Unions don't drive up costs on Curtis Island, Bechtel says

THE company building three LNG huge projects on Curtis Island off Gladstone has countered claims that widespread union disruption is driving up costs in ways that threaten another $100 billion wave of investment in gas exports.

The Australian reports giant US company Bechtel said there were no significant labour stoppages at its sites under workplace agreements with three big unions.

While the company acknowledged that other unions tried "all the time" to get to its sites to sign up members, it downplayed the threat to productivity and costs from poor work practices or constant claims for pay rises.

Company executives have warned in recent days that projects worth $100bn are at risk because of Australia's high costs in building liquefied natural gas facilities, blaming the problem on industrial relations, excessive environmental regulation, the high dollar and other factors.

Bechtel senior vice president and operations manager for LNG in Australia, Dick McIlhattan, said it was not possible to say that labour costs made Australia uncompetitive because other factors also determined whether an LNG plant might be cheaper to build in locations like Canada or Mozambique.

Read more in The Australian.



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