Business bulletin: 12 March 2020


Workman welding

A new plan to maximise business and workforce opportunities in the Territory’s gas service and supply sector has been released.

The gas service and supply plan aims to support Territory businesses to both increase the value of contracts it is winning, and to increase capacity and capability to be ready for industry growth.

Currently, the gas service and supply sector contributes an estimated $400 million to the Territory economy annually, and local businesses capture around $100 million of this work each year.

The Northern Territory (NT) Government have set a goal that by 2025 local participation in the gas industry supply chain will double to at least 50%.

Winnellie Hydraulics is a long term Territory business that has been servicing the gas industry as it’s grown over the last 15 years.

Specialising in high quality industrial hydraulic, pneumatic and gas process products, they have gone on to supply one of the world’s largest gas projects, Inpex’s Ichthys LNG Project.

Winnellie Hydraulics General Manager Max Nicholson said “We can see operators really want a business like us to succeed, if they’re not operating they’re losing money so we will move heaven and earth to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We work with INPEX and it is a huge hats off to the support they have given us to bring our business up to their level so we can support them.”

“INPEX has given us the capability to bring on staff, put on apprentices and also helped us contribute to the community.”

Mr Nicholson acknowledges the work government and industry are undertaking to maximise opportunities for NT service and supply businesses in the gas sector.

“There has been a lot of help along the way for us being a small business in the Territory, the government is definitely a big supporter, Energy Club and the Chamber of Commerce have definitely played a role as well,” he said

“They are looking to build capability locally in Darwin, without that we wouldn’t be where we are.”

The gas service and supply plan aims to increase the level of local content in gas industry contracts, and maximise NT workforce participation across all phases of development and operation.

The plan has three pillars:

  1. strengthen the commitment to local content by gas operators and contractors
  2. grow local workforce and business capability
  3. strategically develop the service and supply ecosystem.

A collaborative approach to implement the plan will be taken between government, business, operators, contractors and industry groups.

View the gas service and supply plan.

Rory Milner
Caption: 2019 Australian Apprentice of the Year, Rory Milner.

It’s that time of year again when the Territory’s best employers, trainers and individuals are recognised for their outstanding contribution to the vocational education and training sector.

The Northern Territory (NT) Training Awards offer finalists the chance to gain personal success and to be recognised as part of an elite group of ambassadors who represent the Territory’s best.

Last year, the Territory’s winners travelled to Brisbane for the national competition - the Australian Training Awards, with local tradie Rory Milner taking home the coveted Apprentice of the Year title.

The former engineer completed a Certificate III in Carpentry while working for Sunbuild. He accelerated his learning and finished his apprenticeship with one year to spare.

“I love working in a hands‑on team every day, especially when working in construction as it feels like you get to work with your mates every day, have a laugh and get to bond over shared experiences. I chose my course as I was interested in using my engineering background and knowledge in a more hands-on field.”

He also won the Master Builders Apprentice of the Year award in 2018 for both the NT and Australia.

The Territory had another win at the Australian Training Awards with Jack Short named Runner-Up Trainee of the Year.

Beginning with a school-based traineeship while completing year 12, Jack went on to study a Certificate III traineeship in Information, Digital Media and Technology and now plans to study a  Certificate IV in Information Technology to further develop his skills in the industry.

If you know someone making a difference in the vocational education and training sector who deserves to be recognised, nominate them today.

There are 13 award categories, comprising of eight individual categories and five organisation categories. To nominate for the NT Training Awards or for more information view the NT Training Awards.

Drink cans being recycled

Growing local jobs and developing commercial opportunities for the Territory waste and recycling industry will be discussed at next month’s summit in Darwin.

The Northern Territory’s (NT) waste management and secondary resources industry is a significant contributor to the local economy, indirectly providing over 1,000 jobs and supporting over 50 Territory businesses. In 2017-18 it managed more than 517,800 tonnes of waste and recyclables ensuring more than one third of these materials escaped landfill.

The Territory Waste and Recycling Industry Summit provides a fantastic opportunity for business and industry to network and share ideas that will positively drive the future of the waste and secondary resources industry and deliver long-term benefit to the NT.

