The state's Department of Transport & Main Roads has instructed the Nexus joint venture to suspend work at Piers 2 and 3. This action follows what transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey described as two serious incidents at the project late last week. The accidents are under investigation by Workplace Health & Safety Queensland.

“There is a well-documented history of health and safety incidents on this project, so these recent reports are extremely concerning and we are taking them very seriously,” he said.

The section of work is to remain suspended until a period of seven days from the date of receipt of the notice; or an earlier time agreed with the state in writing, if the state is satisfied that risk to health and safety is being managed in accordance with best industry practices.

“I am not satisfied with the operations on this site – the safety of workers is paramount,” said Bailey. “That is why I instructed my director general to appoint an independent audit of the site earlier this year.” The report is due this week.

Bailey said that he and another minister took the unprecedented step of meeting with the principal contractor Nexus on site on 23 February 2018 to express the government’s concerns.

“We made it clear that given there have been so many plant rollovers and serious concerns raised by Workplace Health & Safety Queensland, we need to see a significant improvement,” he said. “It may be unusual for us to have taken this step but these are unusual circumstances and should underscore the gravity with which the Palaszczuk Government views this matter and our commitment to safety at work.”

The project is being built by Nexus Delivery, which consists of Acciona Infrastructure Australia and Ferrovial Agroman. Work had reached a key milestone last year, when the first girder was installed for the project's 800m-long viaduct (link opens in new tab).