ALICE SPRINGS NEWS,
July 8, 1998

NATIVE TITLE DEAL BLOW TO ABORIGINES, BUT SET TO EASE LAND SHORTAGES. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA

Large areas of Crown Land in Alice Springs are likely to become available for development - both residential and commercial - in the wake of the Federal Government's changes to the Native Title legislation.This would remove the pressure which has driven land prices here to one of the highest levels in the nation, with some small, vacant housing blocks selling for more than $100,000.Native title claimants would merely have "the right to be consulted" - a process that is not clearly defined and is widely regarded as being meaningless.Claimants may receive compensation, with Canberra paying 75 per cent, but a Federal Government briefing paper indicates that this will be a separate process.The paper says the new process does "not entail a right of veto, over and above the rights of other Australians".The right to negotiate is removed from pastoral leases, compulsory acquisitions for infrastructure developments, and in towns and cities, and most mining lease renewals.Andrew Doyle, of the Real Estate Institute, says although there is enough land to meet the demand in Alice Springs "in the short to medium term" - about two years - further price rises would be inevitable if the native title problems are not resolved.The current deal between the Howard Government and Senator Brian Harradine, subject to ratification by the Senate this week, is likely to also remove a threat to the railway corridor through Alice Springs.Native title claimants had announced that they would withhold consent for the corridor unless the NT Government agreed to sell them Crown Land in the Mt Johns Valley for a housing project, a joint venture with local and interstate developers.Central Land Council director Tracker Tilmouth, who slammed the Harradine deal, has said his organisation would stop the proposed Alice to Darwin railway.However, since the Harradine deal removes any native title veto over infrastructure projects, the only way this seems possible is by blocking the corridor where it runs through Aboriginal freehold land, granted under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act of 1976.The briefing paper says on pastoral leases, the Harradine deal provides "security" for the lessees, at the same time giving "certainty and predictability to the mining industry".Native title claimants who had access to pastoral land at the time of the Wik decision will have that access confirmed. This is crucial in the Territory as most pastoral leases provide for Aborigines extensive rights and access for traditional pursuits, including hunting and ceremonies.The people eligible to make native title claims have been more narrowly defined.The briefing paper says: "Overlapping and multiple claims will be minimised with a higher registration test involving physical connection to the land or proof that government removal of the claimants' parents prevented the necessary physical connection."This is likely to be just a minor obstacle for Aborigines in Central Australia because their traditions and culture are strong and well documented.The Harradine deal was welcomed by Senator Grant Tambling (CLP): "In the Northern Territory the hundreds of development applications which have been delayed will now be able to be processed following normal land administration practices."He says the new system "recognises the rights of all land holders, including native title holders, giving them due recognition".The drafting of the Native Title Bill will also be amended to clarify that the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) is only relevant to the performance of functions and the exercise of powers authorised by the Native Title Act (NTA) itself, and the interpretation of ambiguous terms in the NTA."This avoids the legal chaos that would occur if the whole NTA were subject to the RDA," says the briefing paper. This may be crucial for the Ayers Rock Resort: its more than 100 square kilometres of land were "alienated" from Crown Land subsequent to the passage of the RDA in 1975.The NT Government reneged on earlier assurances by Chief Minister Shane Stone that Yulara would become a "town". The complex is now a resort owned by a company.This appears to put Yulara outside the protection from native title claims which the Federal Government is seeking to provide for "towns and cities" with its new measures.Claimants may argue that the land near Ayers Rock was "alienated" from the Crown after the passage of the RDA.

PROPOSED JUNIOR CHAMBER GETS KNOCK-BACK.

