Business bulletin: 24 September 2020

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Portrait shot of Shaun Drabsch

Recent changes to the Northern Territory Government Public Sector will help strengthen the Territory economy and place us firmly on the road to recovery.

The changes have a clear focus on growing the Northern Territory economy and bringing together related functions from a number of agencies to foster a greater deal of agility, flexibility and quicker decision making across government.

This has seen a new department created called the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, which I will lead.

This new department will support our key industries to grow including mining, defence, primary industries and international education.

The Territory’s tourism and hospitality industry is also a fundamental pillar of the Territory’s economy and a massive job creator. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on this industry. Our new agency also brings together tourism, hospitality, racing, gaming and licensing under one roof to create a stronger sector that will lead to a strong economic recovery.

Rounding out the new agency are our small business, jobs and training functions which focus on business growth and employment pathways for Territorians. In particular, ensuring there are training and job pathways for our young Territorians who are close to completing their education and entering an uncertain employment market.

Bringing these key functions together will help us achieve the government’s goal to create a $40 billion economy by 2030. To achieve this goal each of the key industry sectors need to grow.

At a time when Australia is in recession, and the full impacts of COVID-19 continue to be realised, there has never been a more important time to achieve this economic growth. If we succeed in reaching this goal, it will mean 35,000 new jobs in the Territory, and a strong economy that supports a safe and healthy environment for all Territorians.

I look forward to working with you.

CEO, Shaun Drabsch

October Business Month 2020, Territory Grown Roadshow, obm.nt.gov.au

This year October Business Month (OBM) will be a Territory grown affair, we are delivering a refreshed program delivered by locals for Territory small businesses.

We are also hitting the road in 2020, OBM will be delivered as a roadshow across Darwin, Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek regions in a symposium style format.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Territory businesses, especially those in hospitality, events, and entertainment and tourism industries.

To help businesses navigate through these unique economic challenges we are delivering a program that gives business owners, operators and employees access to our local experts and the latest practical business information and skills.

There will be a tourism component to the OBM roadshow call Tourism Connect.

Tourism Connect is an opportunity to learn more about the tourism business support program and meet one on one with Tourism NT representatives. The half day workshops will cover the Business Enterprise Program, tourism distribution development, regional planning as well as PR and social media tips.

The OBM program, which is packed with over 100 workshops will also include an exciting home-grown mixture of inspiring educational evens including keynote presentations, networking events and industry focused sessions.

Highlights include:

  • Platinum sponsor NAB are delivering a number of presentations highlighting the Economic Outlook for Australia and the Northern Territory, supporting small and medium enterprises and insights on the future of export markets
  • Merit Partners business resilience workshop - Swimming out of troubled waters
  • True North Communication workshops - Communicating through change and crisis communications
  • B2B Expo presented by Treeti – participants can book 15 minute one-on-one sessions with business organisations and service providers such as accountants, business advisers and lawyers.

While some aspects of OBM may have changed the foundations remain the same, OBM has supported small businesses for 26 years and will continue to provide access to events designed to inspire and grow Territory businesses.

October Business Month kicks off in Nhulunbuy on 1 October.

The OBM calendar is available online.

To check out what’s on and register for events in your region, go to the OBM website.

NT Training Awards winner being presented a trophy
Caption: Andrew Creber, Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year.

The Territory’s best and brightest within the vocational education and training sector have been recognised for their hard work and dedication as part of the 65th annual Northern Territory (NT) Training Awards.

It has been a challenging year for the skills and training sector due to COVID-19, however after receiving a record breaking number of nominations, 103 in total, the Territory has demonstrated it has the depth and experience to meet our current and future workforce needs.

Tradesman Andrew Creber, 44 from Darwin, a former auto-electrician who retrained as a diesel fitter with Hastings Deering took home the top individual honour, the Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year.

Andrew said watching Hastings Deering Caterpillar-trained tradies at work inspired him to undertake an apprenticeship with them.

“I said to myself I could do that with a bit of training, even if it meant becoming an apprentice again.”

