- Entry-level workers on West Gate Tunnel are making $110k to $200k per annum
- Skilled tradespersons on the site are pocketing closer to a staggering $300k
- Masters Business Association said the high figures resulted from a union deal
- Deal affects state government infrastructure projects which are taxpayer funded
The latest figures from an industry report have revealed entry-level labourers on one of Australia’s biggest construction sites are raking in nearly $200,000 a year.
Unskilled workers on Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel can earn $110,000 per annum for a 36-hour week which climbs to $195,000 for those who work 56 hours.
However, a qualified tradesperson on the $6.7 billion project – operated by John Holland and CPB Contractors – would expect to take home closer to $300,000 once all relevant allowances had been paid.
The numbers were released by the Master Builders Association of Victoria, which described the site allowances as ‘incredibly high’.
‘An entry-level labourer, working no overtime, on a six-figure salary is probably getting paid more than a teacher or other workers,’ Master Builders Association chief executive Rebecca Casson told The Age.
‘It’s these incredibly high site allowances that really push wages up; these are payable regardless of any of the environmental factors on site,’ Casson said.
‘Site allowance’ payments on the tunnel have reached $9.25-per-hour – bumping up a labourer’s wage by more than $24,000 a year.
Ms Casson said many builders were willing to pay the hefty cost to avoid confrontations with the union.
‘You go with the union EBA and you take on those extra salaries and costs, and you avoid the issues around unlawful industrial action- but eventually the cost is actually borne by the people of Victoria because the costs are passed on,’ she said.
The government said projects are managed under pre-negotiated contracts between workforces and contractors and do not increase taxpayer costs.
Any additional costs are paid by private associations granted the job, they said.