$2M lifeline for Gladstone workers thrown out by State Govt
THE State Government has left two struggling Gladstone men "gutted" after snubbing their request for $2 million of work.
The tender for repair work to fences damaged during Cyclone Debbie was originally touted as an opportunity for jobs for "locals", but it was awarded to a New South Wales company.
Beecher-based LJ and BA Davies Construction owner Lex Davies tendered for the the 70km of fencing repair work, awarded to Australian Fencing on Monday, and said it would have given himself and 11 other local people work for a year.
After phoning the State Government monthly for updates, Mr Davies will remain as the sole worker for his business with little other than "a few renos and retaining walls" work.
Mr Davies said the tender requirements were "vague" and to increase his chances he offered to match the price of any other company.
The work could have been a godsend for Tannum Wholesale Nursery owner Ernie Vaughan too, who would have been the second in charge to Mr Davies if they were successful.
Mr Vaughan, a long-time Labor supporter, said he was "absolutely gutted" and would never vote for the party again.
"I've voted Labor since I was 18 and if this is what they're all about I don't want to be any part of it," he said.
"That $2 million could've come to Gladstone and Jesus Christ that would've helped."
"They talk about jobs, jobs and more jobs for us locals, but there's nothing in it."
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Mr Davies, in business for 17 years, said he had never seen times so tough.
"I was on the phone to someone from the opposition leader's office before and I said, 'I'm going to tell you straight, this stinks'.
"I work for myself, I can't employ anyone at the moment, there's not enough work, I'd be paying them for nothing, " Mr Davies said.
Mr Davies arranged an earth moving contractor in Moranbah, Mr Vaughan and Gladstone region fencing and star picket suppliers for the work.
The move was slammed by the Liberal National Party yesterday, who raised the tender announcement in Parliament yesterday.
"Labor say their policy looks after Queensland companies and their workers by ensuring tenders for government work go to local companies - but this has been exposed as nothing more than a sham," LNP shadow public works minister Stephen Bennett said.
Defending the decision, Labor's Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said his government awarded the tender "under the rules inherited from the LNP". "Part of the contract conditions for this tender include an undertaking to use local subcontractors and suppliers, and I will be making sure that this is monitored closely," he said.
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Mr de Brenni said the work was announced in May, four months before his government's Buy Queensland policy began.
"This contract was awarded under the rules we inherited from the LNP, rules that were all about getting the lowest price no matter if a company is from interstate or overseas."