MULTI-capital city based Rork Projects is about to commence work on the more than $9 million Powerhouse and Riverfront Precinct Development Project which is the centrepiece of the Stage 2 works.

On Wednesday, the company’s managing director, Brian O’Rourke and his Indigenous co-owner, John Paul Janke, were in Mildura to officially the launch the commencement of the project’s construction, which will see more than 90 per cent of local businesses and trades people being employed, including Indigenous workers.

A Welcome to Country ceremony was held to welcome Rork Projects and to wish them well with the construction works ahead.

Mildura Mayor Liam Wood also welcomed Rork Projects to Mildura saying that it was exciting that the first sod of soil for the project was about to be turned.

“Today marks another milestone in the Riverfront Precinct Development Stage 2 and the Powerhouse project which will bring an exciting element to this space,” he said.

A nationally accredited Indigenous construction company, Rork Projects are experts in design and construct and head contract services for commercial, retail and refurbishment fit outs and builds and have offices in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and also country Victoria.

Mr O’Rourke said that his company is looking forward to commencing work on the Powerhouse redevelopment which he said was an exciting project for Mildura.

“John and I grew up together and went to school with each other from Year 4 at Canberra’s Marist Brothers and when I started the business, he actually helped me design my first card and we have stayed in touch ever since,” he said.

“When the opportunity came to work together as a company in the Indigenous sector, John came on board and it was fantastic to bring our friendship to that next level.

“The old Powerhouse is an amazing structure and we have been involved with similar projects to this and we know that when you open these sorts of buildings up it will become an incredible venue.

“I think it will be the place to get married in Mildura!”

Mr Janke said that he understood that there been a lot of community expectation and anticipation about the Powerhouse project.

“It’s great to hear that there is a lot of excitement and interest in the project,” he said.

“This is my first visit to Mildura and what a beautiful place it is. Walking around the riverfront here I felt a real sense of calmness, serenity and community.

“That’s why I am very excited to work on this project, one that maintains a sense of community and utilizes the community’s resources.

“I have been learning about the history of the Powerhouse and toured inside it – what a great space it is – it has huge potential I think. Not just for this building but for the whole surrounds.”

Mr Janke joined Rork Projects seven years ago and it is his Indigenous connections that have been a big influence on the work the company does in the community including the ‘Wa Initiative’.

Wa (pronounced wah) is a word in the Torres Strait language of Kala Lagaw Ya and also in Torres Strait Creole meaning yes and Rork Projects believe that through supporting education, Indigenous communities, families and students can say yes to having a positive future which leads to better outcomes for their families, community and for our nation.

Rork Projects supports other Indigenous foundations and not-for-profit organisations in their work in offering quality, secondary education scholarships at leading Australian boarding schools for Indigenous children from regional, rural and remote communities.

“We want to provide a lot of opportunities for Indigenous First Nations companies and communities,” Mr Janke said.

“Rork Projects will involve and engage as many local trades and businesses as we can and we also want to work with the local Aboriginal community to see what economic opportunities there are for them throughout the whole of the project and also to work with the Mildura Council to help them maintain a strong relationship with the community that extends throughout and beyond the project construction period.”