Local Jobs Fund to enhance defence capability and disaster readiness

NT Government

An innovative Darwin business will manufacture and commercialise unique water purification systems, which will be used by Australian Defence personnel in military operations, disaster response and humanitarian aid efforts.

In December 2022, Life h2o Australia Pty Ltd was awarded a $2.5 million co-investment through the Northern Territory Government’s Local Jobs Fund. This will see Life h2o scale its operations and create up to 15 new full-time positions in the Northern Territory over the next five years, in addition to supporting a number of established Territory businesses.

Life h2o has developed compact, energy efficient, military-grade water purification and desalination equipment, which are fit for purpose depending on client needs, use and operational environment.

This funding will assist with scalable production and the future development of a wider range of products such as vehicle mounted units, as well as miniaturised and modularised drinking water treatment systems.

Last year, the company performed trials and tested systems with the Australian Defence Force (ADF), presented to the US Military and was called upon by the Australian Defence Export Office to submit a proposal in support of the Ukraine’s war effort. Life h2o also appeared alongside other SME’s and defence contractors chosen from the Australian Military Sales Catalogue to provide defence industry showcases in allied countries as part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2022.

In 2020, Life h2o’s founder Charley Feros made the decision to establish his family in the NT after recognising the opportunities the Territory could present for his innovation, especially for defence, foreign aid, disaster relief and remote communities.

Over the past three years, the business has worked closely with the ADF’s tri-services and the Northern Territory Government on building long-term and sustainable supply contracts. Through user-based design this ongoing relationship will see further research and development and the manufacturing of a suite of innovative world first products.

The Local Jobs Fund has invested in 14 projects, estimated to generate $342.6 million into the Territory economy over the next three years.

Quotes attributed to Chief Minister, Natasha Fyles:

“The Territory Government established the $189 million co-investment Local Jobs Fund to accelerate significant projects to grow the economy and increase Territory exports to interstate and international markets.”

“Life h2o’s equipment which will not only benefit Australian and international Defence operations, but there will be strong interest from a range of industries right across the Territory.

“Investing in this unique technology will increase the Territory’s manufacturing capability and capacity, leverage industry and help grow a $40 billion economy by 2030.”

Quotes attributed to Life h2o Australia Founder, Charley Feros:

“The last three years have been a journey for Life h2o. From developing our unique products to building relationships with long-term collaborators and contractors, it’s incredible to see so many possibilities becoming reality.”

“The investment through the Local Jobs Fund will see our business expand through new market exposure and networks in Defence and a variety of other industry sectors. As well as securing a larger more scalable facility, we can now create up to 15 new employment positions over the next five years.”

“We look forward to working in collaboration with the Northern Territory Government to enhance our sovereign defence capability, disaster readiness and improve water quality and living standards in remote communities to maximise benefit for Territory and future economic growth in Northern Australia.”

Northern Territory Government

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