Councillors step in to prioritise local company in multimillion dollar contract


Karlie Brady


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The $2.2 million construction tender is for a new concrete roadway upgrade on the Bloomfield Track at Donovan Range. Image: DSC.
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Douglas Shire Councillors and Mayor have unanimously fought to award a local company a multimillion-dollar contract over a Cairns-based firm at Tuesday’s Ordinary Council Meeting.

The $2.2 million construction tender for a new concrete roadway upgrade on the Bloomfield Track at Donovan Range, north of Cape Tribulation was awarded to the Mossman-based MC Group QLD Pty Ltd.

However, originally Cairns company, GEO Construct Pty Ltd, won the Council’s set tender process after ranking higher than eight other companies based on criteria consisting of technical capacity, business profile, program of works, procedures, methodology, and price; despite coming in $400,000 more expensive than the Mossman operator.

All councillors and the Mayor questioned the recommendation before voting against it by moving a motion to award the contract to the local company.

Councillor Roy Zammataro said after reading the detailed Council report he believed the local company was more than capable.

“By employing a local company, we will have 100 per cent local suppliers, 100 per cent local contractors, and possibly 100 per cent local labour, and at the end of the day the local community will prosper because the money will stay in the Shire,” he said.

“Our motto is do it in Douglas, not don’t do it in Douglas.”

Councillor Lisa Scomazzon agreed, saying the price difference was a big factor.

“Four hundred thousand is a big difference.

“It (the report) doesn’t say that the local company is not up to the job as they are comparative in performance, so I think we need to give it to the local guy because it will keep the money in the Shire.”

Councillor Peter McKeown thanked Council staff for following standard due process however said as elected officials sometimes they had to step in.

“I completely think that it should be a local contractor,” he said.

“I am happy to put my head on the block and go for the local company.”

The upgrades to the Donovan Range are set to increase resilience, accessibility for locals and travellers, and provide an economic benefit to local businesses during the construction period.

During the peak tourism period, the Bloomfield Track (Cape Tribulation-Bloomfield Rd) is known to have more than 250 vehicles per day. Council has also said it expects the upgrades to reduce the need for yearly repairs during the wet season.

The project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Other items discussed at Tuesday’s Council meeting include agreeing that Douglas Shire Council will apply to the Federal Government’s Building Better Region Fund (BBRF) to complete a number of projects such as Cycle Network connecting Mossman to the Mossman Gorge Centre, Mossman Shire Hall electrical, mechanical and building upgrades, and Cooya Beach Reservoir Connection.

Council will also bid for funding under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) program for projects such as access parking at the Bump Track, beach access upgrades at Four Mile Beach, new shade sails at the Mossman Pool, a pop-up engagement container/trailer, and upgrades to the Macrossan St-Owen St intersection in Port Douglas.

Watch the full Council Meeting below:

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