May 23, 2016 1:34am
LOCAL steel manufacturers have rejected a last-minute call to finish a fabrication job, pointedly telling the builder “it is such a shame that China can’t do this for you by Monday”.
In a scathing email obtained by the NT News, MMC general manager and chairman of the Manufacturers Council, Owen Pike, said he found the request from Hutchinson Builders “insulting”.
The $5000 job was to fabricate an awning for new lifestyle retailer Anaconda at the Jape Homemaker Village.
“MMC is unwilling to assist Hutchinson with this job. It is well known that Hutchison aggressively use southern and overseas suppliers and subcontractors and disregard local Darwin Business. I find (sic) insulting that you seek support from local business to complete urgent works at the end of a project it is such a shame that China can’t do this for you by Monday,” he said.
Hutchinson Builders is also building the $300 million Gateway project at Palmerston. For months now the NT News has been regularly contacted by steel manufacturers complaining about the lack of opportunities on the project.
The Gateway reaches an important milestone today with an on-site roof-topping ceremony to mark the completion of the highest construction point of the roof structure. Chief Minister Adam Giles will officiate at the ceremony.
Hutchinson’s site manager at Jape Homemaker, Ben Spink, who received Mr Pike’s response, was disappointed, describing it as “childish”.
“We had been using a local contractor for the job but when it came to the deadline he said he couldn’t do it so we asked MMC who have done work for us before,” Mr Spink said. “The deadline was client-driven and we have now pushed that back and the original local contractor will do it. It was for a loading dock at Anaconda and the store will open on time.
“I am really disappointed in the response and find it childish. I found out later he blind copied a whole lot of others in on the email he sent me as well.
“We have created a lot of local jobs here and we do try to use locals.”
The Giles Government released a “Buy Local” initiative giving a weighting towards local business in response to concerns regarding government procurement rules. It has no power to direct private firms on private projects which has frustrated local manufacturers even more.
Mr Pike has said previously major local firms want to charge the margin but don’t want to pay the margin for doing business here.
Source : NT News