Business bulletin: 21 February 2019


Portrait shot of Shaun Drabsch

A keen development economist with a passion for public policy and infrastructure development, in-coming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shaun Drabsch says he’s looking forward to helping drive growth for the Territory when he joins the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation (DTBI) this month.

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead an agency that helps the Territory economy grow and drives job creation for Territorians,” Mr Drabsch said.

“Having worked in regional areas and with small businesses and start-ups, I understand that the 14,000 small and medium enterprises in the Territory will be critical to achieving this.”

“I look forward to engaging broadly across business and industry, as well as with not-for-profit organisations and the community.”

"Over the last few years I have worked on government and private sector projects in the Territory, and believe there is great economic potential here. I'm keen to get started with the DTBI team and the whole Northern Territory Government to deliver a strong future for all Territorians.”

"On a personal note, I’m looking forward to joining the vibrant Territory community and getting back to life in the tropics which I enjoyed as a child growing up in Townsville, Jakarta and Singapore."

Shaun has extensive experience in government and private enterprise, including developing and implementing economic policy, infrastructure and major investment projects.

He brings with him significant knowledge of project development, procurement and stakeholder engagement as well as experience with parliament, cabinet and budget processes, land tenure, and corporate governance. Shaun is also a specialist in project assessment and delivery with a deep knowledge of public-private partnerships.

Shaun’s first day as CEO of the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation will be Monday 25 February 2019.

Aerial view of Darwin CBD with Cullen Bay in the foreground

Over the next 12 to 18 months nearly two dozen government and private sector construction projects are under way or set to kick off across the Top End.

These projects will create jobs for Territorians, attract investment and boost the economy.

Team NT Executive, who have been charged with bringing new investment to the Territory have worked in partnership with business and industry groups to create a snapshot of these major projects. The projects include; defence, agribusiness, gas and energy, infrastructure, airports, police, schools, health, tourism and the Darwin City Deal.

Paul Tyrrell, Team NT Executive and Chair of the NT Oil and Gas Taskforce explains, that private sector and industry associations have indicted there needs to be greater visibility on upcoming construction projects across the Territory.

“The NT major construction projects snapshot is a consolidated list of projects that are going to happen, not what might be,” Mr Tyrrell said.

“These are the projects that will contribute to economic development and the range of services available locally and jobs generated during construction.

“By consolidating and disseminating that information it ensures that businesses, regardless of their size, are informed of the potential opportunities and of the firm commitment of these projects. In addition, we are pursuing opportunities for Territorians in the developing industry sectors like oil and gas and defence are fully realised,” he said.

To find out more about these major projects get the snapshot of major projects PDF (4.4 MB).

Find out more information on Team NT.

A hand holding a light bulb

Do you have an idea that can help a Territory business to pursue an opportunity or overcome a challenge using an innovative digital solution?

Territory businesses can now access grants under the Digital Partnerships Program to develop their innovative digital solutions.

The program aims to supports digital innovations by fostering partnerships between the Territory’s IT sector and other local businesses and industries.

The program will also help diversify the economy, improve business competitiveness and create jobs for Territorians.

Earlier this month around 100 people from small and medium business and the ICT sector attended industry briefing sessions to find out more about the Digital Partnerships Program grants.

Director for Business Innovation, Martin Redhead said the response to the Digital Partnerships Program has been very positive, and it is great to see so many local businesses come on board.

“Through our grants writing workshops this week, participants will have the opportunity to develop their idea and form partnerships that will deliver digital solutions for industry challenges, and new ways of growing their businesses.”

The Digital Partnerships Program is now open to Territory enterprises, on a co-contribution basis, with grants of up to $200,000 available.

To be successful, proposals should support local jobs and economic growth, improve competitiveness and productivity of Territory enterprises and develop digital technology capacity in the Territory.

For further information go to the Innovation website.

To apply now go to the GrantsNT website.

Portrait shot of Lyza Rooks

Lyza Rooks believes she has the best job in town - making all the difference to a business as a small business champion.

“I act as a conduit,” she says. “I can help direct business owners to where they can go to get different types of help.”

Lyza is one of the Northern Territory Government’s small business champions, a dedicated network of experts who point businesses in the right direction for advice and support.

Her ‘turf’ is Darwin CBD and Stuart Park, which means she works closely with businesses in the area and with organisations such as the Darwin City and Waterfront Retailers Association.

Lyza, who works for the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation, helps a wide range of businesses, including shops, real estate agencies and cafes.

“Sometimes I just chat with a shop owner and that alone can give them ideas on how to improve their operation,” she says.

“Or I may inform them about specialist courses and workshops that would help them in their business.”

“One business owner had just returned to Darwin after several years away and lost touch with key contacts. I helped the owner find the contacts required for the business.”

Lyza also advises business owners how they can access Northern Territory Government support to engage a business consultant to work on aspects of the business where they may not have the expertise.

She says business people are ‘very good at their core business’ but often haven’t found the time in their busy schedule to learn other crucial aspects of their operation; in other words, an IT expert does not necessarily know anything about accounts or marketing.

Business people regularly sing the praises of the initiative, saying consultants have made the difference between failure and success.

“This is where I come in - I can steer them in the right direction to get help.”

Lyza must be doing a good job - business owners have recommended her to friends.

“I understand small business; I understand and admire the passion that business owners feel.”

Lyza has run her own business and worked in banking for 20 years, spending 13 years of that time working with small to medium-sized business.

If you would like to discuss your circumstances or support under one of the department business programs please contact our small business champions team by phone on 08 8999 5479 or email

Conditions of Tendering document

Did you know that if you are a Northern Territory business, you can partner with other businesses to bid on government work?

Joint ventures can include two or more businesses or individuals agreeing to work together on a project.

Once the project is complete, the agreement comes to an end.

The parties may choose to become an incorporated joint venture and form a company or remain an unincorporated joint venture.

Benefits of working in a joint venture include:

  • access to government contracts that you might not be able to get on your own
  • shared risk of the project with the other businesses
  • shared knowledge and skills that can be transferred to future projects.

If you would like more information about submitting a tender with other businesses please go to the Northern Territory Government website or contact Procurement Policy on 08 8999 4659, email - the Northern Territory Government is supporting Territory businesses and not-for-profits to, contact a small business champion on 1800 256 923 or visit

Last updated: 05 June 2019

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