Welcoming Bunuru season at Denny Avenue

Source: Government of Western Australia

While the Noongar season of Birak (December – January) is coming to an end, February welcomes the Bunuru season which stays throughout March.

Bunuru is the hottest part of the year, with sparse rainfall. Traditionally at this time, Noongar families camped near the coast and river inlets and gil-git (fish) was a key part of the seasonal diet. Large gil-git, such as salmon, could be speared from overhanging trees along river banks. The red symbolises the typical heat, sun and fire of the season.

As the Denny Avenue Level Crossing Removal project progresses, so do opportunties for Aboriginal Procurement and  Employment. The project’s Aboriginal procurement continues
to strengthen with six of the 24 subcontracts awarded to registered Aboriginal businesses.

A number of Aboriginal employees will also have the chance to upskill themselves through professional industry training. Of the nine Aboriginal employees on-site, two are undertaking specialised rail training, putting them in the best position for future rail projects. In 2020, Downer’s first Protection Officer, Kelvin Morrison passed training required for the safe operation of the freight network and this year will complete training related to safe operations on the passenger network. Protection Officer Andrew Richards is also a trainee undergoing his Certificate II in Rail Infrastructure this year.

Aboriginal Engagement and Participation Manager Peter Taylor explained each of the Aboriginal team members are fulfilling critical roles for the project.

“We’re all one team, where we see each of our Aboriginal employees performing many different tasks across the project, as well as managing others within the workforce” he said.

“By working together, not only are we putting ourselves in the best position to deliver this project, we are also helping Aboriginal people find varied and highly skilled jobs for the future.”

Mandurah Station Multi-Storey Car Park is rising up

Source: Government of Western Australia

Since main construction began more than four months ago, the site is a hive of activity.

Initial works focussed on demolishing the existing car park and were followed by earthworks for new drainage and foundations. As putting in more of the underground services continues, the new car park’s building itself is starting to take shape.

The car park includes a bituminised ground level, six stairwells and two ‘suspended’ concrete slabs for levels one and two. These will be supported by 200 concrete columns.

Each concrete column requires a footing (base) to be built first, which is covered up after the column is poured.

More than 100 columns are now poured and the first visible parts of the building are springing up across the northern end of the site.

In the coming weeks, concrete pours for the level one suspended slab will begin. After each section of the first suspended slab is completed, the columns will be built up to eventually support the second suspended slab.

The new multi-storey car park is on-track to open for use in the second half of this year.

City welcomes new citizens and recognises community champions

Source: Government of Western Australia

The City of Wanneroo hosted a special citizenship ceremony at its Civic Centre on Tuesday 26 January 2021 and four residents were recognised in the Australia Day Awards.

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts congratulated the Australia Day Award recipients and the residents who became Australian citizens on the day.

“Our region is proud of its rich mix of cultures and heritage, embracing ancient Aboriginal culture, the spirit of our pioneers who forged a future for the City of Wanneroo and a diverse mix of traditions and customs from across the world,” said Mayor Roberts.

“As we welcome our new citizens today, it is clear that the common link that makes our City so special is a shared love for the many and varied stories from across our community.

“There are so many stories that bind us. The name ‘Wanneroo’ is a story in itself; ‘Wanna’ is the digging stick used by Aboriginal women, and ‘roo’ means ‘the place of’.

“This celebration is an opportunity to acknowledge and respect the contributions made by all our citizens and community members to the life of our City, this region and this country.

“A heartfelt welcome to our new citizens today and congratulations to our local Australia Day Awards recipients who have shown so much passion and determination to make a positive difference for the community,” Mayor Roberts said.

Citizenship recipient, Joanne Crowley from Hocking, said she and her family immigrated to Australia from Ireland in 2011 in the hope of finding a better life.

“We are so grateful for the opportunities we have gained while living in Western Australia,” she said.

“We love the Australian lifestyle and couldn’t have picked a better place in the world to immigrate to.

“We love the laid back culture of the Australian people and the diverse community that is here in Wanneroo. We hope to continue contributing to this wonderful nation. Go Raibh míle maith agat an Astráil!”1

Attendees at the Australia Day ceremony enjoyed a barbeque breakfast provided by the Scouts, before a Welcome to Country and didgeridoo performance by Dennis Simmons, and presentation of the Australia Day Awards.

