Giving a slice of the pie to locals
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.”