COMMERCIAL TV - PRIME TIME WAR. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
An audience survey commissioned by Imparja casts no light on the television viewing habits of people in Alice Springs, but indicates a growth in the station's total audience.The company's sales manager, Cate Moodie, says the survey shows that Imparja's "share for all people is up by 3.5 points” over the station's entire viewing area.It covers the outback regions of South Australia, most of the NT, sections of western NSW and Mt Isa.In that area, Ms Moodie said last week, the ratings survey conducted by A. C. Nielsen last May shows that 57.9 per cent of people are watching Imparja during prime time, 6pm to 10.30pm.She says the ABC is in second place with 15.8 per cent, followed by QSTV TEN (15.3), SBS (0.8) and others (10.2).QSTV's David Dean, information technology and research general manager for the parent company, Telecasters Australia Ltd, says in his station's viewing area, which overlaps Imparja's, 57.6 per cent of people are watching TEN during that time slot, followed by the ABC (25.4), Imparja (15.2) and SBS (1.8).Ms Moodie says she does not have information about ratings for individual regions, including Alice Springs.However, Mr Dean says he estimates that the two stations have roughly the same audience in those regions where both services can be received, including Alice Springs, but the "incumbent” station would have some advantage due to local programming, such as the news service.Meanwhile a random telephone survey in Alice Springs, conducted by the Alice News last Saturday, puts the ABC well in front, followed by Imparja and TEN with almost equal numbers. Austar came a distant fourth.The two commercial stations have an arrangement by which Imparja broadcasts in sections of TEN's area, notably Mt Isa and Longreach, while TEN is allowed into the Imparja area, mainly into Alice Springs and Nhulunbuy.Neither station is permitted to solicit advertising in the other's region, but is permitted to accept commercials if a client makes the approach.The unavailability - from either station - of survey details about the viewing habits in Alice Springs clearly leaves in the dark advertisers here interested in 'pitching” their message only to locals.Ms Moodie says the Nielsen survey was done mainly for the benefit of national advertisers.She says Imparja claims 163,000 viewers in its vast but sparsely populated area between Ceduna on the Great Australian Bight, Broken Hill and the Top End of the NT (not including Darwin).DARWIN BIDImparja in 1996 failed in a bid for broadcasting rights into Darwin, which were obtained for $2.2m by Imparja's rival in The Alice, Telecasters Australia Ltd.According to Ms Moodie, about 70,000 people within the Imparja "footprint" can also receive TEN, roughly half the potential Imparja viewers.This clearly accounts for the low percentage for TEN in Imparja's Nielsen survey.In the Alice News survey we rang 34 people at random.We asked respondents to rank from one to four their viewing preferences between 6pm to 10pm, selecting from amongst Imparja, TEN, the ABC and Austar.We then allocated one point for the top choice, two for the second choice, and so on.The ABC was well ahead with 77 points, Imparja and TEN were neck-and-neck with 82 and 84, respectively; Austar was well behind with 97 points.Ms Moodie says Imparja's success is based on the the station's access to the top national programs, 'cherry picking" from all the networks.Blue Heelers heads the station's list of most popular programs, followed by Friends, Funniest Home Videos and Third Rock From The Sun.Imparja National News is ranked surprisingly low, in 20th place, while TEN's news service ranks third in its coverage area.
OLYMPIC TORCH "HAND-OUT" TO AYERS ROCK ABORIGINES.
