Water

Project brings jobs and chance to learn

By Country News

For Brodie McMahon, Goulburn-Murray Water’s Connections project is bringing countless opportunities.

From construction and earthmoving tickets to specialised poly welding training, Mr McMahon said he was learning new skills every day.

The 20-year-old grew up in an indigenous community about an hour from Derby in Western Australia’s north-west.

Here he learned and lived by traditional cultural customs and practices.

‘‘I came down to Victoria in March last year,’’ Mr McMahon said.

‘‘It was hard at the start because I’m so close to my family, but now I’m loving it.’’

He hopes the skills he’s learning set him up for a career in construction when he returns to Darwin, where his family has relocated.

Perhaps even more important is inspiring his younger siblings to learn new skills and grow their career opportunities.

‘‘On this project (the Swan Hill Modernisation Project), I’m driving excavators and doing pipe welding,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s allowing me to learn civil construction skills that I can use when I get back home.’’

Mr McMahon is employed by Rochester firm Wards Bros Earthmoving, which is carrying out the final stages of the Swan Hill Modernisation Project, as part of the $2billion G-MW Connections project.

Works include decommissioning 10km of the No. 9 channel from Werril St in the south to Karinie St in the north and constructing two pump stations and more than 8km of pipeline to create a more efficient and effective delivery system for the region’s irrigators.

Ward Bros partner Peter Ward said the Connections project had allowed his business to create employment opportunities for about 60 full-time staff.

‘‘For us the Connections project means we can offer work opportunities to people like Brodie,’’ he said.

‘‘Our business has been able to grow significantly because of this project and we’ve loved passing that opportunity on to young people and watching them grow their skills.’’

Connections project director Frank Fisseler said the Reset Delivery Plan was developed to use local skills and resources wherever possible.

‘‘It was firmly focused on creating jobs for local contractors and businesses to provide an economic boost to our communities,’’ Mr Fisseler said.

‘‘The jobs this project is creating is something we’re most proud of.’’