No state con­trol on Ring Road sub­con­tracts

Blind eye on work rates

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY an­thony. gal­loway@ news. com. au

THE State Gov­ern­ment is be­ing kept in the dark about the rates paid to lo­cal sub­con­trac­tors on the Townsville Ring Road pro­ject.

Townsville haulage op­er­a­tors com­plain they are be­ing paid rates far lower than Perth­based Aus­tralian Civil Haulage, who they say is the “un­nec­es­sary mid­dle man”.

Un­der the con­tract struck be­tween the for­mer LNP gov­ern­ment and prin­ci­pal con­trac­tor Seymour Whyte, sub­con­trac­tors such as Aus­tralian Civil Haulage don’t need ap­proval from the Gov­ern­ment to fur­ther sub­con­tract work if it is less than $ 50,000.

There is also no re­quire­ment for Seymour Whyte and Aus­tralian Civil Haulage to dis­close to the Gov­ern­ment the rates be­ing paid for any of the sub­con­tracts. A spokes- woman for the Depart­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads said ap­proval for sub­con­tracts be­tween Aus­tralian Civil Haulage and lo­cal truck­ing com­pa­nies were not re­quired be­cause of the “size of and scope of this pro­ject and lack of qual­ity risk”.

Main Roads Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley said he would now ask the depart­ment to en­sure all sub­con­trac­tors were aware of the process avail­able to set­tle con­trac­tual dis­putes, but said he wouldn’t be or­der­ing a re­view into the sub­con­tracts.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said she was urg­ing Mr Bai­ley to re­view the pro­ject.

“The New­man gov­ern­ment put this con­tract out. Now the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment needs to go through it and find any anom­alies and see what they can do,” Cr Hill said.

Townsville devel­oper and for­mer haulage op­er­a­tor Brad Webb said the Gov­ern­ment should have pack­aged the pro­ject into smaller con­tracts to pro­vide op­por­tu­nity for lo­cals to ten­der for work in the first in­stance.

Townsville Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Stephen Motti said there was no point hav­ing lo­cal con­tent re­quire­ments if the Gov­ern­ment wasn’t en­sur­ing com­pa­nies fol­low through on them.

“Com­pa­nies are de­vel­op­ing and pre­sent­ing ten­ders to gov­ern­ment that meet the lo­cal con­tent re­quire­ments, but there is no ac­quit­tal on the back end to en­sure those lo­cal con­tent re­quire­ments have been de­liv­ered,” he said.

A spokes­woman for the depart­ment said the ten­der process for the pro­ject com­plied with the Queens­land Char­ter for Lo­cal Con­tent guide­lines.

Last Thurs­day’s frontf page.

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