AN ACE OF A CLUB . REPORT BY KIERAN FINNANE .
Alice Springs could host a future Federation Cup, even a Davis Cup tournament if the Alice Springs Tennis Association, together with the Red Centre Tennis Academy get their way.
The partnership approached the town council last week to open their case for a bigger facility.
The leafy site on Gap Road, owned by the council and home to 10 courts and a small clubhouse, is no longer big enough for the club rated, together with Albury-Wodonga, as the leading regional tennis club in the country.
A larger site of 16 courts would cater not only for their growing local membership and casual users but put them in the running for top national and international tournaments, which would bring tens of thousand of dollars into the town, they told the council.
The appointment by the association of professional coach and manager Matt Roberts six years ago has seen the club turn around from one in decline - a handful of seniors and three juniors - to one bursting at the seams.
Mr Roberts has 530 juniors in his coaching program and 47 senior teams playing in competition and socially.
As well, at least 100 casual users come through the gates each week.
In the last 12 months there have also been 12 tournaments staged in Alice (from none in 1999), three of them on the national circuit for juniors, again "bringing tens of thousands of dollars into the local economy", says Mr Roberts.
The 300 players in each tournament, playing on just 10 courts, stretched the capacity of the facility to its limits. National standard for hosting tournaments is a minimum of 12 hard surface courts, plus four practice courts, says Mr Roberts. With such a facility, the Federation Cup in Alice would be "a probability", while the Davis Cup would be "a genuine possibility".
"And we could definitely get international junior tournaments. "We have done the hard work, we are not just putting out our hand for assistance."
Association president Stephen Brown suggested land behind the revamped Gillen Club or the extensive grounds on the Memorial Drive side of Alice Springs High School as suitable from tennis' point of view,
The future site needs to be central, he says, easily accessible to the town's children, and the two mentioned would be ideal from that point of view.
The association is being assisted with plans and costings for a new site by Tennis Australia, who could also provide low interest loans, though to a body like the council, not to the association.
Split venues would not be a solution, say Mr Roberts, because it would mean doubling up on personnel and support facilities.
The partnership of the association and the academy was the brainchild of Mr Brown and his board.
Mr Roberts, who was head-hunted from NSW, says such a model was rare then but is now proliferating, especially along the east coast, with some associations looking to the Alice tennis turnaround as their model.
"I don't think any organisation in regional Australia is too small to adopt our model," he says.
"Look at how small we were."
He puts the success down to a restructure of the tennis program to take full advantage of the sport's "family friendliness". There's barely another sport, he says, that can be played by anyone, male or female, from age four to 94, and it can be played seriously or for fun."
He promoted the game heavily in the local schools: "Once the kids have the romance for the game, then their parents want to play." All this needed the full support of the board for a business approach. Mr Brown certainly endorses it, identifying the round-the-clock presence of staff to take bookings and respond to people's queries as another key factor in the success.
Mr Roberts' high level of commitment must also have contributed: back in 2000 he was doing everything, from coaching to emptying the rubbish bins. Now the business employs four people, including him, in coaching and administration as well as 13 young players in casual positions, three of them as "young mentors", and the rest in general maintenance jobs.
Court hire has scarcely risen in this time, from $11 to $13; the profitability has come from the tuition fees earnt in the hugely expanded coaching program.
Some money is returned to the association: the academy pays rent on the facilities; and also goes 50:50 on profits (and expenses) from events like the Masters Games.
Why doesn't the academy simply take over tennis in this town? Mr Roberts says it's important for the association to regulate the game, representing the community's interests, and also to be a not-for-profit body for the council and governments to deal with.
On the other hand, could tennis in Alice maintain its high profile without the singular energy of Mr Roberts who works 16 hour days for six and a half days a week? Says Mr Brown: "It would be difficult to find another Matt Roberts but we've got a good association and board and a few local people trained by Matt.
"But we obviously hope he'll stay on and help us set up the new complex."
CENTRECORP: ELDERS FUME . REPORT BY ERWIN CHLANDA.
The secretive Aboriginal investment company Centrecorp should be "blasted open and then shut down" by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Mal Brough, according to a senior leader, Baldy Campbell, of Alice Springs.
His sentiment is echoed by Leo Abbott, who with his legendary father, Barry, runs a petrol sniffers' rehabilitation centre at Illamurta Springs, on the banks of the Finke River, south-west of Alice Springs.
