22 April 2016 Coastal Works Benefits Community

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22 April 2016 Coastal Works Benefits Community

The goal of Coffs Harbour City Council’s Coastal Works construction unit is to generate profits and earnings for the benefit of the local community by winning building projects that would otherwise go to large commercial civil contractors from outside the area.


“Council has been undertaking commercial works since 2008 and the approach we use has not changed with the new name. Calling ourselves Coastal Works is about creating an instantly recognisable brand to help us build on our reputation and customer base when we tender for works with other government agencies such as the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS),” said Mick Raby, Council’s Director Sustainable Infrastructure.


“Council is the only group available locally that can tender for projects with the RMS, as we’re the only ones that have the pre-qualification required to do so. But, we’re able to sub-contract for those projects to any local registered contractor. The works we did for RMS at Cook Drive are a good example. The RMS approached Coastal Works knowing we were the only pre-qualified organisation and we employed a number of local firms to carry out some of the works – so they benefited too.


“Without Coastal Works, that project would most likely have been won by a major contractor from Newcastle or Sydney and the money made would not have gone into the local economy. If you like, the community benefits twice - the annual net profit generated by Coastal Works is put into the city’s funds to be used for works like roads, footpaths and kerb and guttering - plus local sub-contractors also get work and the money they make goes into the Coffs Harbour economy too.”


The NSW CEO of the Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) recently queried how Coastal Works operates following some concerns from contractors in the region.


“Unfortunately the CCF was mistaken in the figures they quoted which were for all of Council’s Business Units, including the Airport and Holiday Parks,” added Mr Raby. “The average profit made since Council began doing private works has been around $1.1m a year – and all of that extra income goes into the public purse. Last year, Coastal Works generated $2.4m extra income for the community. It has to turn a profit. It is run as a business and has to stand alone as a business.


"No Council funds can be used to cover any losses Coastal Works might make. But, if it didn’t make a profit for the city, it would be shut down. We also concentrate on going for tenders outside of the Coffs Harbour locality and that means it brings money from outside into the city.


“Coastal Works is also not interested in undertaking sub-division, or any works normally undertaken by local contractors. We have been asked often to quote on local works but have always suggested that a local contractor be used instead. Our goal is to benefit the whole Coffs Harbour community by generating income ourselves – and for local businesses.”