Business bulletin - 10 August 2017


Oil platform in the ocean

Leading industry figures will speak at what many in business consider the most important event on the Northern Territory calendar: the three-in-one NT Resources Week.

Speakers will range from minerals explorers to the heads of international gas companies, from world-class economists to Defence support experts.

The event will be in three parts - South East Asia Australia Offshore and Onshore Conference (SEAAOC), Mining the Territory, and Building the Territory.

SEAAOC is northern Australia’s largest and longest-established petroleum conference. It provides local industry an opportunity to connect with their national and international counterparts and discuss key oil, gas and petroleum developments across northern Australia and South East Asia.

The Northern Territory Government is supporting a service and supply display booth to give NT based SMEs the opportunity to showcase their goods and services and network with key decision makers of major companies operating in our region.

Darwin based company Winnellie Hydraulics has attended NT Resources Weeks for the past five years.

Managing Director Max Nicholson said “It’s a good networking opportunity for Territory businesses and an excellent showcase for local capability.

“If there’s a major project in the pipeline or on the go, big companies can look at what local business can do.”

Mining the Territory is northern Australia’s leading mining conference. The conference will provide attendees up to date information about current mining exploration, investment and development.

Building the Territory will once again focus on the economic outlook for the Northern Territory, government and private investment, opportunities for growth and updates on major committed, planned and proposed construction projects.

NT Resources Week will be held from 16 to 17 August 2017 at the Darwin Convention Centre.

For more information, go to

Potrait photo of Ross Nowland

Ross Nowland is dedicated to helping small businesses in the some of the remotest parts of the Territory.

He is a Northern Territory Government Small Business Champion, part of a specialist band whose job it is, to advise small business owners on how they can get help.

“We can help them access a huge range of programs to benefit their companies,” said Ross. “Business people are often too busy to investigate where they can get help. We’ll do it for them. We help them connect with the right people.”

Ross covers the area south of Alice Springs to the South Australian Border and his colleague Joel Liddle, has the area north of Alice Springs to just below Tennant Creek. Two other small Business Champions focus on businesses based in Alice Springs.

Ross said “People tend to think there’s nothing much outside of Alice. In fact, there are lots of business people, working hard to make a living. They are incredibly innovative. They are vital to supporting the regional economy and remote communities.”

The businesses include tourist operations, cattle stations, roadhouses and service delivery firms.

Some are reasonably large, but most are sole traders or husband-and-wife teams.

Ross works closely with Australian Government agencies, such as Indigenous Business Australia, NT Government departments and the Central Land Council.

He specialises in helping startups access government aid programs and is able to assist with the application to help pay for expert advice and support.

Companies are encouraged to access the Overview Program, which includes a thorough assessment by a consultant.

“Our aim is to provide remote businesses with the same opportunities as businesses in town,” he said.

Ross and other Small Business Champions are also supporting the government’s strong Buy Local policy by identifying NT companies that can either win contracts themselves or do the work in partnership with larger operators.

“We want people to realise that they don’t have to go interstate to get a job done. There are many quite capable people here in the Territory.”

Ross, who has worked for the NT Government for more than 30 years, enjoys every minute of his job.

“I love the diversity of it - getting out to meet amazing people who are making a go of it.”

His latest job is helping a Mutitjulu woman set up a business at Uluru.

She employs other Aboriginal people to show tourists something they all love - their own country.

If you would like to discuss ways to improve the profitability, sustainability or capability of your business, contact the Small Business Champions team on 08 8999 5479.

Photo of Cian McCue with a video camera

Cian McCue is proud to be an Indigenous Australian and proud to be a business owner.

But he looks forward to the day when the two words - Indigenous and business - are not linked.

“It’s great to see so many Indigenous-owned companies flourishing,” he said. “But we’ve got to be honest - Indigenous people are still well behind the eight ball in the world of business.

“We all want to see that change, we want more Indigenous people to go into business. And I hope one day people won’t feel the need to even say whether a business is Indigenous owned or not.”

Mr McCue recognises that day is some time off.

He is one of four ambassadors for the 8th Indigenous Economic Development Forum, which is a premier event during October Business Month and will be held at the Darwin Convention Centre on 23 and 24 October.