Mr Abbott, who says the rehab centre is getting by on "measly" government subsidies, claims the hundreds of millions of dollars amassed by Centrecorp should "benefit people out in the communities".
The company is owned three fifths by the Central Land Council (CLC) and one fifth each by Tangentyere and Congress.
Meanwhile Mr Brough said in Alice Springs this week he will be giving "high priority" to examining suggestions that the CLC may be breaching the Land Rights Act, under which it operates, by having a share in Centrecorp (Alice News, April 13).
The Act says the land council musty act in a manner "that will not cause the Land Council to incur financial liability or enable it to receive financial benefit".
Mr Abbott says like "everybody is that's living on their country" he is a member of the CLC but has consistently been denied details of the Centrecorp's investments, mainly in real estate in Alice Springs.
QUESTIONS Centrecorp and its controlling shareholder, the CLC, have over several years refused to answer questions from the Alice News (see our report on April 13).
The main source of Centrecorp's revenue is believed to be royalties required to be paid by resource companies operating on Aboriginal land.
Mr Abbott says he believes the investment boom started with royalties from Palm Valley gas and Mereenie oil, but the revenues remain out of reach of people who need them most.
"A lot of people don't know what's happening," says Mr Abbott.
"Why do we have to go to banks to get a loan when we could use our own money?"
Centrecorp should be funding the training of young people so they can get that "piece of paper" so vital to building a future for themselves.
The company should also support community stores to provide healthy food, and offset some of the high costs, to "get better food, better health and living".
Above all, Centrecorp should be transparent because it is dealing with Aboriginal people's money.
"How does it benefit them?" asks Mr Abbott.
"We're branded as the welfare mob" while local Aborigines apparently own major wealth.
Mr Abbott also says the CLC appears to be getting "a big slice".
"How many vehicles per staff do they have, how many staff do they need?"
Instead of employing lawyers, "why don't they hire them from bigger firms, and just pay for their time?"
Mr Campbell says some years ago he stood in for a Centrecorp board member for some time, but he's none the wiser for it.
The people running the company "give no-one any information at all," he says.
"Nobody does. They won't give us anything, we tried hard to get information.
"Centrecorp is hanging out by itself, nobody knows what they are doing."
Mr Campbell says some investments, such as the multi-million dollar Yeperenye Shopping Centre, should be handed over to Lhere Artepe, Alice Springs' native title body.
It's understood Lhere Artepe owns 40% of the centre.
Mr Campbell says Centrecorp "won't open their books".
"The [Federal] minister should blast it open and then shut it down.
"Lhere Artepe could use the money for good things.
"Where is the money going? That's what people are asking me.
"I can't give a definite answer."
BLACK FIRM IN STRIFE . REPORT BY KIERAN FINNAN.
The Federal Court in Adelaide suspended the appointment of an administrator to the Nyangatjatjara Aboriginal Corporation on Monday.
The corporation operates the Nyangatjatjara College at Yulara and is the parent company of the recently expanded Anangu Tours among others, and was placed under an administrator last week.
The suspension was "based on submissions from aggrieved parties".
The matter has been listed for a further hearing next Friday.
The appointment of an administrator was made "because grounds outlined in Section 71 of the Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976 were established", says Peter Armstrong, director of the regulation section of the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations (ORAC).
Such grounds can include: the corporation trading at a loss for at least six months; the governing committee / board failing to comply with the ACA Act, the regulations or the corporationšs constitution; the governing committee / board acting in its own interest, or unfairly or unjustly in relation to the members; the appointment being required in the interests of members and creditors of the corporation, or in the public interest.
An independent audit report, dated February 23 this year, drew attention to the "significant uncertainty whether the corporation will be able to continue as a going concern and therefore whether it will realise its assets and extinguish its liabilities".
Its total liabilities as at June 30, 2005 were $264,780, with net assets of $50,421.
Total income for the corporation in 2004-05 was $1,169,472.
This does not include income related to the college but does include Government grants for running a range of programs including a youth program, juvenile diversion, and a Green Corps project.
Last week, before the suspension, Mr Armstrong said the appointment of the administrator should be seen as a positive step: "We want the corporation to be successful and to have good corporate governance practices in place.
"We will provide governance training and ultimately hope to hand back control to members."
SLAMMER LIKELY FOR FORMER SOCCER CHIEF . REPORT BY ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
A former treasurer and acting president of the Central Australian Junior Soccer Association is likely to be sentenced to jail after he stole nearly $10,000 from the organisation.