In response to the article "Rocky Start to Junior Chamber" published in last week's Alice News, Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NTCCI) general manager, Carole Frost, issued the following statement:-It is with concern that we read the News of July 8 and would like to correct some misconceptions over the formation of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. In correcting the statements made, please be assured that the NTCCI encourages and promotes the objectives of the group, as a large number of NTCCI members are in the same age bracket.Ms Versluijs openly agrees that the group wanting to form a Junior Chamber of Commerce "chose the name Chamber of Commerce because it is an established organisation that opens doors." This being the case, it is not unreasonable that the Chamber would wish to protect itself and guard against misuse of its name which has been established across the Territory for over 40 years. Other organisations also take the same views.The decision was not taken lightly by the Directors of the Board which is made up of business people from across the Territory, not just Darwin. The Board has representation from Darwin, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Katherine and Nhulunbuy and industry sectors including manufacturing and international trade. This was not just a Darwin decision but a whole of Territory decision, which was relayed by the General Manager to Ms Versluijs and by the Chairman of the Central Australian region.Central Australian Regional Manager, Beth Mildred welcomed the establishment of the group recognising that there is an opportunity to work together on issues of mutual interest and concern. "We will be happy to assist where we can and look forward to working together for the benefit of business in the town," Ms Mildred said.

ZERO TOLERANCE POLICING: THE MORE THINGS CHANGE... Comment by JUNE TUZEWSKI

The age of radio and television news which requires a message to be delivered in a "30 second grab" has certainly encouraged the use of buzz words‚ by both by media and politicians. Zero tolerance‚ in my opinion, definitely falls into this category. A quick search on the Internet sees zero tolerance associated with drugs, cyberspace outlaws, pornography, knives and youth crime to name just a few topics.Do the buzz words deliver a new message or an old one in a different format? Is it a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same? I pose the question having recently been reminded of the Regional Fight Crime Committees established in 1990 under the auspices of Daryl Manzie who was NT Attorney General at that time.The Alice Springs Fight Crime Committee was headed-up by Mayor Leslie Oldfield and was a broad-based committee which included a number of local well-known Aboriginal leaders. The group consisted of representatives from the police, business, sports, church and youth organisations, as well as tourism and insurance representatives, welfare and the Liquor Commission. Leslie Oldfield described the group as a think-tank on how we can fight crime. It was envisaged that the group would meet four or five times a year.The announcement of the committee was timely, occurring the same month as Mall Traders called for an immediate upgrading of the lighting system and other security measures, following increased theft and vandalism in the Central Business District. A telephone poll of local residents which was conducted by the police to canvass support for introducing the Neighbourhood Watch scheme, revealed an alarming rate of crime on Old Eastside. About one third of residents in that area reported they had been burgled in the previous three years. The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is now widely accepted and still plays an important role in the community.Alcohol and unemployment were seen then, as now, to be major contributing factors. A suggestion by the Fight Crime Committee proposing that the Alice Springs Town Council investigate the possibility of introducing its own by-laws to control some aspects of retail liquor sales was strongly rejected by Council. On the unemployment issue, the committee approached Social Security Minister Senator Richardson, canvassing a Work for the Dole scheme and expansion of the Community Development Employment Programme. On a separate front, the Territory's Sessional Committee on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol sought submissions on various aspects of alcohol consumption and its social and economic consequences. Enforcement of the two kilometre law was also of concern to some committee members which, of course, brings us to the current debate. While I was out of town earlier this year, comments by Stuart MLA Peter Toyne for zero tolerance in the grog fight did not appear to me to receive much public response, although I am sure he would have had personal feedback.Peter's call for zero tolerance of the two kilometre law combined with acceptable and appropriate places for Aboriginal people to drink, should be seriously considered as part of the debate. Certainly, feedback which I have had from many sections of the community indicates strongly that the two kilometre law should be strictly enforced. Rightly or wrongly, the public perception is that this would go a long way to solving some of the problems. Suggestions that there be alcohol outlets on the edge of town have also been put forward.Strong feedback too is that people do not want drunkenness to be a criminal offence. They do not want extra police employed, or scarce resources directed to filling out forms and doing paperwork. They want the police on the front line - out and about, around the town. The community is aware that drunks are already removed from the streets. Emphasised repeatedly to me is the call for the people causing these problems to be removed from public areas quickly. A higher police presence generally is also seen as a good preventative measure and one way of ensuring that incidents do not occur in the first place. This may not be the most inspiring police work, but those involved can take pride in ensuring The Alice is a nicer place in which to live and for tourists to visit.While we focus on the immediate issues, it is important not to forget that appropriate long term strategies need to be put in place. Solutions need to be found to stop this behaviour occurring in the first place. We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning and to feel something worthwhile is happening in our lives. Sadly, this is not the case for some. Important also is not to lose our perspective that those engaged in anti-social behaviour, while significant, are small in number relative to the general population.

