The Northern Territory functions as an integral part of South East Asia. Building on traditional cultural links with neighbouring countries, it actively participates in the region and has nurtured strategic relationships over many years with countries including Japan, China, Indonesia and Timor-Leste.
The Northern Territory Government is an effective partner in bringing ambitious, innovative projects quickly to fruition and working with committed investors to introduce new commercial opportunities.
The government has actively participated in the economic development of the Northern Territory throughout its history. Strategic government investments in new hotels in the 1970s kick-started the tourism industry that now attracts 1.3 million visitors each year. In 2006, the government underwrote a gas pipeline to support reliable non-coal energy generation for Darwin. This strategic intervention was stimulated by the conclusion that gas, rather than coal, was the most sustainable energy source for the future.
A proactive government focused on growing the economy
Since the Northern Territory achieved self-government in 1978 there has been a sustained focus on growing the economy and attracting investment partners that can unlock the potential of the Northern Territory’s natural and human resources. Over this period government has co-invested in a number of turn-key projects in order to establish a catalyst for subsequent economic growth.
Today the Northern Territory Government remains focused on unlocking the economic potential of the Northern Territory. Government has a commitment to identifying regulatory issues that unintentionally impede investment, revising policies to make the Northern Territory a more attractive investment destination, and introducing certainty into the decision making processes for investors and government. For example, government has elected not to introduce a land tax in the Northern Territory, and environmental approvals cannot be appealed by third parties.
In some instances government may co-invest in specific projects where there may be a significant public benefit, and in other cases government will proactively facilitate projects in order to accelerate their delivery.
Two examples highlight government’s commitment to securing progress in attracting investment. Government made the decision not to require any portion of gas reserves to be reserved for the domestic market to allow proponents to determine the best markets for their product. This stance is in clear contrast to the position taken by other Australian jurisdictions and allows for investors to maximise their returns.
The second example is a change that makes it easier for lease holders of pastoral properties to diversify and generate alternative income streams under their existing leases. This is important because many pastoral properties have soil and water resources that could be utilised for horticulture or forestry production, or impressive scenery and good road access that may be suited to unique tourism experiences. One lease holder has already established a crop of poppies for pharmaceutical purposes, and there is a significant proposal to establish a land based aquaculture project on an existing pastoral lease. Projects such as these are important for diversifying the regional economy of the Northern Territory.
Nimble and coordinated government
Northern Territory Government departments work very closely together to ensure that investors receive the best facilitation and support to advance their business interests in the Northern Territory.
The first point of contact within government for investors looking to do business in the Northern Territory is Investment Territory.
A team of investment specialists is available to:
- Help you identify opportunities with the private sector and government.
- Provide information on the local economy, business costs, business culture, regulation, labour, and migration.
- Connect you with professional advisors.
- Design customised visit programs.
- Point you to pathways to government programs that will help you maximise your investment.
The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation is the central point of contact within the Northern Territory Government for new investment. Specialised teams have the expertise and to guide you through the investment process and coordinate government departments.
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The Strategic Infrastructure and Projects unit drives major public and private projects of strategic significance and benefit to the Northern Territory. The unit initiate, coordinate and facilitate the delivery of major projects that have:
- Complex approval requirements, such as environmental assessment, access to land tenure, or development planning.
- Strategic significance and benefit to the Northern Territory.
- Significant infrastructure and investment requirements.
A central component of the unit’s role is to accelerate the major project pipeline. This includes development of investment policy and working with private sector investors and proponents to facilitate major projects.