Business bulletin - 1 December 2016

Infrastructure spending fast tracked to boost the local economy

Artist impression of how the new Palmerston Police Station will look 
Photo: Artist impression of Palmerston Police Station.

Millions of dollars in infrastructure projects have been fast tracked to support local jobs and stimulate the Territory’s economy.

Thirty-seven new and fast-tracked projects worth $120 million have been brought forward, including construction of a new Palmerston Police Station which will begin next financial year.

Construction of the police station is expected to create around 100 jobs, providing a much needed boost to the construction sector.

In addition to the 37 new and fast-tacked infrastructure projects, a $22 million Immediate Works Stimulus Package has also been announced.

The $22 million package will support smaller infrastructure projects across the Territory, which in turn supports the smaller tradies and businesses.

The package includes $10 million available to community and not-for-profit groups through grants up to $100,000 for repairs and upgrades to facilities and existing assets.

Beyond the $100,000 grant, the Northern Territory Government will match ‘dollar for dollar’ up to another $100,000, to help fund even bigger improvements. Applications will open in mid-December and works will be able to begin from 1 February. 

The second part of the $22 million package is a $5 million boost to the construction industry for repairs and upgrades to urban public housing stock.

The third initiative is $5 million to support the Territory’s steel industry through a range of tenders for fabrication such as bollards, bus shelters, bike racks and crocodile traps. All tenders where the supply, fabrication or galvanising of steel is specified, will be required to include a price for these components from local Northern Territory businesses.

Lastly, a $2 million repairs and maintenance package will also be delivered for remote health clinics across the Territory.

The package will ensure funds flow directly to the smaller contractors in the construction sector over the next six months, ahead of work commencing on the NT Government’s fast-tracked $120 million major infrastructure projects.

Offshore South East Asia Conference

Offshore rig with sun setting in the background 

A Northern Territory business delegation has travelled to Singapore this week to showcase the Territory’s capacity at  South East Asia’s largest oil and gas expo.

The Offshore South East Asia (OSEA) conference and expo kicked off on Tuesday with more than 1,000 exhibitors from 48 counties and regions coming together to discuss developments in South East Asia’s oil and gas industry.

The 11 member delegation, led by the Department of Trade Business and Innovation, have spent the week meeting with industry leaders from the oil and gas sector and promoting Territory service and supply capabilities, capacities and opportunities.

Executive Director of the Office of Asian Engagement, Trade and Investment, Jeff Stewart said it was important for the Northern Territory to participate in major regional events.

"OSEA is an ideal platform to showcase the geographic importance of the Northern Territory  as an operations base for the offshore oil and gas industry in our region and to showcase our own service and supply industry to support this sector.

"Our local oil and gas service and supply sector can also gain a better understanding of the requirements of industry, as a number of key regional projects transition from their construction to operational phase," Mr Stewart said.

Previous trade missions have assisted Territory businesses establish a strong network of contacts and gain important information about local markets in South East Asia.

"This week provides us an opportunity to maximise commercial exposure for small to medium enterprises to potential clients, Mr Stewart said.

"It will also allow those enterprises to develop new industry networks and gather market intelligence on new contracts and upcoming projects."

OSEA wraps up on Friday, with the next conference scheduled in 2018.

Peppimenarti housing upgrades

Workers on a building site studying plans 
Photo: SH Build.

A Darwin based construction company, SH Build, has teamed up with local community members to complete a major housing project in Peppimenarti.

The 30 house refurbishment program kicked off in May with a variety of works including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, painting, tiling and pest control carried out.

SH Build General Manager Bec Hammet said the project has seen outstanding employment and community engagement initiatives with 23 Indigenous workers engaged on the project and several major community organisations involved as well.

"We also achieved over 20% Indigenous full time or equivalent employment from the beginning of the project to its completion," she said.

SH Build has been working in the region for the past three years as the maintenance provider servicing communities of Peppimenarti, Nauiyu and Palumpa.

During this time the company has built strong relationships in these communities with all community members, elders and stakeholders.

Ms Hammet said it’s important to engage with the local community to maximise local economic growth and give the community an opportunity to be involved in large projects.

"SH Build are very aware that there are limited opportunity in communities for organisations and individuals and we attempt to maximise their involvement in all projects we are contracted to complete.

"For this particular project we engaged 23 Indigenous workers, 18 of which came from the Peppimenarti region. It is incredibly important local workers are given every opportunity to succeed," she said.

The last house was completed on 14 October, since then community members have been working on future improvements to their homes including gardens and furnishing.

