Council chooses Chinese poles over Boyne Smelters produced
Gladstone Regional Council has elected to use Chinese light poles in its Tondoon Botanic Gardens upgrade over a cheaper Australian made product using Boyne Smelters aluminium.
A business owner told The Observer that Gladstone Regional Council advised it was "too hard" to change the contract for the light poles.
"Councils are meant to support the community, I thought, and our product uses aluminium produced locally at Boyne Smelters," the man said.
The business owner, who asked not to be named, said his company submitted its tender through a wholesaler, to a contractor, in August 2020.
"The contractor has been successful in winning the tender for the job," he said.
"Everybody seems to want to use us except we've got this hurdle at council.
"We knew it would be difficult to get something across the line if we weren't cheaper and a better product and it turns out we are cheaper and a better product.
"And we're locally made and within the specifications required by the council."
As he was supplying his product to the contractor, the business owner said he was unable to talk directly to GRC.
"Everybody seems to be on board with what we've got on offer, and the answers they were getting back from council at the last meeting was there is too much internal work to change anything at this point," the business owner said.
"It makes me feel pretty disappointed.
"I am an Australian business owner who has a cheaper, all Australian made with a majority of components using aluminium procured from the Boyne Smelter to make this product.
"We've been overlooked for someone who is importing materials from China.
"We've proved that we have more than an equivalent of what was specified."
On the back of the COVID downturn, the business owner said this was a crushing blow.
"COVID has hurt a lot of businesses so every order helps keep the business going," he said.
"We get extrusion out of Brisbane that comes from Boyne Smelters and that extrusion gets anodised and assembled onto our poles.
"They are multi-function poles that allow you to attach equipment to the pole seamlessly, all the new smart city equipment, Wi-Fi, cameras, that sort of stuff."
Gladstone Regional Council was contacted for comment on Thursday afternoon, but as of Friday afternoon it had not replied.