RING ROAD RUNAROUND
Local contractors ‘ dudded’ on $ 200m contract
LOCAL contractors are losing out on Townsville’s $ 200 million Ring Rd project, earning less than half the amount paid to the principal contractor.
The discrepancy has angered Mayor Jenny Hill and Herbert MP Ewen Jones, who have called for contractors to get a better deal.
LOCAL contractors are earning less than half that being paid to the principal contractor for work on the Townsville Ring Road, after the contract has been passed through a number of “middle men”.
It’s understood principal contractor Seymour Whyte is paying Brisbane- based Australian Premium Haulage nearly $ 3 per tonne in haulage rates for the project, with work subcontracted to local businesses for as little as $ 1.80 per tonne.
With local contractors barely making a profit on the $ 200 million project, Mayor Jenny Hill and Herbert MP Ewen Jones have called for governments to give local companies a better opportunity to tender for work in the first instance.
A local haulage operator, who asked not to be named, said Townsville contractors were being passed over during the tender process only to end up doing the work for less.
“Local guys are going backwards because of the unnecessary middle man taking his cut,” he said.
“We have many local companies who have the equip- ment and skills to do the job yet they keep giving work to out- of- town businesses who then have to take their cut.
“We have had to head out of town to look for work when there are major projects hap- pening on our doorstep simply because we can’t cover our running costs with the rate they are offering.”
The Department of Transport and Main Roads and Seymour Whyte refused to comment on haulage rates paid to contractors, saying it was commercial- in- confidence.
A department spokesman said procurement complied with the Queensland Charter for Local Content guidelines.
“More than 80 per cent of Seymour Whyte’s labour, plant, subcontractors and materials on the Townsville Ring Road, section four, have been sourced from the Townsville area,” the spokesman said.
Cr Hill said the Federal Government needed to address the issue through its tendering policy. “We all understand the need for competitive tendering but the benefits for the local community should also be weighted as part of this process,” she said.
“The feedback I’m getting from local businesses would indicate many of them feel shut out from these contracts.”
Mr Jones said overly complicated tender documents meant many contractors were shut out. “The winner of the tender doesn’t get their hands dirty any more, and the subcontractor carries all the debt and all the risk,” he said.
Local guys are going backwards because of the unnecessary middle man TOWNSVILLE HAULAGE OPERATOR