The outside view of a large modular building in Halls Creek

Modular service centres powering across the countryside

The Department of Human Services is committed to providing equitable access to health and welfare services. To honour this commitment, some old remote service centres are being replaced with new energy-efficient modular buildings.

Kimberly Katherine Region Service Support Manager, Deanne Hayward said the new building in Halls Creek has been operating for two months and is already proving to be a great success for the local community.

“By having a new office in Halls Creek, we’re able to provide the best service to Indigenous customers who live remotely,” Deanne said.

“They can now get the same service they would if they lived in a metropolitan area.”

The first modular office was set up in Wadeye, NT in December 2016, followed by Halls Creek, WA in June 2017. Both service centres are also part of the department’s solar trial.

While the sun is shining, the solar system produces power to run the service centres. The energy it generates then goes into Wadeye and Halls Creek electricity grids to benefit the local communities.

The Halls Creek building, which was made up of eight separate modules, was manufactured by AUSCO Modular, a specialist factory in Adelaide. Building the modules inside helped limit the impact of weather conditions on construction time, and resulted in them being built in a quarter of the time and for a fraction of the cost of normal building construction.

Tradespeople from Halls Creek and the surrounding regions were also hired to assist in the transportation, general building contracting and works.

The first five of these modules, each measuring 13 metres long, were transported 3,563 kilometres in a convoy to Halls Creek via Alice Springs and Kununurra. Due to their height, the remaining three modules travelled west over 5,082 kilometres via Broome and Fitzroy Crossing to avoid low bridges and powerlines.

Once in Halls Creek, the modules were joined together in two days, and the service centre was assembled on site in seven weeks – including landscaping.

In total, the modules took about 13 weeks to build, transport and construct on site.

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The department is now looking at additional sites to build modular service centres for use in remote communities.

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