Magistrate John Birch, making his findings on April 19, said: "The bottom line is, the starting sentence is imprisonment."
He found Kevin George Muir guilty of two offences of stealing: he deposited a cheque for $5000 of the Soccer Association's funds into his personal account on October 11, 2002 and then a second one for $4,660 on January 9, 2003.
Mr Muir used the money to buy shares.
Between the period October 2001 and June 2003 a further $1749.50 was unaccounted for but this was paid back shortly after he was interviewed by police in July 2003.
Nine months later, on April 7 and 21 2004, the Alice Springs News reported on the police's failure to progress the case.
A senior officer suggested the association should pay $10,500 for its own forensic audit.
After this report police concluded their investigation and charges were finally laid, with Mr Muir appearing in court for the first time on March 17, 2005.
Mr Birch said during his time as treasurer Mr Muir's actions brought the committee of the Soccer Association into "financial crisis" after mounting up a large number of unpaid bills and failing to provide financial reports at committee meetings.
He described Mr Muir as "a person lacking much credibility" and "evasive".
He said Mr Muir "deliberately embarked on a course of conduct that would allow him not to disclose his dealings.
"He dealt with funds as his own."
The magistrate said the witnesses who had presented evidence, including the manager of the Westpac bank, showed "great restraint" when cross-examined by Mr Muir.
"At times [the questions were] more of a personal attack on them," he said.
Mr Muir appeared in court unrepresented and didn't give evidence by answering questions, only through interviews prepared ahead of the court case.
He said he didn't know why the funds came into his account and had nothing to say about the share transactions.
He said he couldn't recall why the cheques were written to him.
"I'm satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he unlawfully stole from the Central Australian Junior Soccer Association," said Magistrate Birch.
Mr Muir's is due for sentencing on May 29 at 10am.
ALDERMEN DISAGREE ON WHAT TO DO ABOUT BOOZE . REPORT BY KIERAN FINNANE.
There is no consensus among aldermen about reducing hours for takeaway alcohol sales in Alice. Aldermen discussed how to make effective plans for a "dry" Alice at a closed forum last Wednesday (after the Alice News had gone to press).
Alderman Samih Habib said the main thing to emerge from the forum - which heard from the CEO of Ceduna council, representatives from the Licensing Commission and the police - was "how hard" enforcing a dry town would be.
However, before the town even gets that far, Lhere Artepe wants to see a raft of measures in place to prevent displacement of the public drinking problem.
Esther Pearce, Betty Pearce and Margaret Furber represented Lhere Artepe during the recent delegation to Port Augusta. Amazingly, they were the only members of the delegation to visit the nearby Aboriginal community of Davenport.
Esther Pearce says Davenport is normally home to some 260 people but during the summer the population skyrocketed to 1000.
She says residents were upset about the number of strangers in their community; some felt unsafe; some had been pushed out of their houses by drinkers; and some houses had been "left in a mess".
Ms Pearce says she fears that the same will happen in Alice: drinkers will simply shift from the streets to native title land, the town camps and the nearby community of Amoonguna.
"Why should Alice Springs push its problems onto another community?"
She also says Aboriginal people they spoke to in the streets and hotels of Port Augusta complained they had not been consulted over the dry area measures.
She says that shouldn't happen in Alice: "The town council needs to make sure all stakeholders are included."
But at the end of the day not everyone will be happy.
For instance, the town council is pushing the NT Government for action on establishing "transitional accommodation", in other words camps for visitors from the bush. Mayor Fran Kilgariff says the site of the defunct Tyeweretye Club (next to the dog pound) is mooted for one such camp, and land at Warlpiri Camp (opposite the Motor Vehicle Registry), for another.
However, Ms Pearce says Lhere Artepe is opposed to the creation of such camps. She says they will simply become two more town camps.
AFFORDABLE She says Lhere Artepe wants to see the development of commercially managed affordable accommodation such as caravan parks or hostels.
"We are against a tent city like Lakeview in Port Augusta.
"Everyone should use commercial accommodation.
"If people were going to Adelaide, they wouldn't think about sleeping on the streets. Alice Springs is no different.
"We need to learn to live with the grog,"
Licensed premises should provide venues like beer gardens, which cater for Aboriginal people who want to drink in less formal, lower cost environments. She says: "The hoteliers would still get their money but they'd be providing more of a service."
MANY ITEMS RE-VOTES FROM 2005 . REPORT BY ERWIN CHLANDA.
