Small businesses in the Katherine region have blamed the Northern Territory intervention for a downturn in trade, following the installation of welfare quarantine arrangements.
Although the Federal Government intends to introduce a welfare card to be used in shops to buy essential items, small businesses owners note that the bigger chain stores have already introduced their own cards.
Business owner Gerard Steel supports Indigenous assistance but says the card should have been introduced at the outset. “We’ve been discriminated against in trade. Most of the small businesses in this town – from the butchers, the DVD video places, the small supermarkets and stuff – have all been disadvantaged by this process.”
His clothing store reportedly loses thousands of dollars in turnover per week.