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A company that started as a small electrical and refrigeration firm has evolved into an Aboriginalowned building company playing a major role in Aboriginal employment and training.

Aboriginal owner and managing director Steven Dhu and chief executive officer Andrew Harvey have transformed Big Rivers-based Aboriginal Enterprises Australia NT over the past 10 years. 

The business employs 160 staff and is at the forefront of employing and training Aboriginal Territorians to work in remote communities. 

They now have a presence in the Barkly and Alice Springs regions in addition to Big Rivers, providing services across more than 50 remote communities. 

AEA NT has won a range of major contracts, including refurbishing 90 houses in the Central Australian community of Utopia, 350 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs. 

This work follows renovating 60 homes in Elliott town camps, 735 kilometers south of Darwin. 

“We deliberately target work in remote areas where there are higher opportunities to train and employ Aboriginal people:” says Mr Harvey. 

“We’re a for-profit company, but we’re more than that. Our focus is on training and employing Indigenous people. That has always been dear to our hearts.” 

The company has started its own Australian Skills Quality Authority-accredited registered training organisation, AEA Training. 

“We want to work with like-minded people, with people who are passionate about Aboriginal employment. 

“We target contracts that help increase employment opportunities for Aboriginal people. We have found that a lot of people talk about Aboriginal participation, but when it’s time to execute, they do not want to go the extra yards to succeed.” 

The company’s motto is: Solving problems, changing lives 

AEA NT doesn’t just sweep into a remote community and start work – one of their key strategic pillars is clients and communities. 

“Before we start work, we go into communities with an interpreter and explain to the local people what the scope is and ask for their input. We let them know exactly when and what we’re doing. This is a respectful way to do business.” 

AEA NT started out as Power Projects NT over 30 years ago when it was owned by the now-retired John Leo. 

The business took off in 2013 when Territory and Federal remote Aboriginal community government contracts were transitioned to the private sector. 

“We already had depots in remote communities and a strong Aboriginal employment profile, so we were ahead of the rest,” says Mr Harvey. 

The business has grown further since by becoming a Supply Nation and NTIBN Aboriginal-certified company in 2018. 

More recently, to enhance best practice in the remote community housing environment, AEA NT became a registered Community Housing Provider through the National Regulatory System for Community Housing. 


Aboriginal Enterprises Australia 

5-6/14 Pearce St, Katherine NT 0850 

(08) 8972 2211