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Andrew Herring Andrew Herring

Contracting changes grow local business opportunities

Local industry involvement now a key selection criteria

The University of Wollongong (UOW) is expanding opportunities for Illawarra businesses, with changed contracting practices included in several tenders currently open and more planned for coming months.

The changes, foreshadowed in November 2017, make local industry involvement a key criterion when selecting managing contractors for major construction projects or service delivery contracts.

The changes also include measures to ensure managing contractors, once appointed, engage local businesses in accordance with their tender submission.

The University is currently conducting a selective tender to appoint a managing contractor for design and construction of Molecular Horizons, an $80 million centre for molecular and life sciences research facility, and a new teaching building, which will be located at the western end of the campus and house state-of-the art teaching and creative production facilities for the Faculty of Social Science and the Faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts. This select tender follows a public Expressions of Interest (EOI) call issued last year.

Calls for expressions of interest also closed this week for campus-wide services including waste, security, parking and cleaning. This EOI will inform a selective tender process in the coming months, with local industry involvement a key requirement.

Tenders are also open for preparation of the University’s Security Infrastructure Master Plan.

UOW Chief Administrative Officer, Ms Melva Crouch CSM, said the contracting changes are an important part of ensuring local economy benefits from the University.

“The size and scale of the University’s operations and projects require us to engage large businesses, but by focusing on local industry involvement in our tender evaluations smaller local businesses get more opportunities to compete on a level playing field for work as sub-contractors.

“These changes are also enhancing transparency and probity in our contracting practices,” Ms Crouch said.

Ms Crouch said University would be engaging local business owners to inform them about emerging opportunities over the coming months.

The changes were foreshadowed in late 2017 at a meeting of Illawarra business group, i3net, and will be presented in more detail at i3net’s next business breakfast on 13 February 2018.
Similar opportunities will be sought to appear at other local business and industry organisations and gatherings.

UOW’s latest Economic Impact Report, published in 2016, valued the University’s direct, indirect and induced economic contribution to Gross Domestic Product in 2015 at $1.2 billion, with the direct economic contribution to the Illawarra in value-added terms being $573 million, an increase of 7.7 per cent since 2011.

UOW spent $471 million in direct capital investment between 2010 and 2015 and anticipates spending a further $300 million on capital projects between 2016 and 2020, the report said.