JUNE GOT IT WRONG ON THE WOMEN'S SHELTER, SAYS LETTER WRITER

Sir,- June Tuzewski's "gem" (Alice News, June 24) gave a wildly inaccurate and biased account of the history of the Alice Springs Women's Centre.June has fought many battles for the last decade or so within the CLP for the benefit of women in Central Australia and in particular the recognition of domestic violence. The last thing I expected her to write was an account putting down the women, including myself, who were associated with the Women's Centre collective in the late 70's. At least two of these women have appeared subsequently in national honours lists. I cannot leave her criticisms unanswered.June, have you forgotten the way church and state combined in the early 70's to attack the work of women setting up the first women's shelters in London, Sydney and eventually Alice Springs? It was the norm for these pioneers to be vilified, accused of being anti-men and breaking up families. Police forces were still almost exclusively male. Domestic violence was certainly not on the mainstream agenda.June correctly credits the Women's Electoral Lobby with setting up a women's refuge in Alice Springs. WEL acquired two old Housing Commission houses around 1976 (which were on the site of the Bill Braitling flats in Bath Street). For around two years WEL members tried to run the refuge on a voluntary basis. The task was just too much for these volunteers and they only allowed a trickle of desperate women into the refuge - around 14 in October 1978. My recollection is that hardly any of these early residents were Aboriginal. At least the health inspector was happy - the elderly plumbing coped reasonably well with such small numbers!During 1977 a number of local women including doctors, social workers and health educators, and myself, a lawyer, formed a women's health group. We became concerned at the under utilisation of the premises.Some of us had already worked in women's refuges elsewhere and others worked in jobs where we came in daily contact with desperate women - Aboriginal and non Aboriginal. In 1978, playing the numbers game, we took over the WEL shelter at a meeting held upstairs at the Todd Tavern - a new collective came into being. Is that the what June is referring to by saying "it all fell in a heap when a small group of radical feminists who had no management skills, literally muscled in, and took over the Centre"?This new collective wrote submissions for increased funding, employed workers and a flood of desperate women and children moved in. The numbers were up to 300 residents during October 1979. Not surprisingly the plumbing was not coping nearly so well. Plumbers and the health inspector became a constant feature of collective life. This must be the basis of June's statement that "even the most basic hygiene standards were not enforced".Once the Women's Centre was filled to overflowing it attracted the attention of the local representatives of church and state. Workers were attacked in the media as radical feminists. Make no mistake, this term was not being used to distinguish between different philosophies within the women's movement, as one might differentiate between Anglicans and Baptists, it was as a term of abuse.Over half the women beating a path to the refuge were Aboriginal and, horror of horrors, some were traditional women who arrived with dogs as well as children. I believe the unspoken assumption of the funding bodies was that the refuge would be used by white women, largely as a staging post on the way back down South. Collective workers were determined not to discriminate, and if that meant that some non-Aboriginal women refused to share the crowded premises with Aboriginal women, then, at least until larger premises were found, not much could be done.When June says that "most women seeking to use the refuge were so repelled by the conditions they returned home if they could not find help elsewhere" she is falling into the common assumption of those times that "women" automatically refers to white women only.The members of the collective were mainly non-Aboriginal, although I can remember at least two Aboriginal women members. We were in uncharted territory running a refuge primarily used by Aboriginal women. We wanted to support, not undermine, Aboriginal cultural norms. We had behind the scenes support from several women workers employed by Aboriginal organisations such as Aboriginal Legal Aid, Congress, IAD, Yipirinya School and Tangentyere Council. They were taking a great risk as the male dominated Aboriginal organisations of the late 70s were as chauvinistic as mainstream ones. With the clandestine help of these women a group of Arrernte women elders took on the role of laying down culturally appropriate guidelines for Aboriginal women seeking shelter.They met frequently and have never received the recognition they deserve. They had to handle such complex issues as young promised wives running from Yirara College and seeking refuge from their promised husbands.In 1979 a Sydney feminist came to Alice Springs to run courses on women's health at the Women's Centre. She knew all about the problems faced by women's refuges in Sydney, but she was ill prepared for the intensity of race politics in Alice Springs. She jumped to the conclusion that it was racist for the collective to run a refuge for Aboriginal women - it should be handed over to Aboriginal women and become an Aboriginal refuge. Some collective members agreed with her, others including myself did not agree. Our clandestine Aboriginal women advisors in the organisations and the Arrernte women elders all said that it was not the yet time for any hand over.While this and other internal debates were going on late into the night at collective meetings we were still facing the day to day problems of running a refuge in two dilapidated old houses, while at the same time the heat was being turned up by certain local politicians and churchmen.Preposterous and totally false rumours were flying around town about incidents that were meant to have occurred at the refuge.Finally the collective split and those who had sided with the visiting Sydney feminist joined with a group of outside women including church women, politician's wives and politician's staffers. They staged a lock in at the Centre and called a meeting on the lawns outside. I wonder how many women reading this letter were among the 200 or so present that emotional night. A government spokesman announced at that meeting that funds were being stopped, but that the government recognised the need for a refuge and would fund a refuge run by so called "responsible women".Feelings were running high. We felt we had let down the women who so obviously desperately needed a refuge and now had nowhere to go. I was angry with the those of my sisters who had joined the lock in as I believed they had been duped, and were naive in thinking that the establishment would accept them as the required "responsible women" and hand them the funding to reopen the refuge.Time has proved me right. Neither faction on the collective was ever funded again. Some collective members valiantly tried to run the refuge for several months without any funding - but eventually the buildings were bulldozed.A new committee of women was set up, but it was around two years before they got funded to reopen, and even then it was in some totally unsuitable demountables. This group, who had started off so optimistic, ended up upset and frustrated with the delays. They learnt the hard way that in the early 80s women's issues were very low on the government agenda.The events I have described were a traumatic and painful period for all involved. However my belief is that they played an important role in putting women's services on the agenda in the Northern Territory. Twenty years on it is time to examine the history of the Alice Springs Women's Centre in the 70s, but it is a task that needs approaching in a careful and professional manner. The article you wrote June, I am sure unintentionally, has opened old wounds and could harm the present excellent, purpose built women's shelter. There are women from all factions who quietly and constructively work to support the present shelter. We know each other, but many more recently arrived women have no idea that we once took such opposing positions.
Pamela Ditton
Alice Springs

