Business bulletin - 4 May 2017

Budget 2017-18

Paperwork with graphs and figures 

Budget 2017-18 has focussed on supporting jobs through a range of initiatives and investments to stimulate the Northern Territory economy.                                    

The Territory Government will invest $1.75 billion in infrastructure works, including a record $297 million repairs and maintenance program which will benefit local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Other highlights from the Budget include $250 million over two years in economic stimulus packages and a $1.1 billion 10 year remote housing investment package.

Other key budget initiatives for local business include:

  • Upgrades to the Keep River Plains Road, to support the $1.45 billion prawn farm, Project Sea Dragon.
  • Up to $10 million towards road works and public infrastructure elements of the $200 million luxury hotel.
  • $5 million to continue the front end and design work for the proposed ship lift facility.
  • $3.4 million to support the Australian Government’s proposed $20 billion defence investment in the Territory, including boosting the Defence NT team and expanding the Strategic Defence Advisory Board and functions, and establishing an NT Defence Advocate in Canberra to engage with key defence and national security decision‑makers.
  • $2.2 million for the Strategic Infrastructure and Projects division to support coordination and delivery of major government, facilitate investment projects to attract private sector investment and the delivery of the strategic infrastructure policy and facilitation of private sector major projects.
  • $1.8 million to implement initiatives to drive and support business innovation.
  • $1 million to commence market-led investment attraction processes for a potential water theme park in Darwin and potential retirement resorts in the Darwin, Darwin rural and Alice Springs areas.
  • $1 million to boost funding for international education programs and the Study NT team.
  • $0.2 million to establish an independent Buy Local Industry Advocate to oversight and provide advice on the application of local content in government procurement.
  • $3.6 million for Aboriginal employment programs and $1 million to support remote Aboriginal economic development initiatives.

The government will also appoint an independent Buy Local Industry Advocate, to keep government spending in the Territory. The Buy Local Industry Advocate will have the capacity to conduct spot audits across government.

For more information go to the Budget 2017-18 website

Local opportunities through luxury hotel

Concept drawing of proposed luxury hotel with cruiser docked at wharf in background 

Landbridge has submitted an early works and subdivision development application for the Darwin Luxury Hotel on the western end of the Darwin Waterfront. 

The new luxury hotel will boost the relatively untapped high-end tourism market, benefiting Darwin and the Top End as a whole.

The Darwin Luxury Hotel will significantly boost employment in Darwin and have significant economic impact.

"We are committed to ensuring maximum opportunity is given to local contractors and suppliers. We will also be offering an opportunity for suppliers and contractors to register their interest at a Community Information and Feedback Session which is to be held on Saturday 6 May," said Andy Payne, Project Director, Landbridge.

As part of the plan, a new link will be developed between the hotel and the CBD, promoting increased retail activity throughout the City of Darwin. "The Darwin Luxury Hotel plan includes a cohesive network of connected public spaces along Darwin Harbour, including public access to an iconic roof-top bar at the hotel," said Mr Payne.

The Community Information and Feedback Session about the Darwin Luxury Hotel development is being planned during the early works and subdivision development application exhibition period on Saturday 6 May from 9am to 11am. The event will be held at the Darwin Waterfront Campus of the Charles Darwin University, 21 Kitchener Drive, Darwin City.

For further information go to the Landbridge website

US Defense tendering training

Workmen working on a navy ship 

There is a new opportunity for local businesses looking to tender for United States (US) Defense construction projects in the Territory.

Expressions of interest are sought for participation in US Defense Tendering Training.

Executive Director of the Northern Australia Development Office and Defence NT Jason Schoolmeester said "The training is expected to be delivered in June this year and has been designed to enhance the ability of Northern Territory businesses to engage with, bid for and win US Defense construction projects."

"Local industry plays a crucial role in supporting the Defense and Australian Border Force presence in the Northern Territory. 

"This training will provide participants with strategies and skills to improve their approach to successfully tendering to US Defense and US Defense prime contractors.

"Increased Defence activity in the region will help the development of northern Australia through the creation of opportunities for local businesses and local employment.

