By Jeremy Sollars
Warwick contractors have dismissed claims of favouritism by the Southern Downs Regional Council over the awarding of work to private businesses and a “beers for the boys” culture within the council.
Allegations have been made in other local media that corruption is rife within the council when it comes to giving out jobs to local contractors, with “talk of Gold Coast holidays, Christmas parties, beers for the boys, you name it”.
Mayor Tracy Dobie has said she is “not aware” of any allegations of bribery or corruption, but rumours are doing the rounds currently that certain operators are favoured and others shunned.
It’s also been suggested to the Free Times that certain contractors have been favoured by the council as a result of doing private work for council officers.
But contractors who spoke to the Free Times today denied there was anything dodgy going on when it comes to the council deciding who to hire for one-off jobs.
Excavation business owner Kevin Madsen said the council is “no different to any other business” when it comes to engaging operators for work.
“If you’ve got the equipment and you are skilled in doing the work you’ll get it (from the council),” Mr Madsen said.
“If people aren’t getting the work well maybe they’re not much of an operator.
“I haven’t heard any suggestion there is favouritism going on.”
Another local business operator, who declined to be identified, said the council was “very fair” when it came to hiring external businesses to undertake works.
“I’ve had a lot of work from the council over the last 12 or so years,” they told the Free Times.
“Any contractor in town can go to the council and ask for work, or ask why they’re not getting work.
“They (the council) use a lot of locals – once they know who you are and that you’re reliable you’ll get the jobs.
“They’re not going to come to you.
“There’s a process, there’s a register you have to be on through the Local Government Tenderbox and you have to meet the requirements.
“Council is obliged to ring around and see who is available.
“Whoever is complaining needs to go and talk to the council, instead of whinging.
“That’s my biggest gripe – rather than have a whinge and a moan be willing to face up and show your face.
“If you’re not getting the work then you’re obviously not able to meet (the council’s) requirements.”
• Got information on this issue? Call Free Times editor Jeremy Sollars for a confidential chat on 4661 9800.