The Northern Territory’s economic growth is strong and business and employment opportunities abound. Access Economics has forecast strong longer term growth prospects, with the economy expected to reach a growth rate of 6.4% in 2012–13.
Almost 95 per cent of businesses in Australia’s Northern Territory are small businesses, and the largest private sector employer is tourism, which provides around 18 000 jobs. In 2008–09, more than 1.4 million people visited the Territory, staying for 9.8 million nights and spending more than $1.7 billion in the local economy.
The industry that makes the biggest contribution to the Northern Territory economy is mining. The Territory is rich in mineral deposits: gold, uranium, nickel, copper and many other minerals are either being mined or are under exploration.
The Port of Darwin is the centre of Australia’s largest live cattle export trade and, to the north of the Northern Territory, vast gas resources are under development. The Timor Sea is regarded as a highly prospective petroleum region and contains world scale oil and gas fields under various stages of operation, construction and consideration. With some fields already under production and others imminent, the Northern Territory Government is working to secure and develop these resources.
The Territory horticultural sector is famed for its mangoes, but also produces melons, citrus fruit, bananas, pasture crops, cut flowers, peanuts, table grapes and a range of leafy greens and vegetables.
The Territory is home to approximately 10% of the Australian Defence Force combat personnel and has a long history of supporting Australia’s Defence Forces. Defence-related contracts continue to play a major role in the Top End economy. This includes the full range of supplies and services, from stationery through to ship and heavy machinery repair. Darwin-based companies have won a significant number of Defence contracts in recent years.
The government of Australia’s Northern Territory is business friendly. The government supports local businesses with regular, fully subsidised workshops throughout the year and a month of targeted workshops and speakers during October Business Month.
Territory Business Centres are the initial contact and referral point for starting a business, business and industry licence information, business planning assistance and links to departmental assistance programs.
Business Information Kits provide current and comprehensive information across all levels of government relating to a specific business activity.
The Northern Territory Government website investNT provides more information for business and industry.