Indigenous work scheme the key to nbn™ rollout in Millicent
nbn™ fixed line network to give 2600 properties in town access to fast broadband
An innovative indigenous worker scheme will play a big role in the successful rollout of the nbn in the South East, which begins this week in Millicent.
nbn deployment partners Fulton Hogan have been working closely with the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority (NRA) to pioneer a new scheme that ensures skills training and employment for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers in the construction of the new high-tech utility throughout the State’s South East.
Wattle Range Mayor Peter Gandolfi welcomed the start of construction in Millicent and the opportunities it brings with it.
“Council is extremely keen to get the nbn construction started in Millicent as, on completion, it will provide locals with the ability to access reliable fast broadband,” Mr Gandolfi said.
“Along with a massive increase in broadband speeds for the family home, high-speed broadband means much faster download times supporting the educational, health and business sectors.
He said the nbn™ network offers potential for growth in Millicent as it would be an incentive for new businesses looking to establish a presence in the town while also increasing productivity for existing businesses.
State Corporate Affairs manager Jill Bottrall says last year Fulton Hogan became aware that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers from NRA, recruited to conduct cultural heritage monitoring of civil earth works, were eager to help out with other site works.
“In conjunction with the NRA, Fulton Hogan decided that rather than having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander monitors stand as observers, it would be more productive to train them as civil workers so they could integrate their monitoring work with participating in the build.
“It represented a win win for everyone. Ordinarily, monitors are only required for a week or two, after which they return to their employment agency and await another job.
“Now, they get to gain another skill, receive ongoing work, get greater work satisfaction and Fulton Hogan has a fully-integrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce.
“Eleven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers have participated in further training courtesy of nbn’s Project Athena to attain Certificates in Civil Construction and Telecommunication Cabling. Two trainees are taking Cert II training in Utilities Construction.
“There is a huge passion among the workers, trainers, supervisors and other Fulton Hogan staff for this program and it holds great promise for expansion into the future, especially given the number of site works about to begin in other parts of regional South Australia.
“We hope this employment model will be one of many enduring legacies that will result from the roll out of this largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history.” Ms Bottrall said.
nbn construction and rollout work is expected to continue in Millicent until the end of this year, with the nbn service due to go live by about January 2017.
Services over the nbn™ network are now available to about 255,000 premises across the State, with more than 88,800 residents and business owners already connected to the network.
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