Posted April 21, 2017 18:30:46
The WA Government has confirmed it is negotiating with four local companies to build part of the $70 million Swan River stadium footbridge at no extra cost, following delays and compliance concerns.
Earlier this month, the Government said it would gauge interest from local steel manufacturers to build the deck of the bridge, which is being manufactured in Malaysia by an Italian-Australian joint venture.
The bridge was originally scheduled for completion by the end of last year, but cost overruns and delays have repeatedly set back the timeframe.
Planning Minister Rita Saffioti told the ABC the Government was hopeful the steel deck could be built locally within the project’s existing budget.
“It’s a live negotiation but the aim is to try and bring back some of that local work and also try and get the market again moving in respect of steel work in WA,” she said.
The Minister said the lead contractor York Rizzani had effectively agreed to subcontract the decking work to a WA firm at no extra cost.
“One of the benefits hopefully of going with local production is that we can be locally producing that deck at the same time as waiting for the arches to come over,” she said.
Ms Saffioti said the Government was still examining whether price penalties would be applied over contract breaches.
‘Hundreds of jobs possible’
Australian Steel Institute WA manager James England said the decision to offer subcontracts on the project had the potential to create hundreds of local jobs.
The Government has committed to review the tender process for state projects as part of its proposed commission of inquiry.
Mr England said the tender process needed to be more open and transparent, rather than aiming solely for the lowest price.
“It doesn’t seem to consider value, quality and compliance highly enough,” he said.
“It’s a worrying trend that contracts are awarded on price. We need to ensure the value is there for the whole community and that compliance is front and centre of the conversation.”
Ms Saffioti said the commission of inquiry would aim to quantify risks involved in the tender process.
“We don’t want a situation where Government makes decisions and isn’t fully aware of the risks that are in front of them,” she said.
“This is an example of where a decision was made and I don’t think anyone really contemplated the significant risk of building offshore.”
The bridge had an original budget of $54 million when the contract was awarded to Italian company Rizanni de Eccher and Australian-based York Civil in mid-2015.
Negotiations with the four local companies are expected to conclude within three to four weeks.