WHAT HAVE OUR "PROGRESSIVE" ALDERMEN BEEN UP TO? Report by KIERAN FINNANE

Half of the town council's aldermen came to their positions this term. So halfway through the term, what have been the new council's achievements?The Alice News spoke to new Deputy Mayor Fran Erlich, the top-polling alderman in the 1996 vote, and to Alderman Geoff Harris. Both disputed that the council is divided into progressive versus conservative factions, saying that all major achievements of the last two years have had unanimous or near-unanimous support. Ald Erlich, who came to council in a by-election in August 1994, says she generally aligns herself with the so-called progressive new councillors, but "we are not a solid block: "We think in similar ways on some issues."In previous councils I believe some aldermen met on Sunday morning to decide the vote for that week. We don't do anything like that."Ald Erlich says that areas on which the "progressive" councillors broadly share thinking are community development, economic development, reconciliation, a willingness to solve anti-social behaviour issues, and the environment.She hails the infrastructure development of the last two years - the reconstruction of Gregory Terrace and Leichhardt Terrace, and the "long overdue" development of the swimming pool - as major achievements for the whole council.Another "very good step forward" is the council's commissioning of its own consultancy on the social and environmental impacts of the Alice to Darwin railway."It will give us some facts and figures with which to discuss the realignment of the railway with the NT Government, whether it would be better and more cost effective to take it around the town or not."Ald Erlich says the redevelopment of the council-owned Alice Springs Child Care Centre on its present Bath Street site also "looks like being fairly nicely resolved", despite difficulties in finding a suitable temporary location for the centre during the six month construction phase. In the longer term, Ald Erlich says the aldermen "have done a lot of thinking about the direction in which we want Alice Springs to go".The council's strategic plan, launched last month, reflects the aldermen's joint vision: "The leadership for the strategic plan came from the aldermen," says Ald Erlich. "Developing it was a process which involved council officers and the town clerk certainly has the job of putting it into practice, but the philosophy behind it very much came from the aldermen."Key points of the plan include an acknowledgement that the town's economy needs to be diversified. To that end council has employed Economic and Community Development Director, Suzanne Lollback. "Her job is to work with the Economic and Community Development Committee to promote new businesses through grants and other kinds of support, and to go out and look for new industries for Alice Springs," says Ald Erlich.Council also intends to employ an officer to develop a community plan. We did quite an extensive community survey some six months ago, asking people what they think should happen in Alice Springs and how, whether they are satisfied with the level of service they are getting and what their concerns are. "That's given us a fair bit of direction on where we're going. The community plan will take that further: how we want to see Alice Springs develop socially in the next five to 10 years."An area where, despite willingness, council has not made any real inroads is with anti-social behaviour issues. However, "we still work very closely with Tangentyere Council and the social issues working group, and we've just donated $20,000 to DASA's alcohol issues forum."Another frustration is that there are still no public toilets in the Todd Mall area. Despite continued public pressure this issue is now on "the back burner" after the Planning Authority's rejection of a site in the car park behind the post office."We've yet to find another spot where we could build public toilets," says Ald Erlich.She says council is also concerned about the recent redevelopment of South Terrace, undertaken by the Department of Transport and Works as part of the Urban Enhancement Program. Ald Erlich describes the results as "really dreadful", and says council has yet to give final approval for the work. "The issue is under discussion," she says.For Ald Harris "the reality check" of being on council has been discovering "how long it takes to get things done".He says: "In the first year the budget is pretty much set by the previous council, so anything new that requires spending money is not possible."However, he sees a major achievement of the first year as the implementation of the efficiency review."It was really difficult because it involved organisational change and it's hard to get