Economic overview 2018-2019

Department of Primary Industry and Resources

The Northern Territory Government Department of Primary Industry and Resources brings together many of the key functions that drive economic development on Northern Territory lands, coastal areas and inland waterways, and our operations cover the whole of the Territory. The department plays an integral, enabling role through the development and regulation of our industries, which are significant to our economy and advancing our regions. Primary industry and fisheries sectors include fisheries, livestock, horticulture and other agriculture.

The department operates a range of facilities, including research farms, stations, laboratories and scientific precincts, and offices in different regions and climatic zones across the Territory. Our skilled staff across a range of disciplines support our aim to ensure the Territory optimises benefits from its industry sectors.

The department collaborates with diverse industry stakeholders to optimise agriculture and fisheries sector benefits, seizing opportunities to develop Northern Australia and attain the Territory’s full economic potential as a gateway to global markets. We also play a significant role in supporting Aboriginal and regionally based business development, working to increase economic progress and employment growth.

The value added of Territory primary industry and fisheries estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) exceeds $700 million annually (Figure 1), accounting for 2.7 per cent of Territory’s gross state product (GSP). Mining is the giant of the Territory resource industry, grossing an annual $4.7 billion and contributing over 18 per cent of Territory GSP.

Figure 1: Territory GSP 2018‑19 by industry sector – value added ($M) and contribution (%)

Primary industry

The department delivers strategic services that support profitable and sustainable production for primary industry.

The department works in partnership with producers, industry bodies, community groups and related agencies to promote industry growth and ensure access to markets for animals, plants and plant products. This includes the fisheries, livestock, horticulture and other agriculture sectors.

Services include:

  • inspection, treatment and certification services for animals and animal  products
  • inspection, treatment and certification services for plant and plant products
  • research and extension programs to help producers sustainably lift crop and stock yields and capacity
  • development of best‑practice farming methods for specific environments
  • Aboriginal pastoral and horticultural economic development
  • biosecurity and laboratory diagnostic services for plant and animal health
  • monitoring of, and response to, emergency and endemic animal and plant pests and disease
  • supporting industry trade and investment development.


The department works in partnership with commercial and recreational fishing industries, the aquaculture industry, Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders to achieve optimum sustainable utilisation of the Territory’s valuable aquatic resources. It follows a consultative and precautionary approach to ensure all Territory wild harvest fisheries, aquaculture and associated aquatic resources are ecologically, economically and socially sustained. Management programs are based on high quality scientific indicators and designed to ensure the Territory’s aquatic resources are not over‑exploited.

Services include:

  • facilitating the sustainable commercial catch, sale and processing of fish and aquatic life through licence allocation
  • encouraging industry development
  • supporting the recreational fishing industry
  • preventing introduction of aquatic pests into the Territory
  • contributing to the research needs for each Territory fishery
  • working in partnership to address the needs of the aquaculture industry
  • operating the commercial barramundi hatchery and nursery business
  • assisting Aboriginal communities in relation to fishing issues
  • delivering community education, including education resources for schools.

Last updated: 01 December 2020

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!