Opportunity lost: Wide Bay Motor Group’s fourth year mechanic Sandeep Saini with first year apprentice Michael Kent and dealer principal Jason Wiegmink. Mr Wiegmink is disappointed a council contract for a Mazda 6 has gone out of town.
Opportunity lost: Wide Bay Motor Group’s fourth year mechanic Sandeep Saini with first year apprentice Michael Kent and dealer principal Jason Wiegmink. Mr Wiegmink is disappointed a council contract for a Mazda 6 has gone out of town. Alistair Brightman

Council turns its back on locals

JUST days after awarding the contract for Maryborough’s new 50m pool to a Brisbane firm, the Fraser Coast Regional Council has now turned its back on a tender from a local car dealership to buy the same car from a Gympie operator.

Jason Wiegmink, the dealer principal at Wide Bay Motor Group, yesterday challenged the council to review the system currently in place for awarding tenders.

“The issue is with the mechanism with which decisions are made,” he said.

Mr Wiegmink said that while he did not blame the council, the problem was with the way in which decisions on tenders were made.

“This isn’t about me or the company,” he said.

“The local car dealerships here employ a hell of a lot of people and quietly make big contributions to the community through sponsorships and small donations.”

Mr Wiegmink said he “just couldn’t fathom” the fact that the contract, which was for a Mazda 6, would now be taken outside the local economy.

“It’s hard to see $30,000 leave our economy. That money is going to Gympie,” he said.

“Every business in town knows things are a bit tough at the moment.

“It’s just frustrating.”

Mr Wiegmink said a significant proportion of the money made by the company was redistributed through the salaries of its 68 employees.

“Through them it goes back into the local economy.

“It’s such a big flow-on effect.

“This is about local businesses and local government supporting each other. Without that support there are going to be casualties.”

Car dealerships such as the Wide Bay Motor Group also provide extensive professional training for many high school graduates entering the workforce.

This training sets them up for life in their chosen profession.

A council spokesperson yesterday said the quote received from Gympie was the most competitive and was therefore awarded the purchase.

“Under the Local Government Act, council is required to invite three quotations for purchases between $15,000 and $150,000,” the statement read.

“In this instance the vehicle was a purchase made to lease to the Brolga Theatre which specifically requested a Mazda.

“In order to comply with the requirement to invite three quotations, council requested three quotes from Mazda dealerships in Maryborough, Gympie and Bundaberg.

“The majority of council vehicle purchases are made locally with local suppliers providing competitive pricing and service.

“In rare circumstances a purchase is made outside of the region based on competitiveness.”



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