Mount Field Bridge finally replaced after union pressure

A bridge across the Tyenna River, vital to the work of Parks and Wildlife staff, is finally under construction in part thanks to union advocacy.

Mount Field Parks & Wildlife Ranger Luke Gadd said the old bridge was finally being demolished and a new, replacement bridge built.

“The bridge was important to accessing the Parks & Wildlife Workshop and staff accommodation, a lack of bridge affected the lives of members residing in the staff accommodation.”

“Hopefully, it will be finished next week. The old bridge was timber, and at the end of its serviceable life, so it’s great it is now being replaced with a new structure.”

The bridge was owned by the council, which didn’t want to spend money on it as it wasn’t used by rate payers. For 12 months there have been ongoing talks between DPIPWE and the Council, all the while the bridge was falling into further disrepair.

The alternative route being proposed for staff affected was a significant detour through Sustainable Timber and private plantation forest – not ideal from a workplace health and safety perspective.

A gentle reminder of PWS WHS responsibilities provided impetus to resolve the situation quickly.

Now, DPIPWE is paying for the bridge replacement and taking on management responsibility.

Luke said Mount Field Parks & Wildlife workers were both relieved and pleased about the replacement bridge, which would really make their work easier and save a lot of time.

“It’s been an issue for about 12 months; all the while the load limit for the bridge dropped to 10, to 5 to finally 3 tonne – we couldn’t load up a vehicle and take it across, and then the bridge was closed to vehicles. We could walk across the bridge with a ladder or something like that. It wasn’t really functional or efficient.”

Without maintenance and upkeep of facilities and assets many CPSU members jobs get harder. It often falls to workplace activists to get the ball rolling – so keep your eyes on the road and keep speaking up to keep our workplaces safe.

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