Investment prospectus

A government that makes the remarkable happen

The Northern Territory has a tradition of progressive, nimble and agile government. They are strongly committed to developing the region, enabling infrastructure, and responding flexibly to new development opportunities.

The Northern Territory functions as an integral part of South East Asia. Building on traditional cultural links with neighbouring countries, it actively participates in the region and has nurtured strategic relationships over many years with countries including China, Indonesia, Japan and Timor-Leste.

The Northern Territory Government is an effective partner in bringing ambitious, innovative projects quickly to fruition and working with committed investors to introduce new commercial opportunities.

The government has actively participated in the economic development of the Northern Territory throughout its history. Strategic government investments in new hotels in the 1970s kick-started the tourism industry that now attracts 1.3 million visitors each year. In 2006, the government underwrote a gas pipeline to support reliable non-coal energy generation for Darwin. This strategic intervention was stimulated by the conclusion that gas, rather than coal, was the most sustainable energy source for the future.

A proactive government focused on growing the economy

Since the Northern Territory achieved self-government in 1978 there has been a sustained focus on growing the economy and attracting investment partners that can unlock the potential of the Northern Territory’s natural and human resources. Over this period government has co-invested in a number of turn-key projects in order to establish a catalyst for subsequent economic growth.

Today the Northern Territory Government remains focused on unlocking the economic potential of the Northern Territory. Government has a commitment to identifying regulatory issues that unintentionally impede investment, revising policies to make the Northern Territory a more attractive investment destination, and introducing certainty into the decision making processes for investors and government. For example, government has elected not to introduce a land tax in the Northern Territory, and environmental approvals cannot be appealed by third parties.

In some instances government may co-invest in specific projects where there may be a significant public benefit, and in other cases government will proactively facilitate projects in order to accelerate their delivery.

Two examples highlight government’s commitment to securing progress in attracting investment. Government made the decision not to require any portion of gas reserves to be reserved for the domestic market to allow proponents to determine the best markets for their product. This stance is in clear contrast to the position taken by other Australian jurisdictions and allows for investors to maximise their returns.

The second example is a change that makes it easier for lease holders of pastoral properties to diversify and generate alternative income streams under their existing leases. This is important because many pastoral properties have soil and water resources that could be utilised for horticulture or forestry production, or impressive scenery and good road access that may be suited to unique tourism experiences. One lease holder has already established a crop of poppies for pharmaceutical purposes, and there is a significant proposal to establish a land based aquaculture project on an existing pastoral lease. Projects such as these are important for diversifying the regional economy of the Northern Territory.

Nimble and coordinated government

The Office of Major Projects, Infrastructure and Investment has a mandate to initiate, coordinate and facilitate the delivery of major projects that meet any of the following criteria:

  • Valued in excess of $50 million.
  • Government funded, private sector funded, or a combination of both.
  • Complex approval requirements, such as environmental assessment, access to land tenure, or development planning.
  • Strategic significance and benefit to the Northern Territory.
  • Significant infrastructure and investment requirements.
  • Initiatives nominated by the Chief Minister.

A central component of the office’s role is to accelerate the major project pipeline. In addition the office drives projects of strategic significance and benefit to the Northern Territory. This includes development of investment policy and working with private sector investors and proponents to facilitate major projects.

Northern Territory Government departments work very closely together to ensure that investors receive the best facilitation and support to advance their business interests in the Northern Territory.

The first point of contact within government for investors looking to do business in the Northern Territory is InvestNT.

A team of investment specialists is available to:

  • Help you identify opportunities with the private sector and government.
  • Provide information on the local economy, business costs, business culture, regulation, labour, and migration.
  • Connect you with professional advisors.
  • Design customised visit programs.
  • Point you to pathways to government programs that will help you maximise your investment.

InvestNT is part of the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation and works closely alongside the Departments of Primary Industry and Resources, TourismNT and the Land Development Corporation.

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Beef cattle live export case study

Cowboy mustering cattle as the sun rises

The Northern Territory cattle industry has been supplying feeder cattle into Indonesia for decades. More recently Vietnam has become the Northern Territory’s second largest live cattle export market.

Other opportunities have been identified in Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines, as the middle classes rise and demand for protein increases. The latest development is the potential to supply live cattle into China.

In 2015 a total of 488,000 head of cattle were exported from the Port of Darwin, making Darwin the largest live-cattle export port in the world. 342,000 head went to Indonesia, with Vietnam taking 100,000 and the Philippines 24,000.

For more than a century, foreign investment has played a central role throughout the development of the pastoral industry in Northern Australia, and overseas interest in purchasing a pastoral lease is now at record highs.

Creating the remarkable

The Northern Territory Government actively supports the pastoral industry by working on opening up new markets, providing research and technical support to increase cattle production including improving pastures, building environmental sustainability and station management and operations.

The government also provides technical assistance to overseas customers purchasing cattle from the Northern Territory to ensure compliance with Australia’s supply chain assurance system required to protect animal welfare.

Humpty Doo Barramundi case study


Humpty Doo Barramundi is a Northern Territory owned and operated business. Over the last 24 years it has grown to rank now as Australia’s largest saltwater barramundi producer. They are suppliers to both Coles and Woolworths (Australia’s largest supermarket / grocery chains).

Since its inception 24 years ago Humpty Doo Barramundi has invested in itself through relentless learning and innovation as well as ongoing physical development of new ponds, new buildings and new harvesting equipment. It is now leading Australia’s production of saltwater barramundi for domestic consumption.

The location of the farm is remote, ensuring biosecurity risks are low. Based on the Adelaide River floodplain, it has reliable access to clean salt water for its production. Humpty Doo Barramundi have a track record as good environmental managers, recycling and carefully managing waste water discharge.

The business is within an hour’s drive of Darwin, providing staff with good access to supplies and services. Proximity to the Port of Darwin is an important consideration for possible future expansion and supply into Asia.

Creating the remarkable

This successful aquaculture business has succeeded and grown while others have not. The owners’ relentless determination, patience, flexibility, readiness to innovate and willingness to continue investing in themselves in the long term has been the foundation of their success.

Over the years the Northern Territory Government has provided Humpty Doo Barramundi with research and development to improve hatchery and nursery production techniques, including the supply of health certified fingerlings and administrative support. The government has provided access to an aquatic animal service advising on biosecurity procedures and fish health management. The company was also supported with business planning, environmental approvals and land tenure clearances, including the sale of government land.

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