to midweek parties
where ice flowed freely and strippers from Melbourne
The parties were used to create a
market for drugs.
He said the thugs had been invited
by union mates or muscled their way in through links
with managers at construction company Thiess.
Other allegations by desal plant
workers include that:
stewards witnessed drug deals on the site.
employed with the support of management was sacked
after he was caught sleeping in his car while being
paid to work.
shop stewards were on permanent night shift for up
to three years, collecting double time for each
had to wait days for supplies of basic materials
such as bolts, leaving them unable to do any work.
kits were rarely, if ever, used because of pressure
conditions of a pay agreement, workers testing
positive for drugs or alcohol and who agreed to
counselling had to be given a two-hour paid break to
Mr Andrews told 3AW that the
contract signed by Labor, which will cost up to
$22.5 billion over 28 years, was “absolutely” a fair
At a press conference, Mr Andrews
also stood by the size and scale of the plant, which
was commissioned by Labor during its previous term
“I’m certain that when we, as an
economy and a community, need to call upon and make
a claim against that insurance policy, I’m very
confident that not even the Liberal Party would be
bagging or criticising an important insurance policy
against a changing climate and a growing Victoria,”
“The insurance, yes, there is a
cost; but the cost of running out of water is much,
much higher,” he said.
Treasurer Michael O’Brien said
Victorians were paying $1.8 million a day for the
desalination plant to sit idle.
“Victorian families can’t afford
to return to a Labor government that thinks it’s OK
to drive water bills up from an average of $500 to
$1200 because of dud deals like the desalination
plant,” he said.
The Herald Sun understands
medical staff were discouraged from using
drug-testing kits on the desal site and that there
were concerns some workers were operating machinery
while affected by illicit drugs, including ice.
Independent Contractors of
Australia executive director Ken Phillips said the
only people who profited from the desal plant were
“The Victorian public is paying
for the rorting, the drug-taking and the bad
management,” he said.
“It’s Labor’s great legacy to the
people of Victoria. If Labor wins this election, the
CFMEU will have direct access to the Premier’s
The desal plant was known as
“Treasure Island” among building workers for its
A mobile crane operator or an
electrician on a CW7 rate working night shift could
earn up to $4868 a week. That included a tax-free
$700 living-away-from-home and a $69.58 daily travel
A $5.86 redundancy payment, paid
for each hour worked on site, was added on top of
those rates, which would add another $328 a week for
workers on a 56-hour week.