13 November 2023
Situated 836km northwest of Brisbane in the heart of the Bowen Basin, Blackwater, Queensland, is a small town that predominantly supports the region’s mining industry. And while mining undoubtedly drives the region's economy, there's another, often less acknowledged, force that plays a significant role in the local business landscape–family-owned and operated businesses. These enterprises are the backbone of the community, and their contributions extend far beyond profit margins.
With a population just under five thousand, Blackwater is the type of place where everybody knows each other’s names. And that appealed to Hayley and Steve Hurley.
‘Steven and I spotted an opportunity to launch a local business in Blackwater, which we named PLUMBWORX, ’says Hayley Hurley, co-owner & manager. ‘At the outset, it was just Steven and I, with one trade assistant myself handling administration duties. Fast forward to today and we’ve grown into a thriving team of over thirty employees.’
‘One of the factors contributing to our success is the strong sense of community spirit Blackwater embodies. This close-knit community is like a big family, and everyone here is incredibly supportive of each other.’
Operating for over 19 years now and expanding out from Blackwater, PLUMBWORX is a plumbing, building and civil construction company. With the growth that they’ve experienced and the great reputation they’ve built, they became eligible for BMA’s Local Buying Program. The Local Buying Program, operated by C-Res, was established to support Small local and Indigenous Businesses with less than $10m turnover in engaging with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).
The money spent with local supplies means there are more jobs created, and more money stays within the community, helping to create improved infrastructure, public services, and a higher overall quality of life for residents.
The program means that the strong community connections experienced in regional towns is reflected in the business and economic world. It also helps environmentally, where utilising local producers reduces the carbon footprint.
Since its inception, the BMA Local Buying Program has spent over $1.1billion with over 1700 approved suppliers. That money goes straight back in to the regions where BHP Mitsubishi Alliance operates (BMA), providing jobs and prosperity for many working outside the gate.
For Hayley, being part of the Local Buying Program was an excellent opportunity for visibility, and favourable payment terms, giving an unwavering commitment to supporting local businesses-things that allow PLUMBWORX to continue to contribute to the community of Blackwater. PLUMBWORX has since graduated to becoming a direct vendor for BMA. Because it’s not just the jobs that PLUMBWORX offers that improves the lives of locals. PLUMBWORX is also a proud longtime supporter of the local football, netball and motocross teams in the area.
‘My favourite part is the sense of community within the organisation, and being able to support the wider community,’ says Hayley. And it’s no surprise. Having a job that you love, supported by the community you call home, means never having work a day in your life.’