On 14 February 2019, the first Queensland Local Government Forum was held in Gatton. The Forum brought together Councils from along the Inland Rail alignment, state government representatives, the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities (the department) and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).
Attendees received an update on the project from ARTC and an overview of the department’s priorities for 2019, including an information on key projects such as the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, Roads of Strategic Importance and the Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot.
Scenic Rim Regional Council presented to the group on the critical role that local government associations (LGA) play in advocating on behalf of their local businesses during the tender stage for construction works, including the need for LGA’s to work collaboratively in lobbying for their communities.
A question and answer session closed out the Forum. The discussion is summarised as follows:
Employment targets for local employment and indigenous employment
Construction contracts already in place in New South Wales contain aspirational targets in areas such as local workers, age (workers under 25), female, local spend and Indigenous spend. ARTC and the department are working with Department of Jobs and Small Business to develop employment strategies.
Creating business opportunities and improving the understanding of the commercial environment for small to medium businesses
Small and medium business will be sub-contracting to Tier 1 and 2 companies; however, ARTC are putting in place strong targets in contracts for local engagement. It is also important for LGAs, as leaders in their communities, to provide assistance to their businesses on how to engage.
Procurement workshops are being held in New South Wales and a similar model could be implemented in Queensland – once the bilateral agreement unlocks the construction phase.
The Australian Government and ARTC will report on the levels of local engagement as Inland Rail progresses.
Queensland Bilateral Agreement
The Australia Government is continuing to discuss the Bilateral Agreement with the state government. A Bilateral Agreement is critical in progressing to the construction phase in Queensland.
Public Private Partnership and industry
ARTC will be a 50 per cent partner to the PPP and will contribute a social aspect of how the PPP works.