Ban builders until collusion allegations investigated

24 May 2010 11:35 PMJann Stuckey

24 May 2010

TWO companies who have admitted secretly discussing prices for government tenders should be banned from all government tenders until the matter has been fully investigated, the LNP said today.

LNP spokeswoman for Public Works Jann Stuckey said the admission by building companies JM Kelly and TF Woollam in Brisbane’s Federal Court raised serious concerns about the probity of the Bligh Labor government’s tender process.

“These companies have won tenders for $273 million in state government projects and have secured work in the Rudd government’s seriously flawed Building Education Revolution scheme,” Ms Stuckey said.

“That whole program has been rorted by Labor’s building mates and now we have clear evidence of companies with close ALP links conducting secret discussions on state government tenders.

“Minister Robert Schwarten has turned a blind eye by claiming these contractors were innocent until proven guilty, and his department was not in a position legally to exclude them from government work.

“People can draw their own conclusions but when Queensland taxpayers’ funds are involved, Bligh and Labor have an absolute responsibility to ensure any tender process is open, accountable and above board.

“Until that is shown in this case to be absolutely beyond doubt Minister Schwarten should immediately suspend them from all state government tender processes.”

Ms Stuckey said the companies were entitled to answer the ACCC’s claims of collusion before the courts and were being given that opportunity.

“These allegations are so serious Minister Schwarten should immediately refer them to the CMC so it can conduct its own detailed investigation irrespective of the outcome of current proceedings,” she said.

“He should also release the findings of his own department’s investigation into these matters which he initiated in September last year and which he has refused to release despite repeated requests from the LNP to do so.”
Media Contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919