With the assistance of Deewin Kirim Aboriginal Corporation pallets of plants have been purchased to assist locals with upgrades to their gardens. While the women of the community have been screen printing fabrics in the arts centre and are now sewing curtains to put in their newly refurbished houses.

"The pride we have seen amongst community members as their houses have been handed back is significant and extremely heart-warming," Ms Hammet said.

"As the maintenance provider for the region we have a supervisor and one Indigenous support worker based in Peppimenarti. They will assist locals maintain their newly refurbished homes and ensure upgrades are carried out into the future."

INPEX-led Ichthys LNG Project maintenance contract creates local jobs

Group of men inspecting breathing apparatus 
Photo: Inspecting breathing apparatus at RAM Services. L-R: RAM Services Managing Director, Greg Haigh; Assistant Minister for Buy Local, Paul Kirby; ICN NT CEO, Kevin Peters; INPEX General Manager Darwin, Sean Kildare.

Local jobs will be created through a multi-million dollar contract awarded to Darwin business, Regional Asset Maintenance (RAM) Services, to deliver general facilities maintenance for the Ichthys LNG Project’s onshore processing facility.

The contract scope includes plumbing, painting, landscaping, electrical services and emergency response equipment maintenance during the project’s operational phase.

The three-year contract will enable the business to employ additional staff but also has the capacity to further engage with local businesses through subcontractor opportunities.

RAM Services Managing Director, Greg Haigh said contract negotiations are underway with five local businesses to finalise subcontractor agreements: "RAM will employ 10 more people to service the maintenance contract."

"We pride ourselves on our ability to manage subcontractors and to involve local and Indigenous businesses."

"The skill of our team and solid systems, policies and procedures allow us to compete with multinational companies," Mr Haigh said.

INPEX and the NT Government recently signed an agreement recognising and recommitting to providing opportunities for Territory businesses to benefit from the operational phase of the Ichthys LNG Project, which reached 90% completion in September 2016.

INPEX General Manager Darwin, Sean Kildare said the maintenance contract awarded to RAM Services reflected the project’s focus on preparation for 40 years of operation in the Territory.

"The capability of companies like RAM Services continues to highlight the ability of local businesses to support INPEX and the Ichthys project over the life of the LNG project," Mr Kildare said.

During the Ichthys project construction phase, more than 1,000 Territory businesses have secured work on the project.

Australian Training Awards

 	ProBuild NT staffing being presented their award at the Australian Training Awards 
Photo: ProBuild NT winning Medium Employer of the Year Award.

From a small family business in Alice Springs 23 years ago, to become one of Australia’s leading training employers, ProBuild NT have cemented their place on the national vocational, education and training stage.

Over the past two decades, Probuild NT’s commitment to training and education, particularly indigenous employment, has remained a cornerstone of the company.

General Manager Mick Betteridge said the business wanted to provide people living in remote communities, where they were actively undertaking projects, the opportunity to participate in training to help them get permanent jobs after project completion.

"One of the main challenges faced in some remote communities, is the lack of registered training organisations (RTO). While it is possible to provide training, it can be a bit more difficult to have that training assessed and recognised.

"We also deliver the onsite training, and when workers are ready for their assessments, the RTO is flown into the community to conduct the assessments onsite," Mr Betteridge said.

The company aims for a minimum of 20 to 30% Indigenous employment on all their projects. Their company policy also states that a least two additional apprentices are employed each year and existing apprentices receive continued support.

Last month Probuild NT was recognised for their outstanding commitment to training at the Australian Training Awards, with the company named Medium Employer of the Year.

"Winning this award not only recognises the contribution we have made to so many traineeships, but also acknowledges the dedication of all our trainees," Mr Betteridge said.

Construction Manager, Adam Bennet said their training awards journey has been fast paced, daunting, but certainly an exciting and rewarding experience.

"It has been a remarkable journey.

"Training is an integral part of every workforce. We are growing our futures, alongside the future of the whole community," Mr Bennet said.

The Northern Territory had a strong field of candidates at the Australian Training Awards, with finalists in 10 categories.

The Territory had two winners on the night with Batchelor Institutes Isabel Osuna-Gatty receiving the Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award.

Dawn Ivinson was also named runner up in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award.

For a full list of winners go to the Australian Training Awards website.

2017 Study Scholarships, applications open 3 December, Higher Education Scholarships and Bernie Kilgariff Memorial Scholarship, for further information go to nt.gov.au/learning

Last updated: 12 October 2017