Call for govt to back small contractors

The feedback we received came as the Federal Government today announced it will spend $42 billion on an economic stimulus package despite forecasts yesterday that the federal Budget will be in deficit for the next three years. It appears the government’s pockets are much shallower than it thought, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd saying yesterday that the global recession would wipe off $115 billion in tax revenues over the next four years. According to a report by the ANZ Bank’s economics and market research arm, which took into account the guidance given by the PM yesterday, the budget will fall into deficit this current year, with the worst outcomes likely to be in 2009-2010 and beyond. One industry player, who asked not to be named but holds a senior management position with a large equipment hire company, told CIN the smaller, regional contractors would be hardest hit, especially if governments continue to favour the more competitive tenders that are able to be offered by the bigger players. He said governments needed to get civil works projects underway, using key New South Wales projects as an example.“Start the work for the Pacific Highway upgrade for the mid north coast now. Start the upgrade from Sapphire to Woolgoolga now,” he said. “And then commence on the Port Macquarie to Urunga section and get some employment happening with local contractors being preferred suppliers on all occasions.“A lot of the people in this area (Coffs Harbour, New South Wales) have now got to look at moving just to keep their repayments up on their machinery,” he said. “What I’ve found is that these big contractors nail them to the wall on their pricing. The bigger companies out of Sydney are coming and taking the work that the local contractor could be doing.“They need to let the local people – who the roads are being built for – to have the option of benefitting from the work,” the source said. He said even his employer – a national company – was suffering.“I’ve been with the company for three years and it has never had to scratch for a dollar to pay its creditors, yet here we are, we’re in that situation,” he said.

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