Territory Stories

Annual Report 1998/99 Trade Development Zone Authority



Annual Report 1998/99 Trade Development Zone Authority

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Tabled Paper 1647


Tabled papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT






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Most countries handled the monetary crisis quickly and efficiently, but investment will take some time to materialise and most prospective new tenants are prepared to sit back and see whether recovery plans put in place by these countries are going to work. Positive growth signs observed in several affected countries are good reason for optimism for the future. Most potential investors can be expected to sit back for a time to see if real trade will result from the recovery plans put in place. Overseas mining was virtually shut down during the year, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia, and general supply and service providers to the mining industry suffered severe revenue cutbacks because of the downturn. The shutdown in Indonesia in particular had a direct impact on a number of operators within the Trade Development Zone. Worldwide commodity prices dropped, especially for gold and oil, immediately resulting in reduced activity in the Northern Territory's gold mining sector and the deferral of major exploration and recovery programs planned in the offshore oil and gas sector. The situation improved towards the end of the year and long-term industry forecasts are for a sound future for oil and gas. The Northern Territory economy stands to benefit substantially from the projected level of offshore oil and gas sector activity over the next few years and this augers well for the Trade Development Zone's future growth. Support provided by the Darwin based supply and service sector to the oil and gas sector is steadily increasing and a number of local companies are actively seeking to win work and are gaining expertise and capacities to do that. At the same time, several specialist interstate and overseas-owned technology providers are seeking to establish either offices and/or an operational presence in Darwin. This will have substantial spin-offs for the local economy. The Northern Territory Government's $16 Million Mineral Exploration Initiative, announced during the year, has been designed to encourage and attract greater interest in the resources of this region which remain largely untapped. The outcomes of this welcome initiative will bring major benefits, in due course, for industry service providers including those operating within the Trade Development Zone. The live cattle export trade showed significant signs of recovery this year, following the dramatic slump after the peak 1997 season, but still has a long way to go to regain lost ground. Sea freight, determined by the capacity of the live cattle trade out of Darwin, was down during the year and this brought a flow-on effect to Territory- based service providers. In an encouraging trend to emerge in the last quarter of 1998/99, the Trade Development Zone Authority experienced a healthy upsurge in inquiries from prospective new manufacturing and service sector operators who see Darwin as a strategic stepping stone into the Asian markets. Investment resulting from these inquiries is likely to take some time to materialise but presents encouraging prospects for future development at trade zone. The upsurge in inquiries was attributed to the Authority's proactive marketing push during the year. 12

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