Job scheme: industry ‘disappointed’, CLP ‘views expressed’.

p2312-Neilia-Ginnane-1p22104-Ben-Kittle-1By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The inclusion of apprentices and trainees, no matter of what race, in the Provisional Sum (PS) scheme would go a long way towards its acceptance by local industry.

 

That is the view of Ben Kittle (at right), chairman of the local branch of the Country Liberal Party, after attending yesterday’s public meeting with government officials. The scheme currently relates only to Indigenous people.

 

Meanwhile Neilia Ginnane (above, left), Executive Director NT of the Housing Industry Association, says her members are disappointed with the result of the meeting.

 

“Many questions were not answered,” she says.

 

“I’ll be meeting with Infrastructure Minister Peter Chandler in the next fortnight, to discuss how to achieve Indigenous outcomes that are effective, achievable, realistic and sustainable.”

 

Ms Ginnane says the PS issue “has been on the agenda for at least six months.

 

“We want to know whether the government is listening. There needs to be further consultation to review and improve this policy.”

 

Mr Kittle says although “more question time would have been better,” points made by local business people appear to have been taken on board by the officials.

 

The scheme provides for a bonus of 10% of a contract’s value if a quota of Indigenous companies and/or staff – 30% – is met.

 

The inclusion of non-Indigenous apprentices and trainees is yet to be confirmed.

 

Mr Kittle says the scheme needs to be transparent: For example, it needs to be made clear how it will be determined whether someone is or is not an Aboriginal, so the employers can take this into account in their recruitment.

 

Mr Kittle says: “The scheme needs to be fair across the board to builders, subcontractors and tenderers. They need to know exactly where they stand.”

 

He says at the moment it seems unclear whether tenderers should take PS into account in their price calculations.

 

Industry sources say if they do take PS into account and their claim for it is not granted, they will come up short.

 

If they don’t, they might be undercut on price by someone taking it into account and succeeding in getting it.

 

Asked whether the system could be rorted by Indigenous people starting a two dollar company and then entering into a joint venture with another firm to qualify for the subsidies, Mr Kittle says this is where transparency comes in: “What are the criteria for checking a company? How long has it been in business? Check their references.

 

“It’s very similar to standard tender scrutiny: Check references. Who is in the company? This is no different to assessments being made for normal tenders.”

 

Asked whether PS applicants would need to sack competent non-Indigenous staff and replace them with Indigenous staff who may be less skilled, Mr Kittle said: “I need to talk to a few people before I make up my mind on that. It would be good for the scheme to raise the skill level in the region by including trainees and apprentices.”

 

He also said he had no experience as a prime contractor applying for PC to make a comment on any ‘red tape’ in the scheme.

 

About suggestions that it would be hard to contest tenders that had been awarded, given that the judgment of the new elements to be considered is prone to being highly subjective, Mr Kittle said: “If 50% of the weighting is price then you know what’s important in the tender.

 

“But if company A puts on four labourers and company B two apprentices, who should get the job? That’s where the department must be clear.

 

“In my view improving the skill base here would come first.”

 

Will the scheme harm race relations?

 

“Good question. There are a lot of people involved, public servants and industries. What may work for one person may not for another.”

 

The bottom line, he says, is this: “We need to work towards a sustained workforce.”

 

 

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5 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Maggie
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you Erwin.
    Not that I want to create more work for you but how does HIA differ from the Master Builders Association?
    MBA have been around for years while HIA seem to have popped up in Darwin around the Gas Plant time.
    Despite this newness to the NT their 400 strong membership sounds impressive.
    Do they offer something different from MBA or are they just better at representing the Building Industry?
    [Hi Maggie, can I suggest check each of their websites. Kind regards, Erwin.]

    View Comment
  2. Erwin Chlanda
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Maggie, here’s some information supplied by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) about itself, upon my request.
    It has about 400 members in the NT, around 20% in The Centre and 10% to 15% in Alice Springs.
    It is Australia’s largest residential building organisation.
    HIA is unique, as the only national industry association for all building professionals, representing the interests of the whole housing industry.
    Our members include builders, trade contractors, sub-contractors, manufacturers and suppliers, and industry related professionals.
    We provide a range of member services through our local and National network, as well as advocacy and lobbying on behalf of our Members.
    Kind regards, Erwin Chlanda, Editor.

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  3. Michael Dean
    Posted March 10, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Affirmative action in a different robe.

    View Comment
  4. Maggie
    Posted March 10, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Erwin
    I did pose the question below to Neilia against her last letter to the Alice Springs News.
    Perhaps you could ask Neilia to explain the difference between the Housing Industry Association Ltd (HIA) and the Master Builders Association (MBA)?
    Do both organisations represent the same builders or do they have a different membership?
    Who is HIA’s membership?
    Does it have a large Alice Springs membership or is it a specialist builder membership?
    Is this like two unions trying to represent each other’s members?

    View Comment
  5. Paul Parker
    Posted March 10, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    NT Government with Infrastructure Minister Peter Chandler are jumping through Commonwealth racist hoops to promote racism.
    Is disgrace for Commonwealth to apply racial identification to qualify the rights of Australians.
    Is disgrace for Commonwealth to apply racial identification to qualify the rights of Australians to receive assistance.
    Many other tests exist which purported target community satisfies.
    Example: poor education standards, poor employment history, disadvantaged income and lower social backgrounds.
    These clear NON-Racist measures satisfy egalitarian equal rights standards of Australians.
    Commonwealth racism abuses the standards, particularly for assistance required identifying needs groups using racial tags.
    Social under-achieving groups members include many who will fail to satisfy Commonwealth racial tests.
    Needy denied assistance using racial tests in order to promote Commonwealth racism.
    Commonwealth Attorney-General earlier advised Parliament no such racial tests existed, yet Commonwealth Attorney-General assists Commonwealth to segregate Australian families using such non existing racial tests.
    Public needs criteria enable employers to assist all in need, not just selected racial tags.
    Clearly Commonwealth campaigns for support to divide Australians by racial tagging.
    Must Australians soon wear the “Star of David”, or any other racial tag emblems, on our clothes again?
    Which priority order does Commonwealth apply to these racial tag emblems?
    At federation and again in 1967 Australian voters clearly declared Australian as the only acceptable emblem.

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