NSW infrastructure boom could soon put up to $60m into the pockets of Newcastle workers

An aerial shot of Civmec’s newly established east coast base at Tomago, on the banks of the Hunter River.
An aerial shot of Civmec’s newly established east coast base at Tomago, on the banks of the Hunter River.

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Newcastle’s economy could soon see a $60 million a year wage boost thanks to engineering and construction company Civmec’s decision to set up its east coast base at Tomago, on the banks of the Hunter River.  

Civmec is an integrated multi-disciplinary heavy engineering and construction provider to the Oil & Gas, Metals & Minerals, Infrastructure, Water & Energy and Marine & Defence sectors.

The Australian company already has facilities in Henderson and Broome in Western Australia and Darwin in the Northern Territory, with the Newcastle facility now enabling it to build capability and capacity on the east coast. It hopes to capitalise on both the NSW infrastructure boom and the long term regional development projects that are currently underway throughout the east coast.

Facility Manager East Noel McCausland says the establishment of the 224,000 square metre facility, which has market leading precast concrete and steel fabrication capabilities, represents a major investment in the region and supports the company’s strategy to expand operations nationally. 

“Civmec has a reputation for consistent, high quality work. To achieve this, you need a highly trained and experienced workforce. That’s why staff retention, development and future recruitment are all top priorities for the company,” Mr McCausland explained. 

“We maintain a local core crew and ramp up and down from there, depending on project requirements. We’re currently supporting over 100 people in the facility, that’s on both precast concrete manufacture and steel fabrication. When the facility is operating to capacity, we’ll peak at more than 500 employees (which could equate to about $60m in wages). We also try to maintain permanent project management teams by rolling them from one job to the next.” 

He said this consistency allowed both the core crew and project staff to take advantage of lessons learnt on previous jobs, while sharing their knowledge and experience with new members of the team. 

“At the end of the day, it’s a long term investment in human capital, which we know from experience, pays dividends over time.”  

The company also invests heavily in young people. Nationwide, Civmec has a strong trainee and apprenticeship program. In Newcastle alone, it currently has 25, which it intends to increase as it continues to expand.

The east coast operation has all of the essential components for growth. Not only has the company made significant investments in staffing, building development and state of the art machinery, its facility is situated on the waterfront with two ship basins. 

Engineering complex precast concrete and structural steel products, including those that require the highest national accreditations, the Tomago facility has already undertaken contracts to manufacture and supply concrete and steel for Sydney Metro Northwest and WestConnex, and is supplying precast prison cells for the new Grafton Correctional Centre from a transportable precast facility established onsite.

“This is a long-term investment and this is only the start. We’re here to stay,” Mr McCausland said.

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