Backpackers employed over Tasmanians for Royal Hobart Hospital development, Opposition says
26th Feb 2016
A $22 million contract to build a temporary Royal Hobart Hospital building has been handed to a Victorian company employing overseas backpackers, the State Opposition says.
- Contract for building temporary hospital facility given to interstate company over local firm, Opposition says
- New building will house patients while Royal Hobart Hospital development underway
- Union shut down work site today over health and safety concerns
In September, the Health Minister announced Tasmanian company Fairbrother had won the contract for the building which would house patients while the hospital redevelopment was underway.
But Labor’s health spokeswoman Rebecca White said she believed the demountable building taking shape at Macquarie Point in Hobart was being completed by a Victorian firm.
“What’s been discovered is that the contract has been given to a Victorian company who built that facility in Victoria and has now brought it to Tasmania,” she said.
“They are using a Victorian workforce and even backpackers on site, as opposed to using a local workforce who are very capable and certainly able at this point in time to work on this project.”
Fairbrother engaged Modscape, which specialises in constructing modular projects, to do the work.
Ms White said at least one Launceston company had also tendered for the project, but missed out.
Union shuts down work site of health and safety concerns
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union organiser Richie Hassett said it was disappointing work for up to 100 workers was sent interstate.
“Disappointment is probably putting it lightly,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of Tasmanian workers out of work in the construction industry down here for a while.”
Mr Hassett said the redevelopment of the hospital had been touted as a major job-boosting project.
“Now we see the first major component of it sent offshore when a local established company that employs 100 per cent local workers missed out on the project,” he said.
Work on the site was shut down today after the union raised concerns about health and safety.
Mr Hassett said there was no cold or hot running water at the site.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said Fairbrother’s tender was the only one that could meet the required timeframes, and the fully modular approach to construction would allow the building to re-used.
“Fairbrother have in turn engaged interstate specialist [Victoria–based] contractor Modscape for the modules and Launceston contractor Crisp Brothers Hayward for the significant steel works and have therefore employed workers in Launceston, Spreyton, Hobart and Victoria to deliver the Liverpool street temporary facility,” Mr Ferguson said.
Mr Ferguson said all workers and subcontractors involved were employed legitimately.
Mr Ferguson said he was not aware if the Macquarie Point work site had been shut down.