Darwin-based manufacturer to underpin top-end self-reliance with multi-million dollar investment into capability

Darwin-based Steeline GRP has been awarded $800,000 in co-funding through the Northern Territory Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund (AMEF), administered by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), to support an ambitious 18-month project which is forecast to generate $7.25 million in additional revenue over five years.

Steeline GRP’s expansion of existing operations provides an important strengthening of capability and capacity to the existing manufacturing ecosystem and reduces reliance on interstate or overseas supply. The collaborative project will not only upskill existing staff but create 10 new Territory-first manufacturing jobs which will remove the need to outsource work from interstate and overseas.

The operation will deliver a local source of high-quality steel product and processing capability to support critical industries such as oil & gas, maritime, civil, minerals, construction, and defence sectors. Specifically, it opens great potential for the Territory’s ecosystem to supply critical local projects such as Darwin’s ship lift, as well as, many other forecasted strategic infrastructure projects in emerging sectors.

Steeline will collaborate with Charles Darwin University (CDU), measurement and automation solutions specialist Diverseco, and Territorian aluminium boat and trailer maker Custom Works, to install a state-of-the-art long-reach robot, router and beamline for metal fabrication, while equipping workers with the skills needed to operate such sophisticated Industry 4.0 machinery.

“Our advanced manufacturing facility will house state-of-the-art automated metal manufacturing technology and will be supported by skilled staff possessing STEM capabilities that do not currently exist in the NT. In short, we will be removing the requirement to outsource work interstate or overseas, while creating more local jobs – it’s a win-win for the Territory,” said Steeline GRP’s General Manager Tony Halikos.

In total, Steeline’s collaborative project will commit $3.5 million to grow the capability and capacity of the Northern Territory manufacturing ecosystem, with Steeline matching the AMEF’s co-investment of $800,000 dollar-for-dollar while committing a further $1,903,000 to the project through the provision of in-kind services, support and labour.

“The AMEF has begun to transform the Territory’s manufacturing ecosystem in a short amount of time. The co-investment fund is achieving exactly what it was set out to do – generate jobs, increase local capability and drive growth across the Territory, with Steeline playing a pivotal role in boosting local jobs, innovation and opportunities,” said the Northern Territory’s Minister for Industry, Nicole Manison

The impact of investment in the project will be significant for the Territory which has a substantive list of companies looking for a local supply of products such as large pieces of finished structural steel and aluminium plate typically bought from interstate or overseas, creating significant supply chain risks. Furthermore, this local capability will significantly reduce the impact of high transport costs and, at times, questionable reliability.

“The AMEF has a significant and complementary role to play in underpinning a variety of major projects across the Top End. Steeline’s new capabilities will arrive at a time of major infrastructure, investment and innovation projects for the Territory” added Northern Territory’s Major Projects Commissioner, Jason Schoolmeester.

AMGC’s Director for the Northern Territory, Charmaine Phillips said, “Steeline’s project represents an important lift in the ability of NT’s manufacturing ecosystem to support economic development and major projects across the region – precisely what the AMEF was designed to achieve.”