Construction spree will build Territorian skills Meta Image

Construction spree will build Territorian skills

A tourism and education construction spree worth hundreds of millions of dollars will help keep skills in Darwin as the Northern Territory wrestles with the post-Inpex boom era.

 

The completion of mega-projects including the Inpex-operated Ichthys liquefied natural gas project and National Broadband Network roll-out across the Northern Territory has meant that growth in construction has eased recently.

But works including Darwin’s first six-star hotel and the planned multi-million dollar relocation of the Charles Darwin University to the CBD of Darwin will provide a much-needed boost to construction work.

Phil Gardiner, managing director of Irwinconsult – which is part of WSP -- says projects like the hotel “generate much needed work for the local subcontractor market in a slowing market”.

“This is imperative to keep skills in Darwin as once lost they are difficult to get back,” Mr Gardiner says.

Engineering professional services firm WSP has recently been appointed as part of the design team for the Charles Darwin University city campus, which has funding as part of the Darwin City Deal to create a new education precinct. The inner-city campus could sustain an extra 100 jobs in Darwin by 2023.

 

“This is imperative to keep skills in Darwin as once lost they are difficult to get back."

Irwinconsult managing director Phil Gardiner

 

WSP is also involved in the project to build a Westin Darwin Hotel that is expected to boost tourism and attract businesspeople who want to invest in the Territory. Local contractor McMahon Services Australia NT has started work on the first stage of the project to construct the sea wall around the hotel at the waterfront.

Irwinconsult has had an office in Darwin since 1964 and WSP since 2009. Today, the two organisations have 26 people working on a range of projects. 

“We would love to increase the Darwin team but it is dependent on investment returning to property and construction,” Mr Gardiner says.

“Our recent appointment as part of the design team for the CDU city campus assists us to maintain numbers and possibly grow a little in our historic core disciplines.”

The firm is involved in Defence projects – a key part of the Northern Territory economy – as well as transport and civic projects ranging from remote camping grounds to hospital upgrades and Indigenous arts centres.

 

“We would love to increase the Darwin team but it is dependent on investment returning to property and construction."

Irwinconsult managing director Phil Gardiner

 

It is another example of the importance of unlocking investment to allow regions to thrive.

“We contribute across the territory,” explains Scott Robertson, WSP’s Team Leader – Program Delivery Central. “As far back as the sixties, we have worked alongside government agencies, defence forces and the private sector supporting the establishment of infrastructure, buildings and asset solutions.

“We have a buy local policy whenever possible and all of our staff are long-term permanent residents. We also service the entire territory including remote communities only accessible by single engine charter plane.”