Our economy

Our Northern Territory economy has grown rapidly over the past 10 years on the back of a stream of major projects. Between 2005 to 2006 and 2015 to 2016, we’ve seen:

  • gross state product grow over 40%, from $16.2 billion to $23.6 billion
  • population increase 17%, to more than 245,000 people
  • workforce expand by 34,000 to over 140,000 workers.

The structure of the Northern Territory economy is unique. It is this uniqueness that provides our competitive advantage and massive potential.

How we will grow our economy

We will grow our economy through the following developmental levers: natural resources, people, capital, connectivity, enterprise and innovation, and liveability.

Natural resources Natural resources includes the land, flora, fauna, soils, water, minerals, oil, gas, waterways, inshore fisheries, coastal areas, the entire biomass in the Northern Territory, and our knowledge about these things. These resources are integral to the Territory’s economic growth and underpin priority industries, in particular agriculture, energy, mining and tourism.
People People have a two-fold impact on the economy - they are the consumers of goods and services and are the workforce that supplies labour and knowledge. For our economy to grow, we must increase our population and find ways to engage the future workforce. Helping people reskill, upskill and reinvent their jobs will be essential.
Capital Capital refers to different types of funding for businesses to invest in required technology, education, plant and equipment that support future growth. Capital also includes investment in the infrastructure that helps the economy function – road, rail, marine and air transport, pipelines, poles and wires, energy, water, buildings and telecommunications networks.
Connectivity Better connectivity is critical to ongoing economic growth to strengthen our supply chains to improve the movement of people, goods and information, as well as connect with people who may exchange information, buy our products and services, or help us build relationships and partnerships to develop and reach markets.
Enterprise and innovation Enterprise and innovation occurs when entrepreneurs, university and governments strive to improve the products and services they deliver. Innovative structures and management strategies can help unlock the latent economic potential of our economy.
Liveability A constant focus on improving liveability is important to promote the Northern Territory as an attractive place to live, work, study, visit, research and raise families. Unless we can convince other people of this, we will find it difficult to sustain a workforce that can support business growth and grow our population. A small population limits the range of choices available to Territorians and affects the cost of living and the cost of doing business.

Where we will focus

Independent analysis identified industries with significant global growth and demand in which the Northern Territory has a comparative advantage. Demand from Asia is the common driver of future growth:

  • Agribusiness: as people buy Australia’s fresh produce, including proteins
  • Tourism: as people seek space, nature, holidays, luxury and genuine cultural experiences
  • Energy and minerals: as more people move to cities, the Asian middle class keep expanding and countries seek to improve living standards
  • International education and training: as students seek to study in an English-speaking country.

Defence is also a historically important contributor to the Northern Territory economy, and will continue to provide significant opportunities in the future with national investments into defence and an increased presence of the United States and other allies.

Research identified additional sectors with smaller but significant opportunities for future economic development and employment growth, including tropical health and research, creative industries, renewable energy, environmental services, and human services.

It is those growth potential sectors that through trade and investment will bring additional wealth to our economy that will flow on to other sectors, including construction, retail, hospitality and services.

Last updated: 13 Jun 2017