Creating Connections: Coffs Harbour Hospital Expansion Refurbishment Project

7 February, 2024

The Coffs Harbour Hospital Expansion (CHHE) Refurbishment project involved the staged refurbishment of the existing two storey Coffs Harbour Hospital. As the busy hospital was consistently over 100% capacity, the project involved major upgrades across 12,000m² including the perioperative care ward, an ambulatory ward, rehabilitation ward, pathology, mortuary, staff accommodation, cardiac catheterisation lab and Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD).

The health project presented a larger, more meaningful opportunity for the Hansen Yuncken project team – providing opportunities for the local Indigenous community (the Gumbaynggirr people).

Following the successful delivery of the nearby Macksville Hospital project, and their stellar Aboriginal Participation results (5.7% reported Aboriginal Participation spend against their 3% target), Senior Project Manager Josh Crilley and the team challenged themselves to achieve a total of 5% the project spend on Aboriginal Participation at Coffs Harbour.

For Senior Project Manager Josh Crilley, setting expectations early and creating an inclusive culture was critical to the project’s success. From the procurement period, the team made sure to promote our commitment to meeting and exceeding participation targets to all our subcontractor partners. Throughout tender evaluations, the team assessed individual organisation’s strategies to ensure we were partnering with like minded businesses with aligned goals.

The team was supported by the Mid North Coast Local Health District, client Health Infrastructure and hospital management to achieve their targets and create a culturally sensitive working environment. Throughout the delivery of the works, the team acknowledged and celebrated milestone events for the community, including National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week with site BBQ’s and guest speakers. As the project neared completion, the team had well exceeded their set targets for Aboriginal Participation, reporting over 14% participation rate for the whole of the project.

“I’m really passionate about creating opportunities for the local community. Growing up in a regional area, I saw first hand how much those opportunities mean to families… For Coffs Harbour, I really wanted to have a positive impact on the community, and with the help of some of our subbies, we’ve been able to do that.”

– Josh Crilley, Senior Project Manager


One subcontractor in particular was instrumental to achieving these results, Carter & Osborne Electrical. A a Supply Nation Certified electrical contractor based in Tamworth, Hansen Yuncken has worked with the team at C&O on a number of projects, including the Macksville Hospital project. For Coffs Harbour, Senior Project Manager Josh was quick to engage them for another meaningful partnership.

Through this quality partnership, the team has been able to attribute over $2 million to Aboriginal participation, which is close to 10% of the project value. They have also worked with C&O to identify other opportunities to benefit the local Indigenous community through employment and training.

This strategy has significantly benefited the Gumbaynggirr community, through the creation of five local apprenticeship opportunities for Aboriginal employees in the region.

“These opportunities have assisted the local community through breaking the cycle of unemployment for one of the top ten highest unemployment regions in Australia for our Aboriginal people.”

– Mel Close, Director at Carter & Osborne

“The ability for these young people to contribute not only economically but as role models for other aspiring youth has seen additional benefits through participation with other local trades and community organisations in which they are working on site,” continued Mel.

This partnership has been recognised by local community groups, including Abcare, a local foster care organisation, and members of the Gumbaynggirr people. The collaborative relationship strengthened, as Hansen Yuncken supported Carter & Osborne through the Supply Nation Certification process, following a restructure of the business.

With community at the forefront, Hansen Yuncken has delivered more than a world class health facility. We are committed to fostering meaningful connections that will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.

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