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.