Business bulletin - May 2015

A range of new programs were unveiled through Budget 2015-16 which will support businesses, industries and workers and expand successful existing programs.

Key announcements for businesses include: 

  • $1.47 million to support Non-Government Organisations and the business sector by providing Business Development Officers in Nhulunbuy, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
  • A $8 million boost to the Community Benefit Fund.
  • An additional $4.4 million per year to kick-start Territorians looking for work and reward supportive employers through the Employer Support Scheme.
  • A three year, $6 million Business in the Bush program, to provide sustainable job opportunities, as well as grow and strengthen business enterprise.

Full details of the budget and what it means for business can be found at the Northern Territory Government Budget website.

NT Chamber of Commerce and communities across the Territory have hosted forums with Minister for Business Peter Styles and the Northern Territory Government as part of the Business Budget Roadshow 2015.

Minister Styles held meetings in Alice Springs, Daly Waters, Tennant Creek, Ti Tree, Barrow Creek, Wycliffe Well, Aileron, Renner Springs, Elliott, Mataranka, Katherine, Pine Creek and Emerald Springs as part of the Roadshow.

Cutting red tape for co-ops

National cooperatives reforms will make it easier for co-operatives carrying out business across a state or territory border. Cooperatives will now be able to do so without the costly process of registering in each jurisdiction.

Smaller co-operatives will also benefit through simplified financial reporting to members and removing the obligation to lodge publicly available accounts.

Go to the Northern Territory Government website for more about cooperatives. 

Improving the Workers Compensation Scheme

A range of amendments will be progressively made to reduce the cost for businesses and maintain the long-term viability of the scheme, while providing reasonable financial support for injured workers.

The amendments to the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation follow a review of the NT Workers Compensation Scheme, which provides no fault coverage for eligible workers who are injured at work and supports injured workers financially whilst they are assisted to return to work. The review made 58 recommendations in its final report to government with all the recommendations being accepted with minor variations.

The amendments have been separated into two reform packages contained in separate bills. The first bill, Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 passed Parliament on 25 March 2015, with the changes commencing on 1 July 2015.

To find out more about the changes and what they mean to your business, head to the NT WorkSafe website

Operational licensing has moved

Administration of the licensing schemes relating to building practitioners, electrical workers and contractors, plumbing and drainers, and architects has moved to the Department of Business. Occupational licensing, registration applications and renewals can now be lodged at all Territory Business Centres.

You can still use the previous telephone, fax and email details to contact officers for each licensing board.

In addition to lodging in person at a Territory Business Centre, licensing, registration applications and renewals can be faxed, scanned or sent by mail to GPO Box 9800, Darwin, NT, 0801. Full lodgement and contact details are recorded on application forms.

Young achiever awards recipients

The Department would like to congratulate Matt King, winner of the Northern Territory Government Small Business Achievement Award 2015.

Winners of the NT Government Small Business Achievement Award were announced at a gala celebration as part of the NT Young Achiever Awards held at SKYCITY on Saturday 11 April 2015.

The Northern Territory Small Business Achievement Award aims to promote young small business, franchise owners and operators who 'give it a go' through determination, innovation, hard work and self-motivation and rewarding those who make their own luck and opportunities a reality.

Matt King, 26 of Karama transitioned from elite cyclist, representing Australia on the European stage, to a successful small business owner. At the age of 23, he opened his first bike shop, Blue Cycles, and in just over two years has established another two shops. The Blue Cycles brand is all about Bike+Coffee+Culture emphasizing the social aspect of cycling. Matt has installed coffee shops in all three stores. He is on the Northern Territory’s peak body cycling committee, Northern Territory Cycling and supports road, mountain, triathlon and BMX sporting clubs providing a race day crew at triathlon events.

