UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Australian Gas Networks chief operating officer Andrew Staniford, APA's Matthew Sawyer and Minister for Agriculture & Fisheries Leanne Donaldson. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Australian Gas Networks chief operating officer Andrew Staniford, APA's Matthew Sawyer and Minister for Agriculture & Fisheries Leanne Donaldson. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

Pipeline jobs head south?

MEMBER for Burnett Stephen Bennett claims local gas pipeline contractors have been sacked in favour of Brisbane-based workers.

He says the move has taken millions of dollars out of the Bundaberg economy and that Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson is doing nothing to stop it.

Mr Bennett said he had been approached by several local contractors who voiced their concerns that they had been employed to work on the pipeline, only to have had their contract terminated shortly after.

He claimed locals had been betrayed by the Member for Bundaberg who promised that local resources, including contractors and sub-contractors, would be used for trades and services in the construction of the multi-million dollar project.

"After raising the plight of local unemployment with the local Labor Member for Bundaberg many times, it's extremely disappointing to hear from several local contractors that local earthmoving contractors and sub-contractors have been sacked from the gas pipeline project, at the benefit of Brisbane-based contractors," Mr Bennett said.

"We all applauded the promises our local member made in relation to the gas pipeline generating employment locally, and supported the project when some locals were initially engaged to carry out excavation works, but we now know that upon raising some serious safety concerns, they were all subsequently let go.

"The Member for Bundaberg and her Labor government is denying our economy of millions of dollars, and I simply cannot sit back and watch this happen.

"Other locals have completely missed out on the opportunity, not for lack of trying."

Ms Donaldson hit back at Mr Bennett's claims.

She said the relationships between builders, contractors and suppliers and what happens between them was a matter for them.

"I will leave it to them to comment," she said.

"It is unfortunate however that the Member for Burnett is once again being 'Mr Negativity' and blaming anything that happens locally on the State Government.

"Instead of celebrating the great benefits of the pipeline, which I might add include the number of local jobs being revised upwards to around 300% higher than initially forecast, he only wants to try and score cheap political points."

"The gas pipeline and other projects in and around the Port of Bundaberg are exciting for our town.

"It's a sad indictment on the LNP that its big plan for the Bundaberg Port is to sell it."

"In regards to any safety issues, the relevant Department has already commenced a review into the situation, though evidence to date suggests that the appropriate safety regimes are in place and being implemented."

Mr Bennett said it was yet another example of hypocrisy from Ms Donaldson.

"The Member for Bundaberg says one thing and does the complete opposite by failing to support local contractors ... These contractors approached the local member in desperation and begged for assistance."



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