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Nearly 100 jobs have been slashed from the $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel project, bringing the total number of job losses to 450 amid an unfolding soil contamination crisis.
At least two Indigenous trainees were among 25 blue-collar workers who were stood down by joint-venture builders CPB Contractors and John Holland on Wednesday afternoon.
The trainees had a few months left of their program and were part of a public drive to recruit Indigenous workers.
Contaminated soil from the West Gate Tunnel project dumped near CityLink off Footscray Road.CREDIT:WAYNE TAYLOR
Another 67 white-collar staff in engineering, human services and safety departments were stood down on Wednesday morning.
It comes a week after 230 jobs on the project were axed, with the toll road's builders warning 400 workers were at risk of losing their jobs in the coming weeks if a solution to the soil crisis was not found.
In January, 140 tunnelling workers were sacked after soil across the project's multiple construction sites was found to be contaminated with potentially carcinogenic PFAS chemicals but there was nowhere to store, treat and dump it safely.
The builders are in a dispute with toll road giant and head project contractor Transurban, claiming the soil issue amounts to a force majeure event, which refers to an unforeseeable circumstance that makes it impossible to fulfil the terms of a contract.
Transurban is disputing this claim and is reserving its rights to seek damages from the builders over the late delivery of the road.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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