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Council tells us to BUY Local and then does the complete opposite

Council tells us that the Potato Point sewerage scheme is a priority project to improve the service to residents in the village and better protect the environment. The sewage pump station and sewer rising main needs to be constructed as the first part of the Potato Point Sewerage Scheme. The existing water supply trunk main is also being renewed at the same time as part of Council’s ongoing water mains renewal works to take advantage of efficiencies in undertaking the work. Council engaged Public Works Advisory (PWA) to advertise Request for Tender (RFT) No. 10017601 for the construction of a new Potato Point sewage pump station, sewer rising main and water trunk main on Council’s behalf. The tender was open for submission from 13 March 2020 to 30 April 2020. Upon close of tender, fourteen (14) tenders were received. Council then received a report from Public Works Advisory outlining the evaluation of the offers in response to RFT No. 10017601, and provided a recommendation for their preferred tenderer. Last week Councillors endorsed the selection of the preferred tenderer and approved the entering into of a contractual arrangement with the preferred tenderer, subject to the terms specified in the Request for Tender. Eurobodalla Council’s adopted Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy (IWCMS) 2016 identified the existing on-site sewage management systems in Potato Point as having a medium-high risk on public and environmental health. The provision of a pressure sewerage scheme to collect and transport sewage to the Bodalla Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) was therefore included in Council’s long term capital works program. Council was subsequently successful in obtaining a grant of $3.2 million from the NSW State Government through the Restart NSW program. The Restart NSW Fund is paid for by NSW taxpayers and governed by the Restart NSW Fund Act 2011. Under the Act, Infrastructure NSW is responsible for assessing and recommending Restart NSW projects which improve the economic growth and productivity of NSW across all sectors. Thirty per cent of Restart NSW funding is targeted at regional and rural areas (outside the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong) over the lifetime of the fund. The Potato Point Sewerage Scheme project is to be constructed through two contracts, with the first being for the construction of the sewage pumping station and rising main to transport sewage from Potato Point to the Bodalla STP. The tender was for the first stage of the overall scheme that would see the new sewer rising main being laid along the same alignment as the existing 55 year old water supply trunk main. This water main needs to be renewed and has therefore been incorporated into the same contract for efficiencies of scale and to minimise site disturbance and restoration. The second contract will be for the construction of the pressure sewerage scheme within Potato Point. Tenders for this part of the work will be called later in 2020 with a view to commencing work in 2021. The Potato Point Sewerage Scheme tender was advertised on 13 March 2020 with a closing date of 30 April 2020. Offers were received from the following tenderers and assessed in accordance with the Tender Evaluation Plan:  aBCD Enterprise - Central Coast  Eire Constructions Pty Ltd - Port Macquarie  E1 Civil Engineering Pty Ltd - NOT registered as a company  Endacom Pty Ltd - Parramatta Road, Lidcombe FB Contracting - 55 Basalt St, Geebung QLD  Precision Pipe Networks Pty Ltd - Bella Vista NSWHisway Pty - South Nowra  Ledonne Constructions Pty Ltd - Carlton NSW  MMA Civil Contractors - Leichhardt NSWR.D. Miller Pty Ltd - Greendale via Bega  SNG Constructions Pty Ltd - Richmond NSW  TCM Civil Pty Ltd - Cooranbong NSW  Trazlbat Pty Ltd - Yagoona NSW  Utilstra Pty Ltd - Canberra ...... and the winning tender for the Potato Point project was ....... FB Contracting - 55 Basalt St, Geebung QLD, who will be paid via the Restart NSW projects put in place to "improve the economic growth and productivity of NSW in all sectors".

Public Works Advisory (PWA) told the councillors in their report that the offer submitted by FB Contracting "has been assessed as representing good value for money for Council due to the company’s demonstrated experience, quality of workmanship and satisfactory price in comparison to the pre-construction estimate." The report to councillors also stated that "Policy Procurement was undertaken in accordance with Council’s Procurement Policy, Code of Practice – Procurement, Code of Practice – Tendering, the Local Government Procurement Guidelines, Local Government (General) Regulation 2006 and the Local Government Act 1993." The work will be paid by the NSW Government via Council, being "successful in obtaining a grant of $3.2 million from the NSW State Government through the Restart program (p.95)". The money won't actually be coming from Council's own (ratepayers) pocket. While Councillors are being told that "in accordance with Council’s Procurement Policy, Code of Practice – Procurement, Code of Practice – Tendering, the Local Government Procurement Guidelines, Local Government (General) Regulation 2006 and the Local Government Act 1993" it is of concern that two local South East companies were overlooked, especially at a time when projects like this are very thin on the ground and our local community is in its fourth quarter of recession facing an uncertain future. If the project is being paid for by the NSW Restart Grant designed to "improve the state’s economic growth and productivity" surely there would have been an opportunity for Council to consider the recommendation of Public Works Advisory. The councillors didn't offer any debate. They didn't offer any questions and they voted unanimously for a Queensland company to do the work. Not even the mention of "Buy Local". This might be a good time to remind Councillors and readers of the Mayor's Message - "Let's think local first", Wednesday 8 August 2018, when she said:

Buy local. It’s an easy phrase to say, but how many of us are walking the talk? As the 2018 Eurobodalla Business Awards approach, let’s think local first. Give your local shops and your local suppliers an opportunity before heading online or out of the region. Give them a chance to sell you that dress or provide that kitchen quote. We all hate to see local shops closing and complain at times when we can’t get what we need nearby. One way to counter that is to give our local businesses a shot so the money stays in our area. The so-called Amazon effect has dramatically changed the way we shop. We can buy online with almost immediate results, and these days often with free delivery. The impact on traditional forms of commerce, particularly bricks and mortar retail, is all too real. I understand that price can be a factor for shopping elsewhere, but consider the value of customer service from a local person, and the follow up sales service they can offer before you make a make a decision to buy outside our region. It works both ways of course. We want our local businesses to give us the best possible service. That’s what will keep us coming back and telling our friends about your business. I prefer to shop locally. I like to see, touch and try before I buy and know that what I’m getting is good value for money. I enjoy chatting with our local business people and their staff, and I like the feel good vibes I get supporting a local business. Eurobodalla’s 2,763 businesses provide 12,224 local jobs. 1,898 of those jobs are in retail sector, the highest of any sector in Eurobodalla. So before you next Add To Cart, think about your local mates and consider buying here at home.

Above: Note that CLR Thomson had left the meeting and did not vote on this agenda item. Councillors, how much of the NSW State's Restart money did you save when you said NO to R.D. Miller Pty Ltd of Greendale via Bega and to Hisway Pty from South Nowra? Across the country tender documents are written, and have consideration and provision, for local content tenderers. Eurobodalla DOES NOT factor in any provision for Local Tenderers. Instead they out source their tender selection process to the likes of Public Works Advisory who accept tenders from as far afield as Western Australia. Were our councillors even are advised that Public Works Advisory had recommended a Queensland company over local South East NSW tenderers or did they simply rubber stamp the recommendation and thereby wash their hands of the consequences of their decision by going for the lowest quote. Did they, even for a minute, stop to consider the TRUE LONG TERM COST to their own local economy and to those local businesses that employ directly from the local community. NO. There was NO debate, NO discussion and they moved on to the next item on the agenda.

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