School contracts buoy builders

09/07/2009 - 00:00

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WESTERN Australia's construction sector has been boosted with the awarding of $342 million in contracts to builders across the state as part of the federal government's infrastructure funding program.

School contracts buoy builders
BOOST: WA builders have been awarded $342 million in contracts under the federal government’s primary schools program. Photo: Grant Currall

WESTERN Australia's construction sector has been boosted with the awarding of $342 million in contracts to builders across the state as part of the federal government's infrastructure funding program.

National construction group John Holland won 40 per cent of the new school tenders, 88 contracts valued at $140.4 million.

Belmont-based Pindan Constructions was awarded $37.6 million in tenders, while Claremont builders Arccon Design and Construction won $27.2 million worth of work.

The contracts, which were announced last week, comprise 208 metropolitan projects funded under the first two rounds of the Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21) program.

The P21 program caters for the construction and refurbishment of major school infrastructure, including libraries, gymnasiums, playground facilities and multi-use halls.

The announcement comes after 83 firms were awarded $64 million worth of contracts last month for maintenance and repair works at nearly 500 Western Australian public primary and secondary schools.

In all, $891 million worth of contracts have been announced as part of the P21 program, eclipsing the state government's usual annual $150 million expenditure on primary schools.

Pindan director of business development Scott Davison said the timing of the P21 program was ideal considering the lack of major privately funded projects.

"The market really needed it at the moment; everything else is pretty quiet," Mr Davison told WA Business News.

"Other than federal-or state government-funded projects, not much else is really working, so it's a pretty good time for it to happen.

"There's a lot of projects that are nearing completion or due for completion by the end of this year, so I think if this government stimulus wasn't in the marketplace then there'd be a lot of significant pain, with a number of builders, subcontractors and tradesmen light on work.

"If this didn't occur there'd be some pretty significant numbers of unemployment occurring in the industry."

Treasurer Troy Buswell said in a statement released last week the awarding of the contracts was an important milestone in the government's program of construction industry stimulation.

"The program forms a key part of the federal government's nation building economic stimulus plan and will provide economic stimulus through the rapid construction and refurbishment of school infrastructure," Mr Buswell said.

"Apart from providing much-needed improvements to many schools, the National School Pride program will provide many opportunities for businesses of all sizes, particularly small and medium-sized businesses which may not have previously undertaken work for the state government," Mr Buswell said.

He said the government was ahead of its deadlines for the commencement of construction.

"To have contracts now awarded for projects under rounds one and two of the program actually puts us ahead of most of the other states in terms of progressing works," Mr Buswell said.

"I'm also delighted that the vital criteria of value for money has been met in all these contracts and that we haven't had to compromise the scope of what will be delivered."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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