There’s some muscle behind the new civil contractors advocate in north Queensland.
The Regional Industry Leaders Group, as part of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, has been set up in the city initially to push for more local content in government projects.
Phil Cassell from local business Eco Civil Solutions is behind the move and said they had already negotiated a major win in the tendering of the Peninsula Development Road projects.
The latest tranche of work worth $260.50 million is being majority delivered by contractors defi ned as ‘local’ to the far north and Mr Cassell said that wouldn’t have been the case until they lobbied local state and federal politicians.
The group also had the government’s ear in developing the Queensland Government Procurement Act 2017, which was a major win for all businesses in Queensland and one of the most signifi cant policies from a state government in more than four decades, he said.
“Local content can be lip service (but) the Act defi nes what is ‘local’ and evaluates a project’s contribution to the local economy in both financial and social terms,” Mr Casell said.
“It goes to building a better social fabric for the regions in many ways and we see it as a solid way to rebuilding the state’s economy.
“The industry, through the intent of the new procurement policy and with the co-operation of the State Government, had an influence on changing that direction.”
Issues surrounding industry education, collaborative lobbying and security of payment were on the agenda for the near future, Mr Cassell said.
‘We are supporting the Security of Payment Act so large companies can’t hold out 60, 90 or 120-day payments on any regionally based businesses.
“And we need to be developing joint venture alliance partnerships to develop a capacity to compete with national companies so that we’re winning work and not cutting each other’s throats.