Business bulletin - 28 April 2016

Investment manager for NT Infrastructure Development Fund announced

Construction workers working on building site at sunset 

The Northern Territory Government has announced Infrastructure Capital Group (ICG) as the investment manager for the Northern Territory Infrastructure Development Fund (NTIDF).

ICG will now be responsible for all aspects of the investment process including identifying and delivering a range of infrastructure projects which will deliver a commercial rate of return to the fund’s investors.

The firm’s 15 years’ experience in developing infrastructure assets saw it nudge out five other contenders for the role.

The NTIDF will invest directly in a diversified portfolio of infrastructure assets that may include:

  • greenfield developments (new projects)
  • brownfield projects (upgrading or expanding pre-existing facilities) as well as other infrastructure-related investments.

The fund will seek to invest primarily in Northern Territory related infrastructure assets, however under appropriate circumstances some funds may be invested outside the Northern Territory, such as linking projects with other states.

The NTIDF is the first of its kind in Australia and will support the development of infrastructure using the proceeds of the sale of TIO.

Using $200 million from the sale of TIO as a financial cornerstone, the fund will seek a further $800 million of capital from Australian and overseas investors to create a $1 billion investment pool, which should generate at least $3 billion in infrastructure investment.To learn more about the NTIDF go to the Department of Treasury and Finance website

Reducing red tape

Cutting red tape 

Many local businesses will find it easier and simpler to operate, after the Red Tape Reduction (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2016 was passed in NT Parliament last week.

A Deloitte survey of 100 NT businesses last year identified regulatory compliance as one of the top three growth inhibitors.

The changes seek to allow businesses to operate efficiently and effectively, by minimising unnecessary paperwork and contact with government.

The Red Tape Reduction (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2016 will reduce compliance costs for:

  • 500 real estate agents
  • 150 commercial and private agents
  • 105 auctioneers
  • 30 liquor wholesalers
  • 300 businesses in retail, tourism and hospitality in relation to tobacco retail licences.

It extends licence terms from one year to an option of one, three or five years and extends bore construction permits from one year to two years.

The NT Government last year released its Red Tape Reduction Strategy developed by its Red Tape Abolition Squad within the Department of Business.

It is focused on reducing paperwork, maximising productivity, enhancing incentives for innovation and implementing regulation proportionate to the risk being managed.

Some examples of reforms under the strategy include:

  • Non-pastoral use of pastoral leasehold land - allowing diversification.
  • Food business registration reforms - saving time for approximately 2,300 food businesses.
  • Removal of over 950 unnecessary director liability offences and reducing liability for over 240 offences allowing companies to be innovative and productive.
  • Light vehicle registration checks now completed at five years and then 10 years.
  • A review of red tape for the construction and development sector has been completed with all recommendations approved for implementation.
  • Sector reviews have commenced for the tourism and non-government organisation sectors.

Decked out for a new season

New Deckchair Cinema dining deck 

Darwin’s iconic Deck Chair Cinema has undergone an upgrade with funding from the Northern Territory Government Community Benefit Fund (CBF).

The $200,000 renovation included more than $95,000 from CBF to construct a new outdoor dining deck. Previously diners were seated in the grass, on old, out-dated furniture.

The Deckchair Cinema also invested just over $100,000 to extend the kiosk and undercover area.

Local company Saunders Builders worked over the Wet Season to ensure the upgrades were completed in time for opening night last Wednesday.

Deckchair Cinema General Manager Alice Body said the furnished deck itself will not only offer an improved dining experience for cinema patrons, but it will also allow local caterers to showcase their food on a grander stage.

"We make an effort to support local food businesses at the Deckie, with an emphasis on buying snacks from local snack-food makers and enlisting local caterers to sell dinner to hungry film-goers.

“We’re anticipating that this new dining deck will really benefit our lovely local caterers, which is fantastic as it bolsters our own efforts to be a community-oriented organisation.” 

For more information or to apply for CBF grants go to the Northern Territory Government website

Open Territory looks to Asia

Cattle mustering, asian dancers, oil rig 

Asian engagement and trade opportunities are a key focus this week as part of the Northern Territory Government’s inaugural Open Territory program of events.

The series of events has brought together businesses, government officials, Chamber of Commerce representatives and potential investors to highlight opportunities here in the Territory.

Yesterday saw trade senior representatives from Brunei-Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines visit Darwin for the 4th NT-BIMP-EAGA Dialogue.  

Today, five Timor Leste Ministers are visiting Darwin for the bilateral Ministerial Forum to identify priorities for future cooperation, especially capacity-building opportunities.

Tomorrow, the NT Chamber of Commerce will deliver the first ever Regional Australia-Asia Chambers Forum.

The forum will convene Chamber of Commerce representatives from across Australia and Asia, here in Darwin, to talk about real business opportunities across the region and highlight the government’s commitment to work together with private enterprise.

The Forum will take place on the first day of the Territory Government and NT Chamber of Commerce’s two-day Territory Expo, which runs Friday 29 and Saturday 30 April.

The Expo offers Territory businesses an opportunity to raise their local, national and international profiles.

The first morning of the two-day event will be open to businesses and the second day will be open to the public including entertainment and refreshments in a festival atmosphere.

Families are encouraged to sample the Territory products and services being showcased between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 30 April.  

For more information on the program go to the Open Territory website

Round 3 BISI grants close soon

Innovation and light bulb 

Businesses with innovative ideas still have time to apply to the Business Innovation Support Initiatives (BISI) grants program.   

The BISI program includes vouchers of up to $25,000 and competitive grants of up to $60,000 to support Territory businesses to commercialise innovations, by starting research, undertaking feasibility studies, building prototypes and developing activities and trials.

Previous BISI grants recipients are examples of the types of projects being assisted:

  • SRA Information Technology Pty Ltd - an Unmanned Aerial System or drone with the potential to save lives as a tool for search and rescue operations.
  • The Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) - extending the CAT mobile phone hotspots to provide greater mobile coverage in remote NT areas.
  • Maitec -  development of a drone to map conditions of agricultural fields and plantations in the tropic.

Applications close on 15 May 2016. For more information or to apply go to Business Innovation Support Initiatives

Darwin inflation up 0.5%

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Last updated: 28 April 2016