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Building contracts link to Highway 61 bikie

A CONSTRUCTION company co-owned by a bikie standover man with convictions for drug trafficking and unlawful weapons possession is raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in government contracts.

Scott Paton, sergeant-at-arms of outlaw club Highway 61, is a director and shareholder in Eastcoast Concrete Cutting, which is working on the Kessels Rd overpass for Main Roads and previously worked on Airport Link, the Gateway upgrade and the Boggo Rd Busway project.

The company has also won almost $300,000 worth of work from Brisbane City Council since 2008.

The revelation of further bikie involvement in Airport Link comes two years after The Courier-Mail exposed links between notorious West Australian bikie outfit Club Deroes and the project's then biggest subcontractor.

It also comes as police prepare to make the first move against bikie clubs under the Bligh Government's controversial criminal organisation laws.

Paton, who was jailed for five years in 2000 for drug trafficking, was yesterday convicted and fined $7000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for possession of a loaded .357 Magnum revolver, a knuckleduster and ammunition.

Paton, who owns tattoo businesses, has also come to police attention after rival parlour owners were harassed.

In Paton's defence, his lawyer said Eastcoast Concrete Cutting employed 16 to 20 people and was "really booming" thanks to work on large government projects including Airport Link and a conviction "might impact on his financial well-being".

The Courier-Mail can reveal that police probed possible links between organised crime and construction companies - including Eastcoast Concrete Cutting - after the newspaper exposed the Club Deroes' role in Airport Link.

But officers were hamstrung because there were no restrictions in Queensland on people with serious convictions winning government contracts and subcontractors were not vetted.

This is in contrast to WA, which introduced rules forcing contractors to declare criminal convictions after Club Deroes' involvement in that state's major infrastructure projects.

Company documents covering one week in October show Eastcoast Concrete Cutting received significant income including $150,000 from Leighton subsidiary Thiess John Holland and other payments included one from Queensland Main Roads.

It had a bank balance of $1.5 million.

Thiess John Holland said it conducted "quite a rigorous process of vetting" its subcontractors.

A spokesman for Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said council's procurement process was "conducted in accordance with guidelines from state agencies".

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