Maintenance picture forms in Gladstone
ONE year on and the maintenance opportunities easier to see.
Wednesday 29 June 2016
THE operational maintenance task for arguably Queensland’s most critical industrial town is starting to take shape as the CSG processing sector approaches their first year of operation, at the same time as a backlog of coal-related work trickles in.
The downturn following the LNG construction boom in Gladstone is well documented, but it’s been less clear what the on-going LNG maintenance task would look like, and how it would fit in with the already significant demand from Gladstone’s traditional aluminium, power and coal industries.
CEO of the Gladstone Engineering Alliance (GEA) Carli Homann says a picture is forming.
“Well it’s like all the other big developments in Gladstone’s history, it takes around a year of operations before we start to see the sort of opportunities there are for maintenance,” she told Shift Miner.
“With that milestone coming up, we will see more examples of the maintenance required by the LNG sector.
“However at the same time we have the ongoing maintenance of our other industries who - as everyone knows - are going through a downturn.
“But we finally see some work from the coal sector.
“With coal prices the way they are, any non-critical maintenance has been delayed for as long as possible, but now the time has arrived when they can’t leave it any longer.”
However despite this, the economy in Gladstone is a far cry from where it was, depending on who you talk to that means it’s either returned to “normal” or “ very quiet”.
Ms Homann says Gladstone’s new reality is forcing companies to reconsider how they operate.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for business to step back and evaluate where they are heading and whether they have the right structures,” she said.
“But it’s important that management involves their staff in these conversations, because it is all about being cost competitive, and offering excellent quality and service.
“I was speaking to one of our members this morning who had to sit down with all their staff for the first time and say to them, this is our financial performance for this month, this is where we thought we would be, and this is the difference we need to make up somehow.
“While everyone taking a 10% cut was one of the solutions, a foreman said that if he had two hours a day to work on it, he thought he could bring in enough work to make the difference up.
“It’s about working as a team, and understanding that everyone has a role in the success.”
Meanwhile, the GEA continues to invest in skill development with 28 recently accredited trainees about to enter the workforce.
Drawn locally, the trainees gained a range of qualifications from business and land management, through to customer service, retail, payroll, labouring and plant operation by working on community projects through the GEA’s Community Work Skills Program
GEA coordinator Kielly Glanville said the timing of the project couldn’t be better.
“Our goal was to assist skilled, unemployed people to get back into the workforce and this program opens up a host of opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available,” Ms Glanville said.
“The trainees have been working with community partners, and we have received great feedback on their skills and work ethic.“Many of our partners have been impressed by the quality of our trainees’ work and believe they would be an asset for any business.”