For the rapidly growing drone industry, the Northern Territory provides significant strategic advantages for operators wishing to set up in Australia.
The Territory's geographic location as Australia's gateway to Asia provides operators with the capacity to service the region, which contains 56% of the global population, from Darwin. The Territory also contains unique weather conditions ideal for research and development and testing of innovative drone technology with equatorial, tropical, semi-arid and arid environments along with a low population density to allow for large scale testing and operation of drone technology.
Additionally, future demand for drone capability within the Territory is expected to grow significantly with strong demand coming from a number of significant industries in the Territory and major projects:
- Sun Cable Project
The Sun Cable Project will generate 17-20 Gwp from the world's largest solar farm of 12,000 hectares with construction to commence late 2023.
- Oil and gas
Darwin is a globally significant LNG export hub, home to 3 LNG trains and service and supply centre for an offshore floating LNG project and recent discoveries of Beetaloo Sub-basin.
The Territory currently has 6 major operating mines with total combined production value of AU$4.28 billion in 2020-21 with 15 other mineral projects projected to reach final investment decision between 2021-24 with initial capital expenditure of AU$6.08 billion over 3 years.
Agricultural land in the Northern Territory occupies 615,000 square kilometres and Darwin hosts one of the busiest livestock ports in the world for cattle.
In addition to the benefits provided by the Territory's strategic location and strong forecast demand, the Territory also has an established ecosystem of industries that integrate well with drone operations:
- a dedicated Darwin Aerospace Manufacturing Precinct, strategically located adjacent to Darwin International Airport
- established Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, supporting the growth of advanced manufacturing in priority sector
- Australian Government support to enhance Australian manufacturing capabilities, through the Modern Manufacturing Initiative
- equity and concessional funding through the Local Jobs Fund or Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.