Progress report 2 - October 2019

Our economic future

Increasing private sector investment to grow Territory jobs

Chief Minister's foreword

The Northern Territory (NT) Government, along with our partners and other stakeholders, continue to progress the actions and objectives of the NT Economic Development Framework (EDF).

This is the second progress report on the EDF. It provides the current status of each project identifying those that have been completed, those that are now integrated as established practice, and those that are in progress.

It also identifies projects that have continued to transform in our dynamic operating environment, and showcases our latest initiatives to increase investor confidence, leverage private sector investment and create jobs, and improve the Territory’s economic future.

The Hon Michael Gunner MLA
Chief Minister of the Northern Territory

Completed projects

There has been continued progress on delivering EDF projects and actions, both at an industry and overall economy level.

Highlights include:

  • The NT Government announced a $400 million partnership with the Paspaley Group to build the largest ship lift in northern Australia.
  • The Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture released the NT Tourism Industry 2030 Strategy in September 2019.
  • Completed the third year revision of the 10-year Infrastructure Plan.
  • The release of the NT Business Innovation Strategy to encourage, drive and adopt innovation.
  • The Digital Territory Strategy was released in October 2018.
  • Developed an enhanced Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA mark II).
  • In partnership with Regional Economic Development Committee’s, co-developed regional economic development plans that identify priority projects and policies to enable future economic growth in the regions.
  • Through Turbocharging Tourism - there were 76,000 holiday bookings, 43% higher than the set target of 53,000.
  • Established the Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserve Policy Framework and passage of supporting legislation.
  • Silk Air increased frequency to daily flights on the Singapore to Darwin route from July 2019.
  • Designed new environmental protection legislation to come into effect in mid-2020.
  • The Coastal and Marine Management Strategy and implementation plan was released in September 2019.

23 projects, 39 actions

Established practice

A number of EDF projects and actions have been integrated with government’s existing practice and are either currently being delivered, or have been delivered, and will continue to generate benefits for the NT.

Highlights include:

  • A continued strong Developing the North focus, including an agreement with the Australian Government and other jurisdictions to develop a new five-year Northern Australia Development Plan.
  • A number of sites with high development potential have been identified and are being managed as priority development zones, including the Katherine Logistics and Agribusiness Hub.
  • Consultation has commenced on the 2020 NT Government facilitated investment project pipeline.
  • The Department of Corporate and Information Services has finalised the 2019 Digital Territory Action Plan.
  • Continued to deliver a range of initiatives to increase productivity and profitability of primary industry sectors, including proof of concept trials for new crops, including cotton.
  • The Department of Education continues to work with identified community schools, students and families to effectively plan and prepare for a residential secondary experience, through the Transition Support Unit (TSU). As at 31 July 2019, TSU supports 493 students currently enrolled in boarding schools or schools with boarding facilities across Australia, and a further 450 students and families preparing for boarding in 2020.
  • Activate Darwin was established in January 2019, and is working with the community, stakeholders and partners to bring new life and vibrancy to Darwin’s city centre through the reduction of red tape and regulation, transformation of public spaces and the delivery of new events and marketing initiatives.
  • The Department of the Chief Minister is progressing the implementation of actions in the NT Aboriginal Land and Sea Action Plan.
  • The Nitmiluk Visitor Centre interpretation display is currently in development with contractors and Jawoyn traditional owners, with completion expected early 2020.
  • The NT Aboriginal Tourism Strategy was released in November 2019 following intensive community and industry consultation.

11 projects, 30 actions

In-progress projects

Significant progress continues to be made on a number of EDF initiatives that are on track for delivery.

Highlights include:

  • Progressing a mix of whole of government regulatory reforms to simplify the process of transacting with government and providing investor certainty. Progress is being made in areas including agriculture, transport, planning, licensing and taxation.
  • The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics finalising the draft Territory-wide Logistics Master Plan. This will be the Territory’s implementation plan for the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy / National Action Plan.
  • A number of industry development strategies are progressing including:
    • completion of the International Education and Training Industry Strategy
    • consultation for the Creative Industries Development Strategy
    • human services; waste management; energy export; and mining. These industry strategies are on track for completion in 2019-20.
  • Development of the Katherine Logistics and Agribusiness Hub continues, with headworks and road designs nearing completion and commercial and native title negotiations progressing.
  • In January 2019, the Prime Minister announced the Australian Government commitment of $216 million to Kakadu and Jabiru, with the NT Government committing a further $135.5 million over four years to support the future of Jabiru.

9 projects, 18 actions

New initiatives

The EDF is dynamic, and some projects and actions have been incorporated or developed into broader initiatives.

