The NT’s booming mining and energy sector, significant Defence presence and growing tourism industry have seen Darwin and the Territory emerge as a significant service and supply centre for both offshore and onshore projects.
In recent years, the capacity and expertise of this sector have grown significantly—supply and service industries now account for some 75% of activity in the Territory economy.
The substantial and steady investment in infrastructure in the last decade supports this burgeoning service and supply sector.
A $75 million overhaul of Darwin’s international, 24-hour airport was completed mid-2015. The upgrade doubled the terminal size and added six boarding gates, an extra security screening area, a larger check-in area for domestic and international arrivals and new bars, restaurants and retail areas. Qantas and Virgin Australia both built new passenger lounges, and airside, three new aircraft parking bays bring the total number of bays to 17. The expansion will support growing passenger numbers from the current 2.3 million per year to four million forecast by 2030.
EAST ARM LOGISTICS PRECINCT
Located just 16 kilometres from Darwin city, the precinct houses Darwin’s East Arm Wharf, the terminus of the Australasia Railway, the Darwin Business Park, the Marine Supply Base and the proposed Marine Industry Park. More than 100 service and supply businesses operate in the 300-hectare precinct, which is strategically positioned close to major road and air transport connections. Substantial areas of industrial land adjacent to transport infrastructure in the precinct are available to store equipment and coordinate operations across the Northern Territory.
The Port of Darwin is a naturally occurring deep-water port and Australia’s closest port to South East Asia. Its main cargo facility is the East Arm Wharf, which is connected to the national rail network, allowing seamless movement of goods. East Arm Wharf is well equipped to handle container and general cargo, bulk minerals and bulk liquids (including petroleum), live cattle, and offshore oil and gas rig services. It is one of only two ports in Australia authorised to ship uranium oxide.
A dedicated Marine Supply Base was established to support vessels servicing offshore platforms and floating LNG facilities with food, water and drilling equipment. The base includes three marine berths with water, fuel, chemical and drilling mud connections, hard stand and lay down areas, warehousing, waste management facility and storage capacity, all available 24/7. The base has halved the turnaround time for vessels from 24 hours to 12 hours and ensures a quick turnaround for up to 1000 rig tenders a year.
The well-established Darwin Business Park is a 100-hectare facility in the East Arm Logistics Precinct, close to the East Arm Wharf, the Marine Supply Base and the Australasia railway terminus. Its tenants are mainly businesses that service and supply the growing oil and gas, mining, transport and logistics industries.
A new Marine Industry Park currently in development at the East Arm Logistics Precinct will offer 150 hectares of premium waterfront land with a seamless road, rail and sea transport links. The park will provide integrated marine maintenance, fabrication, engineering and general marine services to support the defence, oil and gas, and logistics industries, complementing other marine services provided by the Marine Supply Base. At full capacity, it is estimated the Marine Industry Park will support up to 4,500 full-time jobs and inject $3.5 billion into the Territory economy.
Defence is a significant sector in the Northern Territory. Almost 10 per cent of Australia’s Defence Force personnel are based there, and Defence spends about $1.5 billion in the NT every year. Some Australian Defence Force platforms are now permanently based in the NT, such as the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Regiment and 75% of Australia’s Armidale Class Patrol Boats. A large service and supply contingent is dedicated to supporting this significant sector with mechanical and electrical engineering, communications, transport, warehousing, facilities management, catering and security services.