Continued covid lockdowns and floods across three states and I’m saddened to say one of them was Cutting Edge and Campaign Edge in Brisbane.
They went under in 2011 and moved halfway up the hill, but it wasn’t far enough, so the devastation of tech getting wet has become something we have had to take stock of more than once. After just returning to the joys of a united workplace after nearly 12 months working from home in Queensland, the floods hit. What would be a heavy week of monsoon rain for the Top End sunk suburbs in two major cities and destroyed towns such as Lismore. Our thoughts go out to all of the affected businesses and misplaced staff who have had to return to working from home, including our own.
Having a positive disposition helps and I’m delighted that the Northern Territory is emerging from the covid pandemic in reasonable shape. But there are a couple of red flags. Many businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry, have gone to the wall – and that’s desperately sad. But most companies have survived, battered, bruised but alive. I don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture of the Territory’s future – debt, small population, the tyranny of distance and antisocial behaviour are still all major challenges – but we have cause to look ahead with optimism. The very real prospect of flying boats being manufactured in Darwin and the ship lift facility being built will lead to two new wealth-creating, job-creating industries in the Territory. Add to this the new lithium mine, Verdant’s phosphate project, the digital revolution, massive defence spending, shale gas and exciting advances in green technology, and it seems that all our stars are aligning. Now is the time to invest in the Territory.
It has also never been more important to talk up the Territory and get everyone onto the recruitment of new Territorians. Migration NT are launching a new campaign. Word of mouth is also one of the most effective tools we have in raising the profile and promoting the benefits and opportunities in the Territory. With every state experiencing national and international skilled worker shortages, we need to get on this bandwagon as Australia opens up again. We are competing on a global level, so making sure good news gets airtime and drowns out the negative narrative is super important. TQ definitely does it’s bit.
I also want to champion businesses who have hung in there and maintained office space, commercial footprint and shop front, and provided environments for staff throughout the pandemic when people retreated home. Our commercial centres bring people together, and provide an economic stimulus to the business sector and footfall for our hospitality and small business sector during business hours. More needs to be done to support companies who invest in commercial premises because we have higher cost centres than those that operate from their spare bedroom. We pay payroll and provide certainty for staff so they can buy real estate – and we pay rent. We buy coffee and lunch, and shop and spend income outside of our homes. We need to be very careful that these temporary pandemic home offices don’t become the new ecosystem for business or our commercial centres will continue to suffer. I want to see fewer empty commercial properties for lease and the NT Government and B2B doing more to support businesses that invest in bricks and mortar. It would be welcome to see a weighted tender system not just for being local because anyone can operate from home or a post box. Commercial impact – value for Territory needs to become more effective in how we support business.
I’m so proud Territory Q publishes inspiring stories about Aboriginal people and Aboriginal organisations. As I’ve said before, any fool can run negative articles about Indigenous people. It’s easy – and cheap. TQ prefers to look at the great work being done by Traditional Owners. The Northern Land Council, Gumatj Corporation and Anindilyakwa Land Council are working hard to give Indigenous people the chance to take control of their own destiny. We should all applaud that.
Congratulations to Geoff Todd for a very successful exhibition, A View from the Saddle, which was showcased in October last year. Black Cowboys are going to be hung and celebrated in some of Australia’s great homes – he has definitely tapped a nerve. I believe RM Williams magazine has also picked up the story, which is great to keep the recognition going.
We helped Qantas launch its E190 base in Darwin to increase travel options and offer regular flights to Timor, Townsville, Cairns and Canberra. Starting with four aircraft and ramping up to nine, this will mean local aviation jobs and better connectivity. This is particularly great news for us after opening an office in Townsville. TQ is going to be publishing travel stories again and show you that a destination such as Canberra not only offers galleries, great shopping and dining, but if you explore just two hours from the national capital you are in Jindabyne and the snow. We can’t wait to bring you more.
Enjoy TQ – there are some exciting things coming your way as we approach our 10-year anniversary.