The Northern Territory’s (NT's) economic output is predominantly concentrated around a few industries including construction, government and community services, and the mining industry. These industries account for over half of the NT’s total economic output. In contrast, the main contributors to total employment are government and community services, construction, and retail and wholesale trade (Chart 1).
Construction is one of the NT’s largest industries, accounting for 11.2% of total gross state product (GSP) in 2016-17. Since 2012-13, the construction industry has grown by an average of 19.3% per annum, reflecting strong construction activity associated with major projects and residential construction.
For the purpose of analysing the NT’s industry structure, the Department of Treasury and Finance combines the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) industries of public administration and safety, health care and social assistance, and education and training into a single industry – government and community services. This recognises these services are largely funded by the public sector.
Reporting of mining and manufacturing has also been combined. Mining includes the mining of mineral resources, petroleum extraction and processing of liquefied natural gas, as well as associated exploration activity. Manufacturing is a smaller-scale industry in the NT compared to other jurisdictions, comprising about 29.8% of the total category.
The service industries category includes a range of industries, which are individually small but combined are the second largest proportion of the NT’s economic output and second largest proportion of total employment.
Although the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry is much smaller than the other key industries in the NT in terms of its contribution to both GSP and employment, it has not been incorporated as part of service industries and instead is included as a separate section of this chapter due to its importance in regional areas.
The following sections provide current trend of each sector in terms of share of GSP and total resident employment in the NT, as well as opportunities and risks to growth in these industries.