Lo­cals hail ‘ Buy Qld’ de­ci­sion

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT

TOWNSVILLE busi­ness lead­ers have backed An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk’s Buy Queens­land pro­cure­ment pol­icy with some say­ing the Pre­mier should have gone fur­ther.

But the pol­icy has at­tracted scorn from Aus­tralia’s ex­port coun­cil and New Zealand Trade Min­is­ter Todd McClay, while the State LNP called it “jum­bled” and a threat to ex­ports.

The Pre­mier an­nounced the pol­icy in Townsville last week rewrit­ing the def­i­ni­tion of lo­cal sup­plier to a busi­ness main­tain­ing a work­force within a 125km ra­dius of where goods and ser­vices are needed, rather than from Aus­tralia or New Zealand.

Lo­cal sup­pli­ers will re­ceive a weight­ing of “up to 30 per cent” on any ten­der lodged for a “sig­nif­i­cant pro­cure­ment”.

The pol­icy, to ap­ply from Septem­ber 1, has the po­ten­tial shake out the Gov­ern­ment’s $ 18 bil­lion a year spend on ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture.

Townsville Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Troy Popham said their view had al­ways been about op­por­tu­nity for small and medium- size busi­nesses to par­tic­i­pate.

“We’d love to see the level of ( lo­cal) weight­ing higher,” Mr Popham said. “But we un­der­stand some of the ser­vices that need to be pro­vided on large- scale projects just can­not be sourced lo­cally.”

Townsville builder and Mas­ter Builders rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adrian Gabrielli said it was a “mo­men­tous de­ci­sion” and some­thing he had been “push­ing for ages”.

“Hope­fully the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment takes a leaf out of the State Gov­ern­ment’s book,” Mr Gabrielli said.

“It should give a lot of re­gional busi­nesses the im­pe­tus to start grow­ing. It gives the op­por­tu­nity to build resid­ual ben­e­fits in the com­mu­nity and ( pro­vide) jobs for the fu­ture.”

Town plan­ner Steven Motti said any­thing that recog­nised the ca­pac­ity of busi­nesses in the re­gion was good.

“Of­ten that ca­pac­ity is not recog­nised. Any­thing that shines a light on the ca­pac­ity we have here is a step for­ward,” Mr Motti said.

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