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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Funding support helps establish CAL Diesel

Funding support helps establish CAL Diesel

Indigenous Affairs Employment
Wednesday, 04 December 2019

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Luke Murr, owner of CAL Diesel, inspecting an army grader, with CAL Diesel mobile workshop in the background.

CAL Diesel, a Townsville based Indigenous owned and operated diesel maintenance company, is having a positive impact in the region.

The owners of CAL Diesel (Luke and Courtney Murr) demonstrated both their business acumen, as well as their intent to grow CAL Diesel to a point where it could employ Indigenous qualified and apprentice trades-people.

The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) worked with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) to support CAL Diesel, culminating in a lease arrangement for a mobile diesel workshop vehicle. While these lease arrangements were being finalised, CAL Diesel owners Luke and Courtney took the initiative to personally invest in a smaller 4WD vehicle for the business.

This vehicle underwent a significant fit-out to allow it to operate in remote conditions, providing CAL Diesel with the capacity to maintain, service, and repair diesel vehicles outside of urban areas. It has enabled CAL Diesel to gain customers and revenue while awaiting the delivery of the IBA leased larger custom vehicle.

Townsville is Australia’s largest garrison city, with some 8% of the population being directly employed by the Defence Forces. The NIAA drew on their relationship with the Defence Forces to establish links between CAL Diesel and Lavarack Barracks. The barracks is home to the Third Brigade, a multi-role combat brigade consisting of more than 4000 soldiers and hundreds of vehicles, including diesel powered armoured fighting vehicles and engineering plant. The requirements of Lavarack Barracks presented a perfect fit for the services and expertise offered by CAL Diesel.

Man in work wear stands next to metal shelving with tools. Behind him is the bed of a truck and behind that, heavy work equipment.
Luke Murr working from his mobile workshop on site at Lavarack Barracks (Townsville)

The army workshop supervisor, Mick O’Brien, agreed to a trial of CAL Diesel. Mick was quite impressed with Luke’s ability to troubleshoot and identify the root cause of a vehicle’s fault. CAL Diesel’s efficiency in identifying faults quickly and accurately, particularly when dealing with complex repairs and tight timeframes, has resulted in Lavarack Barracks providing both a dedicated work bay and ongoing contract work.

Luke has also pursued work with other major engineering companies, including an Indigenous company - KB Pipelines - who are contracted to the $215 million Haughton River Pipeline project. This is a major capital works programme to ensure Townsville has an adequate water supply in times of drought.

Luke and Courtney continue to build their client base, growing CAL Diesel both in size and service offerings. This will require employment of more Indigenous staff (they are currently recruiting diesel fitters), and expanding with more mobile workshops.