As part of Australia’s bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the existing Townsville Stadium was analysed and found to be in need of redevelopment.

In 2011, the Bligh Government released the concept for the new stadium in Townsville.

Eight years later, the North Queensland Stadium is under construction and able to boast more than 135 Indigenous Australian jobs are being carved out for this mammoth project.

Stadium contractor Watpac set a target of 6.6 percent for the project, however has achieved far beyond that at 11.9 percent.

This equates to over 122,065 hours undertaken by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce.

Project leaders at the fore of this achievement were Watpac’s Northern Area Manager Bryan Glancy and Indigenous Engagement Officer James Alley, a proud Kalkadoon, Kuku Yalanji and Waluwarra man.

The team was instrumental in implementing the Indigenous engagement program for the project.

Mr Alley said the last two years have been about creating a community as part of the successful model for the high levels of Indigenous engagement in the project.

“From Indigenous job seeker events to business forums and even contractor barbeques, our model for engagement has taken shape since 2017 and proven to be very successful.”

“My role encompasses Indigenous engagement, building relationships with local government agencies and providers, working with the local Indigenous community including Traditional Owner Groups and trying to facilitate that process of employing Indigenous people and the procuring of Indigenous businesses,” Mr Alley said.

Mr Alley said the engagement from the various community groups, the Townsville City Council, Queensland Government and Traditional Owners have committed to the project which has enabled Watpac to create a culturally inclusive supply chain.

“Watpac is putting its commitment to Indigenous engagement into practice and the North Queensland Stadium sets a strong benchmark, which was really brought to life on the ground with Bryan and over 25 years of local Watpac operations,” Mr Alley said.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the effort Watpac have demonstrated is an example of cultural diversity and an example to other industries that should be celebrated.

“Watpac is clearly dedicated to ensuring that Australians from diverse cultural backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, are employed in the construction workforce, and we are proud to be aligning with a company that is setting this example for others in the industry,” Mayor Hill said.

Earlier this month the naming rights for the stadium were awarded in a six-year contract to the Queensland Country Credit Union, with the name being Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Completion of the Stadium is expected in early 2020 with music legend Elton John being one of the first acts to perform at the stadium, singing to Townsville residents on Saturday February 29, 2020.