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Sun November 28 2021

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Australian unions fight use of foreign workers on $6.8bn scheme

10 Oct 14 The Australian Council on Trade Unions has said that the government should be “ashamed” at plans to use foreign workers to build the AU$6.8bn (£3.7bn) East-West Link.

ACTU said that the unions are shocked and disappointed at reports that foreign workers on ‘457’ temporary works visas will be used to build one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Victoria’s history.

A consortium of Lend Lease, Bouygues, Acciona and Capella Capital closed a AU5.3bn deal for the first stage of the road last month.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said the news came just a day after Victorian premier Denis Napthine announced his local jobs plan and promised that the AU$6.8 billion project would be a boon for young workers and apprentices that would set them up with skills for the rest of their lives.

“It is extraordinary that just a day after Premier Napthine promised thousands of new jobs for Victorians that the first job we’ve seen advertised is one to coordinate foreign workers,” she said. “The ink is barely dry on the contract and there’s already a job advertised for an immigration adviser to manage 457 visa applications for the East-West Link project. It’s outrageous - unemployment is at around 6.8% in Victoria and just over 6% nationally. This project is being paid for by both the Victorian and Federal Governments – how can they allow temporary workers to be brought in from overseas when there are Victorian and Australian workers desperate for jobs?”

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