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Questions have been raised once again about one of the primary construction contractors for Queensland’s Cross River Rail project.
CPB Contractors, a subsidiary of CIMIC Group has been asked to prove why it should be allowed to continue working on the project.
The call came in the form of a show cause letter from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) to CPB Contractors after the company did not provide a Minimum Financial Requirement (MFR) report when its net tangible assets dropped below 20 per cent.
CPB Contractors has 21 days to provide the MFR report or QBCC will take regulatory action, which could include a number of options including the termination of the company’s construction licence.
CPB Contractors is part of the Pulse consortium, which is led by CIMIC Group companies. The Pulse consortium is delivering the tunnel, stations, and development component of the Cross River Rail project. CPB Contractors is also part of the Unity consortium, which is delivering the rail, integration and systems works package. Combined, these works include four new underground stations, the tunnel from Dutton Park to Normanby, as well as operations systems and controls, signalling and communications and accessibility upgrades.
Last month, a new governance structure was announced for the project, partly due to concerns that disputes that occurred over the West Gate Tunnel in Victoria would spread to Queensland. The board of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority were told that their terms would not be extended beyond April, a compliance unit will oversee contractor commitments, and the Authority will directly report to the Minister for Cross River Rail, Kate Jones.
“I want to ensure I have the right people with the right skills to deliver this project and hold CPB and Pulse Consortium to account,” said Jones at the time.
CIMIC Group, the QBCC and the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority declined to comment.
A new governance structure for the Cross River Rail project will ensure that contractors deliver on time and to budget, announced Minister for Cross River Rail, Kate Jones.
Lead contractor, CPB Group, has been caught up in controversy in delivering the West Gate Tunnel in Victoria, and the Queensland government is attempting to avoid similar contractual disputes.
“It is clear to me and to Cabinet that now we have moved from the procurement phase to the construction phase of the project we need to beef up compliance,” said Jones.
In a statement, Jones and the Queensland government outlined that the Delivery Authority will report to the Minister directly, a compliance unit will oversee contractor commitments, and the board will be restructured in April, when their current term expires.
“While the construction project is currently on track and on budget, it is early days,” said Jones.
“I want to ensure I have the right people with the right skills to deliver this project and hold CPB and Pulse Consortium to account.”
Jones also announced that local businesses will be able to get involved in the Cross River Rail project, with the Queensland government announcing a new website will go live today, February 27.
200 local companies are already providing goods and services to the rail project, however the new website hopes to provide further opportunities at various stages across the project.
The next wave of subcontractor opportunities will be in tunnelling and station works, said Cross River Rail minister, Kate Jones.
“This will be the one stop shop for anyone who wants to work on Cross River Rail,” she said.
“If you’re a local subby with the right expertise, we want you to apply to work on the biggest project in Queensland’s history.”
Jones visited the worksite at Woolloongabba to inspect progress on the rail project. Already, 140 piles have been sunk to stabilise the station box, 5m out of a total 32m have been excavated, and 8 of 132 piles have been sunk to build the ramp for the tunnel boring machines to access the site.
“Construction will ramp up in 2020 and locals will see more workers on Cross River Rail sites throughout the city,” said Jones.
Contractors already involved in the project include local construction company Wagners, which won a $40 million contract to supply precast concrete segments.
Another company, Multhana Property Services, will provide cleaning and maintenance services at project worksites.
“Multhana is a great example of a proud Queensland company benefiting from Cross River Rail,” said Jones.
“They’re doing a great job and already have eight staff working on the project, with that number set to grow as more worksites are established.”
Work on the Cross River Rail project is expected to be completed in 2024.