Over the past decade, the City has welcomed more than 7,500 new citizens at Australia Day ceremonies, in addition to regular ceremonies held by the City throughout the year.

Australia Day Awards recipients

The Australia Day Awards recognise those who have contributed to the City of Wanneroo across a diverse range of activities and initiatives.

Charles Searson Australia Day Youth Award – Aiden Campbell

Aiden is committed to raising awareness about climate change and pursuing positive actions for a more sustainable future. As a surf lifesaver, Aiden sees firsthand how climate change affects our oceans and wildlife.

In October 2019, as a Year 11 student at Butler College, Aiden petitioned the City to take strong action on climate change. Council endorsed the petition in March 2020 and became a signatory to the WALGA Climate Change Declaration, strengthening the City’s established commitment to addressing climate change.

Australia Day Award – Donna Marwick-O’Brien

Donna is Creative Director of One Big Voice (OBV), coordinating more than 2,000 primary school students to sing at various events including City functions, ANZAC Day and graduations, culminating in an annual performance at Perth Arena.

Donna’s songs are positive, life affirming and uplifting. Most are OBV originals written to address issues such as bullying. In 2020, OBV wrote songs to assist teachers with the mental health and wellbeing of their students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OBV holds auditions and rehearsals at the Wanneroo Cultural Centre, bringing hundreds of families to the area.

Australia Day Community Group or Event Award – No Limits Perth, accepted by Janine Wood, Chairperson

Wangara-based charity, No Limits Perth (NLP), provides essential support services across Perth’s northern suburbs. NLP provides practical help such as food hampers, toiletries and other basic essentials to vulnerable members of the community, including people experiencing family violence.

Under the guidance of Chairperson, Janine Wood, NLP has grown substantially over the past five years. It collaborates with over 80 government and non-government organisations, community groups and charities. During the last financial year, NLP distributed around 1,500 food hampers, feeding 6,000 people. NLP has assisted over 300 vulnerable families in moving house, providing much-needed furniture and household items.

Senior of the Year Award – Eleanor Rigby

Eleanor is the Coordinator of the ‘Knit and Natter’ group based at Pearsall Hocking Community Centre. The group has grown from six members in 2011 to over 110 today.

Knit and Natter meet regularly to knit clothes, blankets and shawls, which are donated to charities including Cancer Care WA, Ronald McDonald House and Youth Futures WA, aged care facilities, hospitals and women’s refuges. In 2019, the group made and donated more than 12,000 items.

During COVID-19 restrictions, Eleanor checked on members of the group, dropping bags of yarn at their letterboxes so that they could keep busy. She spends many hours every week organising and distributing yarn to members of Knit and Natter, making the group’s important community work possible.

1“Thank you very much Australia!” in Irish

City tour puts Wanneroo on show for WA Governor

Source: Government of Western Australia

The City of Wanneroo was delighted to showcase some of the City’s visitor attractions for WA Governor, the Honourable Kim Beazley, on Wednesday 20 January.

Since restrictions lifted in June last year, the Governor has been conducting a number of day trips around the Perth metropolitan area to encourage local tourism.

Mayor Tracey Roberts said it was an honour to welcome Mr Beazley and a fabulous opportunity to promote the variety of attractions and experiences on offer in the City.

“We have so many fantastic local destinations here in the City of Wanneroo,” Mayor Roberts said. “There has never been a better time to explore the wonders close to home.”

“The Governor’s visit highlighted how accessible the City is, along with the diverse range of activities that can be incorporated into a day trip. 

“We are very proud of our local businesses and grateful to be able to share what makes Wanneroo so special with the Governor. 

“I encourage all Western Australians to visit and Discover Wanneroo. Visit discoverwanneroo.com.au or follow #discoverwanneroo to plan your holiday here this year.”

Mr Beazley’s City tour started at popular family attraction, Wanneroo Botanic Gardens and mini golf, before moving to the historic buildings, coastal woodland, lakes and limestone caves at Yanchep National Park.

Stops at The Beach House in Jindalee and the picturesque Yanchep Lavender Farm, Yanchep Lagoon and The Marina, Mindarie showcased some of the City’s most popular and Instagram-worthy locations.

The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia was thrilled to experience the City of Wanneroo’s tourism hotspots and was amazed at what was within a 30-minute drive of the Perth CBD. 

