Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sherwin Iron appoints new Chairman

Well-known Territorian Barry Coulter has been appointed Chairman of Sherwin Iron Limited (ASX: SHD) effective 1 October 2011.

Mr Coulter, a former NT Cabinet Minister who has lived in the Northern Territory for 35 years, replaces Mr Terence Smith, who is retiring after five years as Chairman.

Mr Coulter was appointed to the Board of Sherwin in July this year and will oversee the relocation of the Sherwin head office from Perth to Darwin as the Roper River Iron Ore Project moves closer to production.

Mr Coulter has been a Chairman of public, private and government corporations including AirNorth, International All Sports and Darwin Port Corporation.

He was a member of the Northern Territory Parliament for 16 years and served as Deputy Chief Minister,
Treasurer and Minister for Mines and Energy. He spearheaded the Darwin to Adelaide railway project for 13 years.

Mr Coulter thanked Mr Smith for his contribution to the company, saying his leadership had seen Sherwin Iron develop the Roper River Iron Ore Project to potentially become a world-class development.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Darwin local wins state award for cyclone communication

Creative Territory Director Tracy Jones won a state award for excellence at the Northern Territory Public Relations Institute Association (PRIA) Awards last night.
The crisis-communication expert took out the Corporate Social Responsibility category for improving communication in cyclones and other natural disasters in the NT.
Tracy, who has more than 20 years experience in crisis and emergency communication, gathered a body of research which led to the development of a community website and social media plug-in called EmergencyNT.
She said the work was borne in the aftermath of Cyclone Carlos, which hit Darwin without warning in February and brought down thousands of trees, flooded homes and blacked out power.
“At Creative Territory, we saw the community was confused by the mass of information being put out by various sources including government, emergency services, private business and the community.
“People were asking basic questions such as, ‘are the buses running, should I go to work, will my house flood and should I go to an evacuation centre?’. We participated in the conversation and undertook research on how it could be improved in the future.”
The research found only 54 per cent of people felt fully informed about the storm and 95.5 per cent would prefer a single online source for information.
Creative Territory has made the EmergencyNT tools available free of charge and shared the concept of a Twittercue, a set of pre-packaged words added to a media release, that enables Tweeters to accurately tweet a media release.
The Darwin boutique agency shared their findings with more than 250 businesses and public relations professionals to inform best practice and improve communication before, during and after an emergency.
“Cyclone Carlos taught us a lesson, not only about communicating in a crisis but also about our own social responsibility to our community,” Tracy said.
The 2011 State Award for Excellence is Tracy’s eleventh Northern Territory PRIA award.

AAco Food Processing Facility proposal moves to next stage

Australian Agricultural Company Limited (AAco) today announced it is moving to the next stage of proving the potential to build a state-of-the art food processing facility at Livingstone Valley 50km south of Darwin.

The proposed facility would create around 230 jobs during construction and 270 ongoing jobs, with a capacity to process up to 1,000 cattle per day for export to markets in the US, Europe and Asia.

Producing manufactured boxed beef, hides and rendered products, the facility would become one of the largest employers in Darwin’s rural area and generate new industries in the Top End.

Community consultation has begun today and approval applications are being prepared for submission to the Northern Territory Government by the end of the month. A final board decision to proceed is contingent on a number of factors including planning approvals, Government support, carbon farming initiatives and project viability.

AAco is seeking Australian and Northern Territory Government support in the form of upgrades to public infrastructure which would both facilitate this project and also be available to broader industry and the community.

Subject to government approvals and government infrastructure funding being granted, the Board will be in a position to consider the appropriate capital structure and to ultimately consider project endorsement. Construction could commence in early 2012 and commissioning by the end of next year.

“A project of this size and scope means upgrades to or new infrastructure such as roads, transport facilities, essential utilities and community services,” AAco Northern Territory General Manager, Northern Australian Beef, Stewart Cruden said.

“AAco has calculated a need for 134 new refrigerated container points at the Port of Darwin, new railway sidings, improved rail crossings and upgrades to electricity, water, gas and telecommunications access.

“There is a need for new local community facilities including health, child care and training services.

“We are looking to further discussions on how the public infrastructure can be provided as we work through our due diligence process.”

Mr Cruden said the company’s intention was to create an alternate market for AAco and all Northern Australian cattle producers.

“The only markets for cattle at present are via live export or transport to southern processing facilities. Both mean long journeys for cattle and result in significant transport costs and carcase weight loss,” Mr Cruden said.

“While this facility will not completely replace these options, it will open up new opportunities and markets for cattle producers.”

