Business bulletin - 9 June 2016

Home improvements rolling

Home Improvement Scheme 

Homeowners and businesses have embraced the Home Improvement Scheme, which opened to voucher applications last weekend.

The scheme gives homeowner-occupiers a voucher of up to $2,000 to go towards minor home improvements, repairs and maintenance with the homeowner contributing at least the same amount.

The vouchers are only available for work undertaken using small local businesses which satisfy the definition of a Territory Enterprise at the date of the budget announcement.

More than 500 businesses had applied to register by last weekend, when the scheme opened to homeowners to start applying for vouchers. Another two hundred have applied since then.

Mel Berard from Paving the Way said things were already picking up.

“We registered about two weeks ago and we’ve done a number of quotes already. Things have been really quiet so that’s great,” she said.

“It’s a good sales point as well. Now we can say ‘We’re registered, how about you save yourself a bit of money here,’ and people start thinking about what they could do. For us it’s a big winner.”

She said she expected things to ramp up even more from now.

“Once people start registering it’ll pick up even more. There are still people who are just finding out about it.”

It is estimated the $20 million spend could generate as much as $67 million in direct and flow-on economic activity, providing a boost to small, construction-related businesses and sole traders over the next year.

To register or find out more visit

Until next year…

Open Territory, collage of event images 

The inaugural Open Territory program of events has been declared an overwhelming success with more than 65,000 people attending 154 events from March to May 2016.

This year’s program of events included expos, guest speakers, forums, workshops, conferences and sporting and cultural events across the Territory.

Open Territory showcased Territory businesses across an array of industry sectors, giving small to medium enterprises and local entrepreneurs an opportunity to raise their profiles and strengthen business to business relationships.

A highlight was the attendance of international and interstate delegates seeking to explore trade prospects, and to strengthen political, economic and cultural engagement within our region.

They were attracted to events including the first Red Carpet Investor Forum, the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-The Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Ministerial Meeting and the inaugural Regional Australia-Asia Chambers Forum.

More than 8,500 people attended the first Territory Taste Festival to sample the best food and drink on offer from the Territory. The two-day festival showcased Territory businesses, suppliers and industry with cooking demonstrations from local, national and internationally renowned chefs and organisers.

The Business Technology Conference and Expo was a hit offering a glimpse of the future and exhibiting a range of IT solutions to help propel local businesses to the next level.

Local businesses and not-for-profits from a wide range of industry sectors took to the Territory Expo to peddle their wares.

The 17th Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar and Alice Springs Mining Service Expo saw industry access the latest in exploration ideas and geoscientific data on the Territory’s minerals, oil and gas resources.

A big thank you to the Northern Territory business community and residents, as well as interstate and international representatives who supported Open Territory. The program will return in 2017.

Hello Singapore!

Portrait shot of Anthony Cheng

Photo: NT representative Anthony Cheng

The Northern Territory has added to its presence in Asia with the announcement of a new representative based in Singapore.

Former banker and investment specialist Anthony Cheng will take up the role, bringing the Territory a step further in building its footprint in Asia.

Director General of Office of Asian Engagement, Trade and Investment Jeff McAlister said Singapore was a strategic location for a second overseas office.

 “Mr Cheng’s appointment shows the Northern Territory is serious about making connections in Singapore, which is a significant current and potential investment partner for the Territory, as well as a regional trading hub,“ Mr McAlister said.

“Our representative will be placed within the Australian Trade and Investment Commission office in Singapore, giving him access to Austrade’s regional and global network,” he said. “This is part of a cohesive approach by the NT and Australian governments.”

“Mr Cheng’s experience in corporate and international investments position him perfectly for this role and for growing business links across the region, including Malaysia, which is a long-standing trade and investment partner for the Northern Territory,” he said.

The appointment adds to the NT’s current presence in Indonesia through representative Mark Bruny, and supports the Asian Engagement Trade and Investment Strategic Plan released last year.

Speaking of investment…

Ariel view of Darwin Waterfront with the CBD in the background 

The Northern Territory’s InvestNT team has been strengthened in response to increasing overseas interest in investing in the Territory.

InvestNT is the NT Government’s one-stop-shop for investors looking to do business in the Territory, recognising the critical importance of attracting more investment for the Territory’s future economic growth. 

Major deals last year across the infrastructure, agribusiness and tourism sectors saw the Territory overtake South Australia as a destination for Chinese investment.

The InvestNT team now comprises four dedicated investment specialists, led by Chris Mouat a former senior finance ANZ Bank executive who is fluent in Mandarin and has deep experience in the Chinese and Indian investment markets.

“InvestNT has a strong portfolio of Territory investment projects to put in front of foreign and Australian investors, but we would like more,” Mr Mouat said. “We are keen to hear from any Territory company with a solid investment proposal or if it’s a great commercial idea that needs shaping into a proposal, InvestNT are keen to see how we can assist.

“We will then work with proponents to help connect them with relevant investors looking for opportunities in the Territory.”

InvestNT delivers a strong program of two-way visits and events with priority Asian investor markets such as Japan, China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and, increasingly, India. 

If you are seeking capital to grow your business and are interested in taking part in this program, please contact Chris Mouat at

NT WorkSafe Big Rivers Football competition 

Group shot of Big Rivers Football League players 

Photo: Katherine Times

The message of safety at work is heading to the Katherine region as NT WorkSafe takes up naming rights sponsorship of the Big Rivers Football League (BRFL) for the next three years.

Executive Director Stephen Gelding said the footy was a good context for raising awareness of work health and safety, with young men the most likely to get injured at work.

“NT WorkSafe data shows people between15 and 35 accounted for almost half the workers compensation claims in the NT last year, with men constituting the majority of claims.

“This is significant considering the majority of the players in the BRFL are also in the 15 to 35 age range and male, Mr Gelding said.

“The partnership is a great opportunity to raise awareness of workplace health and safety and educate the players about the impact workplace injuries can have on and off the field.”

“I encourage all Territorians to take workplace safety as seriously as you take your footy. Accidents and injuries in the workplace are easily avoided if appropriate care is taken by both workers and employers,” he said. 

This is the first time the local competition has had a naming right sponsor and from 2016 to 2018 the tournament will be renamed NT WorkSafe Big Rivers Football League.

AFLNT Katherine Regional Manager, Eamon Rice said The Big Rivers Football League is delighted to have NT WorkSafe on board.

"As we all know, workplace health and safety is an everyday facet of our lives. Their message is a positive one which is just as relevant to our community as any,” he said.

For more information about how you can improve safety in the workplace visit

NT WorkSafe, Safety inspectors: number of education sessions conducted since July 2105 = 225

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Last updated: 25 October 2018