“The forum is about empowerment. I’m looking forward to the networking opportunities and talking to other Indigenous business owners about their companies.”

Mr McCue owns Darwin-based Moogie Down Productions, which specialises in graphic design and video production, particularly training and educational videos.

He founded the business in early 2015 and, like all entrepreneurs, found the going tough at first.

“But word of mouth in Darwin is second to none and after you’ve done a good job for one client, the work starts coming in.”

The forum is being staged by the Northern Territory Government, which is committed to Developing the North and maintains that Indigenous socioeconomic development is central to the long term, sustainable growth of the NT.

It is recognised as one of the largest Indigenous economic development events in Australia.

The forum will provide a platform to enhance discussions held between Indigenous businesses and other stakeholders during the recent Economic Summit series.

It will focus on building on Indigenous involvement in Northern Australia initiatives and providing opportunities for Indigenous businesses to establish connections with other businesses.

The forum will include a business expo, giving business owners the opportunity to showcase their products and capabilities.

The theme of this year’s forum is The North is our Economic Story.

For more details on the forum and to register or become a sponsor, contact event organiser Agentur on 08 8981 2010 or

Photo of the HIQA staff infront of their office building

Luke Myall has an inspiring rule at work - everybody (and, yes, that includes himself) must always be in training.

The “never stop learning” philosophy has helped build a happy, go-ahead team at Darwin-based HiQA Geotechnical, which was named Northern Territory Telstra Business of the Year last month and is now a finalist in the medium business category of the NT Training Awards.

“We give our staff the chance to better themselves,” said company owner Luke Myall. “They appreciate that. We want to see everybody improve.”

The company’s core business is testing construction materials, such as concrete and asphalt.

It’s a highly specialised profession, which makes recruiting staff particularly challenging.

“We don’t have trained people knocking at the door,” said Mr Myall. “We have to work hard and intelligently to get the right people.”

Some HiQA team members are taken in at entry level - in other words, they don’t have any specialist qualifications.

“We have a robust interview and recruitment process,” said laboratory branch manager Matthew Dunkley. “All our questions are targeted towards finding a ‘values match’ - people who we feel will work well towards the company’s mission.”

The firm has had a string of standout training successes, including construction materials technician Jim Acton, who is a NT Trainee of the Year finalist.

HiQA has 44 full-time equivalent team members.

Yebna Quarries, which quarries sand and rock at Acacia and Humpty Doo, is another training awards finalist.

The company, a nominee in the Small Employer of the Year category, has nine core staff and employs casual workers.

Manager Keith Joy said Yebna placed great emphasis on recruiting Territorians and training them.

“We offer our staff the chance to better themselves,” he said. “They get great personal satisfaction from training for a job demanding greater skill - and, of course, they get more pay.

“It’s good to see people moving up the ladder.”

Half the staff took a Certificate III in Surface Extraction last year and one is expected to go on to a Certificate IV this year.

Yebna owner Darren McKenna, who won a lucrative sand and rock supply contract with the INPEX led Ichthys project, has found that offering his workers training improves productivity and customer service.

The NT Training Awards are organised by the NT Government’s Department of Trade, Business and Innovation.

Winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the Darwin Convention Centre on 23 September 2017.

A lady with students discussing career options

Thousands of Territorians are expected to visit the NT-wide Skills, Employment and Careers Expo in August.

The expo is a one-stop-shop for anyone seeking to explore tertiary studies, training, job and career options.

It’s also the perfect opportunity for employers to engage with future employees, hand-pick the best talent for their positions and showcase what they have to offer.

One of the most popular features at the Darwin and Alice Springs Expos, the digital jobs board, is back.

Job seekers can view the job listings at the expo on their smart phones and other devices to email, print and apply for positions on the day.

Another highlights will be Try a Skill, which gives people the opportunity to ‘have a go’ at a range of occupations. Participants are guided through fun hands on activities by industry experts allowing them to discover the different types of skills required in a large variety of trades.

The expo starts in Alice Springs on 21 August, travels up through Tennant Creek, Katherine and Darwin before ending in Nhulunbuy on 1 September.

All events are free.

For more information please visit Skills, Employment and Careers Expo.

careers expo banner image with expo datets

Last updated: 10 July 2019

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