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The Northern Territory is still Australia’s land of opportunity. Just ask Jessica and Michael Buckley.

They were struggling in their home state of Victoria when they decided to put the kids and their scant belongings in a car and drive 3750 kilometres north to Darwin. 

“We had nothing,” says Jessica, whose heritage is from the Murri region of south Queensland. ‘We literally were borrowing from the kids’ money boxes to pay the rent. 

“We moved to Darwin for work opportunities and the great lifestyle.” 

The hardworking couple now own M&J Builders, a successful Indigenous-owned business in Darwin. 

“It’s hard to believe how well we’ve done. But we never forget where we came from. 

“We deal with everyone in an honest and straight up way, and try to do a great job every time. That’s the way we’ve built up our reputation as being reliable and good at what we do.” 

Winnellie-based M&J Builders, which has won a swag of awards since being set up in 2008, offers a diverse range of services, including building, maintenance and fitouts. 

It specialises in complex commercial projects, insurance, Defence and government work. 

Recent projects include building the multi-purpose Gray community hall in Palmerston and working on the highly-praised revitalisation of Cullen Bay in Darwin. 

The company carries out a lot of work for insurance companies – no matter the distance. For instance, a team recently rebuilt a house destroyed by fire at Hermannsburg, 1620 kilometres south of Darwin. 

M&J has also worked at the Kangaroo Flats military training ground as a subcontractor for Sitzler and renovated the community swimming pool at Wadeye. 

The company is forging a good relationship with Sitzler 

And it is building the KFC at Stuart Park, Darwin. 

“We offer diverse services because the construction industry is always fluctuating,” says Jessica. “In that way, we have a strong flow of work.” 

The Buckleys and their three children are now Territorians through and through – and are proud to support the NT economy by training and employing local workers, and using local suppliers. 

M&J Builders are certified with Supply Nation, the Australian leader in supplier diversity and of Indigenous business and procurement, and are NTIBN certified. 

They do their best to use local Indigenous tradies and services, particularly for regional and remote locations. 

It’s all part of their commitment to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. 

The company was delighted to win three awards at the Master Builders Excellence in Building & Construction Awards in 2023: 

  • Bathroom over $20,000 – Phillip Street 
  • Defence under $5 million – BGIS Building 512 
  • Medium density two-five dwellings – Somervile Palmerston 

“We are incredibly grateful to our dedicated team members, partners and clients who have trusted us and collaborated with us on these projects,” says Jessica. 

Jessica and Michael readily acknowledge that their 50 staff are the backbone of the business. 

“We’ve got an excellent team. We could never have achieved what we have without them. And we happily tell them that.” 

M&J gives back to the community in many ways, including supporting the Humpty Dumpty Foundation since it began in Darwin, and sponsoring Banks football and netball clubs, and the TV Jets basketball team.