Red Rover Rd hits raw spot as Council weigh up costs
THE TOSS up between supporting local jobs and the concerns of hard-working ratepayers caused some angst and debate among Gladstone Region councillors at today's general meeting.
The polarising issue involved upgrades to Red Rover Rd and caused debate in council when weighing up the most cost-effective option, compared to one that would produce local jobs.
Council accepted the tender panel's recommendation for Brisbane-based Doval Constructions Ltd to undertake the work, Stages 2 and 5, at a cost of $1.575 million over the course of three months, exclusive of GST.
Doval Constructions was chosen over Gladstone company QMC Group Pty Ltd, which quoted $1.761 million for the work over the course of six months.
The work would have generated up to 12 local full-time jobs, which will now go elsewhere.
Councillor Kahn Goodluck questioned the decision not to go locally despite a $186,000, or 11.8 per cent increase in cost.
"There was 12 jobs for local people that there now won't be, an 11.8 per cent increase was worth it in this case," Cr Goodluck said.
"There's been other decisions where that percentage was much higher. We had a mowing contract that went local, which was 32 per cent higher and I was against that decision.
"It's less than 0.1 per cent of our annual budget to employ 12 local people for a period of six months seemed fair and reasonable to me."
However, Cr Chris Trevor stressed that council's duty was to its ratepayers, not local jobs.
"We've given more than ample opportunity and leg-ups for local people in this community," Cr Trevor said.
"Sooner or later there's going to be a ratepayer rebellion if we continue to accept higher quotes when it's quite reasonable to accept the lower ones.
"I'm not going to keep voting around this chamber for contracts based on the fact that local people are employed. There has to be an end to this - it can't continue.
"I'd hate to add up how much additional money ratepayers have spent supporting local people. There comes a time where we have to stop.
"We just can't continue paying these additional monies out. Ratepayers of the Gladstone region aren't the guardian angels of people and local jobs.
"We've done more than enough to support local people."
Gladstone Region mayor Matt Burnett said Red Rover was another road that should be owned by the state government.
"This is used basically as a ring road for heavy vehicle access to the Gladstone port and it should be either owned by the port or owned by the state government," Cr Burnett said.
"Here we are spending $1.5 million of ratepayer money upgrading a road, for I don't know how many times I've seen it upgraded since I've been on council, because of damage done to that road by heavy vehicles.
"Our small community of 65,000-70,000 people supporting the entire nation is a bit unrealistic and unreasonable."