As a state-of-the-art facility, the project will employ the latest in processing, compliance, traceability, data capture, animal welfare and environmental technologies, including a commitment to a low carbon footprint and to recycle virtually all waste on site.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vista Gold Australia invites local community to have their say

Vista Gold Australia will hold a number of community information sessions regarding the Mt Todd Gold Project, 50 kms north-west of Katherine, starting next week.

Ray Iacono, Managing Director Vista Gold Australia says that the information sessions will enable Vista Gold to update the community on their progress to date and provide opportunities for the public to comment on aspects of the project.

“To date, we have received very positive feedback from the community based on their support for the potential local and regional economic benefits. We encourage the communities of Katherine and Pine Creek to participate in these information sessions so that we have a clear understanding of the issues that are important to them,” Mr Iacono said.

Vista Gold has engaged independent consultant, GHD Pty Ltd, to undertake an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to identify potential environmental, social, transport, accommodation, cultural and economic impacts associated with reopening and operating the gold mine.

“The EIS will recommend ways to reduce or remove potential negative impacts and enhance potential positive impacts from the mine project.”

The community information sessions will be held on:

• Saturday 24 September, 9am – 12 noon, at the Woolworths Shopping centre, Katherine

• Monday 26 September, 6.30pm – 8.30pm, at the Pine Creek Community Hall

• Tuesday 27 September, 7.30am at the Katherine Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast

Since acquiring the Mt Todd project in 2006, Vista Gold has taken an orderly, methodical and conservative approach to determine the future of the site.

In November 2010, The Northern Territory Government renewed its agreement with Vista Gold for the care and maintenance of the site, demonstrating both the Government’s and Vista Gold’s commitment to assessing the feasibility of developing the site.

With an improvement in the gold price, Vista Gold Australia is working towards getting the site back to production, with approvals and permits expected to be in place during 2012.


#Vista Gold 2 hold community info sessions in Katherine & Pine Creek re Mt Todd Gold Mine Project #topend

A fresh start for Katherine Youth

Mission Australia is giving young people in Katherine a fresh approach to living healthy with a community garden.

The project aims to reconnect Katherine and surrounding communities’ youth with nature and sustainable food production.

Mission Australia Youth Services Coordinator Ruth Cardier said, “The project provides a positive environment of learning and alternative recreational activities for local youth.

“We created the garden in Mission Australia’s Katherine Office Car Park. We turned a space that was a weed infested wasteland into a vibrant veggie patch.

“There are over 50 youth aged 10 to 16 years who have participated in the project so far. They come in small groups of five to eight a few times a week.”

The community garden started five months ago in collaboration with the Katherine’s Department of Health (DOH) and Katherine High School.

DOH nutritionist Kate Robertson has taught the teenagers in the project ways of living healthy and how to cook food using produce from the garden.

Katherine High School is helping the participants make the step from community garden project to the school’s Horticultural Program by providing space for Mission Australia to extend their program onto the grounds of the High School.

“We are really trying to help more youth re-engage with high school and getting them interested in gardening is just another way,” said Ms Cardier.

“The youth love watering the plants and enjoy planting and eating the garden produce.

“We had our first veggie harvest of eggplants recently, which we cooked up, under the guidance of Kate, in an eggplant and pasta dish.”

Young people in the project are from Katherine, Kalano, Binjari and Rockhole communities.

The Community Garden is growing corn, silverbeet, tomatoes, peas, beans, squash, watermelons, a variety of herbs and lots more.

“We incorporated the ideas from the young people of what they would like us to grow.”

For more information or how to get involved in the project please contact Ruth

@missionaust gives a fresh start to Katherine Youth with a community #garden project #topend


Media Contact: Anita Brabham on 89419169

Photo caption: Rockhole Youth enjoy fruits of Mission Australia’s Community Garden From left to right: Joyce Herbert, Victoria Pamkal, Samantha Brown, Brittany Barroway, Tyronia Miliyan and Nikita Andrews.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Social Media Growth Continues in the NT

Social media participation in the Northern Territory continues to grow, particularly the number of Territorians now connecting via LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has seen a massive 12.4 per cent growth in the two months from 30 June to
31 August, up from 8277 to 9303 members. If this growth rate continues, we could see more than 16,000 members in the NT by this time next year.
Facebook achieved just 3.3 per cent growth over the same period, up from 69,620 members to 71,900.
This growth is mirrored in a recent recruitment campaign we implemented on behalf of a client, which saw a much higher response rate from LinkedIn advertising compared with Facebook.
Twitter remains notoriously difficult to measure but even so appears to have achieved less than 1 per cent growth.

