One of Queensland’s rugby league legends has teamed up with an old mate to score another try in the labour hire game
One of Queensland’s rugby league legends has teamed up with an old mate to score another try in the labour hire game

Queensland rugby league great back into labour hire game

ONE of Queensland's rugby league legends has teamed up with an old mate to score another try in the labour hire game.

Darren Lockyer has once again joined forces with Brisbane bizoid Grant Wechsel to launch the Managed Workforce Group this month.

The pair previously owned and operated mining services provider One Key Resources but offloaded the business for more than $10 million in 2016 to private equity-backed global UK group Fircroft.

By that stage, just six years after a humble start, One Key was turning over more than $250 million annually from employing about 2000 people at any given time as part of its training and recruitment efforts.

Darren Lockyer and Grant Wechsel
Darren Lockyer and Grant Wechsel

Lockyer initially came on-board in 2011 as something of a "brand ambassador'' but liked the business so much he ended up investing in it.

Fast forward to today and the two gents have just emerged from a non-compete straitjacket imposed by Fircroft as part of the One Key sale.

They are hoping to surf in on a burst of infrastructure projects that governments will be fast-tracking as part of their COVID-19 recovery plan.

Other construction and resources projects are also being targeted by MWG as it initially focuses on Queensland and NSW before looking farther afield across the country.

"We see a tremendous opportunity in the market,'' Wechsel told City Beat yesterday.

"We'd like to quickly build the group up to 1000 contractors in the next year…. You'll certainly have $100 million turnover across the business.''

The money flowing into MWG will come from three key divisions.

The "Mining Pro'' business will focus on, no surprises, the coal mining sector, while the "Crew People'' arm will target the wider resources industry. A third leg, "One Track Workforce'' is aiming at major tunnel, rail and mining projects.

We couldn't reach Lockyer for comment yesterday but Wechsel said he was stoked to get back into business with him again.

"We literally met when he was retiring. Over a decade we've grown to work really well together,'' Wechsel said. "He's big on culture and team work.''

CEMENTING A WIN

IT sure looks like Boral has emerged victorious in its year-long legal battle over cement pricing with Toowoomba-based industrial group Wagners.

But we don't know the details yet because, in a supremely frustrating move, Brisbane Supreme Court Justice John Bond slapped a confidentiality order on his decision this week.

It's understood the veil of secrecy stems from third-party issues and not the substance of the ruling itself.

Formal orders, possibly with redacted bits, are set to be handed down on June 4 if the two camps can strike some sort of deal. Failing that, Justice Bond will issue directions on how the remaining sticking points can be settled.

Denis Wagner
Denis Wagner

Despite the confidentiality ruling, Boral chief Wayne Manners didn't hold back yesterday in cheering what he described as a favourable judgment.

"We are pleased with the long term impacts of this result under our cement supply agreement with Wagners," he said.

"The result fulfils our objective to exercise our contractual rights to ensure that we can source cement at competitive rates."

Wagners co-founder and non-executive chairman Denis Wagner declined to comment on the court's decision but he couldn't help putting the boot into Boral.

"I cannot understand how they see it as a win when they have decimated their own cement business in Queensland,'' he told City Beat.

Wagners halted cement deliveries to Boral, its biggest customers, in March last year, taking a $10 million hit to the bottom line.

It then took legal action, accusing Boral of trying to lower prices after receiving cheaper offers from an unspecified competitor.

Boral defended the case even as it resumed buying Wagners cement last October.

 

Originally published as Queensland rugby league great gets back into labour hire game


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