We're committed to looking out for our communities.

Our Communities

Communities are at the heart of everything we do. Downer is a diverse business with teams working from the heart of a city to remote locations in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. We work together to ensure strong, successful relationships in our local areas, helping to build stronger communities.

Downer works with local Councils and community groups around Australia and New Zealand.

  • In Australia, our Indigenous community programs include our relationships with Jawun and Wall of Hands (ALNF).
  • In New Zealand, we are a strategic partner with Volunteer Services Abroad and work alongside Te Puni Kōkiri for our Maori Leadership Programme and the Ministry of Social Development for our Basic Programme.

Downer supports many other community and not-for-profit organisations, including:


Downer and Jawun

Downer is proud to support Jawun, a not-for-profit organisation which works with corporate, government and philanthropic partners to offer skills and resources to Indigenous communities.

Jawun places skilled people from companies like Downer into Indigenous organisations. These secondees transfer skills and support Indigenous leaders to achieve their goals.

The Jawun experience is a wonderful opportunity for Downer employees to make a contribution to our Indigenous communities and also develop their personal and work skills in a unique and challenging way.

Downer employee Owen O’Brien, a Project Engineer based in Western Australia, spent six weeks on a Jawun secondment in late 2015.

“I was stationed in Broome to work with Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation. This is a not-for-profit organisation working to facilitate the self-sustainability of Aboriginal people in the region through the use of training, apprenticeships, youth engagement and support, and employment services. Nirrumbuk has a number of trades companies through which they can direct their candidates. I was tasked with assessing the OH&S capability of each of the entities and carrying out a full business risk assessment for each of them.

The first week is an induction week during which we are given information, history, context and a really good look around. We are introduced to different organisations and given an insight into how Indigenous Australians used to live, how they live now and how they intend to live in the future.

This is the fun week. Everything is new and shiny. We have a planned itinerary designed to allow us to see all aspects of the area and the people, to get to know each other and, in a way, develop and grow the excitement and the enthusiasm we were already feeling for the days and weeks ahead.

The following five weeks involved full immersion into our respective companies as well as the local area. I learned about Broome and its rich history as a cultural melting pot made up of people from Aboriginal, European, Japanese and Chinese backgrounds. I spent time with local people working in their local businesses, attempting to make a difference in the lives of the people around them.

I was able to use all the experience I have accumulated with Downer to assist the local people with their desire to improve the opportunities in their community. I have to say, the small part I played was very rewarding.

For me, the secondment has been life changing and I highly recommend it. It was an invaluable opportunity to challenge myself, step out of my comfort zone and actually make a difference in people’s lives.”

Supporting each other

Beyond his dedication to supporting our EC&M team, General Manager Zero Harm Matthew Pilbeam is a key part of wife Sally's international sporting success.

An international paratriathlete, Sally lost her right arm at the shoulder due to cancer when she was 21. Sally's story is one of triumph over adversity, and the importance of a good support team.

In September this year Sally competed in the World Triathlon Championships in Chicago where she won her second consecutive world title in the Women's PT3 category for mobility impairments.

An internationally recognised athlete, Sally has racked up an impressive number of titles in Paratriathlon events around the world, and each time her support team has been a big part of her success. Always by her side for the big events is her husband Matthew and cheering her on are their two sons Ben and Nick along with many family and friends.

"Being part of Sally's support crew in Chicago was another great experience for both of us. I am so proud of Sally's achievements and it just shows what you can do when you focus on being the best no matter what problems you encounter", said Matthew.

You can follow Sally's achievements on her Facebook page 'Sally Pilbeam Elite Paratriathlete' or www.sallypilbeam.com

Congratulations Sally and well done to your #1 supporter Matthew.

Royalties from safety innovation benefit mining charity

Downer’s Mining division has not only designed a Remote Grease Pressure Release System to eliminate the risk of high pressure grease injection injuries, it has decided to donate all royalties from sales to A Miner’s Legacy, a not-for-profit foundation that provides support and assistance to families of mineworkers involved in fatal mine accidents.

The Remote Grease Pressure Release System was developed in conjunction with Australian Diversified Engineering Pty Ltd (ADE). It is a simple, cost-effective solution that can be quickly activated using a garage door-style remote control mechanism to release the pressure building in a blocked grease gun in both hydraulically and pneumatically operated grease systems.
ADE Manufacturing Manager, Daniel Kirk, said the key was to come up with a solution that would not create more work for the maintainers but make it as fast and easy as possible to eliminate the hazard of a pressure build-up – one of the most serious hazards to maintenance personnel on mine sites.

“Our research revealed that the usual protective equipment was not protecting maintainers from high-pressure injection injuries and the standard process of removing the hose from the nipple in the case of a blockage was intrinsically flawed and dangerous,” Mr Kirk said.

