June 28, 2022

Local content: better value now than ever before

Cameron Tragardh, Chief Operations Officer, SMW Group

You don’t need to spend more than a few minutes consuming any form of news to hear about economic struggles, businesses going bust, and people doing it tough. I’d love to see that change – particularly in how large organisations and governments think about doing business in their backyard, engaging local business to execute projects, from small contracts to major projects.

There are three unbeatable reasons that choosing local is a win-win. It’s good for strengthening regions, keeping people employed long-term, and getting the best bang for your buck. Here’s why:

Strong regions = strong capability

I’ve long been a believer that there’s more than enough capability to go around in regional Queensland. Whether we’re talking about building a major mine, road or infrastructure project, there are always locals who have the right skills. It’s just a matter of large organisations being truly committed to working with the region that they’re building into – and not taking the easy way out to fly in talent or parachute in contractors that they’ve worked with before. The best part about drawing on local capability? It’s there when your project is finished, meaning the region is ready to keep growing.

Long-term employment = long-term benefits

We’re well past the age where casual contracts are the best way to do business. SMW Group proudly has a permanent employment policy, where all our hires have the certainty that their employment won’t end when a project does. This keeps our team engaged, lets them put down roots in the region, and provides stability. Employees that truly settle down rather than settling for a transient lifestyle are better off in terms of mental health, family stability, and community involvement and contribution. Local content gives long-term community benefits too.

Local content = local value

Building local business capability and local employment are part of the ‘big picture’ approach to a major project. But there’s a more practical spin on my last point – by working with locals, you save money. Just think of the reduced costs in fuel (which has never been more prominent), transport, accommodation, logistics and the overall environmental impact of a project. Working with resources close to the project means enormous savings. There’s been plenty of projects where a major metro contractor appears cheaper on paper, and awarded a tender…but it’s a very rare scenario where that is still the case at the end of a project, once all the variations are in.


In a world where it’s getting harder and harder to do business, it makes so much sense to start with local content when it comes to a major project. SMW Group will be the first to say – we’re ready to start work.

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