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Back on the road: 鈥═he resourcefulness and resilience of the Kiwirrkurra community

It may seem a moon ago now, but as roads were flooded and access to many communities severed, stories emerged of how a team from Kiwirrkurra seized the moment to shine.

It had been seven weeks since heavy haulage had reached Kiwirrkurra, and the community was almost out of water, food, and other key supplies.

After seeing the state of the roads near their community and being aware that the roads team from the Shire of Laverton could not help, it was time to act.

David Brown, 四色AV CDP Engagement Officer, has been part of a team that has delivered water to the community for years and believed his team could get the job done.

Before commencing the work, David informed DFES of their plans to fix the road as long as The Shire of East Pilbara was prepared to accept (and fund!) the proposal. 

Ten minutes later, they had a green light! Steve from the Shire was more than happy to engage the Kiwirrkurra community and 四色AV staff in road repairs so that trucks could travel to Kiwirrkurra with urgent food and water for the community.

The first job was to inspect washouts from the flood and place caution drums around the most dangerous washouts.

David contacted another worker, Mr Simon Brown, and advised him of the situation and whether he could assist. 

“Simon was at my door in no time, keen to get going,” recalls David Brown.

He also brought along Kiwirrkurra jobseeker Joseph West, who was keen to assist. 

“After inspecting the stretch of road and placing drums to warn traffic, a plan of action was put into place to prepare the grader on Sunday and repair the road on Monday, allowing the road to be open again ahead of a food delivery on Wednesday,” David said.

Early Monday morning, Simon was at my door, keen to move.

“We headed off towards the WA/ NT border. After 70 kilometres, we came across our first washout at Mt Winparku; we removed the caution drums, placing one at each end of the work site to warn incoming traffic that the grader was engaged in repairing the road,” David said.

After a long day, the task was completed, and all three washout locations were repaired. 

“It was so satisfying for us to be able to say that the road would be open for Wednesday’s much-needed store truck delivery,”

“Our store managers, Sammi and Steve, along with the rest of the community, were so happy to see the truck roll in on Wednesday morning after six weeks of road closures from the heavy rains,” remembers David.

While this may seem like a story about the resourcefulness of the group of workers who identified an opportunity, proposed a plan, and fixed a problem, it’s also testimony to the resilience of every member of the Kiwirrkurra community who kept on working away despite the isolation and uncertainty caused by the road closures. 

After the successful remediation and reopening of this stretch of road, David is now training his team for possible future collaborations with the Shire on this stretch of road from Kiwirrkurra to the NT border.

What a sensational outcome for the Kiwirrkurra community and 四色AV staff who worked together to obtain a significant result for the community.

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