Together we are stronger
Alice Springs: When it comes to construction, maintenance and general entrepreneurship, Ingkerreke Outstations Resource Services Aboriginal Corporation is out there in front.
In 2004 Ingkerreke Outstations took the decisive, and at that time, radical, step of setting up Ingkerreke Commercial with one main purpose—to produce income to provide better services to people in outstations and living on the homelands. Today the corporation looks after over 50 outstations across Central Australia, providing housing, and municipal and essential services.
Ingkerreke Commercial has also grown into a well-established construction, metal fabrication and maintenance enterprise which offers training and employment opportunities to local people, particularly local Indigenous men and women. For those who have strong cultural and family ties to the region, and who want to stay in Central Australia, it’s the workplace of choice.
‘Just as we are committed to operating as a modern, competitive business we are committed to employing Aboriginal people,’ says Louise Wellington who heads up the business development section. ‘At our height we employed over 100 staff—now it’s 52 of whom half are Aboriginal—mainly carpenters, boilermakers, plumbers and electricians. We also have 10 young people in apprenticeships or engaged in further study.’
Callum Mathison, the CEO at Ingkerreke Commercial, is a licensed builder with more than 20 years’ construction experience in Australia and overseas. With a background as a qualified carpenter and joiner, Callum insists on quality workmanship and personal service—a standard that has served him well on projects across the globe. ‘In construction, experience is everything,’ says Callum. ‘No matter what the job, it's important to understand what the client wants, and to give them the very best.’
Although Ingkerreke Commercial may be a smaller organisation today than it once was there’s a distinct feeling it’s back on track for further growth—due in part to the resurgence in the commercial sector and its ability to capitalise on its knowledge of the local environment.
‘All businesses go through ups and downs,’ explains the CEO of Ingkerreke Outstations, Scott McConnell. ‘We’ve recently weathered a significant downturn in the construction industry coupled with a lack of government funding—both fairly serious challenges but we’ve got through them.’
The corporation has always enjoyed an enviable reputation for providing a reliable, quality service at competitive prices and is also fortunate to have a strong and dedicated board of directors not afraid to take the hard, and sometimes unpopular, decisions—for example, ending ‘thirsty Thursdays’.
Now with the upswing in the construction business and a generally more buoyant commercial climate, the outlook is optimistic for Ingkerreke Commercial. It has an expert construction and maintenance team of builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and so on, able to fulfil contracts over a very wide region. A contract won from Defence Housing Australia (DHA), for example, will utilise a variety of skilled tradespeople out of Alice Springs yet, equally, there are contracts that can be worked out of its other bases in Darwin, Santa Teresa, Hermannsburg and Papunya.
‘Housing refurbishments and repairs and maintenance are a large part of what we do—our bread and butter,’ says Louise, ‘but we also make a variety of steel products especially suited to outback conditions—from structural steel and roof trusses to stainless steel kitchens, fixtures and fittings.’
One of the organisations high demand products is its custom-made ute trays made from local steel. ‘They’re very popular,’ says Louise. ‘People know that they have been thoroughly tested to endure harsh desert terrains and that they can be relied on!’
Selection of photos courtesy of ORIC
6 McDonald Street, Alice Springs
Ingkerreke Commercial is known for providing reliable, quality services and products at competitive rates
Inside the spacious workshop—all equipment and tools
Ingkerreke Commercial’s business development manager, Louise Wellington
Inside the workshop
Back from another day’s work—Eric Williams and William Collins
Division manager Troy Annesley with Louise Wellington
Marie Campbell—assets administrator for the outback power program
Administrative staff—Jordan Tilmouth