How the laundry ball started rolling
“As part of AIG’s economic development we are always looking for business opportunities that can balance our remit of economic development and social outcomes. For us – the Remote Laundries project is perfect”. Steve Smith, AIG CEO.
Back in early 2018 AIG and Bagala Aboriginal Corporation were in discussion about business opportunities in Barunga that would service community needs, provide sustainable employment and provide income. The idea of a public laundry was bandied about and quickly identified as something that would work to fulfil all criteria.
Could a public laundry work?
Next came community consultation with community members of Barunga and traditional owners from that region. An important person in this process has been Esther Bulmumbara, the Chairperson of the Bagala Aboriginal Corporation. Esther has been a keen advocate for laundry to create employment and improve the health of the community. Other groups consulted were the health centre, the school, the council, people shopping at the community store and local police. Everyone agreed that a laundry was something that would add value to their lives in both the potential health outcomes and employment potential. The biggest concern was how to protect the laundry from vandalism.
The right design was everything
If the biggest barrier to the success of this project was protecting the machines from vandalism, it was imperative the laundry design was right. “This laundry was going into a remote Aboriginal community, and we needed it to be cashless, fully automated, portable, contain heavy duty machines and be very tough!” said Steve Smith, the AIG CEO.
After lots of research consultation with other laundromat providers like Orange Sky, and Richard Jay, we came up with a plan. The laundry would go inside a 20-foot sea container with a hydraulic arm that secured the laundry. When the arm was down, the laundry was indestructible!
Four 10kg washers and four 10kg dryers will go up against the back wall leaving space at the front for loading and sorting washing. A little room was created at the end of the container to house the electrics, chemicals and a sink. It would be purpose built by Richard Jay in Adelaide and sent to Darwin when finished.