International Women’s Day


We were proud to celebrate Women’s Day this week. It was an opportunity to acknowledge the challenges faced by women in achieving gender parity – and to salute the efforts of women throughout the world to be treated as equals.

Women play a crucial role in the Territory’s business economy. Nobody doubts their drive and ingenuity.

We are also pleased that women are an essential part of all programs in the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade.

Many of our female colleagues are in leading positions.

Our departmental colleagues are highly respected in Australia and internationally for their work.

We are proud of them all.

Women outside the department are at the forefront of business success, such as Jane Runyu-Fordimail, the chief executive of Nitmiluk Tours. She has led the company to many Australian Tourism and Brolga awards.

And we should congratulate Helen Martin, who last week was announced as the co-chair of the National Tourism Advisory Group, which will advise the Australian Government on priorities for the industry and provide an Indigenous voice in the Indigenous Tourism Fund.

She is already chair of the Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal Tourism Committee and a Tourism NT Board member.

Helen’s new additional role cannot be overstated considering the terrible effect COVID-19 has had on the tourism sector.

Yamli Jong from the Darwin Clothing Hub is another great success story. The clothing designer and tailor has been operating from Cavenagh Street, Darwin, for nearly 30 years.

She has won national designer awards against such big-name competitors as Lorna Jane Active Wear.

Ms Jong uses only 100% Territory Indigenous-created fabrics.

She kindly acknowledges that she has received good support from the department.

Innovation Pitch

The department is holding the Women’s Innovation Pitch in early April.

Applications are open to female entrepreneurs to pitch their innovations for a chance to win $30,000 to turn their idea into reality. I encourage all women with a bright idea to enter this competition through the Innovation website

Innovation Network

The NT Women in Innovation Network aims to increase diversity and gender equity in innovation and STEAMM through retention, attraction and elevation of women.

It is working towards the following:

  • strengthening the representation of women in innovation and STEAMM
  • developing a pipeline of opportunities and pathways to encourage girls and young women into STEAMM-embedded innovation
  • empowering women to engage with the Territory’s innovation ecosystem and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities
  • increasing availability and visibility of support and development opportunities.

The department is a Women in STEM Champion as part of the Australian Academy of Science Women in STEM’s Decadal Plan, a commitment to  provide pathways for women in science, technology and mathematics in the Territory.

Women in Construction

A Territory Workforce Program grant of $200,000 is supporting the Women in Construction program. Darwin business consultant Kate Finch has been contracted by Master Builders NT to deliver the initiative.

The program aims to expand opportunities for women in the building industry; support the small but growing number of women apprentices; and to make visible the business partners who are often unseen, such as the at-home or part-time general manager, accounts manager, human resources manager, administrator and director.


Family Planning Welfare Association of NT Inc are being supported under the Industry Buildskills grants program to deliver reproductive sexual health services training workshops to Aboriginal health workers in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

The accredited training will provide participants with improved women’s health knowledge and clinical skills, confidence in gaining complex sexual history and up-to-date information on pregnancy legislation, and the latest national trends in contraception, including new technology and research.

Workshops are being delivered in Darwin, Nhulunbuy and Alice Springs. The program is due to be completed in May 2021.

Aboriginal Responsive Skilling grants

In 2020, 289 Aboriginal women living in regional and remote communities were supported to upskill for employment opportunities under Aboriginal Responsive Skilling grants projects.

Women’s Space

The department funded the development of an integrated management system for the Galiwin’ku Women’s Space, which is for women and children in need of support and connection.

Retail training

The department, in partnership with Laynhapuy Homelands and the Arnhem Land Progress Association, was instrumental in the delivery of training to seven women and one man under the Aboriginal Responsive Skilling grant program.

The participants achieved a Certificate I in Retail, with infection control and numeracy training included.

By providing a pool of skilled staff, the retail stores on homelands at Gangan, Wandawuy and Gathalala are now better able to operate smoothly and reliably, reducing the need for residents to travel to Nhulunbuy for shopping, which not only saves money, but improves health and reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection.


Thirty 2% of apprentices and trainees in training are female. In 2020, 44% of students taking part Territory Government-subsidised vocational education and training were female.


We would also like to acknowledge two senior leaders in biosecurity.

Anne Walters, Chief Plant Health Officer for the NT and Deputy Chair of the National Plant Health Committee, won the 2020 Telstra Business Woman of the Year in the Public Sector and Academia Award. She also leads the Women’s Leadership Network Mentoring Program in the NTPS.

Lorna Melville of the Berrimah Veterinary Laboratory is also a long-term leader in biosecurity, and is highly respected throughout Australia and internationally.

Women in Seafood Australasia (WISA)

Samantha Nowland is the NT Director for Women in Seafood Australasia, the only national organisation in Australia representing women in the seafood industry. Their work in raising the profile of women in the seafood industry is a unique network covering the world of commercial fishing, processing sector, aquaculture, cutting edge research, policy and resource management.

These women and many others play a crucial role in business success in the Territory. We acknowledge you.

Womens Day

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