It is unclear why Aboriginal people associated with Uluru are being paid a fee of $60,000 for what one Sydney newspaper columnist calls "the honour of hosting the start of the Olympic torch relay".A spokesman for the Mutitjulu Community at Ayers Rock declined to comment, saying that media statements would be left to SOCOG, the Sydney Organising Committee of the Olympic Games.SOCOG's John Flower, the media relations manager for the torch relay, says fee would be 'too strong" a word for the payment which is meant to compensate for past expenses for negotiations, which took 15 months; the waiving of the park entrance fee for some 140 media and participants in the event on June 8, 2000; for advice to be given by traditional owners during the function; and for amenities such as lighting and staging.Mr Flower says Athens, from where the torch will be brought, will receive $75,000 to $100,000 from the 'multi million dollar" budget for the relay.Mr Flower says the money will go to both the traditional owners and to the Mutitjulu community.The Uluru National Park belongs to Aboriginal traditional owners and is managed, under a long-term lease, by the Federal Government's Parks Australia.It is understood that at present, about 700 Aborigines - some as far away as Yuendumu - are getting a share of the gate takings.Fred Howe, Parks Australia manager at Uluru, says his service is a party to the three-way agreement with SOCOG.Parks Australia is waiving all fees which would normally apply to such event.The service will be collaborating with members of the Aboriginal community, some of whose roles have yet to be defined, according to Mr Howe.It's unlikely that any of the torch event will take place in the Mutitjulu Community itself, established in the former tourist village, where visitors stayed before the Ayers Rock Resort was built outside the park.The community at the base of the rock is off limits to tourists and media.So, when champion Aboriginal sportswoman Nova Peris-Kneebone starts off the torch relay, it's likely to happen inside the park but outside the Mutitjulu Community, and under the watchful eye of the Parks Service.For example, says Mr Howe, the international media contingent, whose size is defined in the agreement, will operate under strict guidelines.The climb may be closed for the duration of the event, so that photographers can't 'scramble" up the rock to get shots from an elevated vantage point.Mr Howe says this restriction is motivated by safety considerations.The selling of souvenirs and games memorabilia will not be allowed.What's more, a good deal of the event will take place either at the Ayers Rock Resort or at the gate to the park.This leaves the question why traditional owners should be getting $60,000.Mr Flower says the money may be used for a road or some communications equipment so that the Aboriginal community has "some sort of long term legacy" by which to remember the event.Asked whether the other nearly 200 towns and communities along the relay route - to be determined at the end of this month - will be receiving a similar payment, Mr Flower says no, because "other councils have the ability to raise funds".Cynics say that the $60,000 payment is seeking to preempt indigenous protests likely to occur during the 2000 Olympics.
VISITORS: PLACES TO SEE, THINGS TO DO. COMMENT by JUNE TUZEWSKI.
A warm Centralian welcome to our many visitors. Some would say "warm" in every sense of the word, sunscreen and hats being a necessity, especially for those involved in outside events at our Masters Games. However, we do hope you find your stay enjoyable and that you'll get time to talk to the locals. Even after living a considerable time in the Centre, I still enjoy visiting our local tourist attractions with friends when they come to town. I often discover something new, or that a change has been made to improve access, comfort or enjoyment. However, it was one of our newer attractions - The Alice Springs Desert Park - which won the Tourist Development Projects category at last weekend's 1998 Australian Tourism Awards. These national awards are now in their 15th year and aim to recognise excellence within the tourism industry. Winners of the Northern Territory Brolga Awards and other State and Territory finalists are all entrants. Being the industry's highest acknowledgment of merit, competition for these prestigious awards is strong. Five years in the planning and development, the Alice Springs Desert Park, which is on the outskirts of town along Larapinta Drive, was only opened in March 1997, but it has already received accolades from the scientific community in addition to tourism trophies. Situated in the foothills of the MacDonnell Ranges, the park features plants, animals and landscapes of our desert environment. Visitors and locals, if they haven't already done so, should certainly find time to visit this unique attraction. It is recommended that you set aside at least three hours if you wish to fully explore the park, which is also accessible to those in wheelchairs and with strollers. On arrival visit the exhibition centre, with its interactive displays, and watch the dramatic short film which introduces the arid centre and takes you through the desert's evolution. The Nocturnal House is also fascinating, and, if you're lucky, you may get to see the Desert Rock Rat which until recently was an animal thought to be extinct. A 1.6 km walk features three spectacular habitats - Desert Rivers, Sand Country and Woodlands. Recent rains have encouraged the flowering of many plants and shrubs. There is also a secondary walk covering 1.4 km. Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and hats are a must. However, shade stops and chilled water fountains are provided along the main walk. A particular feature in the park's development was the involvement of local artists such as the Hermannsburg Potters, and Pip McManus. The delightful cartoon-style artwork of local identity, Kaye Kessing, is also featured with a number of "animals" telling stories about our arid land. If you're interested in the arts and would also like to "take a stroll back in time" then the Araluen do-it-yourself walking tour may be just the thing. By picking up a brochure "The Araluen Heritage Tour" (available at The Araluen Centre, also on Larapinta Drive), you can cover a number of venues in your own time, at your pace. This special corner of The Alice was the site of our first aerodrome and the homestead of Eddie Connellan who pioneered aviation in the Territory. Some of the original buildings have been used in a number of ways including housing the Transport and Aviation Museums and the Crafts Council. Alongside stand the modern Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment, and the Strehlow Centre with its Aboriginal displays. The recent announcement that Commonwealth Centenary of Federation funding of $2.3m will provide a new national exhibition gallery and study centre for this area is breathtaking. It follows a commitment of $1m earlier this year by the NT Government to further develop the Araluen area. Chief Minister, Shane Stone, has received much criticism in Darwin about allocating these funds to The Alice. For Central Australia, however, it will allow the permanent display of a number of local collections which are of significant merit to the community Australia-wide. Current Gallery exhibitions at Araluen include Against The Wind and Reflections From the Heart.Against The Wind features a variety of textile crafts in twenty-seven banners made by a range of community groups, cultural associations and trade unions. Reflections presents over one hundred colourful works by members of the Alice Springs Quilting Club. The Club, I am told, is one of the largest in our town. Its annual exhibitions have certainly become a favourite with local residents. Both exhibitions, which end on Sunday, are well worth a visit!
SHOCK HORROR SACRED SITES ... NOT HERE! Report by CHRIS HALLETT.
The battle to have sacred sites respected continues, but in a new Alice Springs residential development a sacred site has been incorporated as a positive design feature.The Diarama subdivision nestles between the rear of Diarama Village on the west of Alice and the ridge line wrapping around it. The ridge continues behind Taylor Street where its status as a sacred site has seen legal fights between real estate agent Dominic Miller and the NT Government, over uncertainties faced by developers encountering sacred sites.The challenge for the Diarama developers was that the subdivision extends some way up the ridge into the sacred area. Through the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA), the developers and traditional owners negotiated a line parallel to the ridge where development could go up to.Alice Springs Architect Brendan Meney says: "We just worked with the AAPA, not against them. We worked with them to get a good outcome. "They gave us a clear direction in the end and we all knew where we stood."Mr Meney was happy to have the chance to be involved at this early stage where normally engineers, not architects, make the decisions. He set about designing the subdivision to "highlight and respect" the surrounding bush setting while creating a sense of community for the residents. Mr Meney wanted to turn the sacred site into a positive, "incorporate the sacred site into the subdivision, not just isolate it".He says: 'You extend the blocks into that sacred site so it becomes a part of people's backyard so to speak, it becomes an extension of the site where they live. "They can't touch it in terms of development but it offers a great visual outlook and the hill is a great place to go for a stroll, with open bush land extending north and west."In the subdivision itself, a central park and playground will create public space and access to the ridge. As a result of appropriate design utilising the park corridor, most blocks back onto open space or bush.In the development approval process a number of building covenants were included to maintain control of the streetscape, enhancing the sense of openness and the bush setting. Mr Meney says: 'The covenants, which are contained in the buyer's land contract, spell out a lot of things. What we are essentially trying to do here is guide integrated development. "The difference between this and a normally engineered development is that the architect has taken into account the possibilities of what the built environment might become."One covenant controls fencing along the open spaces so they are open style fences designed to make the blocks and the central park appear larger. Solid fences are limited in number and to a range of colours sympathetic to the bush. The sheet metal fences, so popular in Alice, create a solid visual barrier closing in blocks and restricting breezes. Mr Meney says the housing sites have been designed to have good northern orientation to catch the winter sun: 'We have created what's called building envelopes on the blocks and what that does is give you a designated area within your block where you can build. "In doing that we are able to stagger these building envelopes along the streets preventing the total solar block out from the north by other houses."There's a no build zone in front of all the building envelopes and connecting onto the street-scape. "Its designated landscape zone only and it ensures that a certain amount of landscape area is allowed for, in addition to the verge. "In most cases you have got eight metres of landscape zone before any building."The landscape zone is wider in front of housing sites likely to be swept by car headlights at night.The access road, Diarama Close, which curls around the back of the shopping village, has been planted with native trees to reflect the bush setting. The verges of the three forks of the access road will be planted with different eucalypts, helping to distinguish each and create colour and interest.The developers have discouraged palms in the landscape zones.Other covenants relate to the range of external materials for houses. Storage areas must be incorporated into buildings rather than be free-standing metal sheds. Any caravans have to screened from the street.Some of the covenants exist on other developments around Alice but Mr Meney says they have gone a little further at Diarama to design a streetscape in sympathy with the bush setting. He says: "It is all about trying to incorporate appropriate development to create an integrated environment, just a more pleasant place to live."
PRISONS SHOULD BE THE LAST, NOT THE FIRST RESORT. Interview by ERWIN CHLANDA.
