December 21st, 2020


As it draws to a close, now is a good time to reflect on the year that has been.  For most this year has been a tumultuous one, with the global pandemic resulting in businesses and individuals needing to rapidly reshape their plans. Despite this, it has been heartening to see how well the East Arnhem region has responded in the face of adversity. Some sectors continue working to rebound, while others are thriving in the ‘new normal’. The response has shown the resilience and innovation that exists in our region.

For the DEAL team, this year has been a very busy one. We quickly moved to respond to the pandemic early in the year, rolling out a range of initiatives to support businesses and employees across the region. Thankfully, in the second half of the year a number of our projects have returned to business as usual and we have made significant progress.

I am incredibly proud of my staff, and the huge efforts they have put in consistently throughout the year to ensure our regional businesses are well supported while we continue to work towards diversifying the region’s economy. I have been inspired watching the team rise to the challenge and respond to the range of issues this year presented us.

As we all look forward to some rejuvenation and time with family and friends over the holiday season, I would like to thank our stakeholders for their ongoing support this year. My favourite part of this role is the collaborative work we do and I look forward to continuing to do this in 2021.


 On 9 November 2020, DEAL brought together local community, business and strategic stakeholders, and our Board and team for our annual Community Update. At the event we launched our 2019/20 Annual Report.

Pandemic aside, the 2019/20 Financial Year was a year of significance for DEAL, in which we finalised our Strategic Plan, developed to guide our work to further economic development in East Arnhem over the next five years. Importantly, this signalled a conscious shift in the way DEAL is working, with a greater focus on the broader region as we work to promote business and community resilience and the boundless opportunities that exist here.

You can read more about our achievements across our five activity areas of Leadership, Industry attraction and development, Housing, Business support and Capital in our Annual Report.

Annual Community Update 2020


 Last week we launched Invest East Arnhem, which is a critical part of promoting the region to potential investors and business partners. This comprehensive document outlines key information about the region, communities, existing and emerging industries and infrastructure that underpins development, as well as the range of investment and business supports available to existing and future investors.

Invest East Arnhem is pivotal to promoting the region and the opportunities that exist here.

You can read more about Invest East Arnhem here, and find the document on our website.


DEAL has continued to invest in existing and new businesses in the region through our Economic Development Fund this year. In the second half of 2020 we made three important investments to support expanded services in this region:

Gove Panel and Paint

Gove Rentals and Mechanical purchased Gove Panel and Paint in 2020 and DEAL was pleased to support them to bring new and improved technology to the region which allows waterborne and more environmentally friendly paint to be applied to vehicles. This new service, which was previously unavailable in the region, has already seen a fantastic uptake.

Arnhem Dental Services

DEAL is pleased to have invested in Arnhem Dental Services to support the establishment of its operations in Nhulunbuy. This is an important service for the liveability of Nhulunbuy and the region, and the health of our residents.

Longreach Aircraft Maintenance

DEAL has invested in Longreach Aircraft Maintenance, which has assisted them to establish an onsite aircraft maintenance service at Gove Airport. Their services will be available to all air charter companies in Nhulunbuy, reducing the need for these charter companies to travel outside the region in order to undergo aircraft maintenance or servicing, as well as creating new locally based employment. This creates certainty as well as cost reductions for East Arnhem based charter companies.


Significant progress has been made on the East Arnhem Landowner Prospectus project. The purpose of this work is to provide a better understanding of what is possible in various industries across the region, and assist traditional owners to make informed decisions about economic opportunities related to their land and sea assets.

In 2021, we will continue to explore and take forward viable options with Yolŋu businesses, organisations and traditional owners in partnership with regional stakeholders.

 If you would like to learn more about this project, contact our Industry Development Facilitator Chris Gillies at


We also recently announced our exciting partnership with Enterprise Learning Projects (ELP) to support East Arnhem businesses to access ELP’s business incubation program in 2021. The business incubation program is open to Yolŋu-led businesses that are looking for support to grow their operations.

ELP’s business incubation program is an exciting opportunity for Yolŋu who have a developed business idea, or have started a business already and are motivated to grow, but need some assistance to do so.

You can learn more about DEAL’s partnership and the ELP program here.


Over the last couple of months, we have been excited to have some of our work and our staff recognised through various awards.

Most importantly, Ryley Heap, our Tourism Development Officer was recently awarded Economic Development Australia’s Economic Development Rising Star award. This is fantastic recognition of the significant contributions Ryley has made to our team and to the development of the tourism industry in East Arnhem in the short year that he has been with DEAL.


 The DEAL team wishes you a safe and happy holiday season. After a challenging year, we hope you have an opportunity to recharge and we look forward to working with you in 2021.

Our team will be taking a well earned break over the Christmas period, with our office closed from midday 24 December 2020 and reopening on Monday 4 January 2021. We look forward to seeing you then!

Posted in: DEAL news