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One of the best things about Australia's Northern Territory is the lifestyle. The territory is renowned for its clean environment, friendly communities and its strong and growing economic base. It offers an Australian immigration experience with a difference - providing opportunities for families, business growth and individuals to live healthy, comfortable and fruitful lives.

Darwin, the tropical capital city of Australia's Northern Territory, is modern and cosmopolitan with wide streets, parks, a pedestrian mall plenty of parking, a huge range of restaurants and nightlife, exciting tourist venues and up market waterside developments.

The Territory's year-round warm climate encourages an active outdoor lifestyle with fishing in Darwin's huge harbour or surrounding rivers being a popular recreational activity.

Parklands and coastal areas throughout the suburbs and the city offer a range of venues for walking and cycling. Sport is a large part of the Northern Territory lifestyle and has some of the best sporting talent and sporting facilities in Australia.

The Northern Territory is home to a multicultural population made up of over 100 nationalities, and more than a quarter of the population identify themselves as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. This diversity is largely evident from the range of arts and cultural experiences available.

Australian Visas sponsiored by the Northern Territory offer the iconic Aussie outback experience. This unique part of Australia is a land of contrasts, rich with striking landscapes, a laid back atmosphere and friendly, everyday people.

State Business Overview

Australia's Northern Territory is committed to attracting skilled business migrants to migrate to Australia providing they can make a positive contribution to the sustainable development of the area.

This Territory has one of Australia's fastest growing economies and is one of the nation's friendliest business environments.

To enable potential business migration to the Northern Territory, the Northern Territory government takes part in Business Skills Entry schemes administered by the Commonwealth Government's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

The Business Skills Entry programme is for:

  • Eligible overseas business people seeking to come to the Northern Territory to establish a business;
  • Eligible overseas investors interested in moving from overseas and investing in the future of the Northern Territory through a designated investment.

Note: The Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development (DBIRD) coordinates the Business Skills Entry programme in the Northern Territory. The department works closely with other Northern Territory Government departments to provide information, assistance and advice to overseas business people about programs in the area.

State Sponsorship Programme

The Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is the only agency that has authority to grant visas for entry into Australia.

However each state can participate in this process through the state/territory sponsored visa categories. These categories provide the ability to attract and sponsor migrants who have skills that are of value and importance.

Migrants who are successful in obtaining state/territory sponsorship are then assessed by DIAC against specific criteria. The Commonwealth entry criteria are lower for migrants who obtain state sponsorship.

However, the awarding of state/territory sponsorship is no guarantee that a visa will be granted by DIAC.

Regional visas (business and other)

Northern Territory state sponsorship is available on the following categories of provisional (temporary residency) and residence (permanent residency) business skills visas:

  • Skilled Independent Regional (SIR)
  • State Sponsored Business Owner
  • State Sponsored Senior Executive
  • State Sponsored Business Investor
  • State Sponsored Business Talent


The Northern Territory's school system is grouped into four broad levels:

  • Pre-schools (optional) - 4 years of age
  • Transition Year - approximately 5 years of age
  • Year 1 to Year 7 - Primary School
  • Year 8 to Year 12 - High School

This Territory has a dynamic education system providing high quality education services from preschool to tertiary level. Northern Territory schools have well qualified staff and are equipped at levels consistent with Australian education standards.

There are 35 government and non-government primary and pre-schools in the Darwin area, located centrally in most suburbs. Education in the state is a partnership between students, parents, teachers and the Northern Territory Department of Employment, Education and Training.

Schools have a strong focus on literacy and numeracy and also provide opportunities for students to take part in activities such as sports, languages and visual and performing arts.

The Northern Territory has a range of public and private preschools, primary and secondary schools. It is compulsory for children in the Northern Territory to attend school from the age of six to 15, however the majority of children start school earlier and remain in education until after the age of 15.

The school year generally starts in early January and is divided into four terms of approximately 10 weeks. There is a one-week vacation at the end of Term 1 and Term 3, a four-week break at the end of Term 2 and a six-week vacation from December to January.

Public schools

Northern Territory government schools do not charge tuition fees, however most schools ask parents or guardians to pay an annual school levy.

Payment of the levy is voluntary and the amount of the levy is determined by the school's council or parent body. Proceeds from the levy are used to assist in buying textbooks and computer equipment.

Parents are also responsible for funding school excursions, camps and extracurricular activities.

