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A fully Indigenous-owned business that started when a Traditional Owner decided his people should break their welfare dependency is now putting $1 million a year in wages back into the community.

The money is from full-time employment, not welfare, and has had a huge social benefit. 

Bradshaw and Timber Creek Contracting was established in 2008. 

Its first job was to remove 350 kilometres of redundant fencing, which was completed on time and on budget. 

Other contracts have included: 

Buchanan Highway maintenance grading for six years 

Emergency flood repairs, including resheeting 

Weed management on the Victoria Highway 

Slashing road verges 

Support at the Bradshaw Field Training Area, such as waste management, and tent erection and pack down after major training exercises. The company did the Defence work so well that teams twice travelled to Queensland to support the Talisman Sabre military exercise and once to Cultana in South Australia 

Fire mitigation and fire break maintenance on three Defence facilities in Northern Territory 

General contracting to the wider community 

The workforce received lavish praise online recently after clearing the Victoria Highway after flooding. 

Some parts of the road were caked in 15 centimetres of mud. 

Facebook users said the men had done a fantastic job cleaning up roads that had become dangerous for motorists. 

Only one of the 20 workers, a mechanic, is non-Indigenous. 

Bradshaw and Timber Creek Contracting was set up after Traditional Owner Daniel Jones walked into the Northern Land Council office in Timber Creek one day and said: “I want to build something for the community.” 

He knew that the Defense Department had promised Indigenous people a fair crack at winning contracts on the Bradshaw military training ground. 

The NLC’s Greg Kimpton called a meeting of the eight clans surrounding Bradshaw. 

“I was honest with them,” he says. “I told them that it would be tough – that most small businesses fail. But they were determined to go ahead.” 

Mr Jones is business manager and is proud of what has been achieved. 

“We’re all working hard and enjoying what we’re doing,” he says. “It was a big change going from welfare to wages, but we’ve got there.”