The win was not so much about multi-national Laing O’Rouke securing the overall managing contract, but more about the Federal Government following through on their commitment to ensure the majority of contract packages went to Central Queensland based contractors and business.
Livingstone and other Local Governments have been making representations over recent years to get both Federal and State Governments to change their procurement policies to ensure major government contracts in regional areas translated into real business opportunities and jobs in those areas.
Credit must go to Sen. Marise Payne taking on board the message and committing to use the ASMTI as a ‘pilot’ case for changing the way ADF has previously managed their contracts to ensure the primary focus was shifted to sourcing contracts locally. Having the support of our Federal Member Michelle Landry played an integral part of securing that early commitment to the ‘pilot’.
This week’s announcement is proof that commitment to change is genuine with promises that 80% of the contract work will be sourced locally here in Central Queensland as an integral requirement of the overall management contract.
While this now needs to be monitored and documented to ensure there is appropriate follow through when contracts packages are awarded it is a huge step in the right direction and something that could change the way all government departments operate when awarding major contracts.
The overarching importance of this ‘pilot’ project and ‘bottom-line’ for our region is capacity building and up-skilling of our existing and future workforces to be able to take on bigger and more complex projects.
A prime example is the incredible success story of Panorama Drive project with over 100 local jobs, up-skilling and capacity building generated through that $30 million partnership between Livingstone Shire Council and State Government.
The upside for both the Federal and State Governments is that growing capacity in the regions means major projects can be delivered more cost effectively through the use of locally based contractors, suppliers and workforce.