News, media releases

Essential worker process showing clear gaps

  • Interstate contractors flown in for government projects
  • ‘Essential’ workers denying Tasmanian jobs
  • Gaps in quarantine put public health at risk

Labor is calling on the government to explain why it is flying workers in from interstate to work on government projects when a Tasmanian could complete the job.

Shadow Minister for Building and Construction Jen Butler said in one recent example, a roofing contractor from Victoria was flown in to place silicon on a leak at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

“This is proof the government isn’t ensuring Tasmanians are prioritised when it comes to getting people into work.

“The Royal Hobart Hospital is owned by the government, and they are ultimately responsible for any of the work that takes place.

“We have an estimated 500 skilled roofers in Tasmania – what steps did the government and its contractor take to confirm there was not a single one that could undertake this task?

“The Premier yesterday admitted that the process relies on documents submitted by employers to prove why a worker isn’t available in Tasmania – why is nobody checking the validity of these applications, and what’s the penalty for lodging false information?

“This worker was able to go straight from a plane to work on the state’s largest hospital without waiting for a COVID-19 test result.

“The government says the process is being tightened – but without mandatory quarantine after testing, it is putting the community at risk.

“It is beyond time the government steps up and takes responsibility for the essential worker process that is taking jobs from Tasmanians and risking the state’s COVID free status.

“It will take more than a bit of silicon to plug the leaks in Peter Gutwein’s moat.”

Jen Butler
Shadow Minister for Building and Construction