people thinking positively about different ways of doing things. But most of the major issues that were identified have been implemented."In the first year we saved something like $500,000 in our operations, and that freed up money to, for instance, fix up the swimming pool which had become a degraded asset. We'll see the final stage of that work this year."An achievement close to Ald Harris' heart is the recently released bicycle plan, to make bicycle transport in town easier and safer."Before I got onto council, I was involved in the original bicycle users' group which identified cyclists' needs . The group presented a proposal to council in June 1996."Then council had to work with Transport and Works because they have control over the major arterial roads. In this next financial year we should see some results on the ground. So, all up it's taken three years."Why so long? Says Ald Harris: "If I as an individual want anything done on council, I need to get six votes which is not easy. "Then there are the normal bureaucratic problems that you have with big organisations."You set your budget once a year. If you happen to think of something three months later, bad luck, you have to wait for next year."For the former coordinator of the Arid Lands Environment Centre, a lack of concrete progress on recycling and waste minimisation is very disappointing, "but that doesn't mean that some of us aren't trying to get it going," he says.The council's Recycling and Waste Minimisation Committee, proposed by Susan Jefford, another new alderman, has devoted its energies to researching the viability of different strategies and opportunities in Alice Springs."The first step," says Ald Harris, "is to find businesses that are viable and local people who are interested in doing them. "There may be start-up costs that are too steep and council may be able to make financial support available or find other sources of support."One of the more promising areas is the mulching of tree waste. There is some interest in town. We have to turn that into results on the ground and it's not clear yet how long that will take."We have to look at the other big volume waste items, such as food waste from restaurants and motels."This could be turned into compost which is a sought after and quite expensive item at nurseries. At the moment it gets freighted in, so a composting business would be import-replacing. Recycling reusable materials is another obvious low cost, high value activity."Are these really new insights in this much-discussed area?Says Ald Harris: "Waste minimisation is not new in other parts of the country but we have to make it work in local conditions. The issues have to be researched, and proposals developed and put into an implementable form. Now that the new town clerk is taking a personal interest in the issue, I think we'll be progressing much more quickly."An area of concrete achievement has been the council's new involvement in Aboriginal employment and training.An employment and training component was built into the footpath construction program that was contracted out to Arrernte Council."From last year's program in which eight Aboriginal people were employed, two have gone on to full time employment," says Ald Harris."The cost to council was quite small. It wasn't a work creation scheme, the work needed to be done and it was a matter of finding ways to do it that would also put something socially positive into the community. That's something we should be doing more of, but to get there I had to write the brief and follow it up. "It then took six months to get through council. You can only do that for a limited number of issues."The town will soon see the first concrete results of the work of the Arts and Cultural Development Advisory Committee. A pilot paving project, designed by Sonja Peter, will start this month in front of the new CATIA building.Ald Harris, representing aldermen on this committee, says their cultural plan is nearing final draft and will be put to council for approval within the next couple of months."Our brief is quite broad: environmental management; putting design into capital works projects so that over a period of time we end up with a town that looks unique rather than one that looks like a suburb of Melbourne; finding design solutions that are appropriate to the climate; and things that aren't necessarily commercial, such as encouraging community events which involve large numbers of people, developing a more vibrant community."Ald Harris says the plan will have "lots of really good and very easily implemented actions for council."If it gets elected member support, it will give a huge amount of direction to what the council does in the field of cultural development over the next three years."

