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Territory Q Magazine

PUBLISHER’S LETTER – ISSUE 24

There is a song playing on the radio and I immediately link it to how I’m feeling about business at the moment. It’s Stuck in the Middle with You by Reservoir Dogs.

As I write, lines in the song come like bad puns – “Another one bites the dust” and “When the going gets tough the tough get going”. I say this because I’m proud to be self-made. Business is tough but, as they say, tough times never last – tough people do. I also feel like I’m surrounded by clowns who think it’s OK to talk down the economy, cannibalise accounts, and undercut or drag out payment for goods and services; clowns who say one thing and do another, and cowboys who rode into town in the last five minutes and say they are supporting local yet do the opposite.

Even with clowns to the left and jokers to the right, we all need to be positive.

Maybe because I have a big shingle, clients and operators are treating me like a bank at the moment and it’s a behaviour that SMEs can’t afford. Stretching the payment terms and defaulting on accounts so we carry all the costs is not fair. This is backed up by some large organisations that have 45, 60 even 90-day terms because that is just how it is – and if you don’t like it, you don’t get the contracts. This is not very Territorian and I’m calling it. SMEs, retailers and service providers need more respect and consideration.

Our staff like to be paid every week, so please work out a payment plan because we have cash flows to manage. We also need efficient wheels to make decisions and keep projects moving. We all work hard for our money, so we need to be far more supportive of each other. There also needs to be a spotlight on the efficiencies and key performance indicators in the public service because I believe aiming your blame at the fifth There is a song playing on the radio and I immediately link it to how I’m feeling about business at the moment. It’s Stuck in the Middle with You by Reservoir Dogs.

As I write, lines in the song come like bad puns – “Another one bites the dust” and “When the going gets tough the tough get going”. I say this because I’m proud to be self-made. Business is tough but, as they say, tough times never last – tough people do. I also feel like I’m surrounded by clowns who think it’s OK to talk down the economy, cannibalise accounts, and undercut or drag out payment for goods and services; clowns who say one thing and do another, and cowboys who rode into town in the last five minutes and say they are supporting local yet do the opposite.

Even with clowns to the left and jokers to the right, we all need to be positive. Maybe because I have a big shingle, clients and operators are treating me like a bank at the moment and it’s a behaviour that SMEs can’t afford. Stretching the payment terms and defaulting on accounts so we carry all the costs is not fair. This is backed up by some large organisations that have 45, 60 even 90-day terms because that is just how it is – and if you don’t like it, you don’t get the contracts.

This is not very Territorian and I’m calling it. SMEs, retailers and service providers need more respect and consideration. Our staff like to be paid every week, so please work out a payment plan because we have cash flows to manage. We also need efficient wheels to make decisions and keep projects moving. We all work hard for our money, so we need to be far more supportive of each other.

There also needs to be a spotlight on the efficiencies and key performance indicators in the public service because I believe aiming your blame at the fifth floor or the opposition is misguided – business is done at department level and there needs to be a higher level of accountability. I’m not going to get swept up in a blame game or consumed with negativity, but I’m still processing what actions I can take after a recent incident I had submitting a RFQ for a government contract.

I tendered for a project but the tender somehow got “lost”, so Campaign Edge Sprout wasn’t considered. I invested precious time in the process and was a strong candidate due to experience and performance. Even after phoning to make sure our RFQ was received, someone internally obviously dropped the ball. Only when I followed up after many delays was, I finally given a “sorry”. Well, sorry not sorry – it’s just not good enough.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit one progressive organisation that is doing just that. Did you know that every slice of bread at McArthur River Mine, which feeds more than 1000 workers, comes from the Top End? Yep, cooked right here at Palmerston Bakery. In fact, everything that goes into 2000 meals a day comes from Darwin. The mine is also expanding with bigger trucks, which means bigger diggers and increased production. MRM employs and trains Indigenous crew, including mechanics, truck drivers and plant operation staff.

To be honest, I was expecting the whipper snipper crew to make up the numbers and was seriously surprised at the care, training and opportunity offered to all locals and Indigenous employees. MRM have attracted some of the best international specialists who manage and mitigate risk, and from one visit it’s easy to see a world-class operation. I’m proud to share my experience within these pages. Territory Q has a very strong following as a positive and independent publication that promotes the battlers, good business, pioneers and innovators, such as Steve Camilleri, who has developed the world’s fastest 3D metal printer.

There are many other positive stories in this edition – Origin explaining what great work opportunities exist in the onshore gas industry, ConocoPhillips ready to spend big on a new gas supply, Bennett Design showing great faith in the Territory’s future, Jodie Silvester of KAS Solutions winning a Telstra award to make us all proud and Sitzler continuing to win lucrative contracts.

So, our local “we’re here for you” newspaper needs to stop with the “Another Business Closes” headline – it’s dangerous, destructive and downright boring. I’ve known of three cases in the last month where the story has been totally wrong. For instance, the article about Alley Cats closing their doors was nonsense – they are, in fact, starting up a new venture. And Ruby G’s are doubling their business and have the confidence to expand into their CBD space.

That is business growth people, not “another one bites the dust…’. What about a positive story every time a new business opens? There is much to be grateful for and the pain you feel today is the strength you will draw on tomorrow. So when you read the stories in this issue of Territory Q, be inspired, be positive, cut the blame game and, most of all, be kind. Believe me when I say there are big things coming, so when the good times arrive, remember: a smooth sea never created a skilled sailor. TQ