Just when there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon for the Northern Territory economy after a few lean years, along comes COVID-19. The human cost of the pandemic is terrible.
Medical experts believe the outbreak will peak in May and then slowly subside. I hope so.
Around the world many thousands of people will be given a lifetime sentence of grieving for loved ones.
The white hazlab suits and armies of people fooding our news channels in full face masks is something from an apocalypse movie and, sadly, we are panic hoarding.
The world economy may take years to recover from the trauma. Times have rarely, if ever, been tougher for business in the Territory. There will be casualties, but I have faith that most companies will survive and the NT economy will emerge leaner and meaner for the trials it has endured. Again, I hope so.
My husband is one of the 20,000 Qantas Group pilots stood down. There was a global shortage of trained crew but overnight two thirds of the workforce are placed on leave without pay for an unspecifed time. Panic buying is out of control, people are being stabbed in shopping centres and women are fghting over toilet paper. It feels as though 2020 is being managed by the same organisers of the Fyre Festival – when crazy becomes the new normal and when I visualise the Penguins of Madagascar at the helm.
With very limited fights and not being encouraged to leave the country, it might be a great time to pack up the car and explore our own backyard.
We have changed the FabAlice travel story to give you some ideas of where to go. The Territory is 1.4 million square kilometres and right now I feel everyone is congregating around a supermarket, so it might be the perfect time to learn the art of damper and get out of town.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner should be commended for his generous business stimulus package and being diligent with updates and communications during the crisis.
He showed plenty of balls by closing the NT borders. There are lots of distractions but he’s focused on dealing with what can only be described as an economic Black Swan. Read about what that means and toilet paper FOMO in this edition.
We have tried to give our readers an insight into something that is changing by the day. Protecting jobs needs to be the priority. We are all going to come out the other side of what can only be described as a 2020 version of Lord of the Flies.
The Australian Federal Government should also be commended for its multi-billion-dollar stimulus package. The incentives for business are most welcome. Small business – restaurants, sole traders, family contractors – need as much help as possible.
But I cannot for the life of me understand why unemployed people should be given $750 by Canberra. How has the coronavirus affected them more grievously than those in work? Or in business?
Despite the coronavirus, and all the misery and disruption it is causing, Territory Q remains optimistic. As always, this edition is packed with positive stories about Territory business. There is hope on every page. Gabbert Design drawing up designs for the ship lift facility, a beachside resort and a university campus in the city centre shows that the NT economy has a bright, vigorous future. ConocoPhillips’ commitment to innovation and buying local is an example to every company. MRM pledging to employ as many Territorians, Indigenous people and women as possible is good news not just for the NT but the whole of Australia. And Core Lithium’s drive to create great wealth by turning the Top End into a world lithium hub is heartening – and an indication that the Territory economy is diversifying.
This edition contains heartwarming articles about Territorians who have, in their own way, dedicated their lives to the community. Our cover, Danny Skewes, has built a fne family business – and he has done it in a good-natured, highly professional way. Mike Bowden’s story in Territory Pioneers is sad but inspiring; he is a man who has given his life to caring for his family and the wider community.
Finally, please remember every cent you spend in the Territory is money well spent. Small business will thank you for it. We need to stick together, take the hysteria out of the unknown and get on with it as best we can. Thank you for sticking with TQ.
Territory Q Magazine