Other winners at the Young Achievers Awards 2015 were:

  • Minister for Young Territorians Excellence in Youth Leadership Award - Jessica Sullivan
  • NT Government Young Indigenous Educator Award - Haydon Staines
  • NT Government Young Carers Award - Jackson Thomas
  • Zip Print Sports Award - Tom O’Neil-Thorne
  • Genesee & Wyoming Indigenous Achievement Award - Tara Liddy
  • Charles Darwin University Arts Award - Ishmael Marika
  • AustralianSuper Career Kick Start Award - Rhiannon Moore
  • PTTEP Australasia Health and Wellbeing Award - Cherissee Buzzacott
  • ConocoPhillips Environment Award - Clayton Namatjira
  • Somerville Community Services Award - Tenneil Ross
  • Glencore McArthur River Mining Regional and Rural Initiative Award and Channel 9 Young Achiever of the Year - Pritika Desai.

Skilled migration expos

The Department of Business is attending a range of national and international expos to attract workers and promote the Northern Territory as a desirable place to live and work.

The Northern Territory is experiencing the second highest economic growth in Australia and has a low unemployment rate. As a result the Territory is experiencing skills shortages across a range of sectors.

If you are a local business that has been unsuccessful in recruiting locally and don’t have any options to train or upskill existing or new staff, you can partner with the Northern Territory Government to showcase your hard-to-fill vacancies at upcoming national career expos.

The next events in which the Northern Territory Government will be participating in are:

  • Perth, 6 June 2015
  • Brisbane, 20 June 2015.

October Business Month - Partner events

Registrations are now open for businesses wanting to participate in the 2015 October Business Month (OBM) program.

OBM is the premier event in the Northern Territory’s business calendar. With over 9,000 attendees across 153 events last year, OBM offers excellent opportunities to promote your business by hosting a partner event.

A partner event is an event hosted by your business, designed to provide information, practical skills or networking opportunities to people looking to start, operate or grow a small business. Events can be held in varying formats including presentations, workshops, information sessions, conferences, exhibitions, dinners and networking events or webinar format.

All events will be promoted by the Department of Business and the OBM media sponsors.

Further information about OBM can be found at or via OBM social media on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

Find out more about the Office of Asian Engagement, Trade and Investment

The Office of Asian Engagement, Trade and Investment (OAETI) lead international engagement for the Northern Territory Government.

The Northern Territory’s geographical proximity to Asia means we are well placed to connect with some of the world’s leading economies such as China and Japan.

Northern Australia is ideally positioned to capitalise on the opportunities that are emerging both here and abroad and one of the priorities of the division is to develop and maintain strong international relations and economic ties with priority Asian Countries. Asian countries are the Northern Territory’s leading trading partners. In 2013-14, Northern Territory exports sold into Asia were valued at over $5 billion.

The Northern Territory has a major infrastructure corridor of road, rail and pipelines stretching from the north to south and connecting possible new and existing gas resources. There is established infrastructure of 2500km of onshore gas pipelines and 500km offshore pipelines with additional 900km built offshore, by 2017. Darwin is fast growing as the Northern Australia’s key service and supply centre for the oil and gas sector. 

OAETI is part of the Department of Business team and works to promote Territory exports and business opportunities throughout Asia. This provides a platform for the Territory supply chain to network and connect with potential partners and promote capability of the Territory, attraction of investment and promotion of the Territory as an exciting place to live, work and invest.

Through a program of events and delegations, the OAETI works to create investment opportunities, promoting the Territory’s capabilities by attending interstate and international expos in key industry sectors such as mining and oil and gas. OAETI work to promote and improve local business capabilities through workshops to help businesses get ready for exporting.

OAETI also administers the Trade Support Scheme which provides financial assistance to Northern Territory-based organisations seeking to establish new or expanded export markets for their goods and services.

Another important part of the division’s role is to grow partnerships including diplomatic partnership arrangements, bilateral and trilateral arrangements to maintain and growth relationships with Asia and the United States.

