Our unique advantage

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 2015–16, 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.

  • We’ve space and capacity to grow - we’ve one per cent of Australia’s population living on one sixth of its land mass with significant distances between our population centres. There are considerable land, water, and mineral resources providing green-field development opportunities. We also have remarkable natural landscapes, such as the heritage listed Kakadu.
  • Territorians are experts in the opportunities available in tropical, arid and remote locations. We’re innovative and self-reliant, with broad skills and a unique outlook created through necessity. 

  • Our cultural  diversity brings strength - almost 30% of the Territory’s population is Aboriginal compared to the national average of three per cent, and Aboriginal Territorians are significant land owners and custodians of the land and coastline.
  • About 50% of the Territory’s land mass and about 80% of the coastline is inalienable Aboriginal freehold granted under Commonwealth legislation, the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, with much of the balance subject to exclusive or non-exclusive native title, as recognised by the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1994.

    Aboriginal Territorians, the perspectives they bring, the land and resources they own, and the unique opportunities they pursue, are a key driver and partner in the Territory’s economic future. 

  • We’re close to Asia - and we have strong relationships with our northern neighbours. There are 24 million people within five hours south of the Northern Territory and 400 million people within five hours north.
  • We have a strong comparative advantage in industries that produce products in high demand in Asia, and there are promising opportunities to grow the international education sector, tourism, mineral, gas, petroleum, fisheries and agricultural resources. 

  • We’re young and growing - the rest of Australia may have benefited from more than 200 years of development and industrialisation, but the Territory is in the exciting position of learning from that development, with significant opportunities to pioneer the sustainable growth and development needed by the world right now. 
  • Our governments have strong track records - in a young regional economy, Territory governments have a history of strategic investments in transformative infrastructure.

Past Northern Territory governments have made strategic investments in critical infrastructure and services such as the Port of Darwin, the AustralAsia Railway, the Darwin and Alice Springs Convention Centres and Charles Darwin University. These investments have made an important economic, cultural, intellectual and social contribution, and helped attract people and private sector investment to the Territory.

Territory governments have also facilitated major private sector investments, such as Ichthys - the largest overseas investment ever made by Japan and France.

Last updated: 27 Jun 2017