Queensland Small Business Expertise is at the Heart of the State’s Billion Dollar Build

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The delivery of Queensland’s $45 billion infrastructure pipeline over the next four years will hinge on the engagement of the state’s advanced small to medium enterprise sector as local, state and federal governments seek to build the rail, roads, bridges and technology capability for the next century.

For South East Queensland, the region forecast to add another 1.9 million residents over the next 25 years, the price tag for high speed rail, new digital assets and construction projects are estimated at $60 billion under the latest SEQ City Deal proposed by the State Government and Council of Mayors.

Queensland’s building, services and technology businesses will be at the proverbial heart of the state’s multi-billion dollar build.

More importantly, the small to medium size sector is vastly experienced in not only building the roads, bridges and infrastructure currently used throughout the state, but are also at the forefront of new technologies that are changing the way major projects are delivered.

Watkins Steel, a 40-year-old Banyo based steel fabricating business, is one such organisation whose operations include 3D scanning solution, metal shaping and structural steel that can be seen in the reconstruction of China Town Mall and King George Square.

The company is one of over 2000 Queensland businesses specializing in manufacturing and construction services through the state that employ 20 people or more according to the latest count of businesses from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Whilst headlines such as ‘Billions for Infrastructure’ suggests a potential windfall for business, the previous experience for many smaller operators has been one of frustration when applying for government contracts.

Governments, however, are increasingly recognizing that localized expertise is established and unlike approaching a multinational corporation, do not require the considerable investments just to establish operations.

More recently, the state’s advanced manufacturers were pivotal in Queensland being awarded the $5 billion Land 400 defence project to produce armoured vehicles for German Military Company,
Rheinmetall.

The construction of big-ticket projects invokes often positive headlines but it is the mix of the workforce and local business coupled with delivery outcomes which are ultimately the key benchmark.

For government the proposition is straight forward; engage directly with small to medium sized businesses and it will be those organisations that will not only be the employer of tomorrow but the one that will build the state into the next century.

Dan Petrie is the Head of Industry at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ)

Originally published via The Courier Mail

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