The Master Builders Association (MBA) says that tender packages for the Townsville Stadium desperately need to give first preference to local contractors, with many in the industry currently working for zero profit margins.
In their 2016 Building Industry Outlook, MBA confirmed that Townsville has struggled with the investment mining downturn, reduced government spending, high unemployment, muted demand, and the west of the region continues to battle the effects of drought. For Nothern Queensland, the 'super stadium' represents a real opportunity to bolster confidence for development in the region.
However, with $250 million in funding finally confirmed for the project, attention has now turned to how and what jobs will be made available to local contractors.
Speaking with the ABC, MBA North Queensland Regional Manager Melissa Coulter said local firms could be overlooked when big companies from outside the region won large tenders.
"It's very hard to get into certain projects because of how competitive it is.
"A lot of our local guys don't get the opportunity to improve their capabilities to get looked at for larger tender packages.
"So it's very important that with these sorts of projects that we also not only get them off the ground but look at how we're going to package them up so that the local trades and local builders have an opportunity."
IMAGE: An artist’s impression - Townsville Enterprise
The stadium has been part of a contentious funding battle over the past few years, involving three Premiers and four Prime Ministers. However, the Federal Coalition has confirmed it will match Labor's pledge to commit $100 million to the stadium plan, while last week, Queensland Treasurer and Sports Minister Curtis Pitt announced the State Government would increase its contribution to $140 million. Additionally, the NRL and the Cowboys will provide an upfront payment of $10 million towards the construction of the stadium, while the Townsville City Council will also contribute the land that the Stadium will be built on.
While a new stadium for Townsville will not solve the industry's woes, it does represent an effort to try and restore confidence to the North Queensland sector and potentially trigger flow-on work for residential construction. And like Ms Coulter, we hope to see co-ordinated efforts made by the local, state and federal governments to create packages that secure jobs for local builders and trades. To make sure you're the first to know about any updates to the Townsville Stadium project, subscribe to our industry blog here.
If you'd like to learn more about including local suppliers on your next tender bid, check out this free eBook developed from the QLD State Government's workshop, "Tendering for Government Business".