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CDU-NTG Partnership Agreement

CDU NTG Lockup

About the Partnership

The Partnership Agreement provides the framework for a cooperative and collaborative relationship between Charles Darwin University (CDU) and the Northern Territory Government (NTG) to support the economic, social and environmentally sustainable development of the Northern Territory. The purpose of the Partnership Agreement is to strengthen the existing relationship between CDU and NTG by identifying common strategic objectives in the areas of education, research, community engagement, capacity building, industry development and social inclusion.

The Partnership between CDU and NTG was first entered into in 2003, in recognition that the Territory’s future depended on both organisations working together to ensure the NT had a strong and sustainable university to provide education for a resident workforce and the knowledge through research to support sustainable development.

Since 2003, the Partnership has been periodically renewed and refreshed through mutual agreement.

Partnership information


Executive Committee

Activity under the Partnership Agreement is overseen by a high-level Executive Committee comprising:


  • Chief Executive, Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet (Co-Chair)
  • Chief Executive, Department of Education
  • Chief Executive, Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
  • Chief Executive, Territory Families, Housing and Communities
  • Chief Executive, Department of Health


  • Vice-Chancellor and President (Co-Chair) 
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor, First Nations Leadership
  • Vice-President, Global and Advancement 
  • Director, Menzies School of Health Research  

Collaboration Committees

Strategic activity, priority setting and collaboration under the Partnership Agreement is undertaken through Collaboration Committees with co-chairs and selected representatives from both CDU and NTG in the following areas:

  • Natural Resource Management
  • Primary Production
  • Business and Investment
  • Health & Social Policy
  • Education 
  • Arts

Procurement Policy under the Partnership Agreement

The NT Government has approved a standing exemption for procurement activity with CDU under the NT Government-CDU Partnership Agreement, so normal procurement processes do not apply.

The exemption applies where the services required to fall under the objectives of the Partnership Agreement and follows the procurement process specified in the Partnership Agreement.

From 2021, the procurement process has been simplified with reduced administrative processes and more flexibility, as outlined in the Flowchart.

Download the Procurement Process Flowchart (PDF, 497.7 KB)

The contract for procurement has a Head Agreement (signed by the NT government and CDU) that establishes the standard terms and conditions, thereby removing the need to duplicate this step for every individual procurement.

Download the Procurement Head Agreement (PDF, 24.03 MB)

Schedules to the head agreement contain the project-specific information.

Download the Procurement Project Schedule (DOCX, 72.42 KB)

No changes can be made to the terms and conditions. Special conditions may be included in the Schedule, which overrides the general standard terms and conditions. However, any special conditions must be developed with advice from the Solicitor for the Northern Territory (SFNT) or a legal provider approved by SFNT. To ensure against inadvertent changes, the Schedule template should be used to prepare each new agreement.

The CDU Office of Research and Innovation is the first point of contact for NT agencies and CDU staff seeking further information about procurement involving research staff, the fee for service contracts and anything related to Higher Degree by Research projects under the Partnership Agreement. Contact the Manager, Research Grants, on 08 8946 7064 or

The Partnership Coordination Team can also provide assistance with the procurement process.

Staff sharing

Staff sharing under the Partnership Agreement

A key strategy of the Partnership Agreement is to promote staff resources' shared use to achieve CDU and NTG agreed priorities. At times this may involve a staff member moving to take up a position at the other organisation temporarily.

Staff sharing is designed to:

  • provide specialised skills to the ‘host’ partner that may not otherwise be available
  • develop particular projects that are of mutual priority
  • provide professional development to the individual
  • provide for the exchange of ideas and information to enhance activities and the organisational relationship of the Partnership Agreement.

Staff sharing arrangements can include:

  • secondments
  • joint appointments
  • research appointments
  • honorary, adjunct, visiting and community appointments

Joint appointments, research appointments and honorary/adjunct appointments are dealt with individually by CDU and NTG. Staff secondments are subject to shared processes as follows: 


A secondment occurs when an employee is temporarily transferred from one employer to the other (CDU to NTG or NTG to CDU) for an agreed period. Secondments may or may not involve a change in employer, depending on the requirements of the position and the requirements of the three parties (the home organisation, the employee and the host (or new) organisation).

No change in employer

The employer does not change. During the secondment term, the employee remains an employee of the home organisation for all purposes. All costs associated with the employee's employment will continue to be the responsibility of the home organisation. The employee continues to be paid by the home organisation and will continue to accrue entitlements. However, the home organisation may recover part or all of the cost of the employee secondment from the Host under the Agreement. The employee would normally be subject to the day to day direction and supervision of the host organisation.

The secondment in this situation is a tripartite arrangement between the Employer, the Host and the Employee and subject to an agreed process under the CDU NTG Partnership Agreement.

Download CDU NTG Partnership Staff Secondment agreement (DOCX, 71.03 KB) (DOCX, 71.03 KB)

Change in employer

During the arrangement, the employee will be an employee of the host organisation for all purposes. All costs associated with the employment of the employee under these circumstances will be the responsibility of the host organisation. The employee will be bound by the host organisation’s employment legislation and terms and conditions of employment.

The secondment under this arrangement sits between the home organisation and the employee and between the new (host) organisation and the employee. It is not subject to any formal Secondment Agreement under the Partnership.

Employees who change employers under this arrangement should seek clarification from their original Employer as to what conditions or entitlements might apply in this situation (e.g. recognition of service for long service leave or parental leave) 

The Co-chairs of the appropriate Collaboration Committee within the governance structure of the Partnership Agreement are required to approve a secondment position where there is a change in Employer.


Work Integrated Learning Scholarship (WILS) Protocol

Northern Territory Government Agencies are encouraged to sponsor a Charles Darwin University Work Integrated Learning Scholarship

Northern Territory Government Agencies are encouraged to sponsor a Charles Darwin University Work Integrated Learning Scholarship

Work Integrated Learning Scholarships (WILS) combine full-time tertiary education with work experience during semester breaks and are designed to give government agencies access to high performing students studying in a relevant subject area.

The WILS also provide students with the opportunity to gain work experience and build lasting relationships with NTG while value-adding to their tertiary experience. The first WILS scholar was sponsored by the Department of the Chief Minister and commenced in semester 2, 2006. Since that time, CDU and NTG have continued this unique approach to education and experience and will continue to do so well into the future.

For more information on how to establish a new WILS program or any questions about the existing WILS programs, please contact:

T: +61 8 8946 7665
Charles Darwin University
Ellengowan Drive,
Brinkin NT 0909

Contact us

NT Government

Social Policy 
Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet
T: 08 8999 5355

Charles Darwin University

Bree Willsmore
Director, Government Relations
Office of the Vice-Chancellor and President
T: 08 8946 6646
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