Safety protest over air­port link

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Sarah Brookes

A PROTEST at the head­quar­ters of the com­pany manag­ing the For­rest field Air­port Link raised safety and qual­ity con­cerns about the $1.8bn project.

The Con­struc­tion, Forestry, Mar­itime, Min­ing and En­ergy Union (CFMEU) led the protest out­side the Red­cliffe of­fices of Salini Im­pregilo with state sec­re­tary Mick Buchan call­ing on the com­pany to “tidy up your act” fol­low­ing a se­ries of on­site in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing the for­ma­tion of a sink­hole near the air­port and claims of worker safety at risk.

“Safety is ap­palling… work­ers are be­ing ex­ploited and we’ve had enough,” he said. “There are en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues around con­tam­i­nated soils and safe dis­posal, stor­age wa­ter that may end up be­ing con­tam­i­nated and dust sup­pres­sion. We have a lot of ques­tions not get­ting an­swers.”

SI-NRW project di­rec­tor Richard Gra­ham said the For­rest­field-Air­port Link was be­ing con­structed to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

“WorkSafe has com­pleted more than 35 in­spec­tions since con­struc­tion started and last in­spected the sites on Novem­ber 9,” he said.

“There were no no­tices raised. We op­er­ate eight open sites and pro­vide union ac­cess to rel­e­vant ar­eas three to four times ev­ery week. Unions have made al­most 300 vis­its to our sites since con­struc­tion com­menced,” he said.

“We are em­ploy­ing the high­est stan­dards and achiev­ing in­cred­i­ble en­gi­neer­ing feats, in­clud­ing hav­ing now com­pleted 6.4km of tun­nelling.”

Trans­port Min­is­ter Rita Saf­fi­oti said the Gov­ern­ment was do­ing ev­ery­thing to make sure the project was safe for work­ers.

“We have had WorkSafe visit the site on dozens of oc­ca­sions and we have in­creased the gov­ern­ment re­sources in mon­i­tor­ing the project, in­clud­ing in­creas­ing the amount of sur­veil­lance to make sure there is now 24-7 cov­er­age.”

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