500 jobs created – but how many for locals?

FOR years, politicians, planners and organisers have been telling us how great the Commonwealth Games will be for the Gold Coast.

“Think of the jobs it will create during construction!” they’ve said. “Think of the boost to the economy! The boost to tourism!”

Valid points, all of them.


Of course, there are downsides too. In the last few years the construction of the GoldLinq all but wiped out many businesses in Southport, who either reduced their trading hours or shut up shop completely while the suburb’s roads were being ripped apart and rebuilt for the new light rail system.

But we all tried our best to suck it up, knowing that our transport system had to be improved in time for The Games, which will ultimately benefit us all with these fabulous jobs, tourism attractions and economic activities.

Let’s hope then that the latest announcement from our Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney is a step in that direction.

He’s announced that over $150 million worth of upgrades and construction will commence in Coomera and Carrara, to upgrade facilities for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games…

But, these projects will be headed up by Sydney firm Hansen Yuncken. Later this year and early in 2015, they’ll begin work on the new $40 million Coomera stadium on Beattie Road, and the $114 million Carrara sports precinct.

At face value, I must admit, it seems disappointing that we turned to NSW to head up these projects – which account for almost half of the state’s $320 million infrastructure budget for the Games.

In his press release, Seeney was keen to point out that “more than 500 jobs will be created” once these projects get underway in the coming months.

But how many of those jobs will go to locals?

And why couldn’t we have kept ALL of those dollars in Queensland, by awarding the contract to a construction company closer to home?

Obviously they have their reasons and to be fair, Hansen Yuncken Queensland state manager Greg Baumann says they are committed to “supporting local industry here in Queensland”. In recent projects in Cairns, he points out, “90 per cent of subcontract agreements… have been [sourced] within the region.”

All we can do is cross our fingers that Gold Coast builders see the lion’s share of these construction dollars, too.