Adani awards second rail civil works contract

The contract for civil construction works on the Carmichael Rail Network has been awarded to BMD.

Mining company Adani announced that the $350 million contract would include earthworks, drainage, bridges, rail camp construction, and road upgrades to connect the Adani mine site to the Central Queensland Coal Network.

The announcement is the second civil works contract awarded for the Carmichael Rail Network, with Martinus delivering a separate package of work.

Adani Mining CEO Lucas Dow said that the local company would be suited for the job.

“BMD is a proud Queensland company and we’re thrilled to have them on board and delivering the largest package of works awarded on our project,” said Dow.

“As people will already know BMD has operated in North Queensland for more than 25 years, with Townsville forming their regional base for delivery of this contract.”

Dow expects the works to create 600 jobs.

Scott Power, group executive director – operations at BMD said that local suppliers and communities would benefit.

“At a time when jobs across the country are hard to come by, this project is generating much needed employment opportunities for locals and locally based suppliers in north and central Queensland,” said Power.

“The award of this contract is recognition of the capability and capacity of Australian contractors and provides a boost for our teams, supply chain and the communities in which we operate.”

In total, 200km of rail will be constructed, comprising 26,417 tonnes of steel and 319,000 sleepers. The line will progress over 460 culverts, 17 bridges over waterways, 2 road over rail bridges, 68 crossings, and local road upgrades.

Alliance chosen for Tonkin Gap rail and road project

An alliance of contractors have been selected to build the Tonkin Gap project, which will deliver enabling works for Metronet’s Morley-Ellenbrook Line, in Perth.

The Tonkin Gap Alliance, made up of BMD, Georgiou, WA Limestone, BG&E, and GHD, will expand the section between Collier Road and Dunreath Drive to construct a three-lane, freeway-standard road.

The Morley-Ellenbrook line will partly run along the middle of the Tonkin Highway, and the Tonkin Gap Alliance will build the dive structures to allow the building of the railway to enter and exit the middle of the highway.

Other modifications will occur between Railway Parade and Hepburn Avenue, and will involve the replacement of the existing Broun Avenue flyover.

WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said that the works package will improve mobility in Perth’s eastern suburbs.

“Road and rail projects will play a key part to WA’s economic recovery going forward. This project will fix one of Perth’s most congested roads while laying the groundwork for the Metronet Morley-Ellenbrook Line,” Saffioti said.

“Tonkin Gap is a major component of the train line to Ellenbrook, with two dive structures and the foundation for the rail included in the project scope.”

Saffioti said the government was looking to infrastructure projects to stimulate the state’s economy.

“Together with new Bayswater Station procurement, we now have two out of three major contracts for Morley-Ellenbrook Line at an advanced stage,” she said.

“Building this project, combined with construction of other nearby major projects like the new Bayswater Station and Morley-Ellenbrook Line, will help support the WA economy through some tough times ahead.”

The project is jointly funded by the WA state government and the federal government, with the federal government contributing 80 per cent of project funds.

Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said that the project is part of an infrastructure-led recovery.

“Our $100 billion infrastructure pipeline is setting the foundations for economic recovery on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

“In addition, it will create thousands of new jobs at a time when what we want is to get Australians back to work.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan also noted that progressing urban infrastructure projects will have flow on effects.

“Our record investment in major road projects and Metronet will set up our suburbs for the long term and benefit Western Australians, now and into the future,” McGowan said.

“In times like these it’s important we continue to progress the projects that will provide work for local businesses and keep workers in their jobs – this will ultimately support the state’s wider economy.”

Melbourne summit shines light on Australia’s mid-tier contractors

Prominent mid-tier Australian contractors want a better opportunity to contribute to state infrastructure projects being led by larger international conglomerates.

Citing a recent trend towards international players, several mid-tier contract companies involved with the rail industry such as BMD, Daracon, Bielby, and Georgiou ⁠— in addition to other civil, mining and construction contractors ⁠— have established Australian Owned Contractors, a group designed to bring attention to what Georgiou Group chairman and AOC founding director John Georgiou referred to as the current “walls in the market”.

Gerogiou was in attendance for a forum at the 2019 AFR National Infrastructure Summit at the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne on June 13, where he explained that the AOC came about through detailed analysis of federally funded, major (defined as having a worth over $500 million) transport and infrastructure projects.

The results of this research found that about 85 per cent of major infrastructure contracts in Australia were being awarded to international Tier 1 contractors, and that once Australian property and infrastructure major Lendlease was removed from this equation, the figures jumped to 97 per cent.

This is in part because construction contractors that seem to be Australian on their face are actually foreign-owned subsidiary companies.

CPB Contractors, for example, which is one of Australia’s other largest construction contractors alongside Lendlease, is a subsidiary of the CIMIC Group, which is 70 per cent owned by German company Hochtief (Hochtief is in turn 66.5 per cent owned by Spanish company ACS Group). John Holland Group, meanwhile, was purchased by Chinese-state owned company China Communications Construction in 2015 for $1.15 billion.

“For us we expected the number to be high but not that high, so we looked at other data and said, ‘What happens in their respective foreign countries?’,” Georgiou said.

“The numbers over there were 70-75 per cent done by local companies. Our data focused around $500m plus [projects] and we said, ‘There’s something wrong with this data’.

“In some cases it’s because these big local Tier 1 companies have been purchased by overseas interests, which from our point of view is fine, but it’s more about how we shift that balance […] and that’s really the narrative we’ve been supplying to the Federal Government.”

Also present at the panel, entitled Infrastructure and Australia’s National Interest, was Lindsay Le Compte, executive director of the Australian Constructors Association (ACA), who explained that re-examination of project risk profiles was necessary to see how they could be put into component parts to gain the benefit of local participation as well as the expertise brought by international companies.

“What we’re seeing at the moment through the Construction Industry Leadership forum that the ACA has joined with is a sea change in relation to how government and industry work together to achieve positive outcomes for the community through these large projects,” he said.