The summit will explore commercial waste opportunities and support for new ongoing Territory jobs. It will focus on potential new business solutions, as well as discussing how we can improve our local recycling performance.

Presentations throughout the summit will provide information from industry leaders on how business and government can continue to deliver innovative secondary resource recovery solutions and maintain community confidence in recycling.

The summit is co-hosted by the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation.

It will be held on 1 and 2 April at the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre, 70 Abala Road Marrara.

Registrations close on Wednesday 25 March 2020.

To register to attend go to the Humanitix website.

Bank of solar panels at Orange Creek

One of Central Australia’s most innovative farming families have turned to the sun after looking at the savings possible from solar power.

Orange Creek is now using about 150 litres of diesel less per day to irrigate a 50 hectare farm on the station.

“We’re pumping 20 litres of water a second by using the sun,” says family patriarch Wally Klein. “And that’s fantastic.”

Orange Creek received a $17,600 off-grid renewables grant under the Northern Territory Government’s Smarter Business Solutions initiative to help pay for the supply and installation of a 30kW submersible pump and 52kW solar system to provide irrigation to the farm.

The Klein family invested an additional $157,000 of their own money in the project.

Orange Creek, a 2,600 square kilometre property, was using about 200,000kW of electricity per year, which costs $9,400 per month or nearly $113,000 per year.

The new solar PV system is expected to generate 100% of the property’s daytime electricity consumption (90,477kW) or about 45% of the total annual power consumption.

It is estimated the business will save $48,600 per year in diesel costs, which means the investment will be repaid in about three years.

ThinkWater Alice Springs won the contract to install the system.

Mr Klein went to Alice Springs-based government Small Business Champion Sam Hill to discuss the solar project.

“Sam is very, very good. He has been a great help.”

Mr Hill, who has been a small business champion with the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation for three years, is well qualified for the job - he has university degrees in science and business management, and worked in the mining industry.

Grants are still available under the Smarter Business Solutions program - up to $20,000 for off-grid renewable projects, up to $10,000 for on-grid renewable projects and up to $20,000 for energy efficiency projects.

Free site assessment visits are also available.

“The Smarter Business Solutions program is very popular,” Mr Hill says. “It has become known largely by word-of-mouth recommendations.”

Orange Creek has 50 hectares under irrigation, growing lucerne, sorghum, oats and wheat in winter and potatoes.

The Klein family has invested heavily in infrastructure in the past two years, including a second centre pivot worth $500,000 and a 1,000-head feedlot.

To find out more about the department’s Smarter Business Solutions program phone the small business champions team on 1800 193 111 or email

Australian Army staff viewing the Spee3D printer

New cutting edge metal 3D printing technology will soon enhance lines of logistics for the Australian Army.

The Australian Army have kicked off a 12 month pilot trial of the new technology in partnership with SPEE3D and Charles Darwin University (CDU).

The $1.5 million partnership, announced by the Australian Government will see 20 Darwin based soldiers trained in advanced additive manufacturing. The soldiers will be taught how to design and print part using the WarpSPEE3D 3D metal printer.

Commanding Officer 1 CSSB, Lieutenant Colonel Kane Wright, said that the initiative demonstrates how Army is keeping up with the accelerated nature of warfare.

“This partnership with CDU and SPEE3D shows that we as an army are looking to the future and embracing advanced technologies to speed up our processes,” Lieutenant Colonel Wright said.

“At maturity we see it becoming an essential enabler that will redefine how logistics is employed to support our dependencies on the future battlefield.”

The initial training will be delivered at CDU’s Casuarina campus by experienced researchers over a 10 week period.

Weekly session will cover everything from the fundamentals of design, 3D modelling and printing to the testing and evaluation of developed parts.

The WarpSPEE3D machine will be installed on-base at Darwin’s Robertson Barracks and deployed in the field for multiple Army exercises.

SPEE3D Chief Executive Officer Byron Kennedy said this was another significant announcement for SPEE3D and the Australian Defence Force.

“This program with the Australian Army, in parallel with a similar project with the Royal Australian Navy announced in November last year, will enable the Australian Defence Force to grow our sovereign capability and lead the world in the field of additive manufacturing.”

Last updated: 12 March 2020

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