Rann Government mismanagement and another contractual dispute resulted in all work being stopped seven months ago on nine nearly completed housing trust units and four units for people with a disability.
“These nine new units at Gilles Plains were originally meant to be completed in November 2009 and the four units at Elizabeth Grove in August 2009,” Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“Yet 14 months and 17 months later respectively they remain unfinished and vacant.
“At a time when there are more than 20,000 people on the Housing Trust waiting list there will be considerable anger at the Rann Government for not ensuring this critically needed accommodation is completed and made available.
“All work on these nearly completed units ceased in May due to a dispute between Housing SA and Unique Building Pty Ltd. Most of the $1.1 million Gilles Plains contract has already been paid to Unique Building but a number of subcontractors are very angry that they haven’t been paid for work completed.
“The Elizabeth Grove contract is worth about $800,000 and there are also unpaid subcontractors involved with this contract.
“The Liberal Party has been informed that the contractual dispute includes a number of issues, including a dispute about the extra cost of variations of between $200,000 and $300,000 on the Gilles Plains project being claimed by the company.
“Since work has ceased on the Gilles Plains site there has been considerable vandalism including doors and windows being damaged as well as all the gyprock work in one unit being destroyed. In addition, items such as hot water systems have been stolen.
“Similarly there is considerable damage at Elizabeth Grove and air conditioners and most of the electrical work will have to be replaced.
“Sadly, there appears to have been little or no effort by the Rann Government to try to settle the dispute. This issue was raised with Housing SA at the Budget and Finance Committee in November, but Phil Fagan-Schmidt, Executive Director of Housing SA, said at that time he was not aware of the dispute.
“The Liberal Party also understands that the Gilles Plains project start was delayed because Housing SA failed to remediate the site and hand over a ‘clean site’ to the builder on the required schedule.
“Unique Building is also the company embroiled in the dispute with the Rann Government which has seen all work cease on the building of new CFS stations in areas such as Wilmington and Balaklava.
“The Liberal Party understands SAFECOM finally cancelled its contract with Unique Building in the week before Christmas. Work is meant to recommence later this month but that might be further delayed by possible legal action between the company and SAFECOM.
“Sadly, it appears action was only finally taken by the Rann Government after this issue was raised publicly and highlighted by the media.
“It is now time for the Rann Government to get off its backside and one way or another take action to resolve this dispute and ensure this critically needed accommodation is made available to all those people who desperately need it.
“There appear to be worrying systemic problems with the way the Rann Government is managing – or not managing – a number of very important contracts across a number of government agencies.”