Central Australia is the poor cousin in the Territory Budget with less than 10% of the infrastructure expenditure allocated to the area which is home to nearly 20% of the population.
Treasurer Syd Stirling, who claims the Budget will be "creating jobs, growing the economic base" of The Centre, has earmarked to it just $47m of the $482m in infrastructure spending.
What's more, most major amounts seem to be mainly re-votes from last year, money budgeted in 2005 but largely not spent.
For example, last year $17.3m was allocated to the sealing of the Mereenie Loop Road - the biggest single infrastructure item.
Although the government has not provided the answers sought by the Alice News on that issue, it's believed hardly any of that money was spent last year.
Says Opposition Leader Jodeen Carney: "The seal of that road hasn't advanced one meter last year."
It's anyone's guess how much of Budget 2006's $13.9m will be spent this year on this tourism attraction.
In 2005 more than $20m was allocated for various Desert Knowledge projects but only a fraction was actually spent. Again, there are no details from the government about how much.
It'll be interesting to see what amount of this Budget's $13.8m will be spent in the next 12 months.
The $5.7m set aside for the hospital "to continue fire protection, airconditioning and remediation works" is dead money, fixing up, at a cost of $30m, deficiencies in the refurbishment supposedly finished in 2001 when the Labor government came to power.
During the intervening five years the government has come to no conclusion about who's responsible for the mess, and who should pay for it.
So far the taxpayer's coughing up, with the doubled-up work now estimated to cost $25m.
Also, are patients safe if there is a need "to continue fire protection and remediation work"?
A whopping $160m will be spent on health, $31.5m for police, fire and emergency services, and $20m for the Alice prison - all costs to which alcohol abuse significantly contributes yet there's a laughable $25,000 allocated for a "local alcohol management plan for Alice Springs".
And guess which of the dozens of dirt runways in Central Australia will be sealed at a cost of $300,000?
It's the one in Papunya, home of the government's star recruit, the controversial Alison Anderson, MLA for MacDonnell.
HEALTH, POLICE, PRISON PROMINENT IN ALLOCATIONS. REPORT BY ERWIN CHLANDA.
Infrastructure $13.9m to continue work on the Mereenie Loop.
$7.5 m expanding the generation capacity of the Alice Springs Power Station with a new generating unit.
$8.6m for the Desert People's Centre construction.
$5.7m for Alice Springs Hospital to continue fire protection, airconditioning and remediation works.
$1.6m to continue the upgrade of Ward 4.
$2.5m to continue the Business and Innovation Centre at the Desert Knowledge Precinct.
$2.7m for stage 2 headworks at the Desert Knowledge.
$1.9m progress on the Stuart Lodge redevelopment.
$2m progress on the Keith Lawrie flats.
$2m for upgrades to the Plenty Highway.
$1.3m for Maryvale Road upgrade Stage One.
$1.3m roadworks to Mt Johns Valley Stage One.
$1m to upgrade Flynn Drive renal facilities.
$970,000 to continue construction of a police post with visiting officer accommodation at Mutitjulu.
$800,000 to continue visitor facility upgrades at West MacDonnell National Park.
$690,000 to upgrade the Lasseter Highway-Yulara Driver intersection.
$500,000 to upgrade sections of Sandover Highway.
$500,000 to upgrade remote health centres.
$500,000 to continue the upgrade at Aranda House to include volatile substance abuse treatment facilities.
$350,000 to replace the water tank at Yuelamu.
$300,000 to seal the Papunya runway.
$250,000 to complete the bicycle path along Larapinta Drive to Simpsons Gap.
Police, Fire and Emergency Services $31.5m for police, fire and emergency services, including 10 police stations, one police post, two fire stations and 12 volunteer groups.
$20m Correctional Centre.
$2.3m for courts to administer justice in Alice Springs, Papunya, Mutitjulu, Yuendemu, Hermannsburg, Ti Tree and Docker River.
$1.4m for Alice Springs community corrections.
$460,000 juvenile holding facility at Aranda House.
$440,000 for Alice Springs-based officers improve community and youth safety.
$170,000 for domestic violence advocacy and legal services in Alice Springs.
$25,000 for a local alcohol management plan for Alice.
Employment, Education and Training $21m for primary and early childhood education in seven urban schools.
Almost $19m for secondary education for students at Alice Springs High School, Anzac Hill High School and Centralian Senior Secondary College.
$25m in assistance to non-government schools.
$16m for early childhood, primary and secondary education in 29 remote schools.
