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Since 1987, the Industry Capability Network Northern Territory has partnered with major projects to connect them with local contractors and suppliers throughout the Territory.

The partnership has been highly regarded for its role in fostering local economic growth and development.

Despite the evolution of digital technology, ICN’s commitment to maintaining a local presence, or “boots on the ground”, has been the cornerstone of their ability to understand the capabilities and potential of the local industry comprehensively.

Daniel McCormick, ICN’s newly-appointed chief executive, emphasises the importance of this hands-on approach.

“Our 14 staff in the Territory are dedicated to building an accurate understanding of what our local businesses can do. There’s invaluable insight gained from visiting a local premises, engaging with managers, and first-hand assessing its operations.”

ICN champions the capabilities and capacity of Territory businesses, consistently challenging the misconception that “it can’t be done in the Territory”.

Mr McCormick is a staunch advocate for the local businesses’ ability to scale and deliver on large-scale projects, stressing the necessity of a continuous and diverse project pipeline to sustain business growth and development.

“A lot of the future projects planned in the Territory are being led by teams that are either interstate or overseas, and these projects are heavily reliant on us to have up-todate and credible information on what can be sourced locally. “We assist them in ensuring they have local options and a more competitive tender process. This is critical for their procurement and supply chain planning and can heavily affect the economics of a project.”

ICN’s collaboration with the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade has been crucial in mapping the supply chains across various sectors in the Territory, including mining, Defence, energy, agriculture, and manufacturing.

“This allows us to identify our business strengths and, with enough forewarning, treat our weaknesses as opportunities for growth and expansion.”

With more than 4000 local companies registered, the ICN Gateway serves as a dynamic platform connecting businesses with relevant projects and contracts.

McCormick likens ICN to a recruitment firm for businesses, where companies create profiles showcasing their capabilities, which are then matched with appropriate market opportunities.

ICN facilitates about 5000 purchases annually, with values ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Through analysis of past procurements, we’ve been able to form an understanding of which sectors are procuring, the services they need and when they need them. We’ve developed some interesting insights, and we’ll continue to have a strong view of the project horizon because of the nature of our early engagement in the procurement life cycle.” Mr McCormick says ICN NT’s record for procurement facilitated in a fiscal year was $7 billion in 2011, before the start of the INPEX construction in 2012; and that they’ve seen four years of consecutive growth since FY2020, peaking at $6.2 billion last year.

“The major difference we are seeing compared with 2011 is the diversity in the sectors that are developing in the Territory. We are being consulted across a wider range of projects than we have previously, notably offshore and onshore oil and gas, renewable energy, construction and Defence, which demonstrates healthy diversity in the project pipeline.

“If we get the investment right, the Territory could really take off.

“I care about this stuff because I grew up in a household in Alice Springs with both parents running small businesses. I’ve seen countless instances where local businesses have been overlooked and interstate or overseas firms have unnecessarily been brought in to do a job.

“Of course, when you are working on complicated major projects, we have got to be realistic. There’s a fair bit that we can’t do, but there is a lot more that we can do.”

Mr McCormick encourages businesses to establish or update their profiles on the ICN Gateway, emphasising ICN’s role in connecting with upcoming opportunities, and being a catalyst for sustainable local economic growth and development.


ICN Gateway