The North Queensland Civil Construction Association has sought an undertaking from State Government that local contractors be given preference for infrastructure repair works in the wake of the flood disaster.
While a government spokesman said it was too early to put a price on the extent of damage, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has commented that it will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, calling the flooding centred on Townsville a once-in-a-century event.
NQCCA president Phil Cassell said a ‘serious’ amount of work under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) as well as State and local government work would roll out in the next few weeks.
“Under the State Government procurement policies, we expect local contractors will be in the mix to undertake that work,” he said.
“I called the office of (Queensland Minister for Fire and Emergency Services and Member for Barron River) Craig Crawford to get an undertaking from the State Government that works will be predominantly managed by local contractors.
“The NQCCA is seeking a commitment that the State will honour local procurement policies.”
Mr Cassell said he had spoken to contractors in flood affected areas, confirming they had the capacity to undertake this work and were ready.
“Most infrastructure repairs in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters would be managed by local government and funded by Federal money passed down through the State,” he said.
“After the water clears, each local government makes an assessment of where work is most needed and puts in a claim under NDRRA for infrastructure that needs repair.
“They get the go-ahead within days. The councils fund it and get reimbursed through the NDRRA.”
The work was particularly important to regional contractors now, as extreme wet weather from the Daintree through to Central Queensland over the past few weeks had left many unable to work for extended periods, he said.
“That’s why we are pushing to make sure local contractors are given preference when works are handed out,” Mr Cassell said.