“We really are blessed to live in an area that offers breathtaking beauty and a wide range of outdoor and cultural pursuits,” he said. 

“Western Australians are renowned for their generosity, demonstrating a natural tendency to protect what’s theirs. There has never been a more important time to showcase these traits. I would encourage everyone to visit and help tourism operators locally and throughout WA recover from the economic devastation of COVID-19.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone with families, friends and visitors getting to have fun by experiencing attractions close to home whilst giving a much-needed boost to our local tourism operators.”

More about the Governor’s Regional Visit Program can be found here.

Spirit in the smoke

Source: Government of Western Australia

The Thornlie-Cockburn Link has called on good spirits to safeguard the wellbeing, health and safety of all its workers through a traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony.

Conducted at the Ranford Road Station site by Noongar Elder Brett Collard, the ceremony attracted a strong attendance with participants filing through the smoke of smouldering eucalypt leaves.

NEWest Alliance Aboriginal Engagement Manager John Mallard said the smoking ceremony was an ancient Aboriginal tradition and he was pleased that so many people participated.

“The smoking ceremony aims to rid the worksite of bad spirits and to bring in good spirits, so it’s important that as many project people as possible take part. The smoke has cleansing properties and the ability to ward off bad spirits from the people and the land and make a pathway for a brighter future,” he said.

Leave Aboriginal participation to Chance

The trademark dreadlocks from his days as an elite Australian Rules football player are gone, but Chance Bateman remains committed to championing opportunities for Aboriginal people and he’s pursuing this in his new job as the NEWest Alliance’s Aboriginal Participation Coordinator.

Originally from York in Western Australia, Chance returned home to Perth eight years ago after forging a decorated 177-game career at Hawthorn Football Club in Melbourne.
Highlights included winning the 2008 AFL Premiership, being the club’s first Aboriginal player to reach 100 games and being the first Aboriginal player to be awarded the club’s life membership.

Since returning to Perth, Chance has worked for a number of companies in Aboriginal engagement and community relations roles, but he was never far from his football roots. More recently he was the Forwards’ Development Coach and Indigenous Players’ Mentor at the West Coast Eagles. 

“Football has been a big part of my life and I’ve always looked to use my sporting profile to be a role model and have a positive impact on the lives and careers of Aboriginal people,” he said.

“The Thornlie-Cockburn Link is an exciting project and there is a lot of scope for Aboriginal companies and people to be involved. There are a range of skills and talents that the project needs and we are engaging with many Aboriginal businesses and people who want to be a part of it.”

Bridges and Blocks on Yanchep Rail Extension

Source: Government of Western Australia

You may not see it from space like the Great Wall of China, but the first of 350,000 limestone blocks were laid just north of the future Alkimos Station to build approximately 20km of retaining walls.

Made from limestone or recycled concrete, the retaining walls will provide a stable framework for the walls on either side of the rail line in the cutting below ground level.

Over in Butler construction of the road-over rail bridges, which will enable safe crossing of the rail for people and fauna alike, has started. 

Works including traffic diversions, service relocations, piling and excavation will start at bridge locations from Butler to Yanchep.

To minimise community impact, some of the bridges will be built using a “top-down” method, including where existing roads will become road-over-rail bridges at Santorini Promenade (Butler), Pipidinny Road (Eglinton) and Yanchep Beach Road (Yanchep).

While the top-down method is not as commonly used as the traditional “bottom-up” bridge building technique, it has advantages for road users and the community because it uses a smaller area.

As there is enough space to build temporary diversion roads alongside existing roads, traffic can be redirected during bridge construction to maintain connections. An example is at Santorini Promenade in Butler, where the diversion road is already carrying traffic while the new bridge is being built alongside it.

Check out the below graphic for a quick introduction on the ‘Top Down’ method. 

Station themes embed connection to place

Source: Government of Western Australia

Noongar cultural references are central to the overall design theme for the new Yanchep, Eglinton and Alkimos stations.

The Yanchep Station design will take on an artistic interpretation of the Yanchep caves, a registered Aboriginal cultural site where the stories and mythology about their creation are important to Noongar people.

