Concern over inflated quotes for cyclone Yasi reconstruction work
QUOTES for cyclone Yasi reconstruction work are up to 40 per cent higher than expected, it has been revealed ahead of a visit to the Far North from the federal body overseeing the recovery effort today.
Cassowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon says tender prices are in some cases between 30 and 40 per cent higher than estimated, and the issue would form part of discussions with the Australian Government Reconstruction Inspectorate.
Cr Shannon told The Cairns Post he did not believe the costs were due to "gouging", but rather a result of the glut of construction projects on the horizon across the state in the wake of last year’s natural disasters.
"It won’t affect ratepayers, but if the prices are coming in higher then we need to make sure we get good value from a taxpayers’ point of view," he said.
"That is why I welcome the visit by the inspectorate, because it is there to ensure we get value for money."
The inspectorate was set up last year to provide accountability measures to ensure value for money in the rebuilding of flood and cyclone hit regions.
Its chairman John Fahey reports directly to the Prime Minister and today will be touring the region, which is estimated to have sustained $160 million worth of damage.
Queensland Reconstruction Authority chairman, retired Maj-Gen Richard Wilson, will visit the region for the second time in a fortnight to accompany the inspectorate.
He believes the recovery effort is about "building momentum" as it reaches the halfway point of its three-year timeframe.
"I think we are on the verge of really starting to see some significant progress in terms of reconstruction outcomes," he said.
Maj-Gen Wilson said he understood tenders were coming in higher than anticipated, but it was a "matter for council to determine" how to deal with the situation.
"There is not a bottomless bucket of money here and we need to look at ensuring we get value for money," he said.
Cr Shannon said the council was looking at packaging small jobs into bigger contracts to save money.
"This is work that can’t be done by locals, so we are packaging them up in bigger deals so we can get the interest of Australia-wide contractors," he said.
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Concern: Cassowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon says tender quotes for reconstruction projects are in some cases between 30 and 40 per cent higher than estimated.