Transcript - radio interview - ABC Alice Springs with Stewart Brash

STEWART BRASH [HOST]: October is Business Month in the Northern Territory and in Tennant Creek this morning, and we’ve seen the official opening of the Barkly Business Hub. Now, that is part of the Barkly Regional Deal. It has cost $2.2 million and it’s a way to boost economic development for the Barkly. Earlier, I spoke to the Federal Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Education, Senator Anthony Chisholm, about what this will mean.

ANTHONY CHISHOLM [ASSISTANT MINISTER]: What it does is it’s contributed to the fit-out of the Business Hub to make it into a more modern facility that can be conducive to conducting business and having people drop by and gain advice off the Business Hub. I was here earlier in the year and was able to do a tour as it was under construction and now here today for the official opening, which I’m really excited about.

BRASH: So, who’s it staffed by? If I wander in today and I’m a local business and I want some support or information, who’s it going to be staffed by and what can they tell me?

CHISHOLM: It’ll be staffed by the Northern Territory Government agencies, so they’ve been taking the lead on that. And what it will really be about is a one-stop shop for business in this area. So, that’s whether you’re an existing business that wants to expand, whether you want to create a new business or you want to move to the area to create a new business, that’s the place where you can go to receive advice about how best you can do it. But it’s also going to be a hub for the workforce as well, because obviously, as new businesses develop, they’ll want to take on board workers. And that’s, for me, the really exciting part about what this can do for the Barkly region.

BRASH: So, will it essentially – and we often talk about red tape, green tape and the like – will this help cut through administration and trying to negotiate your way through the bureaucracy if you’re in business?

CHISHOLM: Absolutely, that’ll be one of the aims of the Business Hub, so that people know they can go to the one place, and they can get advice, but they can also get coordination about what they need to do to get things moving. And, for instance, this afternoon there’s a workshop with youth in business, so it’s developing leadership potential amongst young entrepreneurs. So, I think that sort of thing is really encouraging for this region as well, helping young people out there who are interested in business, they can get ahead by taking advice off the Business Hub as well.

BRASH: I’m sure when you speak to locals, you’ll find that one of the top issues, especially for retail businesses or people with outlets in the main street in Tennant Creek, will be the issue of crime. Will this make any difference to how they deal with crime, property crime in the town of Tennant Creek and beyond?

CHISHOLM: Well, obviously, that’s a significant challenge across many parts of the country, Stu. So, what we know is – 

BRASH: But you’ll know – the rates of property crime in Tennant Creek are some of the worst in the country.

CHISHOLM: I understand that. And what I know is that if you can engage people in employment and work and give them that motivation, then that will give them a real purpose in life that ensures that they’re out there working, earning a living and really passionate about it. So, I think in that regard that will be a focus of the Business Hub and I think that would be welcomed by the local community.

BRASH: You point to multimillion-dollar projects or – you point to a multibillion-dollar project pipeline which is expected to provide over the next ten years infrastructure for the town and also develop the region. What specifically are those projects you’re talking about there?

CHISHOLM: Well, obviously there’s the Sun Cable project which has received widespread attention that we think that there will be benefits to this region. There are also obviously critical minerals developments in the area and then there’s also the logistics hubs that are set up as part of the Middle Arm project as well. So, I think when you look at the mix of private investment and government investment, there is a good opportunity for business at the moment to be engaged, hopefully building their capacity and being in a position to benefit from these projects.

BRASH: That’s Anthony Chisholm, Senator Anthony Chisholm, also the Federal Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Education in Tennant Creek today for the opening of your $2.2 million Barkly Business Hub. I hope it does what it says it’s going to do.