Trainees big Gorge winners
LOCAL tradies appear to be in danger of missing out on the bulk of the work at the only major construction job going in the region.
Not one of the 50 local companies contacted by the Gazette in the past month as part of our Support Local Tradies campaign has been awarded a contract.
A local landscaping company is one exception.
Papillon Landscaping is understood to have won the contract to train local indigenous people and, in collaboration with the community nursery at Mossman Gorge, provide 20,000 indigenous plants to the site.
The Gazette understands this contract was awarded well ahead of the main contract being awarded to FK Gardner and Sons, the Brisbane-based construction manager of the project.
However, five indigenous trainees have been taken on during the first phase of construction at the Mossman Gorge Gateway precinct.
One condition of the contract is that FKG employ the equivalent of eight full-time indigenous staff over the life of the project.
David Lee said he landed his job after multiple phone calls to the Indigenous Land Corporation and FKG.
“After the jobs expo at the Gorge in November, I rang and I rang,” he said.
“I finally got an interview on a Wednesday, and on the Friday I heard I’d got the job.”
Mr Lee is enthusiastic about the work and said he is looking forward to the main construction phase.
“The weather has slowed us up, but we’re putting in the formwork for the slabs,” he said.
“I’ve worked for local tradies and this is much better, steadier work.
“I know I’ve got eight hours a day, whereas before it might only be four hours and then we knock off.”
The ILC said 85 per cent of contracts for trades and supplies on the project have been awarded to local Mossman/Cairns companies.
Fourteen contracts have been awarded to date, with at least a further 30 to be awarded as construction progresses.
A spokesman for the ILC said: “The ILC operates within Government procurement guidelines and through its head contractor FKG, seeks competitive tenders and quotes to ensure the project represents best value for money and comes in on budget.
“The usual commercial tests such as can the supplier/contractor provide the material/service required and are they cost competitive have been applied to this project.
“Local suppliers and contractors have already shown they are competitive and have been contracted to work on the site.”
Good work: David Lee and Damien McLeod