CLARENCE Valley architects, construction companies and engineers will not be able to tender for work on the new $8 million Grafton library.
Tenders for the project are being managed by the NSW Public Works Department, as Clarence Valley Council does not have the personnel or expertise to manage a project of this size.
Due to Government regulations, only companies which satisfy the Public Works Department's workplace health and safety regulations are able to tender for the project on Pound St, Grafton.
According to council deputy general manager Rob Donges, no local businesses are accredited to bid for the project.
"The advice from the Public Works Department is that no Valley-based businesses have the necessary federal accreditation to apply for this project," he said.
The project is being federally funded, however, its administration has been left to the council.
Many of the local councillors were keen to emphasise their support for local businesses, but were mostly cautious and agreed that due to regulations it was not always possible to work with local companies.
Cr Karen Toms indicated that she does not agree with the process, saying: "My view is we should always give our local companies first option to tender, quote etc, for any project, whatever size it may be."
Newly elected councillor Andrew Baker said: "This disgraceful library thing is a great opportunity for councillors to show their support for the Clarence Valley, or otherwise."
However Cr Baker tempered his support by saying that the tender process should remain competitive.
"I do support work going to local companies on a competitive, all-things-considered basis," he said.
Cr Richie Williamson said if there are any local companies wanting to tender they should contact the NSW Public Works Department.
He said he was comfortable with outsourcing the process as council does not have the necessary specialists to deal with it.
Member for Page Janelle Saffin made the following reply via email from Parliament House.
"Thanks to the Daily Examiner for raising this.
"This is the first I've heard of this situation and no one has raised it with me before.
"I am now following up to see what it's about.
"As you know, I am always keen to have jobs go to locals and I will be looking into this further."