The Property Council has backed the University of Wollongong’s decision to require contractors to involve Illawarra businesses when bidding for major UOW construction projects and service delivery contracts.
Illawarra sub-contractors will receive more opportunities to compete on a level playing field for scheduled major UOW projects expected to reach $300 million by 2020.
UOW recently changed its contracting policy to make local industry involvement a key criterion when selecting managing contractors for major construction projects or service delivery contracts.
The changes also include measures to ensure managing contractors, once appointed, engage local businesses in accordance with their tender submission.
“This decision from the University of Wollongong is a great way to ensure the benefits that come from new investment in construction flows to locals while also strengthening ties between the university and the community,” Property Council Illawarra chair Mark Jones told the Mercury.
“Many students stay in the region to work after their degrees and this will increase opportunities for employment.
“A major part of improving our city and developing in the future is retaining local talent so that graduates live and work in Wollongong rather than move to Sydney.”
Mr Jones said projects would benefit from local knowledge and experience, and local skills will be enhanced by teaming up with bigger firms who have the capacity to construct larger projects.
“Larger firms might also be encouraged to establish locally as a result of the initiative,” Mr Jones said.
“We already know that one in four people in Wollongong draw their wage directly or indirectly from property and 390,000 local people work in the property industry.
“It’s important that we continue to grow this pie and create local jobs for local people.
“We must work together, both industry and the community, to ensure the Illawarra region is best placed to draw the greatest benefit from new investment and this approach from the University of Wollongong is a great example of this cooperation in action.”
The changes mean Illawarra contractors will get to work on projects such as the Molecular Horizons building.
The university is in the process of conducting a selective tender to appoint a managing contractor for design and construction of the $80 million centre for molecular and life sciences research facility.
The Property Council of Australia is a leading advocate for Australia’s property industry.