"The training supports industry and government endeavors to assist Northern Territory Defence businesses to compete in the local and global Defence market," he said.

Register your interest at northernaustralia.nt.gov.au/events

Registration close 22 May 2017.

For further information contact Graham Tribe at Defence NT on 1800 733 458 or email nado.nt@nt.gov.au

Territory business breaks new ground

Work vehicle parked over the 15 metre pit 

Territory company, Evolving Workshop Technology (EWT) has landed its first international sale with an innovative product that has changed the way mechanics work on heavy machinery.

EWT Operations Manager, Hew McDonald said he came up with an idea for an elevated mechanics platform while working on earthmovers in the eighties.

"We worked on the ground or in mechanics pits that were never the correct depth, it made me think there must be a better way! I sat on the idea of a height adjustable platform for a long time before building a prototype in early Noughties," he said.

Hew and his team developed and patented a new style of cable suspension lifting system, but realised a one size fits all product wasn’t going to cut it.

"The problem with mechanics pits is that they are all customised to the individual workshop needs," he said. "We developed our system to be flexible in design to adapt to huge variances in lengths."

The design proved to be very popular and EWT received plenty of enquiries from the heavy mechanical industry. The Territory company even installed an orchestral pit platform at Central Coast Grammar School in New South Wales.

2014 proved one of the busiest years for the company, and an ideal time for Hew to review his customer base and carve out a new market for his product.

"We approached the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation to go over the company with fresh eyes and see what we were doing right and wrong.

"A consultant reviewed our business structure, helped us set some goals and looked at the direction of our product, which included launching into overseas markets."

The Melbourne International Truck and Trailer Show in May 2016 was a major turning point for the small Territory company in securing its first international sale.

"I was introduced to Bruce Huntley of MAHA Testing Systems NZ at the show and he offered to promote the platform in New Zealand, and it didn’t take him long to find an interested client," Hew said.

The company secured its first export after Porter Group chose the EWT platform, complete with a 15 metre pit, for their new fleet maintenance facility in Hamilton, New Zealand.

"Over the years we have received many enquiries from companies overseas however the right framework wasn’t in place to make it happen," Hew explains.

"The difference this time is that we have a developed a plan thanks to the department and we are set to continue the overseas partnership."

If you would like to discuss your circumstances or support under one of the department’s programs you can contact our Small Business Champions team on (08) 8999 5479.

Construction to start in less than two weeks

Workman cutting steel with drop-saw 

Jemena’s Northern Gas Pipeline (NGP) project has reached another critical milestone with the Northern Territory Government issuing a construction and pipeline licence for the $800 million project.

The decision means Jemena will commence construction of the Phillip Creek Compressor Station in under a fortnight, with further construction works on track to start in mid-2017.

Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles said "This is an important job-creating project for the Territory - it will generate around 900 jobs during construction and will support our government’s plans to develop Tennant Creek as a resources industry services hub which will see many on-going jobs."

Jemena’s Project Director, Jonathan Spink said Phillips Earthmoving - a Tennant Creek based excavation and construction company - has been engaged by Jemena to conduct initial land clearing activities as part of the Phillip Creek Compressor Station build.

Mr Spink said 45 trainees will soon graduate from Jemena’s Project Ready Training Program in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Upon graduating, trainees will transition into roles on the NGP project.

"Jemena has been keen to ensure local communities benefit from the NGP, and we’re very excited that a number of trainees will soon graduate from our Project Ready Training Program," said Mr Spink.

“In addition to the Project Ready Training Program, members of the local community who traditionally experience barriers to employment are also contributing to the NGP as part of the Tennant Creek Social Employment Project."

Mr Spink said local Tennant Creek business, Remote Concrete NT, is delivering the Social Employment Project, which will employ around 10 members of the community to deliver approximately 50,000 timber pipe skids and 90,000 sand and sawdust bags to the NGP.

Jemena’s Project Ready Training Program is being delivered by GTNT in Tennant Creek and Myuma in Queensland.

Budget infographic, read first story for detailed information

Last updated: 04 May 2017