ARE WE REALLY READY FOR STATEHOOD? Comment.

Territory Day and the "celebrations" of 20 years under self-government last week fell far short of heightening our anticipation of full statehood in a few years' time. Instead, the infantile razzamatazz gave all indications that the NT, under Chief Minister Shane Stone, is moving towards becoming the kind of totalitarian regime that we pity third world countries for.Mr Stone's "protocol" section published a taxpayer-funded 12-page lift-out with lots of photos and messages from CLP politicians. This appeared in the Murdoch papers - the Alice News, despite an offer from us, wasn't even given a chance to quote.There is not a single mention of the Labor Party, which in the last election had 43 per cent of the vote, a further reflection of Mr Stone's apparent resolve to turn us into a one-party state.The Opposition, according to John Bailey, took up an invitation to submit material for the lift-out. According to Labor's John Ah Kit, Mr Stone instructed "protocol" to omit any reference to Labor MLAs.This further illustrates the Stone government's media policy, implemented by a vast information section - similar in size to that of any Australian state with 10 times or more the Territory's population.Far from playing a key role in informing the public, some media officers see their role merely as disseminating propaganda for their masters. The Alice News recently broke several major stories about the dangerous chaos in Territory Health.Prior to each of the disclosures, carefully researched and always based on authoritative sources, we invited Health Minister Denis Burke to comment and explain.We received not a single response.Mr Burke confined himself to vitriolic comments about the Alice News, in the Assembly, under Parliamentary privilege.During one of Mr Burke's outbursts an interjector accused the Alice News of slander. When we asked Speaker Loraine Braham, the MLA for Braitling, to identify the interjector and obtain an apology, she advised us she couldn't do it, clearly quite happy to have the chamber, for whose orderly conduct she is responsible, turned into a Coward's Castle.Approaches to Ministers direct can be equally futile, although Araluen MLA Eric Poole is always accessible.Aboriginal Development Minister Tim Baldwin and Mick Palmer, whose portfolios include town planning and environment, agreed to interviews with the Alice News while they were in town for the show last week. However, both later reneged.The Wik developments and the ongoing problems faced - or caused - by Aborigines, 30 per cent of our population, would have given us much to talk about with Mr Baldwin.And Mr Palmer, who recently received powers over heritage matters similar to those a banana republic potentate would be delighted with, is reportedly ready to bulldoze the historic Alice gaol to make way for hospital extensions, public opposition notwithstanding.The 20 year milestone is indeed an appropriate opportunity for reflection: Canberra is funding the Territory at a level about five times greater than that of the states.The Federal Government, before handing us statehood, has every responsibility to ensure that systems are in place that are democratic, fair and inclusive.