Katherine and Batchelor led the growth in Facebook members, up 5.3 and 10.3 per cent respectively. The number of members in Alice Springs actually decreased.
The percentage of population on Facebook is now 32.7 per cent, with a much higher usage in Darwin at 45.2 per cent and Katherine at 46.3 per cent.
All NT
Alice Springs
Tennant Creek

Source: These statistics were sourced using Facebook’s advertising tool, setting parameters for state and town and includes all age groups. Be aware that while Facebook works hard to understand the true demographics of its users as its advertising model depends on it, it still relies on individual account owners to name their home town. Many users do not.
Just over 4 per cent of Territorians in major centres are now connected via LinkedIn, with Nhulunbuy continuing to lead the pack with a whopping 12.8 per cent of residents holding an account, up from 11 per cent in June.

All major centres
Alice Springs

Source: These figures were prepared by using LinkedIn’s advanced search tool. We searched for accounts within 80km of each major centre in the Northern Territory. Tennant Creek is not shown in this table, as our search did not reveal any users. Again, we need to remember that account holders self-identify their location and research shows a large number of people never visit their profile again after the initial rush of excitement.

Twitter remains difficult to measure, and our analysis showed less than 1 per cent growth over the two-month period.

Estimated users
Please note we have adjusted our estimate downward for the month of June based on using a more advanced search process through TweetAdder.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New partnership to help Indigenous job seekers check into the hospitality industry

Leading Australian employment service Mission Australia is teaming up with IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) on an innovative new program to help boost Indigenous employment in Australia’s hospitality industry.

Mission Australia Employment Solutions Project Manager Natalie Therese said the new joint Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) aims to help tackle Indigenous unemployment by placing 60 Indigenous job seekers in roles within IHG’s InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels across Australia within the next twelve months.

There are four IHG hotels participating in the Northern Territory: the Holiday Inn Esplanade Darwin, Holiday Inn Darwin, Crowne Plaza Darwin and Crowne Plaza Alice Springs.

The initiative funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is the first nation-wide IEP partnership Mission Australia has entered into, following the success of a number of local IEPs in individual states.

“This partnership is about opening doors and creating opportunities for Indigenous Australians to get a start in the hospitality industry,” Ms Therese said.

“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate among Indigenous Australians last year was more than three times higher than that of non-Indigenous Australians.

“Across the country right now, Mission Australia has more than 3,700 Indigenous people registered as active job seekers.

“We see this nation-wide IEP as a step in the right direction towards tackling Indigenous unemployment right across Australia and we’re delighted to be working with one of the world’s leading hotel chains to do so.”

According to IHG chief operating officer Australasia, Bruce McKenzie, the Mission Australia initiative sets an example of the level of commitment required to create more education, employment and career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

“We set a clear target of ensuring at least three percent of our Australian workforce is made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders within three years, when we introduced the hospitality industry’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) late last year. Our partnership with Mission Australia will help us make tangible progress toward realising that commitment.

“We know from experience that the real impact in closing the gap in opportunities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians happens at a community level. Working alongside Mission Australia, we’ll be providing sustainable training, education, employment and career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and their communities across the Country.

“It’s initiatives like this that will make the strongest impact in the ongoing call for sustainable opportunities for indigenous Australians. We can’t wait to get started,” Bruce said.

Ms Therese said Mission Australia will be working with IHG’s hotels to help place the right people in the right roles – targeting both job seekers registered with Mission Australia Employment Solutions services, as well as those who express an interest through their local community.

“Mission Australia will screen potential candidates and provide them with work ready training ahead of an interview with the local hotel,” she said.

“Successful candidates will then be signed up for a traineeship with IHG to achieve a Certificate III in Hospitality Operations, with training to be provided by leading training organisation Untamed Group.

“Mentors will also be assigned to the candidates to help them succeed in their new job and manage the challenges of their traineeship.

“This is about providing lasting employment opportunities for Indigenous job seekers, and helping to build a fairer Australia.”

Mission Australia Employment Solutions’ Nathalie Therese is in the NT until Friday, 9 September and is available for interview.

Mission Australia Employment Solutions is one of Australia’s largest providers of the Federal Government’s Job Services Australia (JSA) program, and in 2010 assisted more than 50,000 Australians into long-term employment.

For further information on the IEP and Mission Australia Employment Solutions, please contact Mission Australia on 13 11 24.

Media Contacts:

Mission Australia: Jeannette Button (08) 8941 9169 or 0407 727 080

IHG: Nicole Campbell (02) 9264 4411 or 0423 965 025