Brilliant Northern Territory businesses a family affair

Media Release, 28 May 2014

Successful Northern Territory Businesses are looking to family partnerships to achieve brilliance, with an astonishing four sets of brothers, a father-son combination and seven husband-and-wife teams among the 25 finalists in the 2014 Telstra Northern Territory Business Awards.

Bringing a wide range of skills and specialties, this year’s finalists are rich and diverse, coming from industries including human resources, business services, tourism and hospitality, building and plumbing, nursing and pharmacy.

Telstra Business Group Managing Director and Telstra Business Awards Ambassador, Will Irving, said the breadth and calibre of the 25 Awards finalists was a positive sign for the Territory’s economy.
“It’s fantastic to see finalists from right across the Territory and representing such varied industries. These brilliant businesses are at the heart of many local communities and they’re the backbone of the Australian economy.

“The Telstra Business Awards recognise the brilliance of Australian businesses and help them reflect on their strategies, goals and how they can achieve a better future, but they also inspire their communities by highlighting the hard work and creative force that go into keeping a small business running, fulfilling business owners’ passions and dreams,” Mr Irving said.

This year’s Awards have delivered a striking number of sibling partnerships, with four finalists, HR Links; Killarney Homes; Skyline Precast; and Venture North Safaris, boasting brothers at the helm.

Brothers Robert and Shannon Rusca were inspired by their father, a member of the Stolen Generations, in launching HR Links to improve employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians while Hugh and Aaron Gange seized a once in a life time opportunity to follow their dreams and purchase tour company Venture North Safaris.

The Territory’s pristine environment is also the backdrop for Small Business Award finalist Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris which Max Davidson has evolved from basic tent accommodation to a modern lodge with fine dining and a 26-seat cruiser for barra fishing.

Another family owned business, electrical and mechanical contractor Johnny Cool Darwin Pty Ltd, was launched by John and Kylie Hayes in 2009 and now has their three sons among 19 employees.

Other finalists include NT Sports and Playground Surfacing, run by former Perth couple Robert and Renae Fleming, and ServiceM8, where father-son team Kim and Ben Ford developed a cloud-based software platform to help small businesses manage workflow.

Another family-owned business, Trade Building Supplies, is a leading supplier to builders in the Northern Territory, East Timor and Micronesia; and Darwin’s Country Wellness Pharmacy, which has shown remarkable innovation in seeking new customers in the marine, oil and gas, and aged care sector, are also among the finalists.

More than $800,000 in prizes is available for winners of the 2014 state, territory and national Telstra Business Awards - a program that has celebrated brilliant Australian small and medium businesses since 1992.
The finalists for the 2014 Telstra Northern Territory Australian Business Awards are:

Start-Up Award
Beagle Motor Inn, Katherine
Country Wellness Pharmacy, Winnellie
HR Links, Darwin
NT Phone Repairs, Darwin
Plumbing NT Pty Ltd, Palmerston
SWEL Pty Ltd, Alice Springs

Micro Business Award
Darwin Auto Mobile Care, Woolner
NT Sports and Playground Surfacing, Darwin
S.A.R Contracting, Palmerston
ServiceM8, Darwin
Terrace Flowers & Top End Trophies, Katherine
Venture North Safaris, Darwin

Small Business Award
Allora Gardens Nursery, Berrimah
Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris, Mount Borradaile
Johnny Cool Darwin Pty Ltd, Berrimah
Saltnpeppa Cafe Ristorante, Durack
Skyline Precast, Berrimah

Medium Business Award
Alltools NT, Winnellie
Golden Glow Nursing, Wanguri
Karen Sheldon Catering Pty Ltd, Marrara
Killarney Homes, Bellamack
Power Projects NT, Katherine
Trade Building Supplies Pty Ltd, Berrimah

Regional Award
Beagle Motor Inn, Katherine
Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris, Mount Borradaile
Golden Glow Nursing, Wanguri
Power Projects NT, Katherine
Saltnpeppa Café Ristorante, Durack
SWEL Pty Ltd, Alice Springs

Winners of the Telstra Northern Territory Business Awards will be announced at the Darwin Convention Centre on Friday 20 June. Winners will proceed to the national Awards in Melbourne on 7 August.

Awards information and tickets to the Gala Dinners can be purchased by visiting or by calling 1800AWARDS between 9am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday.