By KIERAN FINNANE
There may be a way to significantly reduce the cost of sealing the Northern Territory’s stretch of the Outback Way. As previously reported, the NT’s going rate for the seal is $800,000 per kilometre compared to across the Queensland border, where Boulia Shire can do it for well under $300,000.
At a recent meeting of the Outback Way Technical Construction Group, Alice Springs Town Councillor Jamie De Brenni (pictured), who works in construction, proposed that a project management board be set up to contract the work, as a way to get around having to go through the NT Government’s tendering process.
He said the two shires either side of the border – Boulia in Qld and Laverton in WA – are set up to contract the work out on an hourly rate. “They’ve got everything working so well” – it’s “wet hire, hourly rate, no stand-down, no standup”.
The project management board would be responsible for letting the contract, including “local content”, getting materials on site and paying bills.
If an asphalt team is already mobilised across the border, working at an hourly rate, the board could take advantage of their availability to do work on the NT side, says Cr De Brenni.
It would be a more streamlined and less expensive process than the present one of letting government tenders, often involving more than one government department, and typically only upgrading or sealing short sections of road at a time: “With governments you get five kilometre contracts, then sit down for six and a half months till the next 10 kilometres comes up.
At this stage, Cr De Brenni’s proposal is just that. It has to go back to the NT Government and the interstate shires involved to be progressed further.
A way to reduce cost of sealing NT's Outback Way?
By KIERAN FINNANE