A human rights commissioner has criticised violations by the NT prisons service of recommendations by the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Royal Commission.However, Chris Sidoti, during a visit to The Centre, said rather than spending money on new correctional facilities, the focus should be on preventing crime.The commission has said it is important that prisoners have ready contact with their families, yet young offenders in The Centre are sent to Darwin to serve their sentences.Asked whether a juvenile detention centre should be built in The Alice (which has only a remand centre at the moment), Mr Sidoti said: "I would say, no, because I would much rather see money for a detention facility put back into community correction activities."Detention is very expensive."It costs the taxpayer somewhere between $70,000 and $100,000 a year to keep a young person or an adult in detention."That's a waste of taxpayers' money if it is spent detaining people who need not be in detention," Mr Sidoti says."Instead of spending $100,000 on one individual, to provide $100,000 to a community to work with a large number of individuals would be much more cost effective, and much more effective in stopping crime."When the NT Government cries poor, that it hasn't got the money to properly resource community correction, I say to it why is it prepared to waste so much taxpayers' money on ineffective programs of locking people up."Mr Sidoti says gaoling people is necessary when people commit grave criminal offences.But he says in the NT, imprisonment 'is being seized upon as a first resort, rather than a last resort."There are people who are in prison and in juvenile detention in the NT who don't need to be there, shouldn't be there."The NT Government, for whatever political reasons, has adopted the most expensive approach to juvenile and adult offending, and the least effective, and that's imprisonment."Evidence all over the world indicates prisons don't work."Prisons promote or lead to increased likelihood of further offending, and more serious offending, than any other form of criminal justice system."Mr Sidoti, who visited Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Papunya and Yuendumu, says government services are dramatically inadequate in bush communities."We need to give people some guarantees," he says."If we're able to, as a nation, develop a national plan, that provides guarantees for people of health, education, recreation, this would have an enormous impact on morale in the country, and may also reverse some of the population movement if people know their future is assured."At the moment people don't know what the future holds for them as individuals, for their children and their families, or for their communities."This is something that cuts across the racial divide. "It's common to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in country areas."Yuendumu is a big town, it would be about number 10 in settlement size in the NT."It's not an outstation. About half the population is under the age of 15, yet Yuendumu doesn't have a high school."An immediate thing I found there is the listlessness, the sense of ‘no future' that young people have, and that's tied in with the fact that once they've completed primary education, if they get that far, their choice is to be sent off to boarding school."Alice is the closest one, which is hundreds of kilometres away, and which, it must be acknowledged, is a difficult place for indigenous people to be."If we are going to address some of the alcohol and drug abuse problems, I think we have to give them a place within their families and within their communities."Mr Sidoti says issues of education are 'much more pressing in the NT, without a doubt" than elsewhere in the nation.There are difficulties with service delivery to the NT's small population spread over a vast area, complicated by the high proportion - 25 to 30 per cent - of Aborigines suffering 'long standing and indisputable" disadvantages.Mr Sidoti says this set of circumstances has been taken into account for decades in allocations to the NT Government by the Federal Grants Commission that are some five times greater than the national average.He says: 'One of the things people throughout the Territory, black and white, have constantly said to me, is that we're getting more money coming into the Territory because of this disadvantage."But very little of that money goes to the people who're most disadvantaged."The perception in The Centre, I have to say, is that most of this extra funding, the boost the Territory gets, is consumed principally in the Top End, mainly in and around Darwin."The data I've seen on spending on indigenous health indicate that in spite of the very great need, the per-capital health spending is in most parts of Australia no more than on non-indigenous people, and in some areas, including some parts of the NT, less than on non-indigenous people."It seems as though the more remote a community and the greater the health need, the less the per capita health spending."Mr Sidoti says on present trends, in 10 years' time 'we're going to find an almost depopulated Australian countryside, with people concentrated even more in major provincial cities, and the metropolitan centres."There is no guarantee that those moving into the cities will be moving into employment [nor] that the cities can cope with an influx from country areas."Mr Sidoti says there's little local recognition of the contributions made by Aboriginal people.The cultural output of places like Papunya and Yuendumu bring 'great credit and richness to our country as a whole, and certainly to our country internationally."I think the people in Australia and overseas would be outraged to think of the conditions in which people who are producing some of the finest art work in Australia, some of the finest in the world, are having to live under."It would be a great mistake to say that places like Papunya and Yuendumu are not contributing to our richness."It may not be richness in dollar terms, but certainly in cultural terms."
