A PROSERPINE business is close to a quarter of a million dollars out of pocket after a Whitsunday Regional Council tender was awarded to a Mackay company in December.
Fraser Ford Proserpine tendered for the supply of two Claas four-wheel-drive tractors for use in Collinsville operations but was overlooked in favour of Vanderfield Mackay, which won the tender for tractor supply.
Vanderfield was awarded the contract to supply two John Deere, for which they would be paid $227,800.
Brian Little of Fraser Ford said his company could deliver a tractor of similar quality for about $200,000.
Proserpine Machinery Services also tendered for the contract but fell out of the race early on as it was unable to provide a competitive tender.
"The information that I have been given is that it came down to two brands for the tender. The final two were Claas and John Deere,” Mr Little said.
"We were informed our tender had been unsuccessful.
"To find out there was nearly $27,000 difference in price between what they were paying Vanderfields and the Claas product plus the loading, I was gobsmacked.”
Whitsunday Regional Council chief executive officer Barry Omundson said the council was required by law to invite public tenders in all its procurement activities that exceeded $200,000.
"Council is passionate and committed about supporting local business through its procurement policy where we specifically stipulate a 10per cent local content township assessment in all tender assessments,” MrOmundson said.
"(However) the evaluation assessed the whole-of-life costs of the asset, which includes capital purchase, residual value, servicing costs, fuel consumption and other assessment criteria such as warranty and delivery time frame.”
When assessed against the council's procurement policy, the John Deere tractor exceeded all other tenders submitted and the contract was awarded, MrOmundson said.
Mr Little said he was told by council staff the maintenance program on the John Deere brand was "far better”.
"How does that work? We gave you free travel, no hourly rate and you were on a very good maintenance program as well - $27,000 is a bloody lot of maintenance.
"What is baffling me is there is $27,000 difference in product and the product quality is equivalent.”
Mr Little said be felt it was a slap in the face for Proserpine business and the question had to be asked "do our elected representatives have the best interests of the shire at heart”.
Deputy mayor and Proserpine business owner John Collins voted against the motion in December.
He said a recommendation was made to allow the motion and most of the councillors voted on that information.
"I am always disappointed when locals miss out on tenders, but they voted on the recommendation put in front of you,” he said.
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