There is no Territory-wide uniform policy for government schools, however all schools do have a sun safety policy.

Government schools in the Territory are not zoned unless a school has reached or is about to reach capacity. If a school is full or almost full, children from within the school's feeder area are given priority.

Private/Non-Government Schools

There are a variety of private primary and secondary schools in the Northern Territory. Most private schools in the state are operated by church organisations.

These schools teach the common curriculum taught by government schools, however schools with church affiliations also teach religious education.Private schools cater for all age ranges, from primary through to secondary school.

All independent schools have some level of fees, however the amount can vary considerably. Schools belonging to the major religious groups or to groups with specific beliefs tend to have significantly lesser fees.

Most independent schools have strong uniform codes and at the secondary level, in particular, this can mean an expensive addition to the overall fee structure.

Daycare, kindergarten and preschool

Preschool is not compulsory but it is highly recommended. Children can attend government preschools from the age of four. At some non-government preschools children can start earlier than this.

Outside school care is available at most urban primary schools and preschools offer morning and afternoon sessions for students. The services and fees vary but may include care before and/or after school, during term time and during school holidays.


At primary level children are taught a curriculum that covers the eight nationally agreed key learning areas:

  • English,
  • Health and Physical Education,
  • Languages,
  • Mathematics,
  • Science,
  • Studies of Society and Environment,
  • Technology and the Arts.

Assessment is assessed via the Multilevel Assessment Program (MAP), which measures a child's level of learning against national benchmarks.

At age five, children start Transition, the first stage of primary school. Children often enter Transition mid-term, depending on their birthday, and the number of other children in that age group.

Children are in Transition for up to 12 months and then move into Year 1 when the school and parents agree they are ready. Students attend primary school until they complete Year 7.


High School in the Northern Territory goes from Year 8 to Year 12 and caters to students of approximately 12 to 18 years of age.

Schooling is compulsory till age 15, however students who continue their education until Year 12 can complete the Northern Territory Certificate of Education. The Northern Territory Certificate of Education is recognised as an entry qualification by all Australian universities and colleges.

Several secondary schools in the Territory also offer boarding facilities.

University and vocational and educational training facilities:

The central provider of tertiary education in the Northern Territory is Charles Darwin University. Formed as result of a merger between the Northern Territory University and Alice Spring-based Centralian College, Charles Darwin University offers both vocational and academic courses.

Its primary campus is located in the Darwin suburb of Casuarina, however the university has a number of campuses across the Northern Territory.

There are also nearly 100 private registered training organisations within the Northern Territory offering training that is recognised in every state and territory in Australia under the Australian Qualifications Framework.


Employment prospects in the Northern Territory are good, with the Territory having some of the highest labour force participation rates and lowest unemployment rates in Australia.

The Territory provides the best employment rates in the nation for youth, and offers a variety of opportunities unmatched anywhere else in Australia.

Darwin is the administrative centre of the region, with federal, territory and local governments employing about 32% of the total workforce.

More than half the private sector is engaged in wholesale or retail trading, with a strong focus on tourism.

Local government projects and initiatives mean that over the next five years it is proposed that there will be more houses, schools, roads, retail centres, supply and support industries, government administration and therefore an even greater number of career opportunities.

Key industries

Mining and resources is the most significant contributor to the Northern Territory's economy. The Northern Territory's most significant mineral resources include; bauxite, gold, manganese, zinc, lead, silver, diamonds, cobalt and uranium.

The Northern Territory is also gaining a reputation as a world class oil and gas producing region.

Tourism is the largest employer and second largest revenue generating industry (after mining) in the Territory. The Northern Territory is recognised as a safe destination and this is expected to further increase international visitor numbers, creating new business and employment opportunities.

Primary industries continue to grow and diversify throughout the Northern Territory. In particular this consists of pastoral farming (cattle, buffalo and camels), horticulture (fruit, vegetables, nursery and cut flowers) and mixed farming (field crops, hay production and intensive grazing).

The defence sector also makes up a significant proportion of the Territory's population, with major defence sites throughout the area.

Emerging industries such as knowledge and innovation, investment and trade and information technology and communications are expected to boost the Territory's economy in the future.

Looking for work

There are a number of resources available to jobseekers in the Territo.

