With Defence procurement policy strongly encouraging the use of regional and indigenous business and employment, the work by a number of our brands on the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI) Facilities Project demonstrates the breadth of our offering and adaptability to contribute problem solving solutions over the lifespan of large scale projects.
Introduced in 2015, the ASMTI aims to bolster Defence capabilities, strengthen Australia's diplomatic ties with Singapore, and deliver sustained economic advantages to the regions of Central and North Queensland. When the initiative reaches full maturity, up to 14,000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel will conduct unilateral training for up to 18 weeks per year for 25 years.
Defence has acquired more than 400 thousand hectares of land in Central Queensland (expanding Shoalwater Bay) and North Queensland (establishing the Greenvale training area), and infrastructure works are nearing completion. Laing O’Rourke was appointed as the Managing Contractor for ASMTI works in Central Queensland in 2018.
In 2019, PeopleIN’s labour hire business AWX successfully tendered to deliver works including the provision of labour related to the Labour Supply Package for the ASMTI Facilities Project. We commenced the delivery of services at three separate precincts operating within the Shoalwater Bay training area in Central Queensland. We supplied labour, PPE, plant, transportation for provision of a range of services including operation of equipment, traffic management, water filling stations, cleaning services and landscape maintenance to the internal sites.
Our footprint in, and knowledge of the region, experience in recruiting specialised talent to rural locations, and our joint venture business established to maximise employment opportunities for Indigenous workers, uniquely positioned us to facilitate these requirements and deliver an outstanding service.
Simplifying obligations under the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP)
The Australian Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) aims to stimulate Indigenous economic development and grow the Indigenous business sector by actively driving demand for Indigenous goods and services and employment and training of Indigenous workers.
As the Commonwealth’s largest procurer, Defence is uniquely placed to take a lead role in supporting Indigenous procurement opportunities; the Defence Indigenous Procurement Strategy is designed to maximise the number of contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses.
Our Partners on Country joint venture, between PeopleIN and On Country Workforce Solutions, was an important component of our tender. The joint venture’s role in the recruitment and training of Indigenous workers, and direct participation in both Indigenous and rural supply chains, presented opportunities to workers and business, simplifying the principal contractor’s delivery on its IPP obligations. Indigenous leadership within the joint venture fosters strong networking abilities and greater access to local “mobs” to understand the unique labour needs of these communities and their individual members. Partners on Country is underpinned by AWX’s operational capacity, delivering access to a national pool of recruiters and offices across Australia.
Our geographical footprint and local business network
AWX has offices throughout urban and regional Queensland and New South Wales, and in selected locations in Victoria and Western Australia. The footprint of our operations, and the breath of work we undertake with clients and affiliated businesses, means we’re directly plugged into supply chains and regional business.
We supported Defence to meet its procurement obligations to utilise the services of local businesses as Partners on Country is, itself, a regional business, operating from nearby Rockhampton.
Retraining and retention saving time and cost
The project commenced in 2019, with focus on staffing for the aforementioned facility management activities. However, responsibilities evolved over the ensuing four years and AWX also successfully tendered for additional responsibilities at the different precincts.
While ending the employment of existing staff and then recruiting new workers with workplace certifications for the new responsibilities may be the tactic for some labour hire organisations, AWX takes a more proactive and commercially astute approach. With established partnerships in the training sector, we retained and retrained our workforce, furnishing them with new skills and qualifications needed for new duties.
In the initial stages of the project, primary duties were cleaning and site maintenance. As the project progressed, operators ticketed for the use of telehandler equipment were needed. Rather than conclude employment of low skilled workers and replace them with ticketed operators, AWX engaged a local Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to upskill this workforce with the required licences to operate machinery onsite.
This saved costs for new recruitment and time by mitigating the need to take a new cohort through the time intensive site orientation program. Importantly, it provided the additional benefit of enhancing the skills of the employees to benefit them in their future career prospects beyond completion of the project.
Surveying Services for ASMTI
Vision Surveys is PeopleIN’s Surveying and Town Planning business and have extensive experience in Shoalwater Bay and the surrounding region.
They have played a key role with the ASMTI project since its inception, completing Boundary and Contour and detail surveys and assisting the design team. They were engaged by Laing O’Rourke as the principal Surveyor and have since completed Cadastral (boundary) Surveying for the entire site, Survey set out, Town Planning, Road and Culvert Surveys, UAV (unmanned drone) Surveys and manage the SDMP (Spatial Data Management Plan for the entire base. This SDMP is updated and delivered weekly for dig permits and is submitted for Defence approval at the end of each stage.
Vision was also appointed, under a joint venture between Downer and FKG Group, as Principal Surveyors to manage works at the UOT; (Urban Operation Training Facility); Sam Hill Runway; Williamson Runway, Aeronautical Evacuation Zone and Camp; multiple runways and Dingo Road.
With offices in nearby Rockhampton and Yeppoon, the team continue to work with Laing O’Rourke onsite and various other contractors (including directly for Defence) on projects like creek crossings, telecommunication towers, roads, bridges and washdown bays.
Vision Surveys specialises in Small and Large Scale Civil and Infrastructure Projects, Renewable Energy, Mining, 3D Spatial, Underground Service Locating, Subdivision Design and Town Planning. and have offices in regional and metropolitan Queensland and Victoria.
Our work on the ASMTI Facilities Project showcased our agility and commitment to social and economic impact. Our extensive geographical reach and local business network allowed us to effectively engage with regional businesses, fostering economic growth in the areas we serve. Leveraging these networks, we successfully fulfilled our commitment to engage with regional businesses, further amplifying the project's positive influence. Furthermore, through Partners on Country, we actively supported the Defence Indigenous Procurement Strategy.
Our innovative approach to retraining and retaining our workforce underscored our commitment to efficiency and cost-effectiveness, ultimately ensuring a seamless transition to new responsibilities while optimising project performance.
As the project nears completion (handover April, 2024) we have delivered a tailored solution for end of project. In addition to the original scope, to clean the facilities at each precinct in readiness for handover, we have sourced a commercial partner for and will supply the labour to deliver these services.