Reconstruction works provide morale boost

Mornington Shire Council’s completion of its approximate $13 million reconstruction program from 2013 and 2014 has provided multiple longer term benefits for the Indigenous community. Like many Councils across the State, Mornington Island has been affected by natural disasters multiple times in recent years and it has faced some significant challenges to rebuild after those events.

Mornington Island was affected by natural disasters in 2010 and 2011 but due to a variety of factors including re-damage from subsequent events, no reconstruction program had been completed for a number of years. 
 
When the remote Island was affected by Tropical Cyclone Oswald in 2013 and Tropical Cyclone Fletcher in 2014, the Authority offered its assistance to help Council get on with the job of rebuilding. With little to no civil construction and project management experience within Council, the
Authority helped upskill workers in key project management tasks.
 
In both 2013 and 2014, the Authority assisted Council with their damage data collection to support their submissions. Further, the Authority supported contract documentation and awarding of tenders through Local Buy.
 
Koppen Construction, based in Cairns, was appointed managing contractor to deliver the 2013 and 2014 reconstruction programs. Mornington Shire Council Chief Executive Officer Frank Mills said the completed works have provided a major boost to morale around the Island.
 
“Key roads such as Birri Road, Balaleah Road and Sydney Island Road have now been restored providing greater access to outstations and sacred sites as well as increased access to telecommunication facilities to the mainland,” Mr Mills said.
 
“That’s great for the Island but the program hasn’t been without some major challenges given that we are located in the Gulf of Carpentaria. For example, managing contractor Koppens barged all equipment from Cairns, around Cape York to Mornington Island rather than trucking it across Queensland. This approach delivered the best value for money solution and highlights the complexities involved in delivering a reconstruction program on a remote, Indigenous Island.