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There’s certainly a lot of variety in your job when you’re dealing with a workplace that encompasses 1.7 million square kilometres and sites in large cities, rural communities and remote islands.
On some days, the three regional quality supervisors on Ventia’s Energy Queensland (EQL) facility management contract travel long distances in remote areas to ensure that our client’s assets are inspected and maintained to a high standard.
The team are continually revising routes and regions to ensure we’re managing workload through a more targeted approach to inspect the right sites at the right times, safely.
Shelley Ludeke (South Region), Kieren Malley (South East Region) and Toro Havini (Northern Region) keep an eye on assets which include 950 communication sites, 23 offices, 850 substations and 33 isolated power stations.
Planning your trip carefully is key when your job involves travelling across a large area on an asset inspection run, especially when your route encompasses a region where petrol stations are few and far between.
“Safety is our number one priority at Ventia, so ensuring I have enough fuel to get me where I need to go, that I have enough water to last the trip and that I am well rested and prepared for a long drive are all things on my check list for each trip,” Shelley says.
Shelley says that one of her tasks is to conduct a ‘communication sites and towers’ survey every six months to identify if the planned and preventative maintenance activities are up-to-date and report any maintenance issues found.
Some of the assets checked include air conditioning systems, signage, internal and external lights, fire fighting equipment and pest control.
One of the bigger challenges they face is accessing assets in remote locations.
“Towers are the most challenging due to extreme remoteness and the driving tracks to the towers can be quite rough,” Shelley says. “We all have 4WD training to ensure we know how to handle our vehicles on these rural roads.”
“Then of course there’s the wildlife!”
Toro Havini, whose region encompasses St Lawrence in the south east, out to Mt Isa and Camooweal in the west, and north to the Cape and the Torres Strait Islands says he and Shelley encounter kangaroos, emus, flies and snakes on a daily basis.
“Pythons love coming into the sub-stations by following the underground cables. Ultimately the aim is to avoid getting anywhere near any snakes we see. We know to back away slowly and not to corner them.
It’s also important to be prepared, so we carry a snake bite kit in our vehicles and we’ve all had first aid training.”
Kieren Malley’s region includes the more urban areas of suburban Brisbane, so luckily for this self-confessed ‘architecture nerd’ there are plenty of interesting buildings within the portfolio.
“There is a beautiful old substation in Moorooka built in 1928 and designed by Brisbane City Council architect Alfred Herbert Foster that is a rare sight these days,” Kieren says. “There were around 11 of them built across Brisbane over the years, with maybe seven of them left today.”
Moorooka substation - built 1928
Contract Manager Greg Peever says through the contract with EQL, his team provides a broad range of facilities and property management services, including building maintenance and construction, property management, cleaning, grounds maintenance, security services and vehicle fleet administration at sites across Queensland.
This is the first time these services have been combined under a single contract for EQL.