Businesses want answers about out-of-town contracts
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.”