I was honoured to receive the partnership award for the Peninsula Developmental Road Priority Agreement on behalf of the Department of Transport and Main Roads this evening at an event in Townsville.
The nature of our work in TMR means we have a significant footprint in regional and remote Queensland, and a unique opportunity to influence economic and employment prospects of Indigenous communities.
The Peninsula Developmental Road Agreement is an example where, in partnership with Indigenous communities and businesses, we are making a real and lasting difference to the lives of Indigenous Queenslanders and their families, and the region as a whole.
Often when you think of Reconciliation, your mind turns to high level policy and concepts far removed from the dirt and dust of country.
At TMR, we believe in a slightly more practical approach. Our work may not be high brow, but it is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to tangible and lasting benefits.
The Peninsula Developmental Road is a brilliant example. The $200 million project is joint funded by Federal and Queensland governments, and it is transforming the economy of the Cape by improving travelling conditions and reducing the closure time due to the effects of the wet season.
Obviously the Cape Indigenous communities are key stakeholders in this work. In 2015:
- 22 Indigenous trainees were employed on the Peninsula Developmental Road.
- at the peak of construction, more than 80 Indigenous workers were employed on the projects.
- 15 Indigenous businesses gained work through the projects.
Indeed almost 25 percent of the contract work has gone to Indigenous businesses.
Of course, the thing with roads, particularly in Queensland’s north, is they need to be maintained, and the skills and training provided on this project will offer long-term employment opportunities and security.
In writing about the project in the Australian newspaper, Michael McKenna described the project as the sort of nation-building project of a century ago.
I am incredibly proud of the work TMR does in improving the economic and employment opportunities for Indigenous Queenslanders, and I would like to acknowledge the work of our community partners Cape York Land Council and relevant Traditional Owners in making this project such a success.
I hope it is building a stronger shared future for all of us.
Neil Scales OBE
Director General Transport and Main Roads