VICTORIA'S troubled desalination plant at Wonthaggi has come under a new cloud, with a union claiming some pipes are already rusty.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says spots of rust have been found that could lead to bigger problems if they are not fixed.

An Auditor General's report has found the desal plant's total cost to taxpayers will be $24 Billion over 28 years.

"They found rust inside the pipes when they put cameras down there to check," he said.

"The rust on the outside of the pipes isn't too big a drama but as to how big a drama the rust is inside the pipes remains to be seen."

Mr Diehm said management had not told workers how they were going to fix the problem.

Melbourne water storages are now 66.5 per cent full, with experts saying it will be eight years before Victoria needs a drop of water from the plant.


June 19, 2007: Premier Steve Bracks announces plants to build desalination plant at Wonthaggi, with water bills to double

July 30, 2009: AquaSure - a consortium of French company Degremont and Australian builder Thiess (Thiess Degremont) - named as project builder

October 6, 2009: Work starts at Wonthaggi on new desalination plant

December 23, 2009: Thiess Degremont stops shark baiting off Wonthaggi desalination plant after outrage from local surfers

November 19, 2010: Workers strike over Thiess Degremont hiring a private eye to spy on employees

June 17, 2011: Around 1200 workers strike for two days over redundancy plans

August 17, 2011: Thiess Degremont sacks 160 electricians, but later loses a court battle and is forced to reinstate them

August 23, 2011: Thiess Degremont says it chases workers out of break sheds and monitors them constantly to ensure they are working

September 26, 2011: Revelations emerge desalination workers turn up drunk to work and are given two hour ``sober up'' breaks

October 17, 2011: Bikies alleged to be working on desalination plant; State Government seeks advice from police.

October 28, 2011: AquaSure launches legal bid for $1 billion compensation for ``cyclonic'' weather and pleads for 12 months' deadline extension

April 1, 2012: State Government puts in zero water order for 2012-13

May 8, 2012: Leighton Holdings announces $106 million loss on desalination plant in March quarter, bringing total losses on desalination plant to $566 million

June 30, 2012: Completion deadline, after which Thiess Degremont attract penalties of $1.8 million a day

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