Defence spending reached $2 billion in the Northern Territory in 2018/19, or 7.6% of Gross State Product. This reflects an increase of 1.1% compared to the previous year. In 2016 the Australian Government released the Defence White Paper stating an investment of $8 billion in the Northern Territory between 2016 and 2025 for defence infrastructure and facilities. This is providing opportunities for small to medium Northern Territory businesses to secure long-term work.
The Northern Territory is at the frontline of Australia’s national security, and the defence sector contributes significantly to the Northern Territory economy. This is achieved through job creation, building infrastructure and demand for goods and services. Those employed in this industry, together with their families, total around 9,500 people, or 4% of the NT population. The Northern Territory Government is also investing $100 million to develop a Darwin ship lift and marine industry facility in response to the growing need for marine industry services from defence and Australian Border Force, among other sectors. Seventy-five percent of Australia’s Armidale class patrol boats, a squadron of FA18 Classic Hornet fighter jets and a large portion of the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters are in the Northern Territory.
East Arnhem has a vast landscape with low population density, existing infrastructure, a natural deep-water port, and sits as a gateway to Asia. Opportunities may emerge to partner with traditional owners and governments to increase defence and border protection services, as well as biosecurity services.
Australian Border Force has a presence in East Arnhem with a permanent office based at Gove Port. Their scope of works includes engaging directly with Rio Tinto – specifically with regard to international shipping arrivals – and with land and sea ranger groups, marine debris surveying and Northern Territory Police operations.
Norforce, an infantry regiment of the Australian Army Reserve for Northern Australia, also has a permanent base in Nhulunbuy.
For more information, please visit defence.nt.gov.au