Surprises in our survey on burning
Responses from 345 readers taking part in the the on-line Alice Springs
News survey, What Alice Wants, have indicate that the popular wisdom on
a range of issues is way off the mark.
These include “stringent” take-away alcohol restrictions, with 77.7%
support, a proportion unchanged since the beginning of February, with
now more than twice as many responses.
This poll of reader sentiment on one of the town’s most perennial
issues goes against the assumption of the majority of incumbent
aldermen that the most locals are against alcohol restrictions (the
Alice News does not pretend that its poll is a scientifically
representative sample of the whole community).
Providing two camps for bush visitors gets 80.7% support.
Creation and enforcement of public conduct standards gets 87.9% of
Public toilets in all shopping centres and more council-run ablution
facilities are wanted by 85.4% of our respondents.
Setting up an Aboriginal cultural centre and seeking better cooperation
with Centrecorp and other Aboriginal interests are also firmly
supported, with 74.8% and 73.5% respectively, both slightly up on
Town planning in the hand of the Town Council gets 79.7% “agree’ votes.
And 82.4% of respondents want senior bureaucrats brought back to Alice.
Reliable flood mitigation and the creation of horticulture farmlets
both get big ticks, with 85% and 85.7% support respectively.
Respondents continue to be divided over the development of tourist
facilities in the East and West MacDonnell National Parks (49.8%
against, 41.7% for).
But 75.6% agreed that national parks should remain in public ownership,
with an Aboriginal park management advisory body set up. This was
slightly up on the earlier result of 72.9%.
Moving the power station, the garbage dump and the sewage plant well
outside town is supported by 75.7%.
Doubling the available water supply, including through recycling, now
has a slim majority of opponents, with 50.6% against.
This has changed from the earlier result of 45.1% against, while 40.1%
agree (43.7% in February).
Putting tourist promotion into the hands of locals still gets a big
“indifferent” vote of 44.2%, slightly higher than those in support,
43.3%. In February 43.8% were indifferent; 49.3% in favour.
This result would suggest that the local tourism industry has some
“hearts and minds” work to do with the local community.
A firm majority at 60.2% oppose the creation of one or more recreation
lakes within a 100km radius of Alice. This has strengthened from 52.8%
Likewise a firm majority are against converting the Civic Centre to
other uses, 53.6%, up from 44.1% in February.
But readers are more evenly divided over opening up cheap residential
land: 49.3% agree, while 44.8% don’t. In February 54.8% agreed, while
The bars in the graphs mean:  I agree.  I don't agree.  I am
indifferent. The numbers alongside the percentages indicate the numbers
of the answers.
1. Convert the Civic Centre to a place where visitors are welcomed. It
should include a museum celebrating Central Australia's natural beauty,
its art, ancient Aboriginal culture, and the pioneering skills of
living in a remote area. This would include expanded space for Tourism
Central Australia, and facilities for social and other functions for
visitors and locals alike. Move the majority of the town council
bureaucracy to office accommodation elsewhere in town.
I agree. 37.5% 126
I don't agree. 53.6% 180
I am indifferent. 8.6% 29
2. Open up cheap residential and industrial land. Create powerful
incentives for people and industries to move here. We need affordable
accommodation for people
working here, and for first home buyers.
I agree. 49.3% 167
I don't agree. 44.8% 152
I am indifferent. 5.9% 20
3. Build one or more recreation lakes within a 100km radius of Alice
Springs, which can also be integrated in the water supply.
I agree. 35.9% 120
I don't agree. 60.2% 201
I am indifferent. 3.9% 13
4. Put tourist promotion into the hands of locals, for example, Tourism
Central Australia, who know the game and get bang for buck.
I agree. 43.3% 145
I don't agree. 12.5% 42
I am indifferent. 44.2% 148
5. Double the available water supply, including through recycling.
I agree. 40.1% 134
I don't agree. 50.6% 169
I am indifferent. 9.3% 31
6. Move the power station, the garbage dump and the sewage plant well
outside the town.
I agree. 75.7% 253
I don't agree. 11.7% 39
I am indifferent. 12.6% 42
7. Develop, in collaboration with private enterprise, tourist
facilities in the West and East MacDonnell National Parks.
I agree. 41.7% 139
I don't agree. 49.8% 166
I am indifferent. 8.4% 28
8. Leave all national parks in public ownership but set up an
Aboriginal park management advisory body.
I agree. 75.6% 254
I don't agree. 16.1% 54
I am indifferent. 8.3% 28
9. Put in place flood mitigation that will reliably save the town from
catastrophic loss of life and damage resulting from storms increasingly
likely to occur because of
I agree. 85.0% 283
I don't agree. 9.6% 32
I am indifferent. 5.4% 18
10. Create farmlets at Rocky Hill, near the new gaol and on Arid Zone
Research Facility land so that small fruit and vegetable growing
enterprises can be created, both
for the local and interstate markets.
agree. 85.7% 282
I don't agree. 7.0% 23
I am indifferent. 7.3% 24
11. Achieve greater autonomy for The Centre by bringing senior
bureaucrats back to Alice Springs.
I agree. 82.4% 271
I don't agree. 8.2% 27
I am indifferent. 9.4% 31
12. Place the responsibility for town planning in the southern region
of the NT with Alice Town Council, together with appropriate funding
from the NT Government.
I agree. 79.7% 263
I don't agree. 16.1% 53
I am indifferent. 4.2% 14
13. Set up an Aboriginal cultural centre, featuring bush foods,
corroborees and other entertainment and educational elements alongside
the Desert Park.
I agree. 74.8% 246
I don't agree. 14.3% 47
I am indifferent. 10.9% 36
14. Seek better cooperation Centrecorp and other Aboriginal interests.
I agree. 73.5% 241
I don't agree. 8.8% 29
I am indifferent. 17.7% 58
15. Require shopping centers to have public toilets. The council should
provide further public ablution facilities around town, including
I agree. 85.4% 281
I don't agree. 9.7% 32
I am indifferent. 4.9% 16
16. Create and enforce public conduct standards.
agree. 87.9% 291
I don't agree. 7.3% 24
I am indifferent. 4.8% 16
17. Create two camps for visitors from bush communities, whilst
strictly enforcing laws against unauthorized camping, littering and
I agree. 80.7% 263
I don't agree. 14.4% 47
I am indifferent. 4.9% 16
18. There should be stringent take-away alcohol restrictions to reduce
harm to a large segment of our community, and to curb anti-social
I agree. 77.7% 255
I don't agree. 19.5% 64
I am indifferent. 2.7% 9