A substantial amount of construction work on the Connellan Airport upgrade in the Northern Territory has been completed.

Work undertaken 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.

The construction work was led by the Principal Contractor Downer EDI Works, while the runway lighting was completed by a specialist aircraft lighting contractor, Airside Technical.

Voyages also has in place an Australian Industry Participation (AIP) Plan as required under the Government’s AIP policy.

Permanent accommodation has been constructed as part of the project, which will provide a base for those working on the runway upgrade, as well as accommodation to meet the needs of future refurbishment projects.

During the major construction period between February and March 2019, the Principal Contractor was able to achieve greater than ten per cent average for Indigenous employment for this part of the project, with the total Indigenous employment for the total project being nearly nine per cent.

This equated to five Indigenous FTEs in February 2019 and 12 Indigenous FTEs in March 2019. 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 onsite including electricians, carpenters and trade assistants.

Challenges were encountered in ensuring three to five per cent of goods and materials were sourced from companies that are 50 per cent or more Indigenous owned.

Voyages is now undertaking a review of its procurement processes to ensure that opportunities for engaging regional suppliers, businesses and enterprises are maximised through improvements to its regional engagement model.

As part of its NAIF IES commitments, Voyages has invigorated its community engagement mechanisms, including establishing an Anangu Advisory Group which met in March 2019 and again in June 2019.

The Group has nominated members from Mutitjulu, Imanpa, Watarrka/Lilla, Docker River, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia.

The Group comes together with Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia to collaborate, share information and improve Anangu training, employment and economic participation opportunities and outcomes.

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