Targeting Defence work has proved a smart move for Shamrock Civil.
The company has increased its Townsville business from about $15 million worth of work each year to $30 million since establishing a base in the city five years ago.
Operations manager NQ Clinton Huff said the steady stream of Defence contracts it had landed in that time had provided a good foundation for that growth.
Recent projects have included 7.5km of new security fence around Lavarack Barracks, road rehabilitation and maintenance at Lavarack Barracks, and building a new waste transfer station at the Townsville Field Training Area, Herveys Range.
Mr Huff said Shamrock Civil had also been involved in civil works for an air traffic control project and the Land 121 project as a subcontractor to Lendlease, as well as subcontracting to BADGE for the Land 155 Enhanced Gap Crossing Capability Project at Lavarack Barracks.
“Over the last two years we’d have done in the vicinity of $40 million of work for Defence up here (in NQ),” Mr Huff said.
“We deliberately targeted Defence as a key client around 12 years ago, and were doing work at Amberley and Enoggera in the south-east corner. We commenced operations in Townsville in 2013.”
The strength and recognition the company had built through its involvement in Defence projects had helped it to broaden its footprint, with recent clients including AIMS and a solar farm, he said.
Supply chain forum to pass on tips
Shamrock Civil is now helping others become involved by participating in the Building North Queensland’s Defence Supply Chain forum, to be held in Townsville on November 1.
Department of State Development regional director North Queensland Paul Holden said there was strong interest in the forum (Bookings close on October 29).
The event includes ‘meet-the-contractor’ appointments and Mr Holden said it would allow Tier 1 suppliers to communicate how businesses could get up to speed to work in the sector.
“The Federal Government is talking about a sovereign defence industry capability – a $200 billion spend coming up in the defence industry sector, so we want to make sure we capture as much of that as we can for North Queensland businesses,” Mr Holden said.
In addition to major projects that NQ businesses could become involved in, Mr Holden said Defence assets such as Lavarack Barracks presented ongoing work opportunities in areas such as maintenance and logistics.
Tap established contractors
Mr Huff said the key entry point to Defence projects for civil works businesses was through an established prime contractor.
“Subcontracting to them in the first place helps you to gain an understanding of all the security requirements, what you have to do to get access on to a defence base, the requirements of dealing with defence decision-making and regulations,” he said.
“If you don’t go through someone who already knows it, it is a really difficult market to get an understanding of and break into.”
Once an operator had that understanding of the Defence procurement process and delivery requirements, they could start targeting the medium-sized contracts in their own right, he said.
Mr Huff said also businesses should be aware that Defence required a local industry capability plan for all contracts.
“We’ve always done it, but now it is mandated in your tender documents,” he said. “You have to complete a plan or schedules saying what you are going to do to involve local industry and capability – where you purchase materials, who you employ, how you can be delivering economic and social benefits back to local communities.”
Mr Huff said the Defence works program moving forward in North Queensland was significant, and attracting an increasing amount of competition.
“There are a lot more companies trying to establish within the Townsville region because of the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative,” he said.
“That’s a significant spend, about $800 million up here, and you have the mid-term refresh program of $120 million to kick off in 12 months’ time – so there is a lot of interest in Defence works up here currently.
“The level of competition is increasing, but the volume of works is also increasing – so it’s an attractive market.”
The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning has organised the Building North Queensland’s Defence Supply Chain forum next week to give businesses insight into how they can get involved in such work opportunities.
For more information visit https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/building-north-queenslands-defence-supply-chains-forum-1-november-2018-tickets-49681243938.