A distinctive orange colour theme reflecting the banksia flower will be seen in the station’s material finishes. Eglinton Station’s identity draws from the grevillea plant and the local bush area, reflecting the surrounding land in colour, form and texture. Interpretive panels planned for the station interior will follow the shapes and forms of the grevillea.

The design for Alkimos Station is inspired by the melaleuca, or paperbark tree, and surrounding curved dune shapes. The aluminium elements of the facades interpret the melaleuca tree, while the surrounding Alkimos dune is reflected in the station’s distinctive curved elements.

Drawing from the local land and stories is a key focus of the Noongar Cultural Input into Placemaking stream under METRONET’s Aboriginal Engagement Strategy, Gnarla Biddi (Our Pathways).

The designs were presented to and supported by the METRONET Noongar Reference Group.

Australia Day operating hours

Source: Government of Western Australia

Local businesses take a seat in supplying for the new rail and railcars

Source: Government of Western Australia

More local businesses are joining the ranks of those to benefit from the opportunities created by METRONET projects.

Australian company Infrabuild has been awarded the contract to manufacture components for METRONET projects and Aerison and McConnell are now onboard to supply parts for the new C-series railcars.

McConnell will keep passengers comfy, with seats made at a new dedicated facility in WA. They currently supply the seats on all new Transperth buses and will also bring this work from the eastern states to the new facility.

Meanwhile Aerison will supply the battery boxes and cab structures, with a commitment for more than 80 per cent local content to create both.

These businesses join previously announced local companies who are supplying equipment as part of the Railcar Program, including Hofmann Engineering and Eilbeck Cranes.

The WA Railcar Program will deliver 246 new railcars needed for METRONET projects and to replace the ageing A-series trains.

Infrabuild, who have recently established a new factory in Forrestfield, will be building close to 8,500 tonnes of steel reinforcing cages for the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail Extension.

About 70 people are currently employed on site at Forrestfield, including an additional 13 staff since November 2020 for METRONET associated works.

Next level unlocked: Procurement shortlisting for three projects

Source: Government of Western Australia

2021 is already off to a running start with three projects reaching an exciting milestone with major construction proponents shortlisted this month.

Byford Rail Extension, Inner Armadale Level Crossing Removal project and the new station at Midland all have progressed and will now move to the competitive bid stage, where they will be asked to show how they will deliver the projects.

Following a Request for Proposal the Byford Alliance (Downer EDI Works, CPB Contractors, Aurecon Australasia, and CareyMC) and MetCONNX Alliance (Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction, Pritchard Francis Consulting, and Kellogg Brown & Root) will further develop their proposals for building the Byford Rail Extension, which will add eight kilometres to the Armadale Line, from Armadale Station to a new station approximately 400m north of Abernethy Road in Byford.

In addition to taking cars off the road, the project will further help improve traffic flow by reconfiguring Thomas Road into a road-over-rail bridge with works already underway

The shortlisted proponents will also provide priced options to potentially expand the project scope to include elevated rail, with the final project scope to be determined subject to stakeholder consultation, price and funding availability.

Following an expression of interest period, the Armadale Line Upgrade Alliance (Acciona/Coleman Rail, BMD Constructions, WSP Australia, and AECOM Australia) and Elevate Alliance (Downer EDI Works, CPB Contractors, GHD, Aurecon Australasia, and CareyMC) will progress plans for removing the dangerous level crossings at Mint Street, Oats Street and Welshpool Road on the inner Armadale Line via an elevated rail solution.

Not only does elevated rail help improve safety and ease traffic movements, it will also help revitalise the area by creating new public spaces for community use.

These proponents will also provide a priced option for the Hamilton, Wharf and William streets package, which will be progressed later this year subject to funding.

Finally, the Transform Midland Alliance (Downer EDI Works, SMEC Australia) and Midland Junction Alliance (McConnell Dowell Constructors, Georgiou Group, Arcadis Australia, and BG&E) have been shortlisted to progress Midland’s new train station and associated infrastructure. These proposals will include the design and construction of a new station between Helena and Cale streets, with three platforms, a 12-stand bus interchange and 600-bay multi-storey car park, and decommissioning and demolishing the existing 52-year old train station.

Bringing the new station closer to the town centre and connecting it to the new Bellevue Depot and Manufacturing Centre will improve connectivity in the area and bring significant new employment opportunities to Midland.

Major construction contracts for all three projects will be awarded later this year.