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I've been out and about travelling for business and I have to say, the Territory sure has more than it's share of challenges. Challenges with weather, flooding, anti-social behaviour, skilled shortages and affected supply chains. I have always been a huge believer that out of adversity and challenges comes innovation, efficiencies and resilience. However one area that is dominating the airwaves is crime.

Historical data supports the fact that during hard economic times, criminal activity rises. It is an interesting correlation and something worth talking about before it becomes a bigger problem than it already is. Acknowledging that we do have a big problem, I get the feeling we as Territorians running businesses have reached a tipping point. We are calling ‘TIME OUT” – Somehow ENOUGH IS ENOUGH is just NOT ENOUGH.

Business faces three forms of crime that can all have devastating effects. Fraud, white collar and street crime. I’m going to stick with street crime. Street crime has lots of moving parts that go to the cause and effect, and it isn’t only an alcohol problem. As the cost-of-living increases, affordable housing gets harder, changes happen and crime goes through the roof. We also have generational problems with low literacy and low employment in some areas. All these upward pressures have an enormous impact on how our economy behaves because our economy is a product of our environment. 

Another example of economic effects caused by change is COVID lockdowns and how they will impact today’s economy for decades to come, especially in the supply of materials and products which again creates increased pressure on the cost of living. This means we need to get onto solving the rising crime right now, so the long-term effects are shorter.

People are a product of their environment so if their environment cannot sustain them and they live in an impoverished community surrounded by violence, one cannot expect anything positive to come from that. Therefore, it is so imperative that we build our communities up starting with education, housing, and all the way to jobs and wages. That also needs to go hand in hand with accountability, responsibility and consequences.

Businesses are the target for robberies and assaults – we hear about it everyday and unfortunately it has taken the loss of a young man’s life to get the community fired up and calling TIME OUT too. Street crime affects the economics of businesses in more ways than theft and with large retail chains adopting a no challenge policy to product theft – it seems that has just created a free-for-all environment for crime to thrive. Assaults, murders, business interruption, cost of security and the emotional cost on staff are all reasons people stay away and again the prices for goods and services increase. Crime is linked to all areas of business directly and indirectly affecting tourism making skilled worker attraction harder and pretty much every challenge I have seen in my travels.

I’m a cup-always-full person however I’m also known to call it as I see it. Crime needs to be addressed as the most urgent economic impact we are facing right now and all moving parts need to be considered as part of the solution. Environment, health, education and justice. These issues can’t be discussed in silos of Government Departments – and you can’t just target alcohol as the cause. I also believe there needs to be consequences and accountability or the cycle will keep going and please NO MORE GOVERNMENT REVIEWS. 

If the NTG can pull together a Territory Economic Recovery Commission (TERC) to help pull us out of COVID, why can’t they do the same on crime? Putting together a cross section of experienced private sector business people to wrap their heads around this, because it’s an economic problem caused from social issues. And I have a feeling no single side of politics is going to come up with a solution-based approach that will suffice and all we end up with is a political football. Increasing police, having a policy around bail laws or limiting trading hours at bottle-o’s is never going to be enough.

I’ll step off my soap box and get back to the current edition. Katherine is definitely the busiest I’ve seen the town in a really long time. We are working on delivering the Barunga Festival in June on behalf of the Bagala Aboriginal Corporation and it made me realise we need to be booking in contractors and locking in production really quickly. Alice Springs put on a rainbow of colour for the fabulous FabAlice Festival which just shows how a town can stand up to antisocial behaviour. I have to say at no point did I feel unsafe, in saying that I also didn’t go looking for trouble.

As always, this edition of TQ is packed with great stories showing Territorians at their best. The Northern Land Council is celebrating 50 years of progress, Mindil Beach Casino Resort is celebrating 40 years and that tremendous raconteur, Len Notaras, is celebrating a lifetime of taking on challenges of all kinds. Our cover story is remarkable – an Aboriginal woman raised on a remote community now strutting her stuff on the international stage. Liandra should make every Territorian proud. MORE OF THIS PLEASE!

This edition has plenty of stories from small business, such as Humpty Doo Welding, TEC Automation, Custom Works, City Cave, Beauty & Medicine and Your Dentist. That’s one of the key tenets of TQ – allowing the little guys to speak to the big guys.

We know our business sector is hurting however we do our bit by shining a light on the good stuff too because it will help our economy far more than only focusing on the negative.
I launched TQ because the Territory has been good to me – and I like to think that I have been good for the Territory – and I wanted to promote the place I love. However the publication is bigger than me – It’s for all Territorians. Telling good news stories for everyone’s benefit. Thank you for your support over the last 10 years. I need you to continue to support us so that we can continue to talk the place up.

Finally – our July edition will be a bumper special. We’re involved in Facing North, the business delegation held in Parliament House, Canberra, aimed at persuading interstate politicians, investors and business owners to look north to the land of opportunity – the Northern Territory. The Prime Minister and lots of other powerful people will be there and so will 1000’s of copies of TQ. So book your space in this special edition by emailing Nigel on