Premier’s job pledge to Broome

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WA Premier Mark McGowan at Broome's Cable Beach.
Camera IconWA Premier Mark McGowan at Broome's Cable Beach. Credit: Jakeb Waddell.

Premier Mark McGowan has promised a roundtable discussion with Broome builders and contractors will be held to review barriers to competing for local State Government contracts.

The decision follows an uproar by the business community after four Perth-based companies were short-listed for the $20 million Broome Senior High School upgrade works.

An expression of interest was submitted by Perth firm Broad Construction, with a memorandum of understanding that Broome builder H&M Tracey would carry out work at the school, but it was unsuccessful.

The Broome Advertiser reported last month that the Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry had written to the Premier, calling the Labor Party out for not following through with an election pledge to ensure local companies received a bigger share of State Government work.

In his response to the organisation, Mr McGowan said officers from the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation had been told to collaborate with the Kimberley Local Content Adviser to attend meetings with local companies and State Government Agencies. He said the meetings would focus on “local sourcing issues and agencies’ perspectives and views on such matters, to develop and enhance strategies with the aim of increasing opportunities for regional businesses.”

It is understood a number of these discussions have already taken place.

The department is due to hold a forum next month in partnership with the BCCI to allow local companies the opportunity to identify sourcing issues with agencies, which will also provide details on upcoming projects in the regions.

BCCI chief executive Elaine Jolliffe said the event would be an opportunity for Broome to “address the metro-focused decision makers who do not understand or believe the capacity of local businesses”.

“This has been an advocacy item of the BCCI for quite a long time, especially after the wrongdoing of the BSHS project,” she said. “Broome businesses have the capacity to carry out government tenders and these department movers and shakers will finally hear the frustration Broome businesses have been experiencing since Mr McGowan was elected in.”

Mr McGowan said the Government recognised there were “some issues” with the BSHS development that went back many years and was working hard to address them.

“We all want the same thing— that is, more opportunities for local businesses and more jobs for local workers,” he said.

“As a Government, we’ve been very proactive in consulting with local businesses to work out a way forward.

“Last month, we announced new incentives designed to maximise local content on the second stage of the Broome SHS tender process.

“A forum will be held in Broome at the end of July which will provide an update to local businesses and other stakeholders on progress on State Government procurement initiatives and JTSI’s current work on creating opportunities for local businesses.

“We will continue to consult with the community about how these plans are best rolled out and any areas that can be improved.”

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