This week I published a story about CPB Contractors, the biggest player in the construction of WestConnex.
After I published this story, I remembered that CPB Contractors was also the company responsible for erecting the sign that collapsed on the Tullamarine Highway last year.
Last week, CPB Contractors pleaded guilty to four offences that involved causing serious harm to residents by failing to control odours arising from the St Peters Interchange, an old landfill site that is being used to contruct a massive spaghetti interchange next to Sydney Park. These convictions are just one of a series of events that raise questions about CPB's safety record and its suitability to carry out major publicly funded projects.
You might remember the company as Leighton Contractors, which was a subsidiary of Leighton Holdings. Fairfax Media published a number of investigations alleging corrupt practices by Leighton Holdings executives. This led the company to change its name to CIMIC in 2015.
CIMIC stands for Construction, Infrastructure, Mining and Concessions. The company is owned by an even bigger global company ACS, which is based in Spain.
CPB is a subsidiary of CIMIC. The corruption allegations go back to a period between 2009 and 2011, which is the period in which Leighton was also involved in failed tollroads.
CPB Contractors have been involved in WestConnex from the time that the 33 kilometre tollroad system was first announced. Back then, the company was still called Leighton Contractors. It was paid by the NSW government to assist in the early planning of WestConnex. Since then it has been part of consortia granted tenders to build the M4 Widening ( Stage 1a), the M4 East ( Stage1b) and the New M5 ( Stage 2). Most recently CPB Contractors has signed a contract with NSW Roads and Maritime Services to construct a three level spaghetti interchange under Rozelle. This is a highly risky project of a sort that has never been attempted before.
Here's my story that was published by City Hub this week.
Although the ABC did report the news that CPB Contractors had pleaded guilty to environmental offences, they completely failed to explain the importance of this company to the whole WestConnex project or the implications of the convictions for residents and workers of Inner West Sydney. From my perspective, journalists need to do more than simply report the bare facts of a case like this. I would expect them to at least ask, "Who is this company and what else do our readers need to know to consider the implications of the court case.?". I do understand that every news story cannot be a feature but one would expect that Australia's biggest infrastructure project would have deserved regularly probing over the nearly seven years since it was first announced by the NSW Liberal National Party government.
This story was my attempt to do that by linking it with other concurrent events including CPB Contractors release of the maps for the Rozelle Interchange.
There are many other Westconnex stories to explore on this blog.