Questioning by Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie in Senate estimates yesterday revealed the Fair Work Building and Construction Commission is re-examining an intervention that was withdrawn from the Victorian Supreme Court in 2012.
Senator McKenzie questioned FWBC director Nigel Hadgkiss about the legal action that was initiated in response to illegal work practices by unions at the Victorian Desalination Plant in Wonthaggi.
In a Senate estimates hearing yesterday, Mr Hadgkiss said after reviewing evidence, the case needed to be reinvestigated.
Senator McKenzie said the Wonthaggi plant was costing Melbourne water customers more than $600 million a year regardless of whether any water from the plant was delivered.
She said the project had been plagued by cost blowouts and had failed to meet key milestones, which meant a greater financial burden on taxpayers.
‘‘The project was an enormous waste of taxpayers’ money undertaken by the previous Victorian Labor Government,’’ Senator McKenzie said.
‘‘After a series of delays, the desalination plant, which is costing Victorians up to $24 billion over 28 years, started operating in 2012, but the Victorian Government has not needed to order any water in the past two years.’’
‘‘This was a colossal failure on all fronts by the previous Victorian Labor Government.’’
“While I welcome the FWBC re-examining this matter, we deserve to know why the agency ever withdrew the action to start with.”
Senator McKenzie asked Mr Hadgkiss to consider the case a matter of urgency and report back to the Committee.
The Coalition has introduced a bill to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which was set up by the former Howard Government but dismantled by the former Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Government after a campaign from militant union bosses at the CFMEU.
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