A bomb threat caused the evacuation of the construction site at Barangaroo last week.
On Wednesday, October 29, the NSW Police received a phone call regarding a suspicious object at the site. All workers on the site were evacuated.
“At about 6.45am, a triple 0 call was received and information provided regarding an object at an inner city construction site. As a precaution, all personnel at the site left the area. A search was conducted by specialist police,” a NSW Police spokesperson told City Hub.
The spokesperson also said that nothing of interest was located by specialist police on the site.
The evacuation sparked serious concern among workers and unionists due to the length of time that passed between the emergency call being received and the personnel being removed from the site.
While the call was received at 6.45am, the workers on site were not evacuated until 9am.
“Bomb threat called in at 6.45am and workers not evacuated until 9am??? Safety first Lend Lease?” the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
CFMEU state secretary for the NSW branch Brian Parker told City Hub that the union believed developer Lend Lease, rather than the NSW Police, were to blame for the delay.
“We certainly think the police responded efficiently. They were doing their job and they did it well.”
He said Lend Lease’s response was disappointing because the developer did not consult with workers or the union.
“Lend Lease needed to consult with us a lot more. They try to keep these things very quiet, but we needed to be involved to make sure no-one was placed at risk,” he said.
“One thing we are very upset about is that the safety committee on site wasn’t informed of all the issues relating to the bomb scare and they should have been part of that process. This created confusion about time, length and details of the scare.”
“Lend Lease have failed in their duties. Someone could have been seriously hurt or killed.”
Mr Parker said this then created heightened tension among workers as the safety committee was not able to effectively inform workers of the situation as it developed.
According to Mr Parker, this is an ongoing problem between Lend Lease and construction workers.
“There are been other instances in the past in which Lend Lease have failed miserably in their duties to make the safety committee and workers aware of any risks they are facing,” he said.
“It is certainly an ongoing issue. Safety problems have arisen at Barangaroo on a consistent basis. We feel they are very poor communicators.”
Lend Lease refuted this, saying the evacuation was undertaken in a timely manner.
“Safety is our number one priority and we took the precautionary step of evacuating the site. Given the detailed discussions that occurred with the NSW Police over the course of the morning, our view is that this evacuation was the right thing to do, and that it occurred in an appropriate, timely and safe manner,” a spokesperson said.