$1.6m for Indigenous Education Strategic initiatives.
$3m for open learning programs and professional support for students and teachers in music and language.
$2.5m for student and school support services including curricular for schools and special needs support.
$2m literacy and numeracy programs, drug education.
$590,000 to support students with a disability.
Health and Community Services
$110m for acute care services in the region - with the Alice Springs Hospital receiving $97m of those funds, an increase of 79% since the Martin Government came to office.
$46.5m for non-acute health and community services. (cut from last year's $52.1m).
$6.7m for renal dialysis services for patients at home.
$630,000 to expand treatment for volatile substance abuse services at the Drug and Alcohol Services Association.
$290,000 for support programs for youth with volatile substance abuse problems.
$160,000 for midwives to run home birthing in Darwin and Alice Springs.
$500,000 for a new Central Australian Mental Health Crisis Assessment service to mental health patients and their families.
$500,000 across the Territory for upgraded playground equipment for not for profit child care centres."
$3.1m for the continued development of an Environment Protection Agency in the Territory.
$3.4m to manage public programs and facilities and collections at the Araluen Centre.
$550,000 for the 11th Alice Springs Masters Games.
$160,000 for the Alice Desert Festival.
$27m for Territory parks.
Continued backing for world class events including AFL in Alice Springs.
$6.8m for the Thoroughbred Racing industry to support racing in Alice Springs, Darwin and other centres.
$740,000 for the Multicultural Affairs Sponsorship Grant and $400 000 for the multicultural facilities development program across the Territory.
$5.1 m for arts sponsorship for for which gifted Territorians can apply from actross the Territory.
WHAT DOES EMBARGO MEAN? . REPORT BY ERWIN CHLANDA.
The Alice News accepted Budget details from Michelle Fraser, a minder for Treasurer Sid Stirling, with an 11am Tuesday embargo which, we agreed to honor.
The release, much of which we're publishing today, listed infrastructure projects in our region.
I spoke to Ms Fraser on Monday, pointing out to her that last year the Advocate had breached the embargo, publishing some of the material three hours before Mr Stirling rose in the Assembly to deliver the Budget.
She told me she had provided embargoed information to the Advocate but said she expected no such breach would occur again.
Well, lo and behold, it has: Major expenditure items not previously released were in the Tuesday edition again, available at 8am.
Will the government now sue for copyright violation?
Centralian Advocate managing editor Greg Thomson denies Ms Fraser's assertion, saying his paper "did not receive any embargoed copies of budget material from the NT Government prior to our edition today. "We therefore could not break any embargo.
"Our story written by Gavin King was compiled from information he was able to glean from his sources, past government press releases, and material published in other media prior to our publication today.
"Our speculation today has thus far proved accurate - suggesting that Mr King's sources were very good."
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: LIM . COMMENT by RICHARD LIM, Shadow Minister for Central Australia.
The Martin Labor Government continues to dress up pretence of delivering services for Central Australia when in fact it continues to take from the hip pockets of Central Australians to bolster those north of the Berrimah Line and the Waterfront development. When you take out of the infrastructure projects contained within the budget that have either already been announced in previous years, or were supposed to have been completed, the much prized $46 million is reduced to just over $7 million.
Curiously there is no money allocated for the under grounding of power in Old Eastside, while there is monies to make the electricity generator bigger and more intrusive.
Locals have already made their views known about this current intrusion by this noisy generator, and now we have been rewarded with more of the same with the expansion of generation capacity.
In respect to the Health budget increases, the net amount of change to this area for Alice Springs is minimal.
While there is an increase in the acute services funding for our hospital, the non-acute services budget has seen a $5.1 million cut.
I fear that yet again there is no good news on elective surgery waiting list for Central Australians.
SURGERY The Government cannot boast of an increase in funding for the Alice Springs Hospital while elective surgery waiting lists head towards the 2,000 mark. Aboriginal Interpreter Services have been cut in this budget, removing at least one position from the service. Already court cases are being deferred because of the inability to be able to get interpreters. All in all this budget has been one big missed opportunity.
Government will this year receive more than $217 million in revenues which could have been either given back to Territorians or spent on actually improving services for Territorians.
Instead this government has wasted much of these monies on backroom public servants and more and more executives. The interesting thing about this budget is not so much the re-announcements that it contains, but the things that it does not contain.
