Image: Territory Families, Housing and Communities Facebook

An Aboriginal-owned construction company has been awarded a major contract to build 87 new houses in the north-east Arnhem Land community Galiwin’ku.

The remote Elcho Island community of around 2500 residents suffered extensive damage during 2015’s category four cyclone Lam, which damaged or affected two-thirds of its buildings.

Now, under the Northern Territory’s $1.1 billion-dollar Home Build Program, Bukmak Constructions has been contracted to build 87 new homes and expand the living space of 60 current houses.

Bukmak Constructions general manager Steve Roberts says the contract will see a substantial boost in employment for Yolngu people with 42 extra jobs available.

Bukmak Constructions was established by the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation.

Corporation CEO Alastair King says rebuilding homes on the island has been an important goal.

“Galiwin’ku would be one of the most overcrowded communities in the Top End,” he said.

“Our board of directors wanted to see us contribute to rebuilding the economy in Arnhem Land. We had to look at what industry sectors offered us best bang for our buck.

There’s always been Yolngu involved in construction, even back in the mission days, so that was one that the board was very keen to pursue – get a Yolngu building company out there again. One that’s committed to employing local people, training local people, skilling local people and of course building houses for local people.”