EastWest road link a casualty of CFMEU control of the Victorian Government

I have been intrigued about why Daniel Andrews canned the Melbourne East West road link.  The standard answer to save inner city seats does not wash as those seats were always going Green and in mollifying the inner city denizens he aggravates potential users from more winnable seats in the East.

The Victorian ALP government claims the East West link doesn’t pass a cost benefit test.  Whether or not this is true (one study by the Coalition government said it didn’t, another claimed it did) Andrews did not have the information to make that claim until he became Premier.  Moreover, he has announced a clutch of rail infrastructure projects that would be an order of magnitude less cost beneficial than the East West link.

So is the answer that the puppeteers at the CFMEU told him to do so and if so why?  One answer is that there is on-going friction between the CFMEU and Lend Lease, the major contractor for the road.  But Lend Lease, in spite of difficulties with rogue unions, does do deals with them in the end, deals which the community pays for in excessive costs.

An alternative answer lies with the Construction Code that the previous government insisted upon for contractors who tendered for the project.  This essentially overrode the EBA by getting rid of many costly provisions within it and perhaps even making it a non-union site.  The unions unsuccessfully sought to have the Construction Code declared illegal on grounds that it breached the Industrial Relations Act.

The Independent Contractors of Australia have estimated that the CFMEU’s EBA raises costs by 20-34 per cent.  Not only would the project as negotiated have prevented the excessive costs of the EBA, but it would have illustrated the benefits of avoiding union collusive agreements more generally.

In ensuring the project is abandoned, the union sends a strong message to all in the community that the it is bigger than any government and trying to by-pass it will bring consequences.

h.t Ken Phillips

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26 Responses to EastWest road link a casualty of CFMEU control of the Victorian Government

  1. min

    Andrews wants to sell ports to raise money for infrastructure like train line . CMFEU stopped him at recent Labor conference. What now?

  2. john constantine

    Didn’t i read at michael smith recently that the new south wales cfmeu had a team working for a solid week on deleting emails from their system to avoid the Royal Commission looking at the evidence.

  3. tomix

    LendLease’s Tier 1 competitors may not be terribly unhappy about the bad news.

  4. david

    Also look at the timing of Andrews’s change of mind, the very day after it was announced who was the successful tenderer. Perhaps there is something in the Lend Lease thing!

  5. tomix

    Andrews wants to sell ports

    Beattie and Bligh gave them away, in Qld.

  6. Leigh Lowe

    I predict that, within ten years, we will see a Labor Gummint commission something which looks like a half-brother to East-West Link, built by their partners in crime at the CFMEU.
    It will be like the Desal plant on steroids.

  7. notafan

    With a contract price of ten billion which blows out to 15 billion

  8. Robert Crew

    I have been intrigued about why Daniel Andrews canned the Melbourne East West road link.

    I don’t have any information beyond the public domain, but I too had long heard that it was because the CFMEU needed to tear up the Construction Code, before it could spread to other projects. I believe this was common knowledge (however accurate) in political circles before the Victorian State election.

  9. Ivan Denisovich

    An alternative answer lies with the Construction Code that the previous government insisted upon for contractors who tendered for the project.

    Piers:

    It wasn’t the only gift to the CFMEU, either.
    Mr Andrews has also abolished the Victorian Building Code, thereby fulfilling a promise he made to CFMEU bosses Dave Noonan and Bill Oliver as they stood beside him at the 2012 Victorian ALP state conference.
    The code ensured that building companies on Victorian construction projects operated lawfully and ­efficiently and provided value for money for taxpayers.
    When he confirmed he would abolish the code, Mr Andrews claimed that the “code that has been found by the court to be unlawful”.
    That statement was as dishonest as Luke Foley’s claim that the planned leasing of half of NSW’s electricity poles and wires by a Baird government will drive up power prices.
    A Full Court of the Federal Court in 2013 found the Victorian code to be lawful when it threw out the CFMEU’s legal challenge to it.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/luke_foley_opens_door_to_toxic_victorian_mate/

    This essentially overrode the EBA by getting rid of many costly provisions within it and perhaps even making it a non-union site.

