Sunday, 22 January 2012

Housing loans update for the Northern Territory

Australia’s Housing Industry Association reports the number of loans for new homes increased by 19 per cent for first-time homebuyers and 2.9 per cent for those trading up  when comparing the three months leading to November 2010 and 2011.

The Northern Territory has seen the biggest changes. Experts say the end-of-year increase is driven by interest in investing in an established market; but it is pointed out that these gains are likely to decline without the help of a long-term policy reform, a short-term government stimulus plan and  a cut in interest rates.

Over the three months to November 2011 the total number of first home buyer loans was 19 per cent higher when compared to the same period in 2010, while loans for trade up buyers rose by 2.4 per cent.

When seasonally adjusted, the number of loans for new housing (construction and purchase of new homes), increased by 20.9 per cent in the Northern Territory, ahead of 17.5 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory and 13.4 per cent in South Australia, The comparable figures for Queensland and New South Wales were 8.4 per cent and  5.6 per cent respectively.

The number of loans for new housing fell by 8.9 per cent in Tasmania, 8.5 per cent in Victoria and 3.3 per cent in Western Australia.

The continuing recovery in the aggregate number of loans for first time buyers, and to a lesser extent trade up buyers, is encouraging and is being driven by the established market. Keep an eye on the Northern Territory, where the economy will take a boost from the new AUD32 billion Ichthys gas project deal.

Prepared by Bob Woodward & Associates: offering you business consultancy, accounting, payroll administration and ancillary services in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Multi-billion dollar gas project goes ahead

The deal has been done. The future looks bright. The largest investment in the Northen Territory's history is under way with the long-awaited final decision for the AUD32 billion Ichthys gas project being given the green light.  It signals the start of one of the world's largest liquefied natural gas plants.

The Ichthys gas field is located off Western Australia, 820 kilometres southwest of Darwin. An 890 kilometre gas pipeline will be constructed to transport the LNG to an onshore processing plant at Blaydin Point, at Middle Arm.

The project will produce an estimated 8.4 million tonnes of gas a year with the first 15 years of annual production already sold. This not only secures a vital long-term energy supply to Japan, but will also deliver sustainable economic and social benefits across Australia.

Work at the Blaydin Point site will start within weeks and first production is expected at the end of 2016.

Meanwhile, construction of a 2,700-bed workers' village at Howard Springs is on the way and is expected to be completed by mid-2013. An agreement with the Northern Territory government has ensured many of the contracts being awarded to local companies.

The Northern Territory government had been chasing the project for four years –and it has been hailed to benefit the Territory for more than 40 years. It is expected to add almost 18 per cent to the Northern Territory's gross state product each year.

Prepared by Bob Woodward & Associates: offering you business consultancy, accounting, payroll administration and ancillary services in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Monday, 16 January 2012

International Indigenous tourism conference for Darwin

The Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference is being held at the Darwin Convention Centre.from March 28 to 30. It’s the first ever International conference devoted to expanding the profile, perception and scope of Indigenous tourism, particularly in the Pacific Asia Region. Around 300-400 delegates are expected to attend from around the region.

The Organising Committee is working closely with the local Larrakia people who will welcome delegates and especially representatives of Indigenous peoples from around the world.

This conference is not only for Indigenous tourism operators, but also organisations representing Indigenous peoples, governments and government agencies, tourism organisations and operators, sustainable tourism bodies, multi-lateral agencies and NGOs, universities and research bodies as well as the international media.

The Pacific Asia  region has the greatest concentration and variety of Indigenous peoples and cultures in the world.and tourism provides the strongest driver to restore, protect and promote Indigenous cultures.

Most issues affecting the development of Indigenous tourism in individual countries are common throughout the region. For it to be increasingly successful, Indigenous tourism needs to develop beyond its stereotypical and marginal role and to be brought to the mainstream of tourism.

PAITC’s programme will feature several top international speakers, and will be a great an opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge 

The main purpose of the conference will be to establish the role of tourism in Indigenous advancement and cultural preservation and define the role of Indigenous tourism experiences as a vehicle for cultural understanding, tolerance and sustainability.

Find out more at

Prepared by Bob Woodward & Associates: offering you business consultancy, accounting, payroll administration and ancillary services in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The past year predicts the future

With the holidays over, maybe it’s time to take a look back the year 2011 and what it meant for Darwin. When many people outside of the Northern Territory think of Darwi, they conjure up visions of crocodiles, wetlands and cyclones and a transit centre for low-budget adventure tourists.

But in 2011 that image began to change: it was a year when Darwin’s position got the the recognition it deserves – as a truly thriving business centre.

Darwin's proximity to Asia, its relatively good infrastructure and the Northern Territory's enormous natural wealth were just part of it. The Northern Territory has also enjoyed Australia's lowest unemployment rate for two years.

Developments worth billions of dollars are on the agenda for Darwin and house prices, briefly the highest in the nation in 2009, are still holding their own, which is more than can be said about most other major Australian cities.

On the economic front,  the Japanese company Inpex and its French joint venture partner, Total, is expected to give the $29.41 billion Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project the thumbs-up very soon.  Long-term deals to sell gas, potentially worth more than $50 billion, have already been signed from that project alone.

Darwin is growing in geo-political importance too. When US President Barack Obama visited Australia in November last year, Darwin was the only city outside of Canberra he visited – the very first time an American president had set foot in the city. While here, he announced plans for thousands of American troops to be based in Darwin by 2017. Some Territorians are all for this, others not so happy – but for sure it will be a boost for the local economy.

People already talk about Darwin as the capital of ‘Northern Australia’ and say statehood for the Northern Territory may not be far away. The NT Chief Minister Paul Henderson says that, despite strong growth, Darwin will remain a "vibrant, multicultural paradise"

You can still drive only half an hour out of Darwin and catch a metre-long barramundi or throw in a crab pot and take home half a dozen mud crabs for dinner. We hope that remains the case – not just in 2012, but for many more years to come.

Prepared by Bob Woodward & Associates: offering you business consultancy, accounting, payroll administration and ancillary services in Darwin, The Northern Territory, Australia