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‘We’ve seen it cracking’: Safety concerns over Chinese steel for West Gate Tunnel

Neil Mitchell
Article image for ‘We’ve seen it cracking’: Safety concerns over Chinese steel for West Gate Tunnel

There are safety concerns over Chinese steel set to be used to build the West Gate Tunnel project.

The contractor building the project has done a deal with Chinese state-owned company, ZPMC, to provide 17 per cent of the steel for the project.

The deal comes despite a state government promise that 94 per cent of materials used would be Australian.

There are also safety concerns about Chinese steel which date back to 2015.

Ian Cairns, National Manager at the Steel Institute of Australia, said he is worried about the safety of the steel.

“There’s certainly is some major risk and concern,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

Mr Cairns said there are “big question marks” over the quality of Chinese steel fabrication, plate manufacturing and welding quality.

“There’s been a lot of question marks over the welding quality, we’ve seen it cracking, just not up to Australian standards,” he said.

But the West Gate Tunnel contractor has assured the Steel Institute of Australia that the materials for the project will be up to scratch.

“John Holland have assured us that all of the material coming from China will be to Australian standards,” Mr Cairns said.

Quality checks are self conducted, so John Holland will be responsible for checking the safety of Chinese steel.

Mr Cairns said self checks are “a bit worrying”.

West Gate Tunnel contractor, John Holland, is a wholly owned subsidiary of state-owned Chinese company, China Communications Construction Company. ZPMC, the company providing Chinese steel for the project, is a subsidiary of the same company.

Neil Mitchell thinks something sinister is involved in the deal.

“My nose may be wrong but to me it smells,” the 3AW Mornings host said.

Both ZPMC and the China Communications Construction Company are heavily involved in the belt and road expansion policy from China.

Daniel Andrews was controversially the only Australian politician to sign on to the Chinese initiative.

“So we’ve got Daniel Andrews signing this weird deal, when nobody else does. Two Chinese companies he’s in bed with, owned by the communist government, are both heavily involved with belt and road,” Neil said.

“This is a worry.”

The office of Premier Daniel Andrews said no state projects have been influenced by the belt and road deal with China.

Press PLAY below to hear more on 3AW Mornings.

Neil Mitchell