“The solution is our remote-operated wireless transmitter that can be activated up to 50 metres from the service truck to release the build-up of pressure. It can be retrofitted to existing systems and has already been installed at nine mine sites across Australia with great results.”

The game-changing impact of the Remote Grease Pressure Release System was recognised by the resources industry at last year’s Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference, when this potentially life-saving invention was awarded Highly Commended in the conference’s Innovation Awards.

Not only does the system provide a solution to a serious safety problem, but Downer has decided to donate its royalties from the sale of each system to A Miner’s Legacy.

The Remote Grease Pressure Release System was developed in conjunction with Australian Diversified Engineering Pty Ltd (ADE). It is a simple, cost-effective solution that can be quickly activated using a garage door-style remote control mechanism to release the pressure building in a blocked grease gun in both hydraulically and pneumatically operated grease systems.

ADE Manufacturing Manager, Daniel Kirk, said the key was to come up with a solution that would not create more work for the maintainers but make it as fast and easy as possible to eliminate the hazard of a pressure build-up – one of the most serious hazards to maintenance personnel on mine sites.

“Our research revealed that the usual protective equipment was not protecting maintainers from high-pressure injection injuries and the standard process of removing the hose from the nipple in the case of a blockage was intrinsically flawed and dangerous,” Mr Kirk said.

“The solution is our remote-operated wireless transmitter that can be activated up to 50 metres from the service truck to release the build-up of pressure. It can be retrofitted to existing systems and has already been installed at nine mine sites across Australia with great results.”

The game-changing impact of the Remote Grease Pressure Release System was recognised by the resources industry at last year’s Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference, when this potentially life-saving invention was awarded Highly Commended in the conference’s Innovation Awards.

Not only does the system provide a solution to a serious safety problem, but Downer has decided to donate its royalties from the sale of each system to A Miner’s Legacy.

The donations currently exceed $7,000.

Downer’s Executive General Manager – Plant, Peter Connor, said the donations were aligned with Downer’s commitment to promoting Zero Harm in the mining industry.

“Rather than profiting from a system that will make working on site safer, we are happy to donate our royalties to A Miner’s Legacy to help them continue to spread the word that there is nothing more important than going home unharmed to your loved ones at the end of your shift,” Mr Connor said.

A Miner’s Legacy co-founder, Mark Parcell, welcomed the initiative.

“Not only is it a solution to a significant hazard, it is now commercially available and the profits help benefit people who really need the support,” he said. “A Miner’s Legacy appreciates the generous donation from Downer but, more importantly, acknowledges the commitment that Downer is making to provide a safe workplace for its employees.”

Pictured above
From left to right: Mick Carr - Maintenance Solutions and Innovation Manager; David Overall – CEO Downer Mining; Mark Parcell and Rachel Blee – Co-founders of A Miner’s Legacy; Peter Connor – Downer Mining EGM Plant; and Clive Gray – General Manager ADE.

Rail workers turn pink

Downer Rail employees in the Maryborough depot are proving that pink is the colour of choice, trading their regular work shirts for pink high-visibility shirts every Friday. 

Now known as Pink Shirt Fridays, employees have banded together to show their support for the Queensland Breast Cancer Council with those wearing pink donating a gold coin each time they wear their shirt.

The initiative started when employee Tony Cordie suggested the idea after his own family experiences with cancer and wanted to raise more awareness of breast cancer.

Depot manager John Shelford said the Downer Maryborough facility was excited with the commitment to support Pink Shirt Friday.
“Downer Maryborough will to continue to support the program and create awareness to recognise the effect that cancer can have on employees and families.”

Pictured: The Maryborough team wearing their pink shirts proudly!

Downer’s local ‘Community Champion’

The Tasmanian Road Services team were very proud to see Peter Paice who works on their Five Bridges Contract recently recognised by the Tasmanian State Emergency Service (SES) with a 30-year long-service award.

“Since the early 80’s, Peter has been a dedicated volunteer of the Tasmanian Fire Service and State Emergency Service,” said Ken McGivern, Manager, Downer Tasmania.

“Peter is part of the Brighton SES unit that often attend many incidents including car accidents, high wind and water and flood damage, forensic and missing persons searches, building collapse damage, fire-fighting support, animal rescue, road closures and traffic control.”

“Extreme weather events sees Peter called to serve – such as in March 2010 when he was part of the SES team deployed to help following a hail storm at Knox City in Victoria, or more recently as part of the TFS team fighting the devastating fires at Dunalley in 2013,” said Ken.

“Peter is a well-liked, valued member of the local Downer team and we’re all very proud of him getting recognised for his selfless service to the community,” added Ken.

Congratulations Peter on the recognition.