Connections creates opportunities for locals

Daniel McDonald and Joel Dickson grew up in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District. Now, they’re using their knowledge and skills in construction management and civil engineering to help deliver one of the Australia’s largest irrigation modernisation projects, the $2 billion Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Project.

5 min read

Joel, who grew up in Cohuna, returned to the region to take up a position as Pipelines Project Officer after completing a degree in construction management at Deakin University and working in Geelong.

Daniel, who grew up in Echuca and now lives in Colbinabbin, accepted a role as a Project Officer in the Early Contractor Involvement team, working with the Project’s major contractor John Holland Group after completing a civil engineering degree at La Trobe University in Bendigo last year.

They started working with the Connections Project in December after actively seeking roles in the region they grew up in.

“For me, to be able to be closer to my family is a big thing. I really enjoy the country lifestyle as well – I grew up in the country, it’s something that the city can’t take out of you,” Joel said.

“Working in the region is really important, particularly as I wanted to be closer to my family. Having an opportunity to work on such a large scale project in northern Victoria is a huge opportunity,” Daniel said.

For both, working on one of regional Victoria’s most significant projects was also a drawcard.

“It’s a really important project for the region and for northern Victoria – being able to upskill and learn as much as I can for my future career path, it’s a really great opportunity,” Daniel said.

“It’s such a large organisation and such a significant project that’s constructing quite a diverse range of projects. It’s been great to work with a diverse team and learn new skills and also have the freedom to develop in the role individually,” Joel said.

“Growing up in the region, my uncle also had a small farm, so it feels very personal what we’re achieving here. It’s not just about doing your job; it’s about creating security for future generations.”

Project Director Frank Fisseler said the Connections Project was a once-in-a-lifetime project to create a world class irrigation network to deliver water more efficiently to landowners.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to provide opportunities for young people in the region to work on one of the biggest irrigation modernisation projects in Australia,” Mr Fisseler said.

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“This year we’re investing more than $200 million in upgrading ageing infrastructure across the GMID. These works will help us continue to resolve complex legacy cases – since March 2016, we’ve resolved 325 long-standing cases.”

Project people