Business bulletin - 4 August 2016

Jemena Warchest

Photo: Map of NT

Northern Territory small businesses can build their capability to competitively tender for work on the Northern Gas Pipeline, thanks to an agreement between the NT Government and the project proponent.

The Department of Business and Jemena have signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to maximise the use of local goods, services and labour on the project.

The Agreement establishes a SME Business Investment Fund for eligible businesses to grow their capabilities to competitively tender for work and build broader business capacity.

Eligible businesses will be able to access Jemena’s $500,000 fund to undertake the Department’s Business Growth Program, from now until around the commencement of the NGP.

Along with existing government funding, this co-contribution reduces the cost for businesses to nil.
Jemena is also working with the Department on the Northern Gas Pipeline Regional Employment Plan to support the identification and creation of employment opportunities in the NT.

To find out more about accessing the SME Business Investment Fund, please contact a Business Development Officer from the Department of Business on (08) 8999 5479 or email

Home Improvement Scheme

Photo: Man mixing for roofing installation

Territory tradies and small businesses are on a roll with over $10 million in work generated from the Home Improvement Scheme.

Under the scheme, Territory homeowner-occupiers can apply to receive vouchers of up to $2,000 to go towards minor home improvements, repairs or maintenance works on the condition they use registered, local small businesses or tradies and contribute at least the same amount.

Steve Ford, owner of Darwin-based Roofseal NT, said his business had seen a significant increase in work since the scheme was introduced on 5 June.

“It was quiet earlier this year but we have seen a positive uptake in business and people are spending,” Mr Ford said.

He said the scheme had kept work flowing.

“Since the Home Improvement Scheme was introduced we have more than doubled our intake of work,” Mr Ford said.

There are now over 1000 businesses listed on the website for homeowners to use across the Territory.

In the eight weeks since applications from homeowners opened, 1,560 vouchers with a total value of over $2,740,060 million have been issued. Each day, a further 50 to 70 applications are received as homeowners take full advantage of the program.

With an average job value of $5,400 the scheme has provided a significant boost to the local economy by generating more than $10 million in work.

Key statistics as at 2 August:

  • Number of approved vouchers – 1,558
  • Number of vouchers yet to be assessed – 160
  • Value of vouchers issued – $2,740,060
  • Average turn-around for vouchers to be approved – under 5 working days
  • Number of vouchers redeemed – 138
  • Value of vouchers redeemed – $230,967
  • Average turn-around for business to receive payment of voucher – under 15 days

For more information, terms and conditions or to register for the Home Improvement Scheme visit

Training Commission

Photo: Training Commission, man teaching skills

The nine Territorians who will help shape the future of the Territory’s vocational education and training (VET) sector have been announced, with appointments to the newly-established NT Training Commission unveiled last week.

The Commission has been established as one of the steps towards modernising the VET sector and ensuring Territorians are skilled to capitalise on opportunities and jobs.

It will promote VET in the Northern Territory, provide high level strategic advice to the Minister and produce a vocational education and training investment framework and an annual investment plan.

Members have been chosen for their ability to effectively represent industry more broadly across the Northern Territory, rather than to represent a particular sector. They will serve for up to three years, with four serving for two and five serving for three years to ensure continuity of business and corporate knowledge.

The Commission members are:

Andrew Bruyn (Chair)
As General Manager of Channel Nine Darwin since 1991, Mr Bruyn is a long-standing member of the business and media community. Mr Bruyn is the current chair of the interim Northern Territory Employment and Training Authority (NTETA) Advisory Board and is the Northern Territory’s representative on the Australian Industry and Skills Committee.

Annette Gillanders (Deputy Chair)
Ms Gillanders has thirty years’ experience in industry and in the vocational education and training sector, including training and lecturing, as well as previously running a registered training organisation. She is currently Program Director with BizNorth.

Peter Barclay
As Director of Barclay Builders, Peter is a long-standing businessman with four decades of experience in the housing and construction sector. He is currently a member of the NTETA Advisory Board.

Greg Bicknell
Mr Bicknell is CEO of the NT Chamber of Commerce, and has overseen the employment, education and training advisory program within the Chamber for the past four years. He also has past involvement with the NT Employment and Training Authority.

