Members of Australian Army's 2nd General Health Battalion construct a field hospital in the vicinity of Williamson Airfield, Shoalwater Bay as part of Talisman Saber 2017.
Members of Australian Army's 2nd General Health Battalion construct a field hospital in the vicinity of Williamson Airfield, Shoalwater Bay as part of Talisman Saber 2017. LSIS Jake Badior

New pilot program worth millions to CQ businesses

CENTRAL Queensland's business owners will have a unique opportunity to be part of a pilot program allowing them to cash in on rich defence infrastructure projects.

The Federal Government has announced the Local Industry Capability Plan of which the framework will be piloted by three projects going to market in the next few months including the $135 Million Shoalwater Bay Training Area Redevelopment, a substantial infrastructure upgrade to support a range of new land combat and amphibious warfare capabilities.

Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry today welcomed the breakthrough to assist local industries and businesses.

"I cannot stress enough how important it is for local businesses wanting to contract to the military to get prepared by working through Managing Contractors, or Primes as they are sometimes called," she said.

The pilot program follows submissions made at a July Senate enquiry in Rockhampton where issues faced by businesses attempting to secure military contracts were raised during a session on the Impact of Military Training Activities in Regional and Rural areas.

Livingstone Shire Council's director of strategic growth and development Debra Howe told the enquiry the roadblock for contracts involved the inability of CQ businesses to meet the ADF Tier 1 and 2 business level set out in the criteria.

But Ms Landry said the new pilot program would ensure local businesses were included.

"Under the program, tenderers bidding for major capital facilities projects will have to state clearly how they have engaged with local industry in providing their tendered solution, and how local industry will specifically be involved in delivering the work packages that underpin the project,” Ms Landry said.

She urged local businesses wanting to tender to start preparing and understanding how the tender process for defence contracts work.

"A broad range of products and services are required, but working with defence can be complex."

The pilot projects will form the development of a Defence Industry Participation Policy the Minister for Defence will release in the first half of 2018.

The Policy will provide a more consistent approach to maximising Australian and local industry involvement in Defence procurement of $4 million and above, recognising that Defence procures a range of different equipment, services, and support across many sectors of the Australian economy.

Capricorn Enterprise Economic Development Manager Neil Lethlean has welcomed the new direction being taken to engage local capability in future upgrade works at Shoalwater Bay military Training Area, committing resources of Capricorn enterprise to ensure that regional businesses are well qualified to engage in future ADF work packages.

Ms Landry said that the government will also be undertaking to maximise local industry involvement by changing the way Managing Contractors sub-contract.

"Under this approach, buildings or work elements may be tendered separately, rather than by individual trade," Ms Landry said.

"The initiative will trial the use of smaller 'work packages' for the upcoming Larrakeyah Redevelopment and if successful, I will be pushing this to be included in the Shoalwater Bay expansion."

Further information for businesses hoping to tender for projects can be found at business.gov.au/cdic and Capricorn Enterprise is offering members additional support.



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