RRC CEO Evan Pardon is defending the state's decision to permit Victorian workers to enter Rockhampton
RRC CEO Evan Pardon is defending the state's decision to permit Victorian workers to enter Rockhampton

Industry expert explains why Victorian roadworkers are in CQ

In the aftermath of the weekend’s debate about Victorians roadworkers travelling to Central Queensland, a local industry expert has confirmed the expertise is not available locally.

The story first arose that police had visited the workers’ hotel regarding Covid-19 paperwork, although it is yet unclear how long that was after they disembarked at the Rockhampton airport.

Central Queensland readers quickly turned it into a debate over whether locals should have been offered the contracts rather than workers from interstate.

“What are we doing importing people when there are so many people would could do with the job in Queensland out of work?” wrote one reader.

“You’d think it would be a matter under the contract that local, regional or at least Queensland residents would be employed to complete the work,” wrote another.

A representative from Fulton Hogan confirmed the Rockhampton Regional Council’s advice that there was no slurry seal equipment or operators to be found locally.

“We used to have one years ago but we stopped providing the service,” he said.

“It’s not a viable business decision for us to compete in the slurry market at this time.

“That’s not saying we won’t in the future.”

Fulton Hogan is a company which offers asphalt and bitumen spray services around Australia and overseas, with offices in Gladstone and Emerald.

Its representative said Mayor Margaret Strelow was correct in stating there are limited slurry seal machines available in Australia, so the specialist crews had to travel interstate.

“It’s a niche market and, to my knowledge, Downer EDI is the only company providing those services to both Rockhampton and Gladstone councils,” he said.

“We participate in tendering for Council contracts when they relate to services we can provide and I would say the Councils are more than fair in supporting local workers.”

The Downer Group confirmed to The Morning Bulletin it was their workers who received a police visit but said their paperwork was already sorted before they left Victoria.

“Maybe there was some confusion because the status of the Victorian border had changed so quickly,” a Downer Group rep said.