Jobs bonanza with CQ business to build Rookwood Weir
A GRADER emblazened with name 'McCosker' made a dramatic entrance into Rockhampton's Ski Gardens to provide the backdrop for today's announcement that a Central Queensland company would co-build the long awaited $352 million Rookwood Weir.
A Gladstone-based company, 25-year-old McCosker Contracting, will bring a swathe of local workers and experience to its construction partnership with another Australian company, Lendlease Engineering, to deliver the project.
The project was expected to generate 140 local construction jobs, with early works set to commence in November.
The weir's construction will start in April and run for an estimated two years (weather dependent), with wet commissioning slated for 2024.
McCosker Contracting managing director Bob McCosker said for large infrastructure projects to be realised with the help of local businesses was "unusual" but he couldn't be prouder to be involved.
"A business our size would never normally carry such a role in a project of this nature but the way that it's been put together has allowed that to happen," Mr McCosker said.
"The great advantage of using a local business is that we have a lot of current relationships, not with just employees but with suppliers and supply chains that will actually get a boost out of this.
"It definitely means more jobs. To the largest extent possible we'll be employing out of this region. Rockhampton's going to get a great boost out of it."
He was full of praise for the process which had been going since January where his company was provided with information from the Queensland Government, Sunwater (construction authority) and GHD (design partner), to assist them to design and deliver an innovative and quality submission.
Naming the McCosker-Lendlease bid as the construction proponent drops the final puzzle piece into place towards forming the Rookwood Weir Alliance.
"The process was an alliance style contract. It really came down to relationships and local skills, and so we slowly floated to the topc," he said.
"It was an exciting process to see decisions being made on people's competencies rather than their cheque book.
"To date, 247 businesses have registered to provide services to the project, and the Rookwood team will be holding industry briefings to discuss what is available for suppliers."
In what sounded like music to Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham's ears, Mr McCosker pledged to deliver the project under budget.
While there was a 70 per cent requirement for a local workforce, Dr Lynham hoped McCosker would push that number up towards 100 per cent.
Lendlease Engineering director of delivery Glenn McIlroy said it was great to be part of a generation-defining project for the Rockhampton and Gladstone communities.
"We know how important water is to productivity and growth, so we are delighted to play a role making available an additional source of water for agricultural and industrial development," Mr McIlroy said.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the project would inject at least $120 million into the Central Queensland economy.
"Projects like Rookwood Weir are once-in-a-generation pieces of infrastructure," Ms Lauga said.
"McCosker and Lendlease have committed to sourcing at least 140 employees in CQ - that's at least 70 per cent of their project team.
"That's 140 people who will be able to look back proudly in decades to come and say they were part of this project."
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said the four partners - McCosker, Lendlease, GHD and Sunwater - would work closely over the next two months to progress the project.
"They will be seeking quotes from suppliers to build the workers' camp and for quarry materials, plant and equipment hire and fencing," Mr O'Rourke said.
"From September, suppliers and contractors will be signed up, with preliminary works starting in November.
"That's Rookwood Weir creating jobs in the short-term, as well as opportunity well into the future as Queensland recovers.
"That's good news for local businesses."
Passionate advocate for the Rookwood Weir project, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, welcomed the news of Lendlease McCosker being named as a construction partner.
"It has been a long time coming to get to this point as Rookwood Weir was originally meant to be built by now. Peter Beattie named it as a priority project back in 2006 but I suppose it's better late than never for the Queensland Government to finally act," Ms Landry said.
"I am still being approached by landowners who have significant concerns over the amount of water they will have access to and what price they will need to pay to access it.
"There is still so much uncertainty around what water they will be able to use and at the time they need it the most. The Queensland Government's games around the level of priority water for farmers and landowners to use won't be forgotten by the people who need it."