Jobs Parliament Benalla LS Precast West Gate Tunnel Project

Ryan seeks guarantee from Andrews on Benalla jobs

02 June 2020


Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has used the return of Parliament to take Premier Daniel Andrews to task over job losses at the Benalla concrete plant.

Ms Ryan, who is also The Nationals’ deputy leader, asked Premier Daniel Andrews to guarantee that every one of the workers who lost their jobs as a result of Labor’s botched handling of the West Gate Tunnel project would get their jobs back.

Sixty workers were made redundant last week because work has ground to a halt as a result of the government’s inability to find a safe storage facility for contaminated soil.

A letter sent to employees of LS Precast last week attributed the layoffs to the delays in tunnelling works caused by the ‘current PFAS situation on the West Gate Tunnel Project’.

“Daniel Andrews must give each and every one of the workers who have lost their jobs as a consequence of the government’s stuff up on this project a guarantee that they will get their jobs back,” Ms Ryan said.

“Workers on this project were told that they had safe, secure and long-term jobs.

“Labor has used these workers as a political football before the last state election but now they are being laid off, government MPs are nowhere to be seen.

“Instead of trying to lay the blame at the feet of the contractor, Labor MPs should take responsibility and fix the problem.”

Ms Ryan said Labor had erroneously sought to paint the Liberals and The Nationals’ call for greater scrutiny over the project as blocking local jobs.

“I have always supported the construction of the Benalla concrete facility, but we have also had concerns from the beginning about Labor’s failure to do due diligence on the West Gate Tunnel project,” Ms Ryan said.

“Those concerns were justified, with revelations that a secret EPA report carried out before tunnelling began showing sections of the project’s soil had 100 times the levels of PFAS acceptable in drinking water.”

Ms Ryan said despite knowing about these problems, the Andrews Government told the Benalla community that the West Gate Tunnel had ‘been through the most comprehensive planning and environmental assessment process ever conducted for a Victorian road project’.

“The Premier needs to be accountable to those workers who have now lost their jobs because his government cut corners on the tunnel project,” Ms Ryan said.

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