PRINCIPAL LEFT IN THE DARK AS SCHOOL NURSES AXED. Report by KIERAN FINNANE
The withdrawal of nurses from their positions within schools appears to have happened without evaluation and consultation with the schools themselves.John Cooper, Principal of Anzac Hill High, says while he would not have "expected" to be consulted, he would have 'cherished" being part of the decision-making process.Mr Cooper is only aware of the proposed change, evidently to take place from the start of next year, because of what the nurses were told in the course of a teleconference and passed on to him.He says he can only hope that the decision is part of a plan for change over time to deliver support in another way. He says there has been no evaluation of the role of the school nurse at Anzac.His own view is that is a 'bonus" for students to have 'one more professional" they can call upon in times of need."The nurses are a great source of contact for our students and I'm not sure that there are other community services offering what they offer," says Mr Cooper.Mark Crossin, Secretary of the Australian Education Union's NT branch says that there are 27 nursing and therapist positions across the NT involved in the change.Four nurses and four therapists service the Alice Springs and Tennant Creek schools.The positions will be transferred from the Department of Education to Territory Health Services, but "their functions and how they will be related to student needs have not yet been determined," says Mr Crossin."We are short on detail," he says, "but we are very concerned and want to be consulted." John Haynes, NT Branch Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation says the move makes 'no sense" when demand for the services is continuing to grow.He says there have been, on average, 70,000 student referrals per year over the past four years to nurses located in the NT's 13 government high schools."The prospect of school nurses no longer being on hand to deal with accidents and medical emergencies, or provide first-hand advice on gynaecological problems and family planning, and carry out health screening and a wide range of other procedures is frightening."Literally, it's an accident waiting to happen - and the government is totally responsible," says Mr Haynes.
COMMENT: FOOT-IN-THE-MOUTH PARLIAMENTARIAN.
Greatorex MLA Richard Lim took parliamentary standards to a new low in last week's adjournment debate when he stooped to score a political point over the dead body of a supposed friend.In the guise of paying tribute to the late Les Brown, a former senior officer in correctional services, Dr Lim gave this account, as reported in Hansard: 'During a prison riot, and if my memory serves me right, probably the riot for which he [Mr Brown] received his commendation, the local media had a helicopter flying over the prison shooting pictures for the next issue of the local news. "I cannot recall whether it was the Centralian Advocate or the Alice Springs Star - I think it was before the time of the Alice Springs News."Wrong - there was no "riot". Wrong - the "pictures" were not for the local news. Wrong - they were for none of the newspapers mentioned, but for a current affairs report about high imprisonment rates in the NT for the national Seven TV Network. I know, because I was the reporter and cameraman in the chopper.Dr Lim goes on: "By rights, Les could have ordered for the helicopter to be grounded, or shot down if it refused." Wrong - prison authorities can't ground helicopters; that's the job of aviation authorities.At this point Dr Lim takes leave not only of the truth, but of the most basic human decency, and proceeds to put words into a dead man's mouth: "Someone later said to Les that he should have shot the helicopter down as he would have done Alice Springs, and the news media in general, and many personalities a great favour, as he would have put an end to the media career of Erwin Chlanda."As it happened, Les and I had a laugh about the "chopper incident" during which, according to the Minister at the time, an order to issue fire arms was indeed about to be given. Les chuckled about a colleague - a veteran of the armed forces - who kept yelling "incoming" as our chopper approached.The NT Government was roundly criticised by the Australian Journalists Association for its conduct in the course of the "incident".We gladly accept the ongoing vilification of the Alice Springs News by certain CLP figures as proof that our scrutiny of public affairs in the NT is on the right track; this is supported overwhelmingly by the answers we get in our ongoing readership surveys.Earlier this year we led Territory media in the exposure of the management fiasco in the NT Government's allied health services. A string of internal reports were leaked to us about the shortcomings of the department in this area. Prior to every single publication we gave Health Minister Denis Burke an opportunity to comment. Not once did he take up that opportunity. That didn't stop him from denigrating this newspaper in the House.On one such occasion, a male Member interjected - and this was broadcast around the Territory: "The Alice Springs News? Slander, slander, Erwin Slander."Shane Stone, Chief Minister and Parliamentary Leader of his party - a QC, albeit self-appointed - surely knows that such a remark, made outside Parliament, could result in successful libel prosecution: in 35 years' work as a journalist, for a string of local, national and international print and electronic media, including a quarter of a century in The Centre, I have never once slandered anyone.In Coward's Castle, of course, such things can be said with impunity. As Speaker, MLA for Braitling Loraine Braham is supposed to uphold standards in the House. However, she refused to conduct a thorough enquiry into who the interjector may have been in order to take appropriate action. She confined herself to advising me that members of the Legislative Assembly are protected by parliamentary privilege.These are the people who want to play a leading role in our nation's seventh state. No wonder the public put a temporary stop to that by voting "no" in the Statehood referendum.