It does not contain the monies for the aquatic centre, $8.1 million that was promised at the last election. The one positive thing that is in the budget is the funding of Aranda House to add a holding centre for juveniles, which was an initiative announced by the CLP at the last election, and at that time criticised by the government, but we welcome the fact it has now been taken up.
LETTER: GETTING SELF-RIGHTEOUS AND YELLING .
Sir,- Viktoria Cormack in her column of April 20/21 makes some strong points about the current darling of the media, the parks debate. And she makes her points with dignity.
This week I have been attending the Australian Health Promotion Association conference in Alice Springs where many speakers have given inspiring talks about the need to and ways to address the social issues underlying people's health.
Fran Baum, a commissioner on the World Health Organisation (WHO) Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, reminded us that instead of trying to convince other people they are wrong, we need to try to unite people at a higher level of insight.
People like me and some of those stirring the parks debate find that approach really hard: we just want to get self-righteous and yell at each other. Whereas people like Betty Pearce of Lhere Artepe [quoted in 'Town has big say on parks' Alice News, April 13/14] and Viktoria show us how to aim for insights that maybe all of us can share.
It can be hard to aim for uniting insights when you feel there is a great urgency to get people to see a particular point about what is destroying so many people's lives.
As Viktoria says, we [the predominantly non-Indigenous population of Alice Springs making a very good living and having a very good life here] are not about to keel over and die because of land rights and social issues. But Aboriginal people are, all the time.
Inequity and poverty have a bad effect on people's health. They are two of the most significant social determinants of health. We have known that for a long time and it's not likely to surprise anyone.
When the WHO created a Health Promotion Charter in 1986, they defined health promotion as a process to enable people to have more control over their health. Inequity and poverty reduce the control people have over all aspects of their lives, including their health.
As befits a national conference held in Alice Springs, the emphasis this week was on those social determinants of health that particularly impact on Indigenous people throughout the world. These are colonization, destruction of identity, racism and discrimination. Again, this is something we have known for a long time and it shouldn't surprise anyone.
Fran Baum pointed out that it's not poor people who are the problem, it's people who control wealth and power. Australia could easily afford to make sure everyone has decent housing, a reliable safe water supply and an adequate education. But we don't.
We choose to let people go on living in overcrowded poverty without the basic amenities and no way out. That is the choice of people controlling the resources, and the choice of people voting for the governments that look after the people controlling the resources.
But as one of the other conference speakers said, it's time we focused on critiquing and challenging our own behaviour and stopped worrying about trying to change others.
I want to tell John Howard to stop pushing assimilationist land rights reform that aims to get Indigenous people to be good little selfish individualists like the rest of us who'd rather own our own back yard than get on well with our families.
I want to tell Murray Stewart and Richard Lim to go home and think about what their ravings do to the spirits of the traditional owners of the land.
I want to tell Erwin Chlanda that the next time he wants to pick on some organization to be accountable, try picking on one that really has power over people's lives. Maybe I just better shut up until I can think of some really unifying insight we can all agree on.
ED - Ms McDonald must have a very short memory or she would surely remember the countless articles the Alice News and Erwin Chlanda in particular have done, holding administrations, governments and politicians - federal, Territory, local, CLP, Liberal and Labor - to account.
Any instrumentality using public resources is accountable to the public and the media have an essential role to play in that process.
Grog price should go up
Sir,- Dr Boffa welcomes a report from Victoria that showed that increasing the price of alcohol saves lives (Alice News, April 13). I believe that everyone in Alice Springs could see this for themselves.
We are all affected by grog being too cheap. Whether we are offended by drunks in the streets, or we face random breath testing or fear for our lives on the road, cheap alcohol is bad for everyone in Alice Springs.
Mark Fitzgerald in Idaho (same issue) is too far away if he thinks that only a minority are affected by problem drinking. We are all affected and will all be glad when the price of alcohol is raised to pay for the damage it causes us.
Too little too late
Sir,- The Martin Government is playing with peoples' lives, especially those of people suffering from chronic abuse of alcohol, when all it can do is to provide a miserly $1m for alcohol treatment places in the 2006-07 Budget.
Just last year alone, 22,000 drunks were taken into protective custody, and this government is prepared to put in just $1m to deal with them?
That is putting in the equivalent of $50 per drunk per year.
But it gets even worse, as only $560,000 of the $1m has been allocated for treatment, bringing the allocation to $25 per drunk.
The government will have no capacity to establish an Alcohol Court and its obligation to obtain the services of expert clinicians to advise the court.
Richard Lim MLA Alice Springs