Bendigo Health investigates 'corruption' allegations

BENDIGO Health has stood down one of its senior construction managers over serious allegations of corruption.

The construction manager has allegedly been directing work to favoured contractors in return for lucrative kick-backs.

In the latest claims, it is alleged that he has been pressuring winning bidders of Bendigo Health electrical projects to sub-contract labour-hire employees from certain firms.

Some of the kick-backs are believed to have included labour and building materials used in the manager's private home renovations, sources say.

Fairfax Media has confirmed Bendigo Health recently suspended the manager from his duties and launched an independent investigation.

It is understood to be awaiting the investigation's outcome before taking further action.

Victorian Health Minister David Davis has been briefed on the allegations and said the healthcare provider had taken the appropriate steps.

Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder said in a statement that an independent investigation into the manager's conduct was underway.

"The organisation is taking this matter seriously and if any allegations are proven they will be dealt with accordingly," he said.

"It is important that the staff member concerned be afforded natural justice, including the ability to respond to the outcome of the investigation."

The corruption claims were also referred to Attorney-General and Finance Minister Robert Clark.

The case is another example of corruption allegations that have dogged the Victorian building industry in recent years.

Bendigo Health has previously been hit with claims of corruption and inducements on its multi-million-dollar redevelopment project, with reports last year of a union organiser receiving gifts from a contractor.

The royal commission into trade union corruption has recently come under attack from the ACTU for failing to properly investigate employer misconduct.

ACTU assistant secretary Tim Lyons said in October that the inquiry had failed to probe unions and employers, despite the Abbott government's claims it would be a "sword that cuts both ways".


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