Substantial amount of upgrade work at Connellan Airport complete
The $27.5 million project has involved the upgrade and resurfacing of the 2,600m airport runway and the installation of new runway lighting.
A substantial amount of construction work on the Connellan Airport upgrade in the Northern Territory has been completed.
The project, which had a total project value of $27.5 million and a public benefit value of over $370 million over 20 years, has involved the upgrade and resurfacing of the 2,600m airport runway, taxiway and apron and the installation of new runway lighting.
The upgrade maintains the safety of the runway and the new lighting will support future night flights.
Permanent accommodation has also been constructed as part of the project which provides an accommodation base not only for those working on the runway upgrade but also to meet the needs of future refurbishment projects.
An aim of the project from the airport operator, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia Pty Ltd, was to aid in increasing Indigenous employment in the tourism sector. This had a target of three to five per cent of goods and materials sourced from companies that are 50 per cent or more Indigenous owned and for employment targets for Indigenous people to be greater than 10 per cent of the workforce.
During the major construction period between February and March 2019, there was a 10 per cent average for Indigenous employment, with the total Indigenous employment for the total project being 8.9 per cent. Indigenous employment figures for the contractor’s village accommodation project element ranged from 16 per cent in September 2018 up to 35 per cent in December 2019, averaging 16.8 per cent across the construction period with Indigenous personnel on-site ranging from electricians, carpenters and trade assistants.
Challenges were encountered in ensuring the three to five per cent of goods and materials were sourced from companies that are 50 per cent or more Indigenous owned and there is now review of procurement processes to ensure that opportunities for engaging regional suppliers, businesses and enterprises are maximised.