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Pilbara workers earn $150,000 for risky 70-hour work week

Pilbara Gorgon Gas Project

Workers on Pilbara’s Gorgon Gas project are expected to work for 70 hours a week and for 29 days straight before having a 9 day break. The West Australian revealed yesterday that low-skilled workers such as labourers would get about $150,000 annually and qualified tradesmen would get about $10,000 more.

The Master Builders Association Kim Richardson warns that such high rates of pay the for Gorgon Gas project workers would leave the construction industry with a skills shortage nationwide, leading to higher house prices.

“When our industry trains these young skilled workers to be tradespeople, as soon as they’ve finished their apprenticeship they’re off up north, to get paid, let’s face it, $2,500 to $3,000 a week, much more attractive than staying in Perth.”

Worksafe Commissioner Nina Lyhne believes working 70 hours a week on the project could lead to fatigue and place workers at risk.

“I would say that 70 hours a week certainly sounds like it’s at the higher end of the scale. There would be cause for concern if there weren’t appropriate arrangements in place for adequate breaks and those sorts of things.”

“So, it certainly is at the higher risk end of the scale.”

David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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