    Grocon strike:

    At the centre of the dispute is the CFMEU’s claim that Grocon is refusing to allow externally appointed safety representatives, elected by the CMFEU, on to construction sites.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/andrewbolt/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/cfmeus_real_safety_concern_is_its_power/

    In ensuring the project is abandoned, the union sends a strong message to all in the community that the it is bigger than any government and trying to by-pass it will bring consequences.

    Didn’t take long:

    The CFMEU celebrates Labor’s win in Victoria by deciding which businesses may operate:

    THE CFMEU shut down an Aldi supermarket construction site, the militant union flexing its muscle just a week after Labor won power in Victoria.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/andrewbolt/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/a_week_after_labor_wins_victoria_the_cfmeu_shuts_down_a_project/

  10. Ant

    Extortion, any way you wanna look at it.

    BTW, speaking of cost benefit analyses, how did the Victorian Desalination Plant stack up – $6 billion build, $23-28 billion funnelled from Victorian taxpayers directly into the coffers of the big union super funds who backed it, not to mention the billions extorted by the ludicrous deals done between the Labor government, the builder and the lazy unionised slobs who built it?

    And not a single drop of water to show for it.

  11. Fred Lenin.

    When the green/ alp/ communist Pardee is forced by circumstances to build a union planned East West Link it will be costed a t somewhere between $7 billion and $ 375 billion usual socialist pricing. Depends on how much they Steal .andrew Daniels or whatever his name is ,is. Real green/ alp/ communist Pardee Aparatchik. Never worked a day in his useless life ,and the tepid muppets still vote for tge clowns ?

  12. wreckage

    The obvious response is for the coalition to kick the shit out of the unions when in office.

  13. notafan

    My local federal member an LNP newbie supports the pro east west link campaign on Facebook.
    Good to see the libs making good use of social media, for once.

  14. Rabz

    When one of the two major political parties is effectively controlled by labour unions, this is what happens.

    No one should be surprised, but people should be a little more energised by how unacceptable the unions’ behaviour actually is.

    Some examples:

    – Closed shops – i.e. worksites (no ticket no start)
    – Secondary boycotts and violent pickets which aren’t shut down by the police (who, surprise surprise, are also militantly unionised)
    – Government commissioning non CBA endorsed projects with inbuilt costs that green light unacceptable inefficiency, payoffs for union bosses and massively expensive labour costs
    – Apartment developments – hugely overpriced due to closed shop unionised labour gangs constructing them
    – Shutting out of more efficient and cost effective private contractors
    Make work schemes that benefit the unions
    – Investments by union controlled industry super funds (and if they were properly publicised, revealed to be invariably against members’ interests)
    – The subverting of the democratic process – given the ALP’s behaviour throughout its existence, this should not need explaining – e.g. when did dastyari (to cite the latest in a long line of examples) ever contest an election that involved the general populace?

    The unions are a criminal racket and it’s way over time that they were shut down with extreme prejudice.

    Why people tolerate abominations such as Wonthaggi (thanks, ant) is beyond me.

    The liberals, yet again, have proved themselves utterly incapable of meeting this challenge. The supine behaviour of Naptime et al is a classic example.

    The much trumpeted “Royal Commission” effectively achieved less than zero. The crims are back and they’re emboldened.

    This country is a noxious, toxic, filth encrusted euphemism.

  15. H B Bear

    Wonthaggi is costing every Victoriastani household around $300 extra a year. The Liberals should have been shouting this figure at every press conference since they accidentally fell into government. The Green-Labor Victoriastani sheep would probably have voted them back in anyway.

  16. john constantine

    The soprano victorian government banning drug and alcohol tests on building sites might have been going a bit too far even for the cfmeu.