Wayne Kraft
Mr Kraft is a longstanding member of the hospitality sector and current member of the NTETA Advisory Board.

Neilia Ginnane
Ms Ginnane has extensive industry experience in areas including construction, safety, aviation, local government, hospitality, not-for-profit associations and vocational education and training. She is currently Executive Director of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) NT.

Pamela Jape
As Operations Director with Jape Group Australia and International, Ms Jape has extensive business experience in the NT and overseas, including Timor Leste. 

Stephen Schwer
Mr Schwer has extensive background in tourism and hospitality, with strong VET experience and qualifications including experience in training organisations. He is currently Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Central Australia. 

Neil Hallagan
Mr Hallagan is a Fellow of Engineers Australia with 40 years of director and senior management level experience in construction, mining and material supply industries in Australia and USA. He is currently CEO of the Civil Contractors Federation NT.
The NT Training Commission members will take up their appointments in the coming weeks.

Northern Exposure

Photo: NT Representative Anthony Cheng

Photo: NT Representative in Singapore Anthony Cheng

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Office of Asian Engagement, Trade and Investment hosting some key visitors from the north.

The NT’s representative in Singapore has just completed a week-long familiarisation visit, to get to know some key stakeholders in the NT.

Former banker and investment specialist Anthony Cheng took up the Singapore representative role in early May, with a goal of building on existing Singaporean and Malaysian investment in the NT and supporting NT companies operating in Singapore and Malaysia.

Drawing on his background in private equity investment facilitation in both Singapore and Malaysia, he is progressing NT efforts to connect companies with investment project proponents.

Also visiting last week were three Timorese trade and investment specialists, who worked alongside their Territory counterparts as part of a cooperative approach to capability building between the Northern Territory and Timorese governments.

The two-week skills-intensive was aimed at enhancing the Timor-Leste government’s capacity to attract investment and advance future interests.

The Department of Business hosted Ezequiel Babo, Silverio Freitas and Francisco Neto from TradeInvest Timor-Leste at the Office of Asian Engagement Trade and Investment in Darwin.

Their visit included briefings by the Office and various departments, talks with the NT Chamber of Commerce as well as industry representatives and site visits.

Territory businesses interested in getting exporting to or attracting investment from Asia can contact the Office of Asian Engagement, Trade and Investment for free specialist advice on doing business in the region. Phone (08) 8999 5329 or email

Positioning Your Business for Success

Photo: Gove

Gove based contractors and tradies looking to position themselves to win more projects in East Arnhem are invited to attend an upcoming forum in Nhulunbuy.

Hosted by Developing East Arnhem Limited (DEAL) and the Department of Business, the forum seeks to help businesses make themselves more competitive.

DEAL CEO Carley Scott said forums like 'Positioning Your Business for Success' are important to the local business community.

“They keep businesses informed about recent developments and provide an insight to the future with what projects are coming up. Businesses who attend are also able to take away the latest in strategies and tactics to give them the best possible opportunity to be competitive in an evolving environment.”

The forum will cover a range of topics including strategic tendering, partnering, capability statements, an overview of Buy Local and Business Growth programs.

Participants will explore opportunities to partner both within and outside the region, and look at how they can improve capacity to undertake more complex and large scale projects.

Speakers at the forum include representatives from several NT Government departments, Rio Tinto Alcan and the keynote provided by a strategic tendering consultant. An opportunity to network with speakers and other industry participants is also provided.

“We hope the forum can assist local companies position themselves to win more contracts through a greater understanding of the environment they are competing in, the policies that establish the tendering ground rules and an up-to-date toolkit of methods to help secure new business,” Ms Scott said.

Forum Details:

Venue: Gove Country Golf Club, Restaurant area, Golf Club Rd, Nhulunbuy
Date: Wednesday 17th August
Time: 11:30 – 2pm
By COB Friday 12 August, or contact Tom Foster on (08) 8987 0564 or by email
Cost: No charge event entry, lunch, tea and coffee, sandwiches provided.

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Last updated: 04 July 2018