The loss of the Skytrans airline and 70 employees was a blow to the Far North and the State Government’s tendering system was “squarely to blame”, Katters Australian Party candidate for Cook, Lee Marriott said yesterday.
Speaking from Lakeland Mr Marriott said the Skytrans debacle was typical of the State Government’s discriminatory and flawed tendering system which often favoured interstate contractors.
“The LNP prefers interstate companies when awarding tenders and cares little about the collateral damage it causes to established local contractors, their workers and their families,” Mr Marriott said.
“If I can get into Parliament our party will ensure that capable local contractors, using a similar tendering method to Mareeba Shire Council, get preference over contractors from out of the local area.
“Just look at the Main Roads Department and the major blunders they have made with tenders on the Tablelands and on the Peninsula giving road construction contracts to the Perth company that attempted to do a major road building job at Ravenshoe.
“The company had no idea about Tablelands conditions or the wet season and the job over ran by a year and was $6 million over budget.
“Then the Walkamin highway job the year before where an interstate contractor got caught up and went broke and the job had to be finished by local contractors who should have been given the job in the first place.
“Then the Walsh River section on the Dimbulah Rd also suffered similar problems, and on it goes.
“The Peninsula spray seal bitumen jobs near the Weipa section fell apart in a year and that is why I am sceptical about the Member for Cook’s claims they will bitumen most of the Peninsula Development Road over the next two years.
“That is not possible with the amount of federal money they have got and the job will have to be below standard.
“The MRD might have $210 million over two years but when you take out 35 to 40 per cent for administration and traffic control there’s not much left for road works.”
Meanwhile the KAP Member for Dalrymple, Shane Knuth, said he was preparing a Bill to go before the Parliament for legislative changes to the tendering process whereby local, pre-qualified contractors would get preference over outside companies.