Winter is the perfect time for Rochester company Ward Bros Earthmoving to chase work in the Goulburn Valley, with winter work tripling the business’ employment.
That’s because Peter and Mark Ward’s company is linked to Goulburn-Murray Water’s Connections project.
‘‘Usually we’re chasing jobs across Victoria and interstate, even in the Northern Territory,’’ Peter said.
‘‘But come winter, over the last seven or eight years, we’ve got everything happening and it’s right here in our own backyard.’’
Installation of more than 115 regulators has kept Ward Bros busy as part of this year’s Connections project winter works through contractor John Holland, as well as meter installation, maintenance and laying 20km of stock and domestic pipeline.
They have also laid 11km of pipeline along the Midland Hwy west of Stanhope using an innovative, trenchless method usually used to bury fibre optic cable.
Over the decades Peter and Mark developed their expertise and built the business on the back of on-farm laser-grading, irrigation piping and all manner of earthmoving.
‘‘When Future Flow (now the Connections project) came along in 2007, we were able to develop our civil construction experience and really take advantage of the investment in irrigation and agriculture across northern Victoria,’’ Peter said.
‘‘Because much of the heavier capital works take place outside the irrigation season, it’s meant we’ve been especially busy over winter in recent years.’’
Modernisation of the region’s irrigation infrastructure has meant a tripling of employment at Ward Bros to about 60 full-time staff in the past 10 years.
‘‘The irrigation system is being upgraded right across the region with more investment than ever before,’’ Peter said.
‘‘It’s a historic thing to be a part of what is the most important upgrade to the long-term future of our farms.’’