Construction halts on new school
CONTRACTORS working on one of the State Government's flagship school projects at Coomera have been told to stop work on part of the building because of the risk of injury to workers.
Toowoomba contractor FKG, owned by the wealthy Gardner family, is building the $64 million Foxwell State Secondary School on Foxwell Rd, which is due to open for the 2020 school year.
Last week it was issued with seven enforcement notices in a single day by Work, Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ). A further two were issued to subcontractors working for FKG. Two of the nine notices issued prohibit further work until the problems are rectified while seven relate to improvements that need to be made.
WHSQ found for FKG that there was a risk workers using scaffolding on the south face of the administration building could fall, site sheds were not secured, and there was inadequate emergency access to the roof and first aid facilities as well as a lack of electrical supply boards. The agency also found a subcontractor was using damaged scissor lifts.
WHSQ will visit today to check the problems have been fixed.
FKG declined to comment.
CFMEU Qld and NT assistant state secretary Jade Ingham said the enforcement notices were cause for concern.
"Over the life of a project like this, one or two enforcement notices would be cause for concern, but to cop seven in the space of one day - and with more to come - is reason to ring the alarm bells," Mr Ingham said.
"Time and time again on building sites you see that if a contractor can't manage core safety issues then they can't properly manage delivery of the wider project."
Mr Ingham said the community needed to have the confidence that school facilities are being built to a high standard, especially when "we've got millions of dollars of taxpayers' money being invested".
Education and Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said compliance of work, health and safety issues was an operational matter for WHSQ.
"The Palaszczuk Government expects that all contractors, including those working on State-funded projects to comply with all health and safety standards and adhere to all safety laws," she said.
"That's why if contractors fail to meet important workplace standards, including work health and safety standards, this may impact upon their ability to secure Government contracts into the future in accordance with Government procurement policies."
She said she expected the school to open on schedule next year for 250 year 7 students.
Foxwell State Secondary School is the only new state school to open on the Gold Coast next year.