Story by EDWINA STORIE
The Northern Territory’s capital of Darwin – Australia’s gateway to Asia – is a quiet achiever for the country despite being the intelligence hub of many of the country’s strongest industries.
Only a two-hour flight from Denpasar and four hours from Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, Darwin is a centre of culture and innovation. The Northern Territory is rich in natural resources, has a prosperous economy, and a diverse land of lush tropics and red desert rich with indigenous culture. From such abundance has grown industries and knowledge centres. The combination of all these elements has lead to fascinating and informative experiences for conference attendees. Sitting at the state’s northern tip, Darwin has a world-class convention centre that sits opposite quality hotels and the city’s best restaurants. Its 1,685,176 square kilometres of land is made up of a growing urban sprawl, beachfront, sandy plains and verdant wilderness.
From a business perspective, the region is known for its renewable energy leadership, oil and gas resources, desert knowledge, trauma and specialty medicine healthcare, and progressive mineral development.
With such strong fields, the region has attracted some of the country’s leading industry experts who are pioneering world-first research and education.
The Northern Territory Convention Bureau can connect professional conference organisers with industry leaders from oil and gas exploration companies, pipeline operators, infrastructure and engineering companies, medical research centres, investors and consultants. These professionals can engage with delegates, lead technical tours or site visits, or showcase the progress and discoveries being made in their respective fields.
A powerhouse of oil and gas
Australia’s strong economy is due in no small part to a strong energy and resources sector. Just north of Darwin, vast gas resources are under development in the Bonaparte Basin, while the Timor Sea hosts oil and gas fields under various stages of construction and operation.
The Northern Territory is an energy centre of global significance with many companies and initiatives utilising these resources and spearheading the industry making them great sources of information to base conferences and seminars around. In a world first, the ConocoPhillips-operated LNG plant was the only one at its completion to have used innovative aero derivative gas turbines as refrigerant drivers, making it capable of producing 3.4 million tonnes of LNG per annum from the Bayu Undan gas field in the Timor Sea.
Darwin is also home to the first helium plant in the Southern Hemisphere. Valued at AUD$49.1 million (US$50.3 million), it supplies around three per cent of the world’s helium and around 150 million cubic feet of helium each year. Darwin is also the base for the LNG plant that services the Ichthys Project. The Ichthys Project is a major gas field 850 kilometres southwest of Darwin, which is piped into the region for processing before being exported to markets such as Japan. Its resource estimates are 12.8 trillion cubic feet of gas and 527 million barrels of high value condensate and is believed by experts to be a major element of Darwin’s future significance.
The Northern Territory hosts some of the largest mines and mineral deposits in the world with the second-largest uranium mine in the world, and is the country’s largest producer of uranium and manganese. Mining accounts for AUD$2.5 billion in revenue each year, making it the single most significant contributor of gross state product for Australia. It has been ranked by the mining industry as having some of the highest mineral potential of any Australian jurisdiction.
Initiatives such as the seven-year AUD$25.8 million Bringing Forward Discovery project will continue to search for more of the region’s major mineral and petroleum deposits, particularly in under-explored areas. The search for deposits of copper, diamonds, tungsten, vanadium, phosphate and iron ore is also being undertaken. The Ranger mine operated by Energy Resources Australia is one of only three mines in the world to produce in excess of 100,000 tonnes of uranium oxide, and is the country’s longest operating mine. From June 2013, close spaced underground exploration drilling will commence in the mineralised zone which contains some of the most significant uranium discoveries in the world.
Following the Bali bombings of 2002 and 2005, the Sanglah Hospital of Indonesia were unable to handle the influx of victims. To assist the Indonesian Government, the Royal Darwin Hospital stepped in, receiving, treating and stabilising the overflow of victims.
Its disaster response efforts in Bali prompted the establishment of the Royal Darwin Hospital’s National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) by the Federal Government. It is now recognised internationally for its ability to hastily deploy trained staff to disasters throughout Northern Australia and overseas, as well as acting in a forward-receiving capacity for critically-injured patients to ensure their safe transfer to other medical centres across the country. Working with Combined Communication Solutions, the centre has developed a barcode triage scanning device that allows real-time mass casualty tracking of victims from the catastrophe site to the hospital so that staff is prepared for the number of victims and the severity of their injuries.
The Menzies Research Centre in Darwin has been conducting ground-breaking research for 25 years, and is Australia’s leader in knowledge fields of indigenous health and tropical health research. Recognised for its leading research, investments continue into Darwin’s medical practice and research centres, with a respiratory health unit recently commissioned while a new team will soon be focusing on indigenous
cancer. These investments have also been translated into equipping the Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre with the very latest radiation technology.
Along with these strengths, Darwin is the most immediate Australian business events destination to Asia with close business links and initiatives such as the AustralAsia Trade Route that offers significant competitive advantages to manufacturers, producers and distributors. It also has world-class casinos, uniquely-Australian experiences such as crocodile farms and indigenous performances, and is an exotic and safe holiday and business destination for Asian visitors.