In 2008, McMahon Services in partnership with Sitzler Pty Ltd and Laing O’Rourke formed the Territory Alliance to help deliver the Federal Government’s $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP).
The Program was designed to bridge the gap between Indigenous disadvantage across the Territory, by providing quality housing and economic independence through opportunities for training and employment.
By early 2010 the Alliance was awarded six work packages including; Tiwi Islands; Maningrida; Galiwin’ku; Groote Eylandt; Acacia, Belyuen and Gunbalanya; and civil works within the $138 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan - totalling approximately $600 million of housing and infrastructure works.
By the end of 2012 the Territory Alliance completed a lion’s share of the SIHIP work including:
- 517 new houses and six new sub-divisions, including essential infrastructure such as roads, power, water and sewerage in six communities across the Territory
- 350 rebuilds
- 450 refurbishments
- Extensive civil works in Alice Springs – retrofitting town camps with new connections and realigned roads (extended to mid-2012)
At the project’s peak, the Alliance had more than 750 workers across the sites, and approximately 30 per cent were local Aboriginal workers who were given the opportunity to undertake accredited training.
The Alliance also subcontracted to 918 services and suppliers, with 769 from the Territory. Of the Territory companies, 52 were Aboriginal owned.
Becoming part of the community life in remote areas across the Northern Territory was very important. Workers engaged in local sports teams and festivals, and volunteered to help with barge landings ceremony grounds and community facilities. The workers also offered equipment and help with odd jobs and repairs, cyclone clean-ups and fighting fires, and work experience for local schools.
Stakeholder engagement was also a key component of the project, working closely with the Housing Reference Groups to ensure the planning, design, and scoping of houses and infrastructure were appropriate to each community’s needs.
The Territory Alliance is proud of its achievements and is aware that many of the dedicated staff worked long hours and long days in challenging conditions away from their families, some of them for more than three years.