Strippers, drugs at bikies’ desalination plant parties, says whistleblower
- Herald Sun
- November 10, 2014
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 provided entertainment.
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:
SHOP stewards witnessed drug deals on the site.
A BIKIE employed with the support of management was sacked after he was caught sleeping in his car while being paid to work.
SOME shop stewards were on permanent night shift for up to three years, collecting double time for each hour’s work.
WORKERS had to wait days for supplies of basic materials such as bolts, leaving them unable to do any work.
DRUG-testing kits were rarely, if ever, used because of pressure from unions.
UNDER 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 sober up.
State Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews has defended the Labor Party’s desalination plant contract after the Herald Sun revealed on Monday that Melbourne water users were paying maintenance workers to plug leaks at the plant.
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 deal.
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 of government.
“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,” he said.
“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 “drug lords’’.
“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 office.”
The desal plant was known as “Treasure Island” among building workers for its generous conditions.
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 allowance.
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.