Business bulletin: 4 February 2021


Solar power panel bank

Development of the $22 billion Australian-ASEAN Power Link project has taken a significant step forward following the signing of a project development agreement (PDA) between the Northern Territory (NT) Government and Sun Cable.

The signing of the PDA provides a roadmap for the NT Government and Sun Cable to work in partnership to finalise land tenure and commercial arrangements ahead of the project’s financial close.

The project will see up to $8 billion invested into the Territory, which will host the largest solar farm and renewable energy system in the world.

Sun Cable CEO David Griffin said, “Through the Australia-ASEAN Power Link, Sun Cable seeks to generate and transmit dispatchable, competitively-priced, renewable energy at scale.

“This will provide affordable, reliable energy to support industrial growth in Darwin, as well as supplying up to 20% of Singapore’s electricity needs.”

“The Australia-ASEAN Power Link project will help the Northern Territory make deep cuts to its emissions intensity by decoupling economic growth from carbon pollution.”

The Barkly region has been chosen as the ideal location for a solar farm and battery storage facility that will be built across 12,000 hectares near Elliott.

Once operational, power from the site will be available 24/7, with the solar farm supporting the 30GW storage facility.

As well as the Barkly’s sunny, cloud-free advantages, the facility will capitalise on the close access to road and rail.

The project will create 1,500 jobs during construction and 350 ongoing positions once operations begin.

Construction for the project will begin immediately after financial close in October 2023.

Once up and running, it’s estimated the project will export $1 billion dollars’ worth of solar electricity each year.

Territory Tourism voucher round 3, save up to $200

Once again Territorians have snapped up the Territory Tourism Voucher with 10,000 people registering for the third round within five minutes of the registrations opening on 1 February.

By 6am the following morning, more than 33,000 had registered. The vouchers are released on a first-come, first served basis with more vouchers to be released in a staggered approach.

Valued up to $200, the vouchers are redeemable on a $1 for $1 basis and can be used on multiple tourism experiences in the Top End, Red Centre, Katherine and Barkly Regions.

Once again there is one voucher and one bonus claim per person for Territorians aged 18+. Once you receive your voucher you will have 14 days to make your booking and will need to travel prior to 30 April 2021.

To encourage bookings in all of our regions Territorians who travel a little further afield will once again be able to apply for an additional $200 bonus claim redeemable on a $1 for $1 basis for those who travel over 400kms to the product booked as part of a single journey (not including their return leg).

The Territory Tourism Voucher scheme is a $16.2 million package delivered through three funding rounds to support the Territory’s tourism industry and encourage Territorians to experience our great Territory lifestyle and try new experiences.

For more information, go to Territory Tourism Voucher website.

Don’t forget you have 14 days to redeem your Territory Tourism Voucher

Group shot of three women

You still have time to apply for the Territory Government’s Small Business CX Grant to enhance your businesses’ customer experience for locals and visitors alike.

Small business owners can access grants of up to $20,000 on a 50:50 co-contribution basis to improve front-of-house improvements for customers.

These enhancements could include shade for outdoor settings, misting fans or enhanced shop front entrances.

The program is open to all Territory small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million.

The grant is a range of small business support initiatives being delivered under the Northern Territory Government’s Job First Plan, to help Territory businesses adapt and rebound from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

The Small Business CX Grant is a one off grant and applications will be assessed on a competitive basis.

Applications close 28 February 2021.

To view the terms and conditions and to apply, go to the Business Recovery website.


The JobTrainer program has begun rolling out in the Territory to support young Territorians and jobseekers into a job.

This is a $9 million joint initiative between the Northern Territory and Australian governments and is part of the $1 billion JobTrainer Fund. The fund is designed to deliver free, or low cost training to help job seekers reskill and upskill for in demand jobs as the economy rebound from COVID-19.

As the Territory emerges from COVID-19 is it integral that there are training and job pathways for young Territorians who have just completed their schooling and are entering what is, an uncertain employment market.

The JobTrainer program will enable people looking for work to reskill and upskill for in-demand jobs, provide school leavers with a pathway into their careers and ensure businesses are able to get the skilled workers they need.

The Northern Territory Government and Australian Government have together developed a list of qualifications and skill sets that will provide job seekers with the skills that are in demand by employers and are critical to economic recovery.

Qualifications and short courses include training in the following areas:

  • building and construction
  • community services, health and education
  • computing
  • primary industries
  • tourism and hospitality
  • transport and storage.

A full list of courses is available on the Northern Territory Government website. For enrolment or course information, contact the training provider directly.

The page will continue to be updated as more courses become available.

For information about the program, or for career and training advice, contact the Skills Recognition Centre by emailing or calling 08 8946 7316.

Aerial view of Darwin city at sunset

In another important step towards 50% renewables by 2030, the Northern Territory Government has released policy position and consultation papers on priority electricity market reforms.

The Northern Territory’s electricity supply industry is undergoing significant transition and reform is required to facilitate an increasing number of market participants and the adoption of emerging technologies, while maintaining secure, reliable and least cost electricity supply for consumers and taxpayers.

The Priority Reform Program will assist government in delivering cleaner and lower cost power for Territorians by implementing reforms to:

  • Dispatch - ensuring that the most cost-effective combination of generation (including thermal and renewable generators) is dispatched in the Darwin-Katherine system. This will be achieved by allocating the system controller responsibility for scheduling generators based on up-to-date information about generator costs and availability.
  • Settlement - facilitating private sector investment by making it easier for retailers and generators, including new renewables generators, to buy and sell electricity in the Darwin-Katherine system. This will be achieved by introducing financial settlement by the market operator.
  • Essential system services - ensuring the changing technical requirements for system security are met in the most cost-effective way by enabling their provision by the full range of capable technologies, including batteries and renewables generators.
  • Reliability - ensuring system reliability meets customer expectations while also keeping costs are as low as possible.

Stakeholders are invited to participate in further stakeholder working group consultations on the essential system services and reliability consultation papers by making written submissions and attending stakeholder workshops.

Final position papers on the essential system services and reliability reforms are expected to be released by mid‑2021.

To read the papers and details of the stakeholder working group view Northern Territory Electricity Market Priority Reform Program

Last updated: 04 February 2021

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