In late 2018 Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council (KASC) was successful in securing a grant of $1million to purchase machinery and enable Council to develop its own road crew team. The grant was from Queensland’s Department of Local Government, Racing & Multicultural Affairs.
Less than two years on and the crew are now fully qualified operators, delivering road works within their community. In the short space of time since April 2020, the indigenous road crew have delivered almost $500,000 of emergent works, gravel re-sheeting and formation grades within the Kowanyama Shire boundaries.
This is the first time in Kowanyama Shire that works like this have been achieved by a solely indigenous and local workforce. In previous years road contracts have gone out to tender, with outside contractors coming into community and delivering road works. This resulted in very little local employment and limited local training opportunities in road work jobs.
Council committed to training local staff and now have a qualified road crew! The crew have successfully delivered the State Government’s Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS) and Roads to Recovery works on time and within budget.
This initiative, whilst providing local employment and training, has enabled KASC to maximise its machine utilisation and build skilled capacity within community. The people of Kowanyama can have a sense of pride and ownership that road works are being done locally, with the knowledge that money is staying in community.
Community pride and ownership of this program is demonstrated by the excellent attendance rate of the civil crew, who are all keen to retain their jobs and expand on their personal and professional development. The waiting list to gain employment on the road crew is ever increasing. Council is aiming towards purchasing more equipment and establishing a second road crew. This will provide more local employment and training opportunities and further help to improve the quality of the Shire’s roads.
Council has recently received pre-approval for over $5million worth of rural road works, funded by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority. For the first time in history, KASC will be undertaking all the works themselves. A local indigenous business will also be used to supply KASC with extra road work equipment. This is a tremendous feat that all involved should be extremely proud of!
Kowanyama's Road Crew. From left to right: Simon Luke, Clive Gilbert, Malcom Possum, Lenton Lawrence, Rodrick Daniels, James Gilbert, Michael Yam.