Indigenous organisation Barpa has been awarded a $45.8 million contract to deliver upgrades at Puckapunyal Military Area.

The Federal Government has announced the recipient of a $45.8 million contract to deliver upgrades at Puckapunyal Military Area is Indigenous-owned Barpa Pty Ltd.

Barpa business development manager Jeremy Clark said the company was ‘ecstatic’ to win the contract from the Department of Defence – one of its ongoing clients.

“The Department of Defence is an important client of Barpa’s and with the successful completion of over 60 defence projects nationally, we believe our experience and capability will hold us in good stead,” Mr Clark said.

“Our business proves that Indigenous business can successfully deliver large scale contracts while making a positive impact to Indigenous people and businesses. Employment is a key outcome, as is a strong and capable Indigenous business sector which creates economic empowerment for our people.”

Barpa recruits and trains Indigenous staff through its Pathways to Construction program; offers university scholarships; and uses Indigenous subcontractors and suppliers where possible.

Barpa chair and Dja Dja Wurrung Elder Graham Atkinson said the contract would benefit the wider Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“One of the key aims of Barpa is to be a catalyst and to provide opportunities for Indigenous people to participate in the construction Industry,” Mr Atkinson said.

“The Puckapunyal project will assist Barpa to continue to deliver on its vision of Empowering Indigenous people and businesses through building.”

Minister for Defence Melissa Price said construction would involve an average of 30 workers each day across the lifespan of the project.

“As part of the Puckapunyal mid-term refresh project, Barpa will remediate and upgrade the current water, stormwater and sewerage systems throughout the base,” Ms Price said.

Member for Nicholls Damian Drum welcomed the announcement and congratulated Barpa.

“Almost the entire value of subcontracts on this project will go to local businesses and this is particularly important as we continue to grapple with the economic fallout caused by COVID-19 and associated lockdowns,” Mr Drum said.

Barpa was procured under the Federal Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy to support development of Indigenous businesses, skills and workforce.

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