Locals bypassed

SNUBBED: Mount Gambier-based traffic management business owner Daryl Prunnell, pictured with operations co-ordinator Naomi O'Flaherty, said his business did not get the opportunity to tender for Covid-19 related work in Mount Gambier.

ADELAIDE and Riverland businesses have been contracted by the State Government to undertake traffic management at Covid-19 testing and Rapid Antigen Test pick-up locations in Mount Gambier while local companies have been snubbed.

Mount Gambier based traffic management company i&d contracting owner Daryl Prunnell said the government did not contact him to have the opportunity to provide the service at Vansittart Park and the Mount Gambier Showgrounds.

This is despite Mr Prunnell’s company being registered with the State Government as a contractor through its procurement website.

“There doesn’t seem to be any structured procurement policy that takes into consideration local content,” Mr Prunnell said.

He said while the companies that are currently providing traffic management in the city claim to have a presence in Mount Gambier, neither have a street address.

“If they had a street address for the business, it may have some credence,” he said.

“What is the check within the State Government in handing out these parcels of work to actually qualify that the business is truly located in the town where the work is being handed out?”

Mr Prunnell said he has about 10 casuals employed in his business and that if the work was more consistent, like picking up the government Covid-19 work, he would be able to employ more people on a full-time basis.

He said his business had been operating for 18 months and he has never been contacted by the government to provide services.

“My biggest disappointment is that there is not even a phone call or an email sent asking for a price and whether we have the capability to provide the service – you’re not even given that opportunity,” Mr Prunnell said.

“We have registered through the State Government’s portal… gone through their processes and provided all the information required.”

He said going through the process of registering with the State Government proved a challenge.

“It’s not designed for family businesses, it’s designed for multi-national corporates,” Mr Prunnell said.

“For example, it asks what a business’s policy is on slavery.

“It’s obviously a package designed for international companies, not your mum and dad businesses.”

Mr Prunnell said he has raised his concern with Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell and Liberal candidate Ben Hood.

“If Covid has taught us anything, it has been that we have to look after each other – locals supporting locals,” Mr Prunnell said.