“I chose Hastings Deering in Darwin as my preferred employer because of the company’s good reputation.”

His employer, Hastings Deering who is celebrating 88 years in business won the Medium Employer of the Year. The company provides world class training to Territorians covering everything from diesel fitting through Caterpillar equipment to systems training with former apprentices now working in America, Greece, Indonesia and Canada.

Dale Dhamarrandji, 25 who was raised in the remote Territory town of Gapuwiyak and is the first Yolngu apprentice to complete a heavy diesel apprenticeship at Rio Tinto’s Gove operations, took home the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award.

“Being the first Yolngu apprentice to have completed a heavy diesel apprenticeship at Rio Tinto’s Gove operations gives me a great sense of pride,” Dale said.

“I believe that by completing my apprenticeship at the mine workshop I have contributed to increasing the acceptance of Yolngu culture, and respect and understanding of cultural diversity within my team.”

Some of the award winners will now go on to represent the NT at the Australian Training Awards on 20 November.

Due to COVID-19 the National Awards will be broadcast online this year. For further updates on how you can view the 2020 Australian Training Awards, follow the NT Training Skills and Careers Facebook page.

View the full list of 2020 NT Training Award winners.

Business Hardship Package

The Business Hardship Package has been extended until 1 July 2021, to further support Territory businesses that have experienced significant hardship due to COVID-19.

Support is available to businesses with a turnover less than $50 million who can demonstrate a reduction of turnover of 30% or more due to COVID-19.

Once approved for the hardship register, you will receive a Business Hardship Certificate that you can use to access relevant concessions such as payroll tax, power and water bills, rents and rates being offered as part of the continuation of the Business Hardship Package.

Registration will enable businesses to apply for:

  • waiving or deferring payment of payroll tax
  • reducing power and water bills
  • providing incentives for commercial landlords to reduce rents
  • reducing or deferring rates, and
  • other relief which may be offered from time-to-time

For more information or to apply, go to Business Recovery website.

Plane taking off at sunset

A new report by Deloitte and the Industry Skills Advisory Council Northern Territory (ISACNT) has strengthened the case for an aviation skills centre to be established in the Territory.

The establishment of an aviation skills centre in the Northern Territory would support the growth of the sector, create a skilled workforce and build a stronger regional capability to retain the Territory’s population.

Small but significant steps have been made by industry and government towards this goal including Aviation Australia establishing an examination centre in Darwin. Apprentices no longer have to travel to Cairns to sit exams, saving industry and employer’s money and lost workplace productivity.

Currently, as part of vocational education and training delivered to secondary school there are 43 students studying a Certificate II in Aircraft Line Maintenance in both Alice Springs and Darwin. The program, which is delivered over 2 years is aimed at year 10 to 11 students and provides basic level knowledge and skills to perform a range of specified maintenance tasks on aircraft.

The school-to-work pathway enables students to take the first steps to a career within the aviation industry, leading to a future in an Aeroskills apprenticeships / traineeships or achieving a Civil Aviation Safety Authority Category A Aircraft Maintenance Engineer licence.

Despite the current challenges presented by COVID-19 the aviation sector and aerospace industries are still expected to undertake significant growth over the next decade.

The Territory’s geographic location, cultural diversity and space to grow provide ideal conditions for investment in training, targeting the needs of Asian markets such as aerospace skill development.

The aerospace industry is a significant contributor to the Territory’s growth sectors including agribusiness, tourism, energy and minerals, international education and training and defence.

The establishment of an aviation skills centre will showcase the Territory as an industry training hub for the region and Asia, acting as an enabler for private investment.

Maintenance and repair opportunities are also expected to grow with the Northern Territory Government investing $4.5 million into the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage Maintenance facility through the Local Jobs Fund.

Demand for the facility has increased dramatically due to the COVID-19 crisis, with international airlines looking to Alice Springs as the perfect place to store and maintain grounded aircrafts. The investment will increase the facility’s capacity and provide opportunities for targeted training and jobs in Central Australia.

To find out more and download a copy of the report, go to the ISACNT website.

Last updated: 24 September 2020

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