20 November 2023

2023 – a year in review by Geoff Reardon, ICN NSW’s Regional Manager – Murray Riverina

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The Murray Riverina region saw some exciting developments this year, including locals suppliers being identified for the Defence Estate Riverina Redevelopment Program and Martinus clinching the Albury to Parkes inland rail project.

Geoff Reardon, our Regional Manager, has reflected on the year, looking at the new projects, challenges faced in the region and the connections made.

Check out the full interview with Geoff  to find out more about this and what he sees are wins for the region, like the launch of Smiths BBQ’s cutting-edge facility!


What were the standout projects or achievements for your region during 2023?

The Riverina Redevelopment Joint Venture (RRJV) has actively identified potential suppliers and contractors within the local region for the Defence Estate Riverina Redevelopment Program. Several briefing sessions were conducted across the region to inform the business community about the project’s scope, prequalification, and training pathways.

Martinus was awarded the Albury to Parkes section of the inland rail project, conducting significant work near Forbes in September. The project is set to ramp up in the first half of 2024. The collaboration between the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and the project team has been instrumental in assisting contractors to enhance their capabilities in preparation for the upcoming project.

I’ve been actively involved with both projects, identifying local business capabilities and capacity, promoting relevant capability events, and facilitating meetings between local businesses and project teams.

Secure Energy has been actively constructing Energy Connect, which links the NSW energy network to South Australia. The project has engaged numerous suppliers identified through expressions of interest (EOIs) released by ICN NSW a couple of years ago. Collaborating closely with the project team, we organised business briefing events and identified additional local suppliers to meet the evolving needs of the project.


Did you collaborate with any new suppliers and/or project owners in 2023?  

Several large renewable projects are under consideration for the region, necessitating frequent communication to assist those teams identify local capability. Understanding the challenges faced by project proponents, such as competing demands for labour, housing, and business capacity, required in-depth research to identify supply chain risks and provide solutions using local capability.


Every year comes with its share of challenges. What were the most significant challenges you encountered, or that you saw your suppliers/project owners face, in 2023?

Workforce attraction poses a significant challenge in the Murray Riverina region, hindering business expansion due to a shortage available labour. However, this challenge has spurred heightened involvement from trade and manufacturing businesses in engaging with school leavers to showcase potential careers. Encouragingly, these efforts appear to be paying off, as the region is experiencing notable growth in the number of apprentices.


What were some of the positive outcomes or accomplishments in your role as a regional manager this year?

Two standout achievements this year include the official launch of Smiths BBQ’s manufacturing facility, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and assisting Des Hogan of Reform 3D in commercialising the road culvert kit launched at the Ecologiq conference in Melbourne.



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