Minister for Cross River Rail, Kate Jones, has announced a major reform package for the project including establishing a compliance unit to hold contractors to account, and dismissing the board overseeing the project once their current term expires in April.
The reforms aim to make sure that contractual commitments are delivered as the project moves to the construction phase.
Cabinet had agreed to the following reforms:
- The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority will report directly to the Minister
- A Compliance Unit will be established to ensure all commitments made by the contractor are met during the construction of the project
- The board will be restructured once the current term expires in April this year, in line with the transition from procurement to construction
Ms Jones said her priority was to ensure that Pulse consortium and head contractor CPB Group complied fully with their contract with the State Government to deliver the largest infrastructure project in Queensland’s history.
“Right now, CPB is trying to weasel its way out of its contract with the Victorian Government on the multi-billion-dollar West Gate Tunnel.
“Since coming into the role at the end of last year, I have been reviewing the structure of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority.
“It is clear to me and to Cabinet that now we have moved from the procurement phase to the construction phase of the project we need to beef up compliance.
“While the construction project is currently on track and on budget, it is early days.
“I want to ensure I have the right people with the right skills to deliver this project and hold CPB and Pulse Consortium to account.
“I’m not going to let CPB run roughshod over Queenslanders or the workers on this job.”
Ms Jones said Queensland will heed the lessons from southern states experiencing massive contractual disputes that were delaying vital infrastructure.
“We’ve seen delays on the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Metro Tunnel project due to on-going disputes with the builder,” she said.
“And we have all suffered with the NSW stadiums deal debacle that has seen timelines pushed out and the Grand Final being played at a cricket ground for up to three years.”
Ms Jones said that the Compliance Unit would be established immediately.
Contracts open for hundreds of opportunities
Minister Jones also announced that another wave of sub-contractor opportunities related to the tunnels and stations works package would be released by the project’s major contractor in coming weeks.
She said more than 200 companies across South East Queensland had already secured Cross River Rail contracts with hundreds more subcontractor opportunities still up for grabs.
“We’ve already seen iconic Queensland company, Wagners awarded a $40 million contract to supply precast concrete segments and we want companies asking themselves ‘could we be the next ones to win?’
“We’re unashamedly putting Queensland companies first. The numbers here tell the story of us delivering on our commitment to make sure the benefits go to Queenslanders first and foremost.”
Ms Jones met with Multhana Property Services, a proud indigenous company from Eight Mile Plains, contracted to deliver cleaning and maintenance services at Cross River Rail project worksites.
The Minister also revealed a new website is now live for companies to register their interest to apply for contracts.
“This will be the one stop shop for anyone who wants to work on Cross River Rail,” she said.
“If you’re a local subby with the right expertise, we want you to apply to work on the biggest project in Queensland’s history.”
The Minister made the announcement while inspecting construction on Cross River Rail’s huge Woolloongabba worksite.
Progress on the project to date includes:
- More than 140 piles have already been sunk into the site to stabilise the station box during excavation
- Excavation has already hit a depth of approximately five metres with another 27m to go before the station box base level is reached; and
- Eight of the 132 piles have been sunk for the temporary ramp that the massive tunnel boring machines will use to access the tunnel site
“Anyone driving past can see we’re making great progress,” said Ms Jones.
“Construction will ramp up in 2020 and locals will see more workers on Cross River Rail sites throughout the city.”