Bikies working on the Victorian Desalination Plant supplied strippers and the drug ice at midweek parties which co-workers were encouraged to attend, according to media reports.

According to a report in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, a whistle-blower speaking on condition of anonymity has told the newspaper that the parties – with regard to which thugs had gained entry through invitation from union mates or links with managers at building contractor Thiess – had been used to create a market for illegal drugs.

According to the report, which also says medical staff were discouraged from using drug-testing kits on the site and adds that there were concerns some workers may have been operating machinery whilst affected by illicit drugs, other allegations by desalination plant workers include that:

  • Shop stewards witnessed drug deals on the site.
  • A bikie employed with the support of management was sacked after he was caught sleeping in his car while being paid to work.
  • Some shop stewards were on permanent night shift for up to three years, collecting double time for each hour’s work.
  • Workers had to wait days for supplies of basic materials such as bolts, leaving them unable to do any work.
  • Drug-testing kits were rarely, if ever, used because of pressure from unions.
  • Under conditions of a pay agreement, workers testing positive for drugs or alcohol and who agreed to counselling had to be given a two-hour paid break to sober up.

The report comes amid criticism about the viability of the plant, which the government says is costing the state $1.8 million per day in order to maintain whilst sitting idle as it is not currently needed.

Whilst State Treasurer Michael O’Brien describes the project as a waste of money, Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews says the plant represents a world class asset which will help future-proof Victoria’s water supply in the event of future droughts (the plant was the brainchild of the previous Labour government).

Announced in 2007 in the midst of what had then been a decade long drought, the plant is located nearby on the Bass Coast in southern Victoria.

Originally scheduled to cost $2.9 billion and be completed by 2011, however, the plant did not achieve full production capacity until the end of 2012, at which time it was placed on standby mode as good rainfall had seen reservoirs in Melbourne return to levels of above 80 percent full.

Even if no water is required, the plant is now expected to cost between $18 and $19 billion even if no water is required, part of which relates to a minimum $1.8 million per day amount payable to the construction consortium for at least 27 years following completion.

  • The unions in Victoria are nothing short of a bloody disgrace.

  • The previous Labor State Government was ill advised by consulting engineering advisers who did not recommend that the desal plant be built in stages. The desal plant as it stands should have been built in 3 or 4 stages over 10 years, if indeed drought conditions prevailed over this time.
    In the same manner, the current Liberal State Government has been ill advised by consulting engineering advisers about the east-west tunnel.
    This is the nature of PPP projects – maximizing profit for private consortia at the expense of the tax payers.

  • Who's mate was selling desal technology around 2007? It is a technology most unsuited in a bay like Port Philip. The resulting brine from the plant will be disastrous for the environment in the vicinity. The Labour government had plenty of options on the table including gravity fed (no ongoing energy costs!) water from the Tasmanian Highlands.
    If Labour is voted back in in Victoria (I do not live in Victoria) the Victorian taxpayer can look forward to funding more white elephant projects and criminal behaviour.
    A good responsible union is a necessity, unfortunately in their current form construction unions are the biggest single incentive to maximise offsite modular construction and therefore reduce employment opportunities in Australia