CLEVER ALICE: LOCAL SCIENTISTS 'DISCOVER' THE OUTBACK. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
Along with many of her colleagues at the CSIRO laboratory in Alice Springs , researcher Margaret Friedel now spends much of her time working on ways for her specialised knowledge to be used by people who need it "on the ground".Dr Friedel was trained in conventional zoology and botany studies, and did her PhD in forestry.After three years' teaching in snow country in Victoria, living for much of the time in tents, she looked for a job in warmer climes, arriving in Alice Springs in 1974."I knew nothing about arid lands, I'd never done ecology as a subject, and those are the two things that are my specialty now," she says.She joined CSIRO in Alice on the strength of work she had done in nutrient cycling in pine plantations. She learnt about arid lands "on the job".Her early years here coincided with a shift of focus at CSIRO, from broad studies of biological processes into more management focussed work."There was a move from trying to make unproductive country productive, to realising that we needed to understand what the impacts of productive activities like cattle grazing were on different kinds of country."And we needed to understand not only what water did as it moved across country, but what nutrients were doing as well. That's were I came in. "I was given a very free rein within that broad framework, and I was fortunate to be able to make my contribution while I was learning at the elbow of people who'd been here a long time."My understanding of the very big scale of turnover in nutrients grew over the years. Things aren't uniform, which is what people usually work towards in cooler, wetter agricultural areas."I learnt that you had to ‘go with the flow', with what the limitations and opportunities were in a land where you get huge pulses of rain, long periods of dry, then maybe little bits of rain. "Each time rain does something slightly different to the country. "I don't think you can ever get to the stage of being able to predict minutely what will happen. So you have to think on a bigger scale, give people broad strategies to manage within. "I learnt a lot from the pastoralists. Interacting with them is one of the things I enjoyed."When I first started, my work was very largely field based. I was looking at grasses to learn how much they grew in response to rain at different times, and what the nutrient levels were in them. "Later I worked on how the shrub growth has changed in the absence of fire and the presence of grazing, once again appreciating variation according to different types of country. Finally, having been involved in field-based research for a long time and having built up an understanding of what other people were doing, I started to think that not all of what I knew was being used. "I believed it was useful and I had to do something else with this investment in me, to make sure the greatest benefit came out of it."Dr Friedel, along with others working in the Alice lab, including Mark Stafford-Smith and Stephen Morton, was wary of trying to impose her ideas. "You can end up proposing recipes of what you think should happen, based on your field research, without any real understanding of the context of people who have to make use of that land, their economic situation, what sort of room to move they have, and the setting in which they make their decisions."The Alice scientists, led by Drs Stafford-Smith and Morton, wrote a paper about how to integrate conservation management in country that was already being used for other things, such as pastoralism."It rang a bell with people in Western Australia with whom I now work," says Dr Friedel.'They were concerned about the pastoral industry in sheep country in the southern part of WA, which was falling on hard times."Graziers were saying ‘We can't make a go of this, solely relying on the wool industry'. Some were looking to diversify and at the same time there were pressures from other groups, like conservation interests and Aboriginal people. "In the particular area where we ended up working, in the North East Goldfields extending from north of Kalgoorlie to south of Wiluna, the mining industry was massive. So, there were all these potentially competing land uses."What we were looking for were ways to accommodate the different interests so that they weren't competing, working as inclusively as possible."We thought it was possible to have more than one land use happening at the same time. It might not be a consumptive use. Aborigines, for instance, might simply want to have greater access, or the tourist industry, which is growing in that area, might want to have a bit more involvement and access to places."So what we ended up doing was to develop a community base in order to get people negotiating in a non-threatening way about land uses and the management of them, as well as issues like access or anything that's burning people up."Together with officers from the Department of Agriculture in WA, Dr Friedel sought $1m in funding for the project, which has now been going for three years.They put together a management team of people from diverse backgrounds, a microcosm of the community, and started to work through a process of negotiating and bargaining, gathering together different points of view 'in a socially just way"."It was a good area to chose. There was a lot of diversity in the area," says Dr Friedel."It was also very well surveyed and there was a lot of good information available."
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK.
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