Busi­nesses want an­swers about out-of-town con­tracts

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE de­ci­sion by Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil to award con­tracts for flood dam­age works to out-of-town com­pa­nies has left lo­cal con­trac­tors un­happy and they want an­swers.

Two weeks ago, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of All­civ civil con­trac­tors Brett Thiele said his was one of the com­pa­nies whose ten­der for work was un­suc­cess­ful de­spite be­ing $500k cheaper than the cho­sen bid­der – a com­pany from Bris­bane.

Mr Thiele said the flow-on ef­fect to his em­ploy­ers, sup­pli­ers and con­trac­tors would be sig­nif­i­cant.

Back­ing up his claims is Can­non­vale Con­crete Prod­ucts owner Alan James who had a sim­i­lar bat­tle with Coun­cil over the con­tract for the Air­lie main street pavers last year.

Mr James said All­civ was a lo­cal com­pany that was more than ca­pa­ble of do­ing any or all of the works ten­dered for “and [yet] he doesn’t get a look-in – well they look at the ten­der but they go and award it some­where else and they don’t tell you why.”

Joe Dal­ton, owner of Dal­ton Con­crete Prod­ucts says he too be­lieves Coun­cil should look af­ter lo­cals rather than go­ing else­where.

“Es­pe­cially when the money goes back into the com­mu­nity here – we’re pay­ing rates here and we want to see the money stay here,” he said.

But Coun­cil’s CEO Scott Wa­ters says Coun­cil went through a “ro­bust process” to award these ten­ders and “it’s not just [about] price”.

Mr Wa­ters said el­e­ments such as pre­vi­ous per­for­mance, ex­per­tise, skill sets, equip­ment avail­abil­ity and abil­ity to de­liver to strin­gent time­frames were also taken into ac­count.

He said the ten­ders were judged by a panel con­sist­ing of a Coun­cil staff mem­ber, a con­sul­tant en­gi­neer and a con­trac­tor.

He said the bot­tom line was that some of the ten­ders put for­ward were “non-con­form­ing”. One ex­am­ple he gave was the in­abil­ity to pro­vide bank guar­an­tees.

“Coun­cil ab­so­lutely stands by the ro­bust­ness of the process we put in place to eval­u­ate the ten­ders,” he said.

“There’s no room for er­ror within this pro­gram be­cause of the is­sues we had with 2010, so they weren’t weighted to­wards lo­cal con­trac­tors in this in­stance.”

Mr Wa­ters did agree that it was very im­por­tant for Coun­cil to pro­vide feed­back to lo­cal con­trac­tors so they knew ex­actly what was re­quired.

“It is a shame that we didn’t have some of our lo­cal con­trac­tors suc­cess­ful this time around but we will work with them for the fu­ture,” he said.

How­ever, Mr Thiele said that with no cap­i­tal works pro­gram planned by Coun­cil, there would be no fu­ture work for lo­cal con­trac­tors.

He said coun­cil­lors neeeded to re­alise that if lo­cal busi­nesses dis­ap­peared so would they.

“With­out the eco­nomic growth you can’t pick up the bins, you can’t have the la­goon and they don’t seem to un­der­stand that. They’re ba­si­cally in­wardly fo­cussed on their own mis­ery,” he said.

“It’s go­ing to be the Gil­lard sce­nario again – peo­ple will stop lis­ten­ing and the coun­cil­lors will all be out of a job at the next elec­tion.”

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