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Sisters doing it for themselves

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  • Local businesses contributing to nation-building Northern Gas Pipeline project
  • More than $123 million in contracts awarded to Territory businesses by Jemena
  • Over 700 jobs for people from local communities working on the gas pipeline

As the women behind Tennant Creek’s Phillips Earthmoving Angela and Elizabeth Phillips lead a team of 45 staff who provide civil construction, bulk haulage, mine contracting, and other services to companies operating across the Territory.

The company traces its origins back to 1989, when Jim Phillips (Angela and Elizabeth’s Father) arrived in Tennant Creek on Christmas Day in pursuit of a job at the White Devil Mine. Fast-forward almost 30 years and Jim’s two daughters have taken the reins at Phillips Earthmoving which is now not only a staple in the local community, but has played a leading role in the development of the $800 million Northern Gas Pipeline (NGP) which is being constructed by leading gas transmission and distribution company, Jemena.

“Securing the Northern Gas Pipeline work was a real plus for us and meant we were able to expand and spend around $500,000 on new equipment,” said Angela Phillips.

“Working on a high profile project like the pipeline also means we are now well placed to pursue other high-profile opportunities.”

Northern Gas Pipeline Project Director, Jonathan Spink, said the Phillips’ experience was a reflection of Jemena’s ambition to engage with the local community throughout all stages of the pipeline’s development.

“What sets us apart as an organisation is our commitment to providing opportunities for local people and businesses in the areas where we operate. It is something we’re really enthusiastic about and it has been great to see the communities surrounding the pipeline match this enthusiasm and welcome us so warmly.”

Since securing the right to build, own, and operate the NGP from the Northern Territory Government in 2015 Jemena has awarded around $123 million in contracts to local businesses.

The company has also developed and implemented a suite of education programs which have provided local people with skills and training to prepare them for work on the NGP as well as in other parts of the gas industry.

“There’s so much talent here locally, and we were really thrilled to be able to deliver training to local people in partnership with local businesses,” said Jonathan. 

“Jemena has really invested in our relationship with the local business community and this shows when you consider the success of these training programs. For instance our latest training program – which was run by the Karen Sheldon Group – had a fantastic graduation rate of over 95 per cent.”

Throughout its construction, the NGP project has created over 700 jobs, including over 260 jobs for Indigenous Australians from the communities surrounding the pipeline route.

Construction of the Northern Gas Pipeline will be completed in late 2018.

Article originally appeared in Territory Q Magazine