Giv­ing a slice of the pie to lo­cals

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON

THE con­tract for the con­struc­tion of a new Haughton pipe­line could be di­vided to give lo­cal firms a fairer chance com­pet­ing for work against larger com­pa­nies.

The $ 200 mil­lion du­pli­ca­tion will be built from steel and guar­an­tee Townsville’s wa­ter sup­ply for more than 15 years.

The pipe­line would be de­signed and con­structed within the next two years and be ready for fur­ther ex­pan­sions and up- scaled pump­ing ca­pac­ity to meet the re­gion’s de­mands over the next 50 years.

Task­force chair Brad Webb wants lo­cal busi­nesses on the job.

“We want to break the con­tract up into smaller con­tracts so that our lo­cal con­trac­tors – which have the abil­ity – ( and) don’t ever get con­fused about the Townsville con­trac­tors,” he said.

“I could name five or six in this town that could do this in one or bro­ken up into smaller sec­tions.”

Mr Webb said by break­ing up a large con­tract it would give smaller busi­nesses a “fair and rea­son­able chance” at bid­ding against tier- one com­pa­nies.

“This is im­por­tant. Money will stay in the town,” he said.

“I’ve been talk­ing to the head of lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture at Townsville City Coun­cil.

“I’ve got to go back and talk to the Premier’s Depart­ment and then I’ll hand that over to them to work through but from my dis­cus­sions they’re very keen on see­ing that ( lo­cal con­trac­tors) hap­pen.

“Some­body has to break the cy­cle and this is the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to break out of ( it).”

Thomas Steel op­er­a­tions man­ager Con­nor Pot­ter said the project would be some­thing the busi­ness would put its hand up for.

“It’s all about keep­ing jobs lo­cal. It’s wel­come news to us,” Mr Pot­ter said.

He said the lo­cal busi­ness, which has been in Townsville for 60 years, was ca­pa­ble of con­struct­ing the pipe­line.

Mur­phy Steel Fabri­ca­tions Townsville Pty Lim­ited’s Joel Fin­ni­gan also said the lo­cal firm would ap­ply for the work.

“It ( busi­ness cli­mate) has been slow but it’s pick­ing up a lit­tle,” he said. “We’re do­ing 12hour days now.”

Mayor Jenny Hill said the money had been given to Townsville by the State Gov­ern­ment.

“Ob­vi­ously, where we can we will look to use lo­cal and af­ford­able ( con­trac­tors),” she said. “We do en­cour­age peo­ple to ap­ply when the time comes.”

Min­is­ter As­sist­ing the Premier on North Queens­land Co­ralee O’Rourke said the Gov­ern­ment would make sure, where pos­si­ble, to use lo­cal con­trac­tors.

“This is im­per­a­tive about build­ing ca­pac­ity for our busi­ness and giv­ing our lo­cal trades peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to ac­tu­ally par­tic­i­pate in the work that’s hap­pen­ing in their lo­cal town,” she said.

“So it’s great to see that part of the rec­om­men­da­tions is break­ing down those con­tracts.

“Th­ese are con­ver­sa­tions we’ve had pre­vi­ously and this is all about de­liv­er­ing for lo­cals.”

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