West Gate Tunnel: 60 workers laid off as government and builders squabble over toxic soil
Image: West Gate Tunnel Project
At least 60 workers on the West Gate Tunnel project have been laid off today.
The redundancies are due to contaminated soil laced with a toxic chemical, PFAS, which has delayed the work of tunnelling machines.
The machines have already sat idle for five months, and aren’t expected to be back in operation for months.
Work on the $6.7 billion project, which was due to be completed in 2022, is at least six months behind.
The state government, Transurban and the project’s builders are arguing over who is responsible for managing and disposing of the contaminated soil, with no resolution in sight.
Half of the project’s 300 tunnelling workers are set to be retrenched due to the delays.
An Australian Workers Union spokesperson said workers are being made redundant in groups, and more will be told to leave later this afternoon and tomorrow.