Business bulletin: 18 March 2021

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Drilling equipment being supped by large road trains

The first data from an innovative drilling project has confirmed the mineral potential of a previously underexplored region of northern Australia.

The results of the National Drilling Initiative’s (NDI) first campaign, led by the MinEx CRC with support from Geoscience Australia and the Northern Territory Geological Survey indicates that preliminary analysis of data and samples from 10 stratigraphic drill holes from the East Tennant region of the Barkly Tableland shows the area is highly prospective for minerals, particularly copper and gold.

While further analysis will be conducted in collaboration with MinEx CRC researchers, this drilling data confirms that the East Tennant region has the right geology to host a range of mineral systems.

The drilling uncovered copper mineralisation that could indicate that rich deposits occur in the region.

The new knowledge delivered by the project will help industry to more effectively explore this region, potentially leading to a new wave of discoveries.

The data can be accessed through the Australian Government's Exploring for the Future Data Discovery Portal and the MinEx CRC National Drilling Initiative Portal.

The upcoming AGES conference will also provide an opportunity for briefing sessions.

Towards Tourism 2030 Conference

This years’ Towards Tourism 2030 Conference has brought together local and national tourism leaders and tourism operators to hear about market insights, national perception and practical advice for the tourism sector.

Held in both Darwin and Alice Springs, the theme for this years’ conference is ‘Tourism Excellence’ with topics covered including managing social platforms, regional dispersal and tourism accessibility.

Wheelchair user Scott Crowley and his wife Clair want as many people as possible to enjoy a holiday in the Northern Territory.

This can be achieved if the whole structure of the tourism industry - from hotels to our natural attractions and transport, including boats and buses are accessible.

Scott and Clair, owners of Push Adventures, delivered their insights on accessible tourism and how Territory tourism operators can make their offerings more attractive and enjoyable to a wider market.

“Travellers come with a range of needs - human diversity is what makes us individuals”

“Let’s make it easier for people to find you, for people to access your premises and move around, and for people to participate in the experiences you offer.”

One of the major tourism trends during COVID-19 pandemic has been the growth of the Territory’s driving holiday market, mainly self-drive but also on tour buses and other guided tours.

Stuart Lamont, Chief Executive of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, is a strong believer of the benefits that the self-drive market can deliver to the Australian economy, particularly regional Australia.

He also argued that that the caravanning and camping experience is good for people’s mental and physical health and shared his insights on the topic at the conference.

Other key note speakers included Nigel Collin, who’s ‘Game of Inches’ business strategy notes progress is made through many small achievable steps rather than one big event, and Margy Osmond, Chief Executive of the Tourism & Transport Forum.

As head of Australia’s peak tourism, transport and aviation industry association, Ms Osmond shared well-informed insights into the opportunities and challenges in tourism over the next decade.

The conference is key component of the Northern Territory Tourism Industry Strategy 2030 to foster strong collaboration with industry as the Territory works towards our shared goal of a $3.67 billion visitor economy by 2030.

The conference wraps up in Alice Springs today.

Nominate now for the NT Training Awards

Individuals, businesses and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to vocational education and training (VET) in the Territory are being sought for the 2021 NT Training Awards.

The Awards recognise and celebrate the Territory’s best and brightest in vocational education and training, including students, apprentices, trainees, teachers, trainers, training providers and employers who are excelling in their chosen fields.

In 2020, a record breaking 103 nominations were received across 13 categories comprising of 82 individuals and 21 organisations.

Batchelor Institute of Tertiary Education and the Australian Defence Force went on to win the Industry Collaboration of the Year at the Australian Training Awards.

While Territory teacher Rachael Leigh Taylor was named the winning finalist for Excellence in Numeracy and Literacy and apprentice Dale Dhamarrandji was named runner-up Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year at the National Awards.

For individuals the Awards can open new doors to your career, provide recognition for your work and inspire others to give VET a go.

For businesses the Awards are an opportunity to be recognised as an industry leader and provide a platform to network with other businesses and training providers.

There are thirteen award categories; comprising of seven individual categories and six organisation categories:

Individual categories:

  • Trainee of the Year
  • Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year
  • Vocational Student of the Year
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year
  • School-Based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year
  • VET in Schools Student of the Year
  • VET Teacher / Trainer of the Year

Organisation categories:

  • Small Training Provider of the Year
  • Large Training Provider of the Year
  • Industry Collaboration Award
  • Small Employer of the Year
  • Medium Employer of the Year
  • Large Employer of the Year

The 2021 NT Training Awards Gala Dinner will be held at the Darwin Convention Centre on Saturday 18 September 2021.

Eligible winners will go on to represent the Northern Territory at the Australian Training Awards, to be held in Perth in 2021.

Nominations are now open.

To nominate and view the eligibility criteria, visit NT Training Awards.

Epenarra station hand John Delaforce standing next to the one of the new solar installations

Work is becoming easier, more efficient and less costly on a Central Australian cattle station – thanks to the sun.

Epenarra, which is 200 kilometres east of Tennant Creek and runs 8500 head, has 13 bores.

A “bore run” to check and refill the diesel motors used to be a 360 kilometre round trip.

But since buying the station in 2019, the family-owned BASS Cattle Company has upgraded 11 bores to solar power and added remote monitoring systems.

“This has had a dramatic effect on the time and expense it takes to run the property,” says company director Suzanne Bassingthwaighte. “It has cut the bore run to once a week, down from three.

“This means we are using less fuel and have significantly lowered our vehicle maintenance.”

She says a $20,000 grant from the Territory Government’s Smarter Business Solutions program was a “significant help in allowing us to continue the water development in a dry year.”

“The benefits both economically and environmentally will be seen for years to come.”

It is expected that diesel costs will be cut by $28,500 per year and maintenance costs by 50 percent to $600 per year.

ThinkWater Alice Springs was contracted for the supply and installation of the solar bores.

Ms Bassingthwaighte says applying for the grant from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade was a “simple process”.

Smarter Business Solutions grants are available to Territory businesses, Aboriginal enterprises and not-for-profit organisations to help to reduce day-to-day energy, water, waste and material costs.

Out Small Business Champions will be at the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Conference at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on 25-26 March.

Visit us the Northern Territory Government stand to find out more about Smarter Business Solutions and other support programs for Territory businesses.

International students

Territory businesses and local community groups can now apply for the new round of International Student Wellbeing Grants to deliver activities and programs that will improve the wellbeing of international student’s studying in the Territory.

At present there are almost 5,000 international students from around 80 countries are studying in the Territory.

The grants are designed to enrich a student’s life outside the classroom by providing skills and strategies that support mental health, physical safety and lead to work experiences, and by connecting students to the Territory community.

Initiatives funded through this program have helped international students to connect and engage with other students, with peers, with businesses and with Territory locals.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available to support projects delivered between 1 July and 31 December.

Applications close Tuesday 6 April 2021.

To read the guidelines and to submit an application, go to GrantsNT.

Apply now for the business recovery grant


Last updated: 18 March 2021

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