Treat your voters with respect – with every statement we want to know what, why and how you are going to change things to get the Territory economy firing, make us the place of opportunity and… ‘Don’t f*@k it up’. I for one am hoping that the election is not going to be reduced to a negative mudslinging match. The Territory more than ever needs good candidates on both sides of politics who put forward the facts and policies that are solutionled, not catchy slogans and shallow motherhood statements.
There are still projects at the end of 2023 that are waiting for various levels of administrative approvals to go ahead, such as Barossa, Lee Point, Singleton and Beetaloo. The private sector can do the heavy lifting with investment, jobs, contracts and driving the economy, but that all comes back to cutting the red tape. We have some of the most robust regulations across industry sectors, but more and more the cultural consultation piece is becoming the snag. We need leadership and to all work together so that Territorians benefit for generations to come. Scratch the surface and it’s the towns and communities who are thriving that have support and investment from the mining or resource sectors. We’ll be doing more reporting on that in the next issue.
Speaking of leadership, it is with great sadness that I pay respect to Dr Bush- Blanasi, chairman of the Northern Land Council, Australian of the Year, passionate leader of his people, a bold and fearless advocate for Indigenous land rights, and a loving, committed father and grandfather. It is sad that we have lost such a great man. He trusted me and I know that trust was earned and not given lightly. He was a friend and a sounding board. Dr Bush gave me his time and perspective for several years. He taught me the power of listening with intent. What started as a consultation project for the NLC evolved into being trusted with running and delivering his beloved Barunga Festival. Securing the future to grow this event with direction and input from the Traditional Owners for generations to come was very close to his heart. He was passionate about sharing the love of his home and country and keeping culture strong. It is my promise that the 2024 Barunga Festival will be something special and that we will all make him very proud.
I would also like to acknowledge a harsh awakening in the fact that Dr Bush was only 61. We felt the loss of many cultural leaders and elders over that past 12 months, all passing well before their time. Over the decade from 2010 to 2019, the mortality rate for Indigenous Australians increased by 12 percent, while the non-Indigenous rate decreased by 10 percent.
The heart of this edition can be summed up in one word: Defence. The Defence Department plans to spend billions of dollars in Northern Australia over the next few years, which means there are mouth-watering opportunities for Territory business. Of course, NT companies won’t win Defence contracts just because they are NT companies. They have to prove that they can do the job to the highest standards – on time and within budget. Sitzler is leading the way in Defence and, to its enormous credit, is taking many Territory subcontractors along with it. Master Builders NT should be congratulated for commissioning a major study of Defence spending and what that can mean for the NT economy.
I’d also like to point out the news of the restructure of what was Halikos. I’m sure the uncoupling of almost three decades of business growth into one of the Territory’s largest construction, development and hospitality companies wasn’t easy. I have a huge amount of respect for Shane Dignan and John Halikos, who have both contributed so much to Darwin’s economy and our community. I wish you both future success. Salute
Our cover story is a profile of Adam Stockwell, a born-and-bred Territorian who through hard work and smart thinking ended up buying out the business where he worked. As they say: How good is that? He is the kind of business owner the NT loves – growing his company in a careful, sustainable way. And listening to good advice from experts, such as those at the Australian Centre for Business Growth. Adam is under the radar working hard. But as an inspiration to others, he has earned his spot in the limelight.
In closing, as a 25+ year veteran and long-term champion of business, the change is coming – and I’m not going quietly. I like to stay ahead of the curve on most things so this won’t be a surprise to those who know me. I’m taking on the role of shining a light on menopause in the professional workplace. It’s not secret women’s business anymore. What’s required is a shared understanding because men need to be informed to better support their mothers, wives, executive teams and employees. Having empathy and understanding will be rewarded with stability, staff retention, experience and happiness.
The change will quietly come along as many of us reach the peak of our careers. If you look around at women in senior positions, executive roles and leaders of industry, there’s a good chance they will be suffering in silence. Women can shoulder a lot and this is nothing new – it’s just not spoken about. I seriously encourage you to read what I have learned in my quest for knowledge and understanding because I would like to see my mother’s generation to be the last one that felt they couldn’t speak up.
Enjoy the first quarter of 2024 – it’s looking like a very busy one.
Territory Q Magazine