1.8 billion reasons why Peter Malinauskas must stand up to John Setka and CFMEU

1.8 billion reasons why Peter Malinauskas must stand up to John Setka and CFMEU

Posted on: 20 June 2024

South Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects – the North-South Corridor and new Women’s and Children’s Hospital – could be under threat of an almost $2 billion dollar cost blowout if Peter Malinauskas doesn’t stand up against John Setka and the CFMEU.

Opposition analysis - which has been independently verified - has revealed CFMEU infiltration of the projects could see a $1.8 billion cost blowout, based on recent pattern pay agreements endorsed by CFMEU members in Victoria.

It comes as the Malinauskas Labor Government is poised to announce the head contractor for the $15.9 billion North South corridor project.

The CFMEU is currently negotiating the draft SA Major Civil Contractor Enterprise Agreement 2023 with industry which mandates the use of Incolink – a redundancy and retirement benefits fund – which means millions in taxpayer dollars will flow to the Victorian-based entity.

Construction workers in South Australia are currently covered by the SA entitlement scheme called BIRST but are scheduled to transition to Incolink from next month.

Leader of the Opposition, David Speirs, said South Australia’s construction industry is not big enough to absorb the CFMEU cash grab.

“It’s time for Peter Malinauskas to act on his promises and stop John Setka and the CFMEU from infiltrating our civil construction industry,” Mr Speirs said.

“We cannot afford to see huge amounts of extra money – to the tune of billions – added on to the North-South Corridor and new Women’s and Children’s Hospital projects.

“We warned Peter Malinauskas almost two years ago about the danger of John Setka and the Victorian CFMEU’s infiltration of South Australia’s building industry, but the Premier was arrogantly dismissive, now it’s his problem to fix.”

Shadow Treasurer, Matt Cowdrey, said Peter Malinauskas’ failure to act could result in significant cost blowouts to the North South Corridor and Women’s and Childrens Hospital with South Australian taxpayers footing the bill.

“The Government should be doing everything in its power to prevent millions of South Australian taxpayer dollars going to Victoria; industry sources have suggested to the Opposition that a way to stop this could be a procurement policy for the major projects that mandates the use of BIRST rather than Incolink,” Mr Cowdrey said.

“Peter Malinauskas promised he would act against the CFMEU if the time came, and that time is now.

“For more than a year the Liberal Party has been calling on Labor to support legislation to create a South Australian Construction Industry Commissioner.

“We can’t understand why Labor has refused to support a new local industry watchdog 16 times to help protect South Australia’s construction industry against tactics of intimidation, threatening behaviour, and forceful disruption of worksites.”