Australia's construction union has been put on notice by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over reported delays at sites for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has repeatedly been accused of delaying construction at several sites on the Gold Coast, threatening to blow out taxpayer-funded budgets for the projects.
While Games organisers have claimed there is space in their budgets for such delays, Mr Turnbull has used a column in the Courier-Mail to say the public don’t deserve to be “fleeced” or have the Games held to ransom.
Mr Turnbull said CFMEU officers organised 60 hours of stop-work meetings at the Carrara Sports Precinct site in May, costing the head contractor $700,000.
“During these stoppages, CFMEU members held barbecues while they were on the clock, taking home full pay,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Around Australia, more than $8 million in fines have been imposed on the CFMEU in recent years. However, as judges have observed, these penalties are not nearly enough for a union that treats law-breaking as part of its business model and fines akin to parking tickets – simply a cost of doing business.”
Mr Turnbull used the column to express his opinion the Australian Building and Construction Commission – abolished by the Labor government in 2012 – must be restored.
Queensland Commonwealth Games minister Stirling Hinchliffe dismissed Mr Turnbull’s column as a political “stunt”.
Mr Hinchliffe says there are no concerns about budgets or timeframes for delivery of the sites for the April 2018 Games.
“We have fixed price contracts for all venues,” he said.
“Many of our Games venues have already been delivered … we’re now in the final leg of the construction race.”
All competition venues would be delivered 12 months before the Games as promised, Mr Hinchliffe said.