Sunshine Coast Daily Article | Updated 1 Mar 2018 | by Stuart Cumming

THE “majority” of the 2200 jobs expected to be created in the coming years of construction at Sunshine Coast Airport will go to local workers. That was the best explanation John Holland Group Queensland and Northern Territory general manager Jim Salmon could offer at the announcement of his firm’s $225 million contract win on Thursday.

“The key focus for us, number one, is safety and environmental,” Mr Salmon said. “Of course a very, very important aspect of this job is local jobs.”

He said his company, which built the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital and is a construction partner in the Maroochydore CBD, had developed a network on the Sunshine Coast.

AIRPORT TENDER: Jim Salmon, Ted O’Brien and Cr Mark Jamieson celebrate the awarding of a $225 million construction contract at Sunshine Coast Airport. Photo by Patrick Woods

“We have worked in the region before successfully and with that we build our supply chain network in the area so we will be utilising that to great effect.” Mr Salmon wouldn’t say which Coast subcontractors would be engaged for the work or what percentage of the workforce would be local. He said contracts were still being finalised and expected that to be completed “soon”. But he said Coast business Shadforths Civil Contractors were certainly one of the firms his company was talking with.

“A lot of it, when you see them on the ground there, there are going to be a lot of local, prevalent subbies and supply chain.”

Construction is expected to begin in July and be complete by the end of 2020. Mr Salmon said the expansion would bring incredible opportunities for the Coast.

“We are seeing this in other major cities around Australia, where there is a significant investment in infrastructure and I think Sunshine Coast is at the lead here and will see ongoing benefits and of course opportunities for all aspects of business.” He said large infrastructure developments tended to be built in major cities and the Sunshine Coast was an exception to that norm. “This is a major infrastructure investment that’s under way and I think for good reason and I think that just shows the potential of the region.” He said his company would do its best to minimise disruption to neighbours during construction. “Obviously the environmental control will come into play there and the safety control.” He said residents would be informed in advance of aspects affecting them.