Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison has put Health Minister Brad Hazzard on notice that there must be local workers including apprentices, Aboriginal people and women employed on the construction of the New Maitland Hospital.
The NSW Government has appointed Multiplex Constructions to build the $470 million facility at Metford.
Ms Aitchison’s office has today received a number of calls from Maitland companies expressing concern that local firms may be overlooked for involvement in the project.
She acknowledged the community concerns because the Berejiklian-Barilaro State Government has a poor track record on local jobs after outsourcing train manufacturing to Korea and recent revelations about requests for tenders from RMS requiring tenderers to show how they would implement and increase offshoring of work from 20 per cent and upwards.
The New Maitland Hospital will be a critical test of the Liberals and Nationals recent Budget commitment to train the next generation of tradespeople with 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships over the next four years.
Ms Aitchison has previously made submissions to Minister Hazzard requesting a faster time frame for the hospital construction to increase job opportunities as well as requesting that local Aboriginal people be employed on the project to help them gain skills for long term employment when the project ends.
The New Maitland Hospital was originally promised in early 2011. With unemployment rising from around five per cent under Labor to nearly 12 per cent at its peak under the current Government, Ms Aitchison has been a long term advocate for an expedited delivery program for the project.
When the $414 million redevelopment of Stockland Green Hills was underway Ms Aitchison met with Minister Hazzard to expedite the commencement date on the new hospital to try and keep construction jobs in the area. This led to the earlier than anticipated commencement of enabling works late last year.
Ms Aitchison said she would be writing to the successful tenderers to ask them about their plans for job creation in the Maitland and wider Hunter region.
Quotes attributable to Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison
“The NSW Government must ensure that local tradespeople and especially young people, Aboriginal people and women seeking employment are given a fair chance to participate in this project. The New Maitland Hospital is the single biggest public infrastructure investment by the State in Maitland and there should be a significant economic boost for the city. ”
“I’m concerned by the level of anxiety already being expressed by Maitland businesses that they are not optimistic about their chance of securing work on this project. Minister Hazzard needs to take these concerns on board and ensure there’s a level playing field for contractors.”