Business bulletin - 31 March 2016

Planting the seed

The TFS Corporation and the Northern Territory Government have celebrated the opening of the $3.5 million Sandalwood nursery in Katherine.

TFS is the world’s largest owner and manager of Indian Sandalwood and currently has 4,000 hectares planted across the NT, with plans to grow this to 10,000 hectares by 2,020.

TFS Chief Executive Officer Frank Wilson confirmed TFS had invested more than $200 million in the Katherine and Douglas Daly regions over five years.

"We now have more than 50 full-time staff in the Northern Territory and up to 200 casuals, all working in remote areas," Mr Wilson said.

"Under our growth strategy we estimate TFS will become the largest manufacturer in the NT, creating 200 full-time jobs, countless indirect employment opportunities and an annual export revenue that should exceed more than one billion dollars.

"The new nursery will assist in this growth by enabling TFS to collect improved seed stock from Territory grown Indian Sandalwood, germinating the seed and providing enough seedlings to plant up to 1,500 ha of Sandalwood a year across the Territory.

He said the company was working with pastoralists, Aboriginal land owners and the Territory Government to identify suitable land with available water in remote areas ready for development.

"Since receiving Major Project Status TFS has engaged Territory company HR Links to train and recruit local Indigenous workers for both the nursery and its plantations."

If TFS secures additional suitable land in the NT, it will make a decision whether to invest in building a pharmaceutical grade distillery, a project which would create a new export industry in the NT and build capacity for other pharmaceutical-based business and service providers.

Convention Centre at the Apex

The Darwin Convention Centre has been confirmed as one of 15 finalists in a globally recognised client-nominated award.

The International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) Apex Award has been recognising the 'Best Client Rated Convention Centre' for 20 years, with competitors ranked entirely on the basis of client rating.

Darwin Convention Centre General Manager, Janet Hamilton, said being a finalist for the Apex Award benchmarked the centre internationally.

"As a boutique world class convention centre in Australia’s Northern Territory, we are highly committed to providing exceptional customer service to our clients to ensure a memorable and successful conference experience", she said.

"Darwin is a new destination to many delegates, so we strive to offer a refreshingly unique Northern Australia experience including outstanding dining, first class service, exciting excursions and Indigenous cultural experiences."

The Apex Award winner will be announced at the 2016 AIPC Annual Conference in Nantes, France on 5 July.

Tiwi Islands Centurions Program

Northern Territory businesses are being offered a unique opportunity to support the next generation of apprentices on the Tiwi Islands.

The Hayden Reynolds Tiwi College Project’s apprenticeship program aims develop a local workforce by building sustainable careers in horticulture.

Students are able to develop their business  and administrative skills at the same time as learning sustainable farming practices at the Tiwi College Garden.

To date, donations have allowed the college to support four apprentices, with all graduates finding full-time employment since finishing the course in 2015.

This year the Hayden Reynolds Tiwi College Project has launched the Tiwi Centurions fundraising program, in conjunction with KPMG.

Dave Howie, a partner from KPMG in Darwin said the Tiwi Centurions Program is seeking the support of Territory businesses to reach the goal of supporting 10 apprentices by 2017.

"Businesses can support the program by becoming a Tiwi Centurion and pledging either $50 per month or a one off payment of $600 per annum. One hundred per cent of donations will go towards changing the lives of future generations of the Tiwi Islands."

"We are seeing real change in the Tiwi kids and that is really satisfying. Both KPMG and Macquarie have established strong in-house programs to enhance staff engagement on this project and these established platforms provide a great opportunity for NT businesses and their staff," Mr Howie said.

All proceeds are tax deductible and will go directly to providing each student with a uniform, salary and safety equipment for their apprenticeship.

To become a Tiwi Centurion, email Dave Howie on so he can put you on the quarterly newsletter distribution list, and then process your donation online by visiting

Further details of the Tiwi College Project is can be found at

Funding boost for NT tourism industry

The NT tourism industry is set to receive a major boost with a further $5 million being invested into new infrastructure.

The accelerator round comes on the back of this year's highly successful $4.75 million Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund, which received more than 210 applications for projects worth of total of $15.5 million.

The $5 million in funding is part of the government's $100 million 'Boosting our Economy' package and will allow local business to fast-track new projects through an accelerator round of the Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund.

This additional funding round will see a single grant category of up to $100,000. Projects eligible to be considered include:

  • development of visitor experiences that diversify the Territory’s tourism offering
  • infrastructure solutions to encourage new markets, and
  • value adding existing experiences with additional activities.

The program will take into account projects which demonstrate use of local suppliers to ensure flow-on benefits from the investment.

Applications close on Wednesday 13 April.

Grant guidelines, application forms and further information is available at

Job ready staff with a bonus

Businesses looking for experienced, reliable and flexible staff are being urged to hire mature aged workers through jobactive.

Mature age workers 50 years and over can attract a wage subsidy of up to $10,000 for employers who hire and retain them.

Local jobactive providers can recommend a shortlist of screened and job-ready mature age candidates, free of charge, through the Australian Government’s recruitment service.

More than 90 provider branches across the Northern Territory are listed on the jobactive website

Population distribution, Darwin 58%, Katherine 9%, West Arnhem 8%, East Arnhem 5%, Barkly 3%, Alice Springs 17% 

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Last updated: 04 July 2018