Plant tit for tat continues

By Benalla Ensign

Labor and the Nationals have clashed over what it means now that jobs are being advertised for the concrete facility being built in Benalla.

The Nationals say it proves that the factory will be built, while Labor says it is proof that the factory’s construction relies on the West Gate Tunnel project going ahead.

The jobs, which are advertised on and are for a site administrator, construction supervisor, factory manager and a project engineer, all based at the facility being constructed in Benalla.

State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the Nationals’ position on what these jobs meant was ‘‘illogical’’.

‘‘(According to the job adverts) they are West Gate Tunnel Project jobs,’’ Ms Symes said.

‘‘These jobs like the concrete plant do not exist if there’s no West Gate Tunnel project.

‘‘The Nationals and Liberals jeopardised 400 jobs in Benalla by using the Parliament to stop the West Gate Tunnel project.

‘‘Benalla locals are right to be angry with their National Party MP Steph Ryan — her job is to stand up for Benalla not do what her Melbourne Liberal leaders tell her.

‘‘After immense backlash from industry, infrastructure and road experts, not to mention outraged Benalla locals, the Opposition have retreated with their tail between their legs.

‘‘Labor is getting on with the job of building the West Gate Tunnel and because of this project, Benalla will soon benefit from 400 new jobs on their doorstep.

‘‘I will always stand up for my home town of Benalla — I put people before politics.’’

State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has always questioned this rhetoric and said Labor was pushing this agenda for ‘‘political gain’’.

She has stated several times she is not against the West Gate Tunnel project and believes the concrete facility will be built, and local jobs will be created.

‘‘The Benalla concrete plant is going to be a great asset for our region,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘It is obvious to anyone who’s been past the site that construction on the plant is under way, jobs have been advertised and it is full steam ahead.

‘‘There is no risk to the concrete plant and there never has been.

‘‘Labor MPs are still shamelessly trying to convince residents that it is at risk for their own political gain.’’