HOW SHOULD OUR TOWN GROW? (Part One)

A mere 19 comments have been received on options for a plan that will govern the development of Alice Springs for the next five to 10 years.The comments, from the town council, CATIA, six government departments, the National Trust, Greening Australia and just nine individuals, will now be summarised and put before Planning Minister Mick Palmer.This will be followed by a fresh opportunity for comment, and ultimately a new Alice Springs Regional Land Use Structure Plan will be declared.The following assumptions are made:-• Native title over Alice Springs will be resolved in a manner that allows for development.• The AustralAsia railway will follow the corridor currently proposed, that is, along the existing railway alignment through Alice Springs and north from the existing marshalling yards.• The Alice Springs Central Area, Mt Johns Valley and AustralAsia Railway Corridor Land Use Objectives will not be reviewed at this time.While the population of Alice Springs has almost doubled over the past 20 years, from 14,149 in 1976 to 27,092 in 1996, the actual rate of growth per annum has been steadily decreasing. Population growth rates between 1976 and 1981 averaged six per cent per annum compared with a significantly lower rate of 1.2 per cent between 1991 and 1996.The options for future urban residential development which might be considered are:• To allow for urban residential expansion at Undoolya as proposed in the 1989 Plan.• To continue residential development in the Larapinta and Mt Johns Valley areas and allow for continued urban "infill", moving to Undoolya at the appropriate time.• The same as above except allow for the development of part of the Emily Hills and possibly the Commonage and/or Blatherskite and Colonel Rose Drive areas. This option will defer the move to a new urban development area for some time.• To allow for continued urban "infill" and for future urban development south of Heavitree Gap. This option is an alternative to moving to Undoolya.The 1989 Plan identifies sufficient rural land to satisfy rural residential demands, into the foreseeable future. It was envisaged in the plan that rural residential lot sizes would decrease the closer they were to the town centre. Rural residential development was not seen as a transitional use but an attractive alternative to urban residential living.Information from the Valuer General's office indicates that there have been 176 sales of rural land from January 1993 to June 1996 or about 39 sales per year.Options for future rural residential development which might be considered are:• Retain the Emily Hills area as the preferred rural residential area as proposed in the 1989 Plan.• The same as above, but allow for further expansion of rural residential to the east within the Undoolya Station Pastoral Lease and/or the area currently zoned R (rural) and CP (community purposes) to the east of the Stuart Highway and north and south of Colonel Rose Drive.• Allow for rural residential in the Undoolya Valley, within the Undoolya Station Pastoral Lease.The 1989 Plan supported the view that the existing Alice Springs town centre would remain the primary commercial centre for the region. The development of an alternative town centre was considered unnecessary. However, it did acknowledge that if the population grew beyond the 60,000 horizon there may have been justification for a new regional centre. The development at Undoolya of an independent satellite urban area and alternative town centre was not supported.The 1989 Plan also includes provision for neighbourhood and district centres, with neighbourhood centres providing convenience shopping for suburbs of 4,000 to 5,000 people and district centres for about three to four suburbs.NEXT WEEK: Where will commercial and industrial development take place, and where will new Aboriginal living areas go?

Return to Alice Springs News Webpage.