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Cross River contractor taken to court over previous Qld project

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A major contractor for the multi-billion-dollar Cross River Rail project has been taken to court over another Queensland infrastructure contract, accused of  bungling a section of Gold Coast Light Rail.

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CPB Contractors have earned the ire of the Palaszczuk Government and now KDR Gold Coast, the consortium behind the completed second stage of the light rail network, which recently filed documents in the Supreme Court in an attempt to resolve a long-running stoush with CPB.

The $420 million second stage, funded by state and federal governments and the City of Gold Coast, extended light rail from the Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale train station. It was completed ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games and CPB has since promoted its role in delivering additional public transport for the event ahead of schedule.

However, according to the court documents, light rail operator KDR took issue with “numerous examples of depressions, dips, squats, spalls and cracks” in the second stage, which allegedly caused commercial losses of more than $400,000. There were also complaints of road corrugations.

CPB, which had been responsible for design and construction on the project, questioned the lack of detail around the supposed defects in the rail head. The companies, and their lawyers, have spent months arguing over the issues and the nature of any dispute resolution process.

KDR now wants a judge to order CPB to sign up for KDR’s proposed “expert determination process” in an effort to finally resolve the issues. CPB has yet to file a response in court.

In February, CPB’s performance on Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel project was cited as a reason for the Palaszczuk Government taking greater control of Cross River Rail. CPB is part of the consortium that won the contract to deliver the massive rail network upgrade.

State Development Minister Kate Jones said there was a need for greater scrutiny of the $5.4 billion project, including a new compliance unit, to ensure it came in on time and on budget.

CPB declined to comment at the time.

Today, Jones remained wary of CPB, although she would not be drawn on the court case itself.

“I’ve seen very clearly what they’ve done in other states,” the Minister told InQueensland.
“If they think they can do the same here, they’ve got another thing coming. Our bolstered compliance team is on their case.”
The Labor government would also be mindful that some unions have raised concerns over CPB, including its enterprise bargaining practices, and threatened industrial action at Cross River Rail sites.
“We want long-term benefits in regards to skills and training from this project for Queensland,” Jones said.

The court case is continuing.

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