A decision by the Andrews Labor Government to not invite local tenders for the $5m upgrade of TAFE Gippsland Warragul’s campus has been blasted by the Victorian Liberal Nationals.
Speaking in State Parliament this week, Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood said that while this funding was a massive boost for local education and training, it should have been open to tender by local contractors.
‘The recent funding for the upgrade of TAFE Gippsland’s Warragul campus is a positive for the Gippsland community, in particular the students and staff who will get to use the redeveloped facility,’ said Mr Blackwood.
‘When small business is desperately trying to stay afloat and recover from COVID and there is a major government infrastructure project to be delivered in regional Victoria you would think the Andrews Labor government would make sure that local building firms would get an opportunity to tender.
‘It is part of the government’s own specifications for tender that local content must be a priority. But, no, not in this case.
‘It is an absolute disgrace that the Andrews Labor government would invite only Melbourne-based building companies to tender for this $5 million project.
Mr Blackwood said that it had become a pattern by the Andrews Labor Government to tell the community one thing about a project, and then deliver something totally different behind the scenes.
‘It is typical of the Andrews Labor government, as it takes a smoke-and-mirrors approach to managing projects: tell people what they want to hear and deliver what is going to best suit their mates.
‘A project that could easily have been tendered for by a number of Gippsland-based construction companies, all of them prequalified for a project of this scale, all of them battling through COVID, many of them putting themselves into serious debt rather than put off staff.
‘Here is an opportunity for the Andrews government to give local Gippsland-based contractors a share of the capital spend and support, but, no, they were completely shut out of the tender process.
‘This has to be fixed, this decision must be overturned and local contractors afforded the opportunity to tender for this project,’ Mr Blackwood said.
Gary Blackwood MP
State Member for Narracan
3/24 Mason Street
Ph: 5623 1960
Fax: 5623 4506
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