Newell Highway Upgrade to keep jobs and economy thriving

The newest major road project for the Newell Highway in northern NSW will provide local jobs and business opportunities when work gets underway in July.

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said there was set to be a seamless transition of local employment opportunities on the $261 million upgrade between Narrabri and Moree with the recently announced head contractor, Fulton Hogan, to spearhead contractor appointments.

“Fulton Hogan was successful in a competitive tender process to win the opportunity to lead construction and appointment of trades on the $261 million jointly funded project on the Newell Highway, set to start in coming weeks,” Mr Farraway said.

“This is fantastic news for the local community as so many relationships and contacts are already in place following the completion last year of the nearby Mungle Back Creek to Boggabilla upgrade project which was also led by the company. 

“We are collaborating with industry and training providers to train up local people, to grow the local construction workforce and to leave a skills legacy that will endure far beyond the life of the upgrade program.

“Fulton Hogan also has a plan in place for mentor-style training to help welcome new participants into the industry and take full advantage of the work opportunities and to upskill for the future.

“This stage of the $1.7 billion upgrade of the Newell Highway is part of the NSW Government’s record $14.5 billion spend in regional roads and transport.”

Local Aboriginal senior Uncle Lloyd Munro, who works with many agencies in the Moree area, is eager to again work closely with Transport and Fulton Hogan.

“I really value the relationships that our community have built with Transport and Fulton Hogan in the Moree area. They have ensured the young ones in our Aboriginal communities have excellent opportunities. It’s a double bonus – they get skilled up and then they stay in the region,” Uncle Lloyd said.

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said those interested in working on the three-and-a-half-year project would have an opportunity to attend drop-in sessions for jobseekers and local businesses at the Tourist Hotel in Narrabri on Wednesday 15 June and at the Max Centre Ballroom in Moree on Thursday 16 June, both from 3pm to 6pm. 

“These will be networking sessions for local jobseekers to talk directly to the Fulton Hogan and Transport for NSW project teams about the suite of opportunities available as part of the main construction package of work,” Mr Coulton said.

“Job opportunities will include everything from concrete and quarry supply to electrical and plumbing services, catering, accommodation, truck and equipment hire, recruitment, waste management, PPE and cleaning.”

In the Moree to Narrabri area, Indigenous people make up almost 17 per cent of the total population, and 16 per cent of the working age population.

An Aboriginal Participation Plan has been developed for the project to meet the NSW Government’s requirements of at least 1.5 per cent of the contract value and the Australian Government’s target of 12 per cent of full-time positions to be undertaken by Indigenous employees. 

The Newell Highway heavy duty pavement upgrade forms part of the Australian and NSW governments’ $1.7 billion commitment to upgrading the longest highway with inland connections to both Victoria and Queensland to improve freight productivity as well as safety and connectivity for all road users.

The first stages of work are set to begin in July 2022, for an early 2026 completion.

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