The Territory Government showcases development opportunities through an investment opportunities guide and dedicated online portal

Territory Business Centres - your one stop shop for business

The Territory Business Centres are here to help your business to start, run and grow. They are the initial contact and referral point for starting a business, business and industry licence information, business planning assistance and government assistance program.

They provide a customer service facility delivering a diverse range of licensing and business information services on behalf of numerous Northern Territory Government departments. Territory Business Centres are located in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs and will soon open on the Tiwi Islands.

Territory Business Centres have recently increased the number of over the counter services to include High Risk Licences, Association Extracts and Copy of Certificates, Auctioneer Renewals, Machine Manager and Repairer Replacements, Minor and Major Lotteries Applications, Motor Vehicle Dealers Register, Private Security Upgrades and Replacements, Tobacco Replacement and Wholesale Liquor Renewals.

Territory Business Centres are currently reviewing its service delivery with the aim to reduce the time taken to issue licences to clients to deliver a streamlined licensing service that supports business and industry.

Are your workers appropriately licensed?

Workers who currently hold an OHS licence to operate forklifts, cranes, boilers and hoists or perform scaffolding or rigging work will need to upgrade their licence to a High Risk Work Licence before the 30 June 2015. 

The OHS licences previously issued in the Northern Territory will no longer be valid as national standards have been introduced that require a five year photograph licence.

The advancing technology in work places has meant skills need to be regularly upgraded; requiring a shift to the new competency based licensing system. The national system was adopted in the Northern Territory in 2010 and a progressive five year transition period has been in place to give licence holders time to upgrade their licence. The five year period ends on 30 June 2015.

OHS Licences issued before 1 January 2005 have now expired. OHS licences issued between 1 January 2005 and 30 June 2010 are still valid but will expire on 30 June 2015.

Valid OHS licences can be upgraded to a High Risk Work Licence by completing an application form and sending it to the Territory Business Centre. Workers with an expired licence will need to redo training and have their competency assessed by a High Risk Licensing Assessor before their licence can be reissued.

The licence application can be downloaded from the NT WorkSafe website.

Completed applications can be emailed to or lodged at one of the Territory Businesses Centre’s located across the Territory.

For further assistance on high risk work licences, please call Territory Business Centre on 1800 193 111.

Making progress on cutting red tape

The first progress report, released this month, outlines some of the improvements government has been making to reduce red tape.

The Northern Territory Government has been working hard to cut red tape and make working with government and doing business in the Territory simpler. Since 2012, almost 200 initiatives to reduce red tape have been completed or are underway across government, assisting all sectors of government to reduce costs and increase productivity.

Some examples of key reforms across government include:

  • a new, faster licensing decision-making structure; abolition of the NT Licensing Commission
  • creation of a single appeals tribunal (the NT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal) to replace approximately 35 boards and tribunals
  • Motor Vehicle Registry initiatives to reduce waiting times for inspections and registrations
  • a concurrent process for rezoning and development applications, reducing the approval time by three months.

The Department of Business has also introduced streamlined processing for high risk work licences which can now be processed over the counter at Territory Business Centres locations across the Territory saving applicants and their employers up to 20 days in processing time.

Reducing the regulatory burden and red tape impacting on business is a priority for the Northern Territory Government and reforms will continue to ensure doing business in the Territory is made simpler. 

Find your future workforce - exhibit at the Skills, Employment and Careers Expo

Hand-pick the best talent and invest in the future of your industry at the 2015 Skills, Employment and Careers Expo. 

Industry organisations, employers, employment service providers, higher education institutions, training providers, government agencies and other businesses are invited to register now to exhibit. The event will travel to Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine, Darwin and Nhulunbuy in August.

The Jobs Board at the Darwin and Alice Springs expos will provide Territory employers the opportunity to promote their current and future job vacancies for free and engage with job ready job seekers in an open careers and skills based forum. Find out who’s around town looking for jobs!

View the email version of the newsletter.

Last updated: 04 July 2018