Industry heavyweights rejected, business loses $200K job
WHEN politicians hand out money to local organisations at election time you'd hope the money would eventually find its way back into the community's pocket.
Less than a month out from the federal election last year Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd committed to spend $610,000 on a new Gladstone Sporting Infrastructure Plan, with $200,000 pigeon-holed so Gladstone PCYC could convert to solar power.
Councillor and Gladstone PCYC chairman Glenn Churchill said the conversion to solar power could save the not-for-profit group thousands of dollars in electricity costs.
But Queensland PCYC chief operating officer Mitch Ryder confirmed on Wednesday the contract to install solar at Gladstone PCYC had been given to Brisbane-based company Gem Energy Australia, beating out three other Gladstone-based providers.
Although Gem Energy has an office in Emerald, which falls within the Flynn electorate, the company moved its main office to Brisbane last year and it is unknown whether local contractors would be used for the project.
Mr Ryder said any allegation PCYC intentionally sought to give the job to an outside company was "untrue".
However Mr Churchill said the Gladstone PCYC committee, which is made up of local industry heavyweights and council representatives, had thrown its weight behind local company Cutuli.
"We sent out for tenders, we got quotes and made a decision which was a recommendation and appropriately that went to the (PCYC) state office ... they have seen fit to reverse our decision," Mr Churchill said.
"We stand by our decision and recommendation but we also need to understand PCYC is governed by a state body."
Cutuli co-owner Brett Lodding said securing the contract at Gladstone PCYC would have been a great opportunity for Cutuli to establish itself as a leading commercial solar installer.
"When you complete big projects people start to take you more seriously," Mr Lodding said.
Mr Ryder said the tender process was "extensive" and looked at a "range of factors".
Gem Energy was contacted for comment however the CEO was currently overseas and advised he would respond next week.