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Industry Capability Network


Practicality and synergy are the drivers for an expansion of a joint presence between the Industry Capability Network (ICN) and the Chamber of Commerce NT in Nhulunbuy, mimicking the success of the same cooperative venture established in Katherine about 18 months ago.

Maintaining representation in less populated localities in the NT can be challenging, but the sharing of one dedicated person enables the two organisations to bring together the benefits they offer to industry in a complimentary fashion. Additional support provided by Developing East Arnhem Land (DEAL) has also played an important role in establishing an East Arnhem presence.

Experienced industry advisor Alicia Byron has taken on the crucial dual sector role in the mining township of Nhulunbuy. She will work closely with Colin Abbott, who has led the way in the equivalent position in Katherine and set the scene on how the Chamber and ICN complement each other.

Alicia’s primary task within ICN is to identify business capabilities – and skills gaps – on the Gove Peninsula and act as a “marriage broker” between prime contractors, Government and smaller Territory businesses.

Her role for the Chamber of Commerce includes facilitating the value-add propositions the Chamber brings through its advocacy, training and HR/IR expertise to members. Rebuilding the Chamber’s presence in the region will assist business consolidate their ability to compete for these lucrative work packages.

Global resources company Rio Tinto is expected to spend about $1 billion over the next decade closing its massive bauxite mining operation on the outskirts of Nhulunbuy.

But there are many other business opportunities, including Territory and Federal government projects, the growing tourism industry and the space centre. ICN and the Chamber believe that many of these contracts can be won by Territory companies.

Alicia says: “It’s a privileged position to work with two incredible organisations and to be an effective advocate for business and the community.

“There are amazing opportunities for established businesses and new, smaller businesses.

“There will no doubt be challenges but everybody is getting behind each other in this community.”

Chamber chief executive Greg Ireland says the organisation tried to support its members in Gove remotely.

“While we had the best of intentions, it is never the same as having boots on the ground and the success of the ICN/Chamber partnership in Katherine has led to replicating this model in Nhulunbuy.

“Alicia has great experience and has had an immediate impact for both ICN and Chamber NT, engaging with locals and encouraging them to embrace both organisations.

“As she grows in confidence, learns more about the local business community and where we can best fit into supporting their businesses, we can foresee positive outcomes for the region.

“The Chamber is undergoing extensive changes, and these will result in increased benefits for members. Armed with this toolkit, Alicia will make a difference in preparing local business for the economy of the future.”

Work packages throughout the Territory are listed on ICN’s Gateway portal, with a supporting database containing details of more than 4000 NT companies.

Contracts for major projects, such as Rio Tinto’s Gove Closure Program, Sitzler, Laing O’Rourke and Lendlease Defence work, the Seafarm’s Sea Dragon prawn farm, Halikos’ Charles Darwin University city centre campus and Santos’ Darwin LNG Life Extension are posted on the website so that Territory companies can put in expressions of interest.

ICN NT CEO Kevin Peters says the ICN system has worked incredibly well since being set up 34 years ago.

“Together with the support of the NT Government through their local content advocacy, we’ve been able to demonstrate the capability which exists in the Territory. There is no need for national and international companies to rely on existing east, west and south coast supply chains where we are able to perform the work right here in our own backyard.”

“We’re thrilled that this partnership with the Chamber allows us to better highlight the capability of East Arnhem businesses. And we acknowledge DEAL for their help in making it happen.”