Business

Sandstone quarry: We’ve been snubbed, plus Mayor's response

ROCKY START: Reece Gough from Capricorn Sandstone Quarries at the Stanwell site.
ROCKY START: Reece Gough from Capricorn Sandstone Quarries at the Stanwell site. Allan Reinikka

 CAPRICORN Sandstone Quarries owner Reece Gough says he has "not once" been contacted by anyone from Rockhampton Regional Council to discuss the use of local sandstone as an option for the Riverfront Redevelopment.

He said the company was not approached over the paving areas of the project, despite a local preference policy being in place at the council.

(See Mayor Margaret Strelow's response below)

In November the council increased the local preference weighting for local businesses from 5% to 12% to ensure the council would always consider local businesses first when sourcing for tenders or general business requirements.

In the last reporting period, about 67% of council's goods and services were acquired from local suppliers, injecting about $63.8 million into the region.

Mr Gough said he would welcome the opportunity to be a part of the riverfront project, but the pathway to achieving this was made extremely difficult by a council which "did not seem to value local industry".

"We got wind that the council wanted to use a stone paver, and that imported granite was the product under consideration, so we called the council and pleaded the case for local sandstone to be considered for the footpath sections," Mr Gough said.

"Even though the Customs House, The Old Post Office and many other iconic local buildings are built with sandstone from this quarry, the council did not seem to recognise that we are a viable option.

"Not only are we local, we employ 18 full-time staff in the local area, and most of our suppliers are local.

"We inject millions of dollars into the local economy each year and actively support local projects."

Mr Gough said the company was one of the largest exporters of Australian sandstone, with their product "recognised and demanded" both nationwide and internationally.

"Sandstone from this quarry has been used in Rockhampton since 1872 and, provided that the customer can be a little bit flexible in their requirements (so that we maximise our production capabilities), then we can supply material at very competitive prices," he said.

"Our sandstone features in Queensland Parliament House, the Barangaroo development, Kirribilli House and the Australian American Memorial, to name just a few.

"We supply sandstone for paving and step treads all over Australia and the world, including City of Sydney Council, so why isn't it good enough for Rockhampton?"

WHILE Mayor Margaret Strelow said council was restricted from contacting individual businesses to discuss tenders, she could offer advice on a more public scale.

 Her comments follow concerns from a sandstone quarry that they were not contacted about the Riverfront Redevelopment paved areas tender.

"In this very public way can I suggest again that prospective (part) tenderers contact the Department of State Development who are, at my request, assisting local businesses to prepare joint tenderers," she said.

"You are also welcome to submit an Alternative Tender, as well as a Conforming Tender... an Alternative Tender is where you have a suggestion for a better way of us doing something.

"The tenders will be assessed fairly by a panel of people at arm's length.

"And for those who are still hoping to tender; please be advised that the department are doing the second round of meetings with people trying to connect partners to lodge joint tenders."

Cr Strelow said there would be many other places on the riverbank project where sandstone was proposed.

Topics:  rockhampton regional council



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