Highlights included:

  • Progressing the Mining Service and Supply Centre in Tennant Creek through a signed Barkly Regional Deal - the first regional deal in Australia and a 10-year $78.4 million commitment between the Australian Government, the NT Government and Barkly Regional Council to stimulate economic growth, including mining, and improving social outcomes.
  • Under the Local Decision Making (LDM) Policy, there were three additional agreements signed since October 2018, and a further three statements of commitment by government and community to explore LDM opportunities.
  • Driving the implementation plan to resume exploration and development of onshore unconventional petroleum resources.
  • Progressing the Five Point Plan to grow and diversify the NT’s gas industry.
  • The development of a detailed business case for the Adelaide River Offstream Water Storage project to support water security and economic development in the Greater Darwin region.
  • Investment in tropical health and research continuing to move forward. Collaborative projects and activities are expanding. The Top End Academic Health Partners memorandum of understanding has been signed.
  • Under the Local Delivery of Human Services, symposiums were completed in September 2019 and the industry plan is expected to be delivered in December 2019.
  • Prepare the NT’s Hydrogen Strategy and Solar Export Strategy which aims to identify potential hydrogen and renewable energy opportunities for the Territory.
  • Working with the Australian Institute of Company Directors, delivered intensive governance training to Aboriginal corporations across the Territory. Five courses with 150 attendees have been delivered to date.

7 projects, 18 actions


Five pillars

The Territory Government has identified an economic plan comprising five key pillars, which directly relate to, and incorporate actions arising under, the Economic Development Framework. The Territory Government will continue to deliver on these five pillars, by focusing on the cohesive suite of strategies, initiatives and projects sitting under each pillar.

The Territory Government is securing the investments needed to create the jobs of today and to guarantee the permanent, ongoing jobs of tomorrow. We have been doing this by focussing on the strengths of the Territory - the competitive advantage of its location, the culture, the history and the people.

Unlocking investment in partnership with business

Delivering investment certainty and security:

  • Implementing responsible regulatory reform to deliver best practice environmental protection including for onshore gas
  • Benchmarking regulatory practice for timely and efficient decisions.

Being a model customer to local business to create ongoing jobs:

  • Implementing the buy local policy
  • Establishing the customer service policy
  • Implementing case management along the investor journey through Investment Territory.

Putting the budget on a sustainable path for the next generation:

  • Implementing the Plan for Budget Repair
  • Implementing the Agency Root and Branch Review.

Doubling down in priority sectors

Pursuing growth sectors:

  • Turbocharging tourism to attract new visitors
  • Creating a Roadmap to Renewables
  • Establishing an NT Hydrogen Strategy
  • Developing space launch capacity.

Creating value-adding industries for more sustainable jobs:

  • Creating an export energy hub
  • Building a gas manufacturing hub at Middle Arm
  • Targeting the digital economy as a growth sector
  • Supporting the marine service industry with a new ship lift.

Delivering major projects

Delivering on mega-projects in the pipeline:

  • Furthering Project Sea Dragon
  • Supporting five Central Australian mines
  • Supporting Coogee Chemicals
  • Advancing Darwin LNG renewal.

Multi-decade resources and energy investments:

  • Promoting Oil and Gas Strategy - NT Government’s 5-Point NT Gas Strategy
  • Advancing SunCable renewable energy exports
  • Developing a world class shale gas industry with best practice regulation.

Facilitating new property and construction projects:

  • 10 year infrastructure plan
  • 10 year remote housing roll out.

Building infrastructure platforms

Public infrastructure investments:

  • Developing the ship lift
  • Investing in beef roads (co-funded)
  • Establish Garramilla Boulevard (co-funded)
  • Investing $225 million in the Central Arnhem Road
  • Construction of Stage 1 Keep River Road (to service Project Sea Dragon facilities)
  • Creating Data Centres.

Opening trade links to Asian markets:

  • Signing the MOU with Timor Leste
  • Partnering with Indonesia
  • Establishing stronger economic links with China.

Harnessing the talents of our people

Sustainable, on-going and permanent jobs:

  • Establishing marine and aviation training academies
  • Developing a Creative Industries Strategy
  • Expanding training opportunities
  • Investing in innovation, like the 3D speed printer.

Continuing education and health investment:

  • Leading in tropical health knowledge
  • Establishing northern Australia health science and technology park (NAHSTP) in Darwin
  • Building CDU City Campus.

Attracting and growing the Territory population:

  • Implementing the Population Growth Strategy
  • Funding CDU’s demographic research.

Get a printable version of this summary:

Economic Development Framework progress report 2 summary - October 2019 PDF (4.6 MB)

Read the full Economic Development Framework progress report 2:

Economic Development Framework project and action summary - October 2019 PDF (281.3 KB)
Economic Development Framework project and action summary - October 2019 DOCX (81.1 KB)

Last updated: 17 Jan 2020