Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

On the Tiwi Islands, 80km north of Darwin in the Northern Territory, you’ll find a business called Tiwi Enterprises. It strives for the economic betterment of Tiwi people and their community.

The organisation’s vision is “self-reliance through skills development and productivity”. And they are doing a great job, employing 26 Tiwi people, who make up 75% of the company’s workforce.

Since 2007, this 100% Tiwi owned organisation has grown to include 11 business units: Civil Works, Gardening Services, Freight Facility Operations, Building Maintenance, Community Cleaning Services, Rental Car Hire, Milikapiti Farm and Nursery, Accommodation, Tuparipiya Bus Company, Mantiyupwi Motel, Bathurst Island Airport agent and other Mantiyupwi-owned rental properties and assets.

One of Tiwi Enterprises’ contracts is with the Office of Township Leasing for the management of grass height and rubbish removal for the 114 tenants living in the area. In December last year, Tiwi Enterprises received a $10,000 Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) grant, funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, to purchase additional equipment for their gardening services. Thanks to the SRC funding, they were able to afford a heavy-duty ride on mower to add to their fleet.

The new mower helped them win another contract to mow all Community Yards on Bathurst Island, which is approximately 450 lots. Many of these yards were overgrown, representing a fire risk, and home to a number of snakes. But thanks to the work of the Tiwi team over an eight-week period, the whole community is enjoying improved safety.

The new contract also meant that nine new employees were hired, four of them women. There will be opportunities for any of these employees to become Leading Hands and Supervisors and to learn new skills including maintenance of machinery, supervising and administration work.

Tiwi future in Tiwi hands