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Build a stronger workforce

Attract and retain talent & incentives for overseas and interstate workers to join Northern Territory’s workforce.

Build a stronger workforce

Attract and retain talent & incentives for overseas and interstate workers to join Northern Territory’s workforce.

HIA recommends the next Northern Territory Government:

  • Government should partner with industry on an attraction and promotional campaign.
  • Fund work-ready programs and apprenticeship courses to expose students and young workers to career options in construction.
  • Implement policies that attract and incentivise apprentices, increase the number of apprentice places, reduce the cost of hosting an apprentice, and recognise the importance of retaining apprentices through mentoring.
  • Provide apprentices with a $1,000 tool bonus program starter kit and a $500 supplement per year of the apprenticeship to support apprentice retention rates.


The NT residential construction workforce has always been a transient one and has been subject to the peaks and troughs that the local economy experiences.

If the NT is going to have its own skilled workforce to get it through periods of high work activity, it needs to compete with other states and territories in maintaining a steady supply of projects and maintain the industry at work for longer periods of time across the NT.

The residential construction industry offers opportunities to work in a range of areas of expertise. You may start with a pathway through an apprenticeship, then establish your own business. Following this, you could take on further education such as planning, certification, estimating, design or project management.

Working in the residential construction industry should not be seen as the last resort. It is highly regarded and offers substantial opportunities for success.

  • Retention of workers in the industry is vital, both with young apprentices but also workers who have been on the tools for decades and may be looking at different career options.
  • The Government has a key role in promoting careers in construction through schools and those looking for career change or various stages of their working life. This should include programs to attract more apprentices into the industry from both traditional and non-tradition backgrounds and retention through industry mentoring programs.
  • A promotional campaign to attract skilled trades and their families will go a long way to help, but there must be an effort to show why the NT should be their preferred destination. This may include salary adjustments as well as additional incentives.
  • The next NT Government should partner with industry to deliver a promotional campaign for 12 months on the advantages of taking up a career in residential building construction and on the benefits of working and living in the Territory. This should be supplemented by a funded interstate and international campaign to attract skilled building industry migrants to move to the Northern Territory.
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