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Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Transport Service

In 2014 the Groote Eylandt Aboriginal Trust purchased two new Toyota Coaster Buses with the aim to: 

  • Create an alternate transport system for the people of Umbakumba, who did not own a personal vehicle and required access to Angurugu, the main service-hub, and Alyangula, the mining township of Groote;
  • Transport people to culural, sporting and community events.

Bus service runs Monday to Friday 

GEAT has based one of the two buses in Umbakumba and has contracted Aminjarrinja Enterprises Aboriginal Corporation (Aminjarrinja), of Umbakumba, to operate the service from Umbakumba to Angurugu and Alyangula, return, two times daily from Monday to Friday. The same bus has also been picking people up from Malkala and the airport. Aminjarrinja provides the drivers and it is a successful showcase for 100 per cent indigenous employment.

Bus service has been a great success

The bus service has been a great success providing a safe, free and regular service to the people of Umbakumba.  The feedback from communities has been very positive, so much so, that the communities on Groote and community on Bickerton Island are requesting that the transport service be extended with the second bus to supplement the existing bus service and a water taxi service between Milyakburra and Alyangula also be commenced.

The extra bus service and water taxi service will provide the main communities of the archipelago with a complete transport system.

The additional bus service will depart from Angurugu to Alyangula and would drop off and meet water taxi passengers.

Water taxi service

The water taxi service is planned to operate between Alyangula and Milyakburra, return, two times daily on weekdays. It will provide a number of benefits to Bickerton Island residents, such as:

  • Greater employment possibilities, such as accessing GEMCO jobs.
  • Employ more drivers and boat deck hands.
  • Significantly reduce safety issues around small ocean craft undertaking the water crossing between the two islands.
  • Financial savings to attend cultural events, medical services, banking and social services. Currently to access these people rely on small ocean craft or costly air charter flights.
  • Financial savings for agencies that provide various services on Bickerton Island and who also rely on costly air charter flights. These savings could be translated into increased service levels. 

The GEAT Management Committee and the Anindilyakwa Land Council Board have approved joint funding for a two year period to provide the main communities of the archipelago with a complete transport system. GEAT will continue to contract Aminjarrinja to provide the complete transport system for the two year period.

By GEAT