A BENDIGO tradesman has described a recent public information session for the new hospital project as “window dressing for the locals”.
The tradie, who did not wish to be named, contacted the Bendigo Advertiser at the weekend.
“I read the article in Saturday’s paper about concerns locals will be shut out of the new Bendigo Hospital project,” he said.
“It’s 100 per cent right.
“I went to that meeting, the information session for tradies, but I’ve also got a lot of connections in the industry and they don’t plan on giving Bendigo much work out of this at all.
“It’s a hot issue.
“What really makes me annoyed is that we’ve got good people in our town who are frothing at the mouth to have a crack to, to make some decent money for a change, and the Melbourne people are going to come in and take it.”
The man said the situation was very unfair.
“The only people who are going to make money out of this job are going to be the hotel and motels,” he said.
“It happens every time we have a major project in this town. They think the people in this town are incompetent, that they don’t have the skills that the need.
“My argument to that is how are people in this town ever going to get a crack at something and get their skill levels up if the contracts come in and they never get a crack at them?
“I’ve worked all over Australia as a tradie and I can tell you know that Bendigo is not very well looked after.
“Maybe they might pick up a little bit out of it but the only people who are really going to see much out of this are the hardware shops in town, anything to do with suppliers and the hiring joints.
“There might be some locals that get on the job but it won’t be mass numbers like the people from Melbourne.”
The multi-million dollar project is expected to create 770 jobs but no formal commitment has been made to Bendigo trades people.
A partnership between key players in the new Bendigo Hospital project is working to ensure Bendigo businesses are best placed to win work but some tradies fear Melbourne will take the bulk of the work. A Department of Health spokesman said employment patterns could not be predicted until the contract decisions were made.