Council hangs up on local business

PHONE FURY: Luxfield Communications managing director Keith Baldwin is upset the council has chosen an out-of-town company for its Bargara phone upgrade.
PHONE FURY: Luxfield Communications managing director Keith Baldwin is upset the council has chosen an out-of-town company for its Bargara phone upgrade. Scottie Simmonds BUNLUX

A BUNDABERG communications company says it is disappointed after Bundaberg Regional Council chose not to renew its Bargara contract and instead opted for a company that is from outside the region.

But Bundaberg Regional Council chief executive Peter Byrne said the decision to switch communication companies was based solely on cost.

Luxfield Communications director Keith Baldwin said his firm found out at the end of March it had not been awarded the contract to upgrade the telephone system at the Bargara Cultural Centre and the council's Hughes Rd service centre.

The company had provided ongoing maintenance to the previous telephone system for a number of years and also provides support for the council's phone systems in Bundaberg and Childers.

Mr Baldwin said the company had quoted the council about $173,000, plus $17,000 a year ongoing maintenance to replace the system.

After not hearing anything back for a number of months, Mr Baldwin contacted the council at the end of March and asked if more information was required.

But he was told a decision had been made around Christmas.

Mr Baldwin said the loss of the Bargara contract also had him concerned about the company's contracts for the Bundaberg and Childers phone systems if an upgrade was needed. "We might lose about $40,000 to $60,000 a year doing service and charging fees," he said.

Mr Baldwin said while the council was not the company's biggest client, it was

significant to the business's activities.

But Mr Bryne said the council had made the decision based on cost saving, choosing an Alcatel system that would be serviced by an office in Brisbane.

Mr Byrne said the system would cost a total of just more than $128,000 over five years.

"It was a question of cost," he said. "(Luxfield) were given more consideration because they are local."

Mr Byrne said the quote provided by Luxfield did not have the implementation plan and maintenance costs built in. However, it was still considered because it was a Bundaberg company.

"Luxfield still gets work from us and we haven't had any problems with them," he said.

Topics:  bundaberg regional council communications contract

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