NEW government contracts have today opened up on AusTender for the maintenance of aids to navigation, which include lighthouses and marine buoys operated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).   

Under a new regional model for service delivery, the contracts cover specific groupings of aids to navigation around Australia.  

There are eight regions in total, with five opening on AusTender today (9 February) and the remaining three, plus a separate contract for technical support and logistics, expected to open soon.  

Businesses can tender for one, or more of the contracts.  

Maritime services company AMS Group had the contract for the maintenance for more than two decades. 

AMS Group CEO Glen Marshall told DCN last July, when AMS was told it lost the contract, the company was “disappointed by the result of the tender process – after 22 years we’ve been deemed unsuitable”. 

Mr Marshall told DCN on Friday (9 February) that AMSA would have trouble replacing AMS. 

“We can’t see how AMSA can go to market by 30 June, and deliver at the same level of maintenance,” Mr Marshall said.  

“AMS Group’s concern is in order to get smaller regional companies to deliver the services in rapid time by 30 June, clearly AMSA has to lower the standards that have become expected by the shipping industry.”  

AMSA executive director response Mark Morrow hit back at Mr Marshall’s claim when contacted by DCN. 

“It’s disappointing that AMS would think in any way that AMSA would reduce its standard to the shipping industry and our mission speaks for itself in terms of what AMSA’s position is,” Mr Morrow said.  

According to Mr Morrow, when AMSA opened for tender it rated tenders in accordance with a guideline “to which we make a decision on whether we accept those services or not”. 

“There’s always speculation about the previous service of the contactor but the truth of it is, we score it against a template and if it doesn’t measure up to a minimal acceptable standard then we don’t accept the tender,” Mr Morrow said.  

“They (AMS) didn’t reach the mark, so we were forced to revisit what our plan was. 

“AMS, like any other organisation in Australia, can bid for those tenders.” 

According to AMSA, the regional maintenance contracts are more streamlined in scope compared to AMSA’s previous and current national contract for maintenance, which ends on 30 June.  

They are also shorter in duration, and successful contract holders will have support from AMSA’s in-house expertise.  

Mr Morrow said the regionalisation and rescoping of this work meant that more businesses would now be able to tender for it than was previously possible under a single national contract.  

“This is an exciting opportunity for more businesses to expand the experience and skillset of their workforces, and more support,” Mr Morrow said.  

“We are strongly encouraging interested businesses to view the tender packages on AusTender under the building and construction category or contact our Procurement team directly for more information – their contact details are listed on AusTender.  

“AMSA has a rich history of maintaining the safety of aids to navigation through in-house technical expertise and specialist contractors, and we remain committed to providing a resilient and reliable network that best suits Australia’s needs well into the future.  

“Today is an exciting milestone in our transition to a regional model for maintenance delivery, and an even more exciting opportunity for Australian businesses.”  

The regional maintenance contracts, which have opened today on AusTender, are specifically for the Torres Strait, North Queensland, South Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania (combined region), and Western Australian regions.