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Weatherill targets northern jobs quota

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The Weatherill Government is stepping up its commitment to local employment quotas on state infrastructure projects, pledging to ensure half the jobs created during construction of the Northern Connector will go to workers in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

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Premier Jay Weatherill will today address the annual luncheon of Roads Australia at the Adelaide Town Hall, detailing a “jobs taskforce” that would aim to give around 240 of the 480 jobs “supported” each year of the build to northern suburbs dwellers.

“Experience shows that having an overall jobs target works,” he will tell the gathering.

“Of the 1800 people who worked on the Southern Expressway, for example, 90 per cent were from within the state and 58 per cent were from the south, and there was a similar result with the Northern Expressway.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott committed $788 million to the multi-laned motorway as his last public policy act before being deposed by Malcolm Turnbull.

Weatherill says the Northern Connector Jobs Taskforce will be overseen by the Labor’s member for Little Para, Lee Odenwalder, and would focus on the Salisbury, Playford and Port Adelaide Enfield council areas.

Odenwalder will work with Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan and other northern suburbs MPs, along with local councils and job agencies, with a focus on displaced automotive workers through the Holden Transition Centre.

The pledge came as the state and federal governments today announced the shortlisting of two bidders to tender for the design and construction of the $985 million Northern Connector project.

A joint statement said Lend Lease will tender for the works “in its own right, while the other bidder is a joint venture between Leighton Contractors and York Civil”.

Federal Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher said the Northern Connector would “provide a vital freight and commuter link between the Northern Expressway, and the South Road Superway and Port River Expressway”.

InDaily today revealed that senior transport bureaucrats will face parliamentary scrutiny in the new year over allegations of shortcuts on the Superway construction.

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