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An innovative Northern Territory business founded by a migrant with little money and hardly any English is playing its part in the recycling revolution.

Darwin-based Ostojic Group is reprocessing waste concrete so that it is suitable as paving. The concrete used to be sent to a rubbish tip.

Private contractors and the Territory Government are using the recycled concrete after rigorous tests showed that it is up to standard.

The NT Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics gave permission for the recycled road base to be used in the Berrimah Road overpass.

Ostojic worked with Sitzler to get the reprocessed road base approved. Ostojic Group General Manager Simon Ostojic says: “We had a lot of waste concrete and had to decide what to do with it.

“I saw value, financially and environmentally, in reprocessing it. We’ve got the right equipment to do the job.

“We carried out numerous tests to prove that it was compliant as a pavement and road base.”

Several private companies are now buying the recycled material.

For instance, NAC Contracting used about 10,000 tonnes to build an access road to the newly-opened Core Lithium mine on the outskirts of Darwin.

“To be honest, NAC Contracting was a little dubious at first, but after delivery that’s all they wanted,” Simon says.

Demand from private industry is now outstripping supply.

“This is a good economic solution to dealing with waste, rather than just taking it to the tip.”

Ostojic is a thriving specialist service and contracting group covering civil construction, transport, quarrying and concrete supply.

Projects include building Truck Central, Zuccoli residential estate and most of the Litchfield National Park road.

Ostojic Group has begun construction of the second stage of the Wishart industrial estate.

Stage 2 will deliver two lots totalling 5.6 hectares, including a 3.9 hectare site for a data centre.

Civil works, including vegetation clearance, mulching, topsoil stripping and haul road construction, have all been completed.

Bulk earthworks and drainage are under way and will be followed by roadworks, service connections, HV electricity head-works and street lighting.

The new intersection works will be completed later in the project to allow Wishart Road to regain full capacity and support traffic diversions following completion of the Tiger Brennan overpass project.

Completion of the new lots is scheduled for early 2024.

Ostojic was founded in 1972 by Tomo Ostojic, who was a young, single man when he walked out of his little home town in what was then Communist-ruled Yugoslavia and headed for a new life in Australia.

He had a little money in his pocket – enough to tide him over for a few weeks in the Great Southern Land – but couldn’t speak more than a few words of English.

Ostojic Group started with one truck and trailer and now has more than 100 trucks and a multitude of plant and machinery.

All of Tomo’s five children work for the company.

“The boys wanted to work with me from the time they could walk,” he says. “They have worked hard and I am proud of them.”

Simon is General Manager of the group, Stojan General Manager of the subsidiary company Tristar, and Stefan and Marcus are heavily involved in the operational aspects of the business..

Although Kylie now lives in Melbourne, she is still involved in aspects of the group.