    Think i heard on their abc radio that the cfmeu is now calling for selective testing of drunk and drugged building workers, just not ‘mates’.

  17. Up The Workers!

    Dodgy Dan is “Setka’s Sorbent”.

    The world’s only bum-wipe with jug ears, 4 eyes and a forked tongue.

  18. JohnA

    john constantine #1646415, posted on April 2, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Think i heard on their abc radio that the cfmeu is now calling for selective testing of drunk and drugged building workers, just not ‘mates’.

    Please define “drunk & drugged building workers” – does it happen to exclude paid up CFMEU members, by any chance or coincidence? Hmm?

  19. Le Chiffre

    My mate in construction tells me that the CMFEU were not happy about the abolition of drug testing of building workers because they were ready to do the testing themselves, at $100 a pop.

  20. Walter Plinge

    The obvious response is for the coalition to kick the shit out of the unions when in office.

    It is the obvious response but not one the Victorian Liberals are likely to implement, being weak, accommodating to their enemies, and green-tinged.

  21. Empire

    The solution is simple.

    Launch an ASADA investigation on the CMFEU. It will amount to nothing, but will usefully distract the thugs from their Marxist mission for the next two years.

  22. craig

    Empire: ASADA stands for AUSTRALIAN SPORTS ANTI-DOPING AUTHORITY.

    Why would ASADA be involved in construction matters?

  23. min

    Andrews had unionist in uniforms such as firies and paramedics handing out pamphlets ,door knocking in marginal seats spreading lies . Media os pro left so TURC under reported and majority do not know the bias in coverage.
    I belong to a Current Affairs group of older well educated , retirees whom I asked the other day in reference to a headline UNIS turn against Pyne if they had heard the complete speech given by the uni representative who had saiid they supported the original legislation and not happy with the watered down version trying to get passed thru Senate. Not one had ,these are people with time to research topics and still mainly read the Age altho’ that headline was from the Australian.
    So Cats spread the truth about the unions, biased reporting and read for yourself what is happening.in transcripts. Out there with general public I feel I am a lone voice
    Sinclair ,perhaps you will volunteer to address our group one Wednesday morning Let me know.

  24. Farmer Gez

    Does anyone know what has happened to the 300 million raised from the sale of Rural Finance to Bendigo Bank? The previous government earmarked the money for regional Victoria. I fear it is now slush cash for Doofus Dan.

  25. Speedbox

    This country is a noxious, toxic, filth encrusted euphemism.

    Precisely, and whist it is still possible to make money in this country, the risks, the tax and the unending red/green tape means that making that money gets harder and harder.

    I am convinced that Australia is economically, socially and politically on borrowed time (not to mention money) and the problems are so deeply entrenched, and the solutions so politically poisonous, that there is no reasonable prospect of significant change in the prevailing attitudes in the next 10-15 years, at best.

    It is sad that some of us feel compelled to invest elsewhere out of sheer worry that the fruits of our labour will be unnecessarily eroded, or even partially confiscated, by both Labor and Liberal Governments that pander to every dopey rent-seeking snake-oil scheme. There are too many examples to list from the past few years and worse, there is no end in sight.

    God help us all.

  26. JohnA

    craig #1646661, posted on April 3, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Empire: ASADA stands for AUSTRALIAN SPORTS ANTI-DOPING AUTHORITY.

    Why would ASADA be involved in construction matters?

    Standard operating procedure: Rename the organisation, including a new image, fresh “branding” and a new employment structure. Inflate salaries (again), pay external consultants for the image and branding.

    Something like Australian Special Anti-Doping Authority.

    That will be $50,000 thanks Mr Andrews; here’s my numbered Swiss bank account. And another $50,000 for creating a new logo.

    To quote Douglas Adams:

    [Advertising account executive (female, blonde)] Well, we have to find out how people want to relate to fire…establish how it moves them.
    [Ford Prefect:] Stick it up your nose!
    [Advertising account executive] Exactly! Do people want fire that can be fitted nasally?

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