Business bulletin - 16 November 2017


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Aerial view of Darwin City

A swag of multi-million dollar Northern Territory (NT) projects are to be put on show at a forum attended by major international and Australian investors.

A Northern Territory delegation including senior business and industry stakeholders will attend the Northern Australia Investment Forum in Cairns from 19 to 21 November.

The first Northern Australia Investment Forum was held in Darwin in 2015 and was considered a great success. More than 350 business leaders from over 20 countries gathered in Darwin to learn about the north and untapped investment opportunities.

The second forum will build on the recognition of northern Australia as an investment destination and focus on agribusiness and food, resources and energy and tourism infrastructure.

Luke Bowen, General Manager of Northern Australia Development and Trade, said the event would be a great opportunity to showcase attractive investment opportunities to an international audience.

He said the heads of many NT projects would be at the forum.

“There will be a lot of meetings between them and potential investors,” Mr Bowen said.

One of the enterprises on show will be the billion-dollar Sea Dragon aquaculture farm near Timber Creek.

Other projects include:

  • the massive Verdant Minerals phosphate project near Tennant Creek.
  • one of the world’s largest deposits of rare earths near Alice Springs being developed by Arafura Resources
  • a PNX Metals zinc-gold-silver project at Hayes Creek, 170 kilometres south-east of Darwin
  • Energy Renaissance’s plans for a $100 million lithium battery manufacturing plant at East Arm on the outskirts of Darwin, and
  • tourism and agricultural potential on the Tiwi Islands.

The Territory delegation will include senior public servants, who will inform investors about the environment, land tenure and legislation.

“Aboriginal businesses, native title matters and research will be strong features of the 2017 forum to ensure that long-term investors understand what research is being done in our tropics, and how the north will look in five to 10 years’ time, in terms of development and innovation,” Mr Bowen said.

“Investors will also be updated on investments which have taken place since the 2015 forum and what developments are being implemented.“

The 2017 forum is a collaborative event between the Australian Government and the governments of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The forum is led by Austrade and co-hosted by the Australian Government Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, and the Australian Government Minister for Tourism, Trade and Investment.

Tradesmen viewing plans

A new model for public housing maintenance is being rolled out across Greater Darwin, from February next year.

Under this new model, a preferred contractor will be responsible for all repair and maintenance work required on each household in an allocated zone.

Department of Housing and Community Development Chief Executive Officer Jamie Chalker said it will improve service delivery in the Greater Darwin region.

“This model will allow contractors to build relationships within their zone, as they take responsibility for all repairs and maintenance needed in households, as well as the majority of refurbishment of dwellings.

“This means the same personnel will be interacting with tenants, and the contractor will develop a good understanding of the properties within their zone,” Mr Chalker said.

There are more than 4,000 public housing properties in the Greater Darwin region.

Contractors will be divided across five zones, with a maximum of two to be allocated to a contractor.

The zones are: Darwin, Casuarina, Palmerston, Greater Palmerston and social housing.

The work will include refurbishments such as roof repairs, painting, upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, disability modifications and fence repairs.

Tenders are open now and close on 6 December, with work to begin in February 2018.

“The initial contract will be for twelve months, with an option to extend for a further twelve months to allow for further development of business processes leading up to the eventual release of tenders for a new, longer-term contract,” Mr Chalker said.

For further information go to Quotation and Tenders Online.

Small Business Champion Bill Murphy

Bill Murphy loves helping Territorians get the best out of their business.

His job is to run the Northern Territory Government’s popular Smarter Business Solutions program in the Top End.

The program supports business, Indigenous enterprises and not-for-profit organisations to adopt efficient and innovative technology and best practice to reduce energy, water and waste costs.

“A lot of business people don’t believe us when we tell them how much they can save on their power bills or how good the financial return is for energy efficiency improvements," Bill said.

“But they are delighted when their first bill arrives and they realise how much they’ve saved.

“We get a lot of satisfaction out of that.”

Bill, who works for the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation, has an enormous work 'patch' - everywhere north of Elliott, the tiny township 735 kilometres south of Darwin.

“Business people come to us because they want to know where they can make savings or if it’s worth their while upgrading their equipment, such as air-conditioning, lighting and fridges.

“They ask us to identify savings opportunities, suggest improvements and assess potential savings.”

Bill, whose family brought him to the Territory in 1966 when he was only six months old, is well qualified for his job - he is an electrician by trade, but also has a degree in IT and the equivalent of a diploma in electronics and communications.

He has also worked for the predecessors of the Power and Water Corporation and Charles Darwin University.

Bill’s role with Smarter Business Solutions includes carrying out site assessments, often on-site but sometimes through photographs and email for the more remote businesses, such as cattle station boreholes.

If you would like to discuss ways to improve the profitability, sustainability or capability of your business, call our small business champions team on 08 8999 5479.

NT Apprentice of the Year Tommy Moulds

NT Apprentice of the Year Tommy Moulds is a young man with big ambitions.

He has just qualified as an electrician after a four-year apprenticeship.

Tommy, 23, now wants to study project management, hazardous areas and instrumentation.

His long-term aim is to own his own electrical contracting company.

The Kupang-born Indonesian-Australian was this year named the Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year, the top prize in the NT Training Awards, which are staged by the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Trade, Business and Innovation.

He now goes to the national titles in Canberra next week.

Tommy works for Darwin-based electrical contracting company Electric NT, which specialise in the electrical side of the installation and maintenance of large air-conditioning systems.

Electric NT, which started in 2008, is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Russell and Janene Dansie.

“My apprenticeship was awesome,” Tommy said. “I learnt so much. The hands-on experience you gain from an apprenticeship gives you skills and knowledge for life.”

Tommy, who took his block release training at the new state-of-the-art Charles Darwin University Trade Centre, has a Certificate III in Electrotechnology.

He has obtained many other certificates, including Working at Heights, Working in Confined Spaces, First Aid, Advanced First Aid, LV Rescue, CPR, Test and Tag, and Elevated Work Platform.

“Good training is valuable for not only you but also your employer as being competent and confident in your work abilities ensures that you are multi-skilled and able to undertake any task asked of you.”

The owners of Electric NT said of Tommy: “Due to his diligence and skill levels, he is on his way to becoming a leading tradesmen and our main switchboard manufacturer."

To follow our NT finalist at the Australian Training Awards, go to the NT Training, Skills and Careers Facebook page

Group shot of the 2017 StudyNT Student Ambassadors

The StudyNT Student Ambassadors have spent the past year promoting the Territory as an international education and training destination.

These twenty international and Territory students successfully graduated from the 2017 StudyNT Student Ambassador Program earlier this month.

Ambassadors attended workshops and learnt valuable skills such as leadership, resume writing, interview techniques, public speaking, time management and social media management.

Student Ambassador Abhishek Lall said, “The program helped me gain confidence in my speech and presenting skills, which has helped me with my studies and looking for a future job.”

Ambassadors also had the opportunity to represent the Territory at functions and conferences. During the events, they would act as advocates for the NT and promote the Territory to a national and international audience.

“The program allowed me to fully engage with the student community and has given me so much exposure as a student,” Abhishek said.

International students bring with them cultural knowledge and skills vital to the growth of the NT’s economy and population.

Local businesses interested in employing international students can find out more in the StudyNT employers guide.

The international education and training sector generates $81 million per year to the Territory’s economy. The sector is also the tenth largest export earner and supports 450 local direct jobs.

For more information about the 2018 StudyNT Ambassador Program or international education and training in the Territory, go to the Study NT website or email

Last updated: 11 August 2020

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