Exercise Hamel at the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area.
Exercise Hamel at the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area. Allan Reinikka ROK190618ahamel57

Shoalwater Bay back on as Dept of Defence secures project

A COLLECTIVE sigh of relief could be felt amongst Cap Coast subbies as embattled British construction giant Laing O'Rourke, the contract holder for the $800million dollar Shoalwater Bay expansion contract, was given the green light to continue operations yesterday.

The temporary halt to operations prompted the Department of Defence to implement safeguards that would allow the project to continue without further interruption.

The builder's licence was suspended by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission due to "a serious risk of financial harm to the sector” which left many national infrastructure projects, including Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area, on shaky ground.

Chris Birrer, the first assistant secretary for Infrastructure at the Department of Defence, in a letter to The Morning bulletin assured local businesses that the days of the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative facilities project stalling were over.

"I want to reassure local businesses engaged to provide design and development services for the ASMTI, that the department is fully committed to the initiative and has a range of options to ensure its implementation continues unimpeded,” he said.

The project is set to inject up to $660million into the regional economy over a five-year period

In a statement from Laing O'Rourke Australia managing director Cathal O'Rourke, the company welcomed the lift of its suspension and said the building giant had succeeded in garnering financial integrity.

"Laing O'Rourke welcomes the decision by the QBCC earlier today to lift the suspension on Laing O'Rourke's Queensland builder licence,” Mr O'Rourke said

"Laing O'Rourke has undertaken internal restructuring to better demonstrate our asset base to the QBCC.

"We have also demonstrated our improving business profitability, achieved through increased productivity and project performance.

"Our business maintains a strong financial position and of course we have independently audited accounts.

"We have no outstanding creditors, a strong cash position and we continue to operate profitably.”

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry was confident in the progress and told The Morning Bulletin that a number of local firms were now at work on the project.

ASMTI carries with it an 80 per cent regional industry participation guarantee covering a wide range of categories.

This means local businesses would be invited to participate in a minimum of $640 million value across the project delivery.