Business bulletin - 14 December 2017


Bank of solar panels in a paddock

Territorians will be able to access energy-efficient initiatives for their homes through new 'Smart Energy' grants that will help lower the cost of living and create work for Territory businesses.

The Smart Energy grants were identified as an initiative in the Northern Territory (NT) Government’s Roadmap to Renewables report, which sets out a path for the NT to take advantage of job-creating opportunities from renewable energy.

The Smart Energy grants will be run through a voucher system on a 50-50 co-contribution basis for up to $1,000 to owners of residential or investment properties to undertake energy efficiency measures to their homes.

For approved eligible members of the NT pensioner and carer’s scheme, the co-contribution required will be 25% (instead of 50%), making it affordable to undertake improvements to their homes to be more energy efficient.

All works must be either a new renewable energy source, the replacement of a non energy-efficient fixture with an energy-efficient one, or an electricity management device, and can include:

  • installation of solar PV system
  • installation of batteries connected to a solar system
  • installation of a solar or energy efficient pool pump
  • installation or replacement of a solar hot water system
  • energy efficient lighting replacement
  • energy efficient air-conditioner replacement (including reverse cycle systems)
  • energy efficient electric heat pump hot water system or pool pumps
  • installation of smart meters / energy monitoring devices.

All works must be completed by an eligible Territory business. The vouchers will be available from Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Daniel Logan and Anthony Pizanias, recipients of a BISI grant and voucher

Territory businesses with innovative ideas can take their projects to the next level with support from the Business Innovation Support Initiatives (BISI) program.

The BISI program includes vouchers of up to $25,000 and round base competitive grants of up to $60,000 to commercialise innovations - round five grants are now open.

The program supports Territory entrepreneurs and businesses to start research, undertake feasibility studies, build prototypes and develop trials.

There were 11 successful applicants from the last round of BISI grants - all excellent examples of the wide range of innovative ideas and products being helped through the program.

Projects included the development of apps, a gamification prototype project, development of management tools and tracking systems and the commercialisation of a personal safety device.

Daniel Logan and Anthony Pizanias, who both gained commerce degrees at Charles Darwin University, used their BISI grant and voucher to develop a ride-sharing app, Mobi.

Their car pooling app helps commuters travel together in a more environmentally friendly and social way and provides an alternative to public transport, it could revolutionise commuting.

“The grant and voucher made this possible,” says Daniel. “We couldn’t have done it otherwise.”

Round five grants close on Wednesday 18 April 2018.

Businesses may also apply for the innovation voucher scheme which is open all year round.

Applicants for the vouchers who successfully acquit a supported project can then apply for additional vouchers to develop the idea.

For more information call 08 8999 6643 or email

Information sessions for the BISI program will be held across regional centres early in the new year.

Prawn perched on a hand

A major milestone has been reached in the development of the world’s largest aquaculture project.

The Northern Territory Government has granted Seafarms Group Limited an aquaculture licence for its Core Breeding Centre and Broodstock Maturation Centre at the Sea Dragon project in Bynoe Harbour.

The breeding and broodstock maturation centre is a key part of Project Sea Dragon. The centre will see the selection and development of high-performing broodstock for the hatchery, before the stock is moved to the grow-out facility at Legune Station.

Seafarms Director Dr Chris Mitchell said that the awarding of the licence demonstrates another milestone in project approvals.

“The commercial aquaculture licence is one of several significant approval milestones that have been met over the past 24 months and demonstrates further progress in the project achieving its secondary approvals,” he said.

“Project Sea Dragon has the potential to be a US$1.5 billion project earning in excess of AU$3 billion in export revenue and we are pleased it has the full support of the Northern Territory Government.”

At full scale Project Sea Dragon has the potential to create around 1,500 jobs in northern Australia, including 700 jobs for local people on the ground at Legune Station, 300 jobs at a Darwin‐based hatchery and breeding facilities and 500 jobs in Kununurra.

Julie Dixon, Economic Development Officer with the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation

Judith Dixon is passionate about supporting local business and industry in Central Australia.

She is an economic development officer with the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation, based in Alice Springs

Her job is to work with organisations, industry and government agencies to assist with policy, program and project development that will benefit Central Australia.

“Organisations and individuals sometimes don’t know who to connect to when they want to develop a project or initiative, and often are not sure who to connect with and how to navigate government.

“At the Central Australia Development Office we pride ourselves on offering a one-stop service,” Judith explained.

Economic development officers work closely with the small business champions team to engage in economic development opportunities that will benefit both business and the Territory economy.

“I enjoy working with project proponents who are innovative and creative in their thinking and who are passionate about the town and the region.

“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing projects and initiatives that I have contributed to come to fruition, making Alice Springs more prosperous and vibrant through population growth and job creation.”

To speak with an economic development officer please call 08 8951 5785 or email

Map of proposed Barneson Boulevard

The tender for the construction of the $39.5 million Barneson Boulevard has been released.

The project will deliver a connection between Tiger Brennan Drive and the CBD, and finalise the duplication of Tiger Brennan Drive between Dinah Beach Road and McMinn Street.

The construction of the Barneson Boulevard and Tiger Brennan Drive stage three project is expected to support approximately 80 jobs over the life of the project, and will also support further economic development in the Darwin CBD through improved road infrastructure.

The new Barneson Boulevard will reduce pressure on other CBD roads and provide commuters with another option to enter and exit the CBD.

It will also provide an attractive and modern entry to the city that showcases Darwin's tropical appeal and further promotes its potential as Australia's northern capital and gateway to Asia.

Two industry briefings will be held and a number of addendums will be released to confirm a number of design aspects.

The tender will close in February 2018.

The Australian Government has committed $29.5 million to the Barneson Boulevard and Tiger Brennan Drive stage three project, with the Northern Territory Government and City of Darwin each committing a further $5 million.

Innovation grants now open, apply now,

Last updated: 07 July 2020

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