  • The Territory's major daily newspaper, The Northern Territory News, has a dedicated section advertising employment vacancies, with Wednesday and Saturday editions publishing the most extensive employment section. Other newspaper sources include The Australian and the Australian Financial Review.
  • Recruitment agencies and consultancies are another key source for job leads and can be found in the Yellow Pages or the career section of local newspapers.
  • The Internet is also a useful resource and there are many sites that list job vacancies in the Northern Territory.
  • Many large companies have their own websites which may outline career opportunities or list job vacancies in their organisation.


Darwin and its surrounding leafy, green suburbs has a good range of houses, units and flats. The nearby city of Palmerston also has a wide variety of housing options.

According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia, Darwin has some of the lowest house prices in Australia.

As at December 2004, the median house price for Darwin was AUS$260,000. Prices for regional houses outside the main city areas are also comparable with other regional Australian towns.


Furnished or unfurnished houses and units can be rented in Darwin. This can be done either privately or with the assistance of a real estate agent.

The average weekly rent for a 3 bedroom property in the city of Darwin is approximately AUS$260 per week. To secure a property tenants will need to pay a security bond plus a payment of several weeks rent. In many instances two references will also be required.

As with all large cities, rental prices can vary considerably depending on the proximity of a property to the Central Business District and transport facilities.

Properties for rent are advertised in the ’To Let’ section of The Northern Territory News. Landlords and real estate agents place advertisements in the classifieds section, with the largest number of listings being placed in Wednesday and Saturday editions.


The Northern Territory is a vast area with limited regional settlement. As a result of this, the public transport system is somewhat limited and mainly services the key urban areas.

DarwinBus and ASBus operate in Darwin and Alice Springs respectively, providing public transport within the cities. Furthermore the Darwin to Mandorah ferry service operates from Cullen Bay with a daily timetable.

Great Southern Railway (GSR) is the only interstate passenger railway operating in the Territory. The GSR runs the famous long-distance passenger train The Ghan through Darwin and Alice Springs.

Taxis are readily available in Darwin and can be requested by telephone or picked up from the numerous taxi ranks located around the city. Walking and cycling are also popular ways to get around and see the sights of Darwin.


The Northern Territory has a relatively small population of almost 200,000. This is just over half of which live in and around Darwin and its satellite city of Palmerston.

Nevertheless, the Northern Territory is one of Australia's fastest growing areas, with Darwin experiencing some of the fastest population growth in Australia.


Most of the Territory is north of the Tropic of Capricorn so naturally it has a warm climate. However it can also be very cold in some areas at certain times of the year.

The size of the Territory means it actually covers two main climate zones: tropical in the north and arid towards the centre.

In the top end there are two distinct seasons: dry season from May to October, and the wet season from November to April. Central Australia (the Northern Territory's desert centre) enjoys beautiful winters (May to October), with cool evenings and mornings, and clear dry days. In summer (November to April), daytime temperatures soar and there is increased likelihood of rain.

At its peak (December - February) temperatures can reach 35 degrees Celsius while in winter (June - August) temperatures can fall as low as 3 degrees Celsius.

Time zone

The Northern Territory is 9.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +09:30 hours). Daylight Saving (summer) Time is not observed in the Northern Territory.


The geography of the Northern Territory is the closest to the popular image of the Great Australian Outback.

Stretching approximately 1,038 miles north-south and 620 miles east-west, the Northern Territory comprises nearly one-sixth of Australia.

The Territory is centred on Darwin. The land here is tropical with rich vegetation and a varied coastline. East of Darwin is World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park - an area of vast flood plains and rocky faces steeped in natural and cultural heritage. Aboriginal people have lived here for at least 40,000 years.

The township of Katherine is 195 miles from Darwin and a further 20 miles northeast is Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park with 13 gorges towering up to 60m (200ft) high.

The southern part of the Northern Territory is centred on the town of Alice Springs which is almost at the geographical centre of Australia and is the starting point of many of the Red Centre's unique and natural wonders, including Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

From the dry rugged terrain of the Red Centre to the lush wetlands, the land is extremely varied.

Cost of living

Darwin's Consumer Price Index increased by 1.5% in the year to September 2004. This increase is considerably lower than Australia's national figure of 2.3%. For the last 6 years Darwin's CPI has grown slower than national rate.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics as at November 2004, the cost of living in Darwin is 2.7% lower than Sydney but 1.6% higher than Perth.

As in all countries retail prices can vary widely between retail outlets and across suburbs.

For more information on the Northern Territory please see: http://www.nt.gov.au/ and for Immigration information see: http://www.migration.nt.gov.au/

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