New Bendigo hospital work put on hold

THE Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union says work on the new Bendigo Hospital is unlikely to start for some time yet. 

The CFMEU took the Victorian government to the Federal Court late last week, accusing it of breaching provisions of the Fair Work Act after it said Lend Lease, one of two companies with tenders for the project, would not be eligible for the job. 

Lend Lease signed an agreement with the CFMEU in breach of state government guidelines. 

CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan said the government had promised to not ban Lend Lease from the project until the union had been able to run its case in court. 

“Essentially the government’s backed off temporarily,” he said. 

“What they’ve said is they won’t do anything before April 1 or until the court has heard the matter. 

“The government is in a position where they’ve had to agree not to proceed to knock Lend Lease off the tender list until the union’s had an opportunity to run its case in court.” 

Mr Noonan said the union would now work on its court case.  “Our case is that the state government is breaking the law by trying to bring pressure to bear on the parties to change or abandon the agreement,” he said. 

“Just to be very clear, no one ever suggested the agreement’s not lawfully made. 

“Even the Victorian government hasn’t suggested that.

“So we don’t need to prove that. What we need to prove is, is the state government acting illegally?” 

Health Minister David Davis said on Thursday that the project was on track and announced another phase of the tender process. 

The two consortia will have to provide more information to the government and Mr Davis said the process would finish six weeks later. 

But he said the documents still required bidders to comply with the new Victorian government building code.

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