Council should not be in government’s pocket, says mayoral candidate Brown

By ERWIN CHLANDA

Vocal law and order campaigner Steve Brown (pictured) is standing for Mayor and Alderman in the town council elections on March 24, although he says he will be “facing an uphill battle” against the “firmly entrenched incumbent,” Damien Ryan.
Mr Brown says he would bring a “much more vigorous approach” to the position: “Damien’s embrace of the NT Labor Government’s policies and his willingness to take up offered positions on every board and committee that came his way has often left him obligated and somewhat compromised, and the council in a position of being unable to criticise when criticism was absolutely due.”
He says he will not accept membership of “any committees or bodies or boards not directly associated with the operation of the Alice Springs Town Council”.
Mr Brown says if elected he would have a pro-growth “corporate Alice” approach, running the town as a successful business, aiming at attracting more permanent workers and giving incentives to business.
“We are in direct competition with other towns for tourists, workers and new business,” says Mr Brown.
“If we want to be successful, especially given our isolation and at times harsh environment, we simply must have more to offer.”
Mr Brown says he will be promoting a string of initiatives. He says some may not be directly within the council’s power, but the council can be a powerful advocate for the town, putting pressure on the government to implement these measures:-
• A government funded low cost housing scheme allowing tenants to purchase their rental house or unit at cost after five years, automatically qualifying for a NT Housing Loan with rental payments.
• Simplifying and fast-tracking the town planning processes with government assistance to developers.
• A development fund for entrepreneurs.
• Picking up the opportunities “that saw us promoted as one of Australia’s leading potential growth towns” and returning Alice to “the vigorous ‘can do’ approach of the ’70s.
• Return government departments in Alice and provide top-level advice.
• Re-define the privileges of local contractors to give them greater priority in the awarding of contracts.
• Take SIHIP out of the hands of the Alliance group giving local contractors a chance to directly tender for the works.
• Attract new airlines to Alice.
• Get facilities up to scratch and roll back the “nanny state approach” in national parks where “roads, park trails, facilities and climbs have been closed for the most trivial of reasons, along with unnecessary and often race based exclusions in complete disregard of the wants of our paying  visitors”.
He will also work to:-
• use the “enormous lobbying power of the council in this election year” to the benefit of the town.
• involve the council as investor or facilitator in projects such as the Melanka site and possibly as a developer in the new Kilgariff suburb.
Mr Brown says: “What my wagon is selling are hope, inclusion, equality and opportunity tinged with a good smattering of common sense.
“Partially as a result of the world’s financial crisis, but absolutely as a result of the sheer and utter neglect of our region by the NT Government, we have a rapidly escalating crisis in business confidence, escalating closures, staff and old time locals leaving town, declining property values, dropping tourism numbers – all at a rate well above the national levels.”
Mr Brown, an electrician by trade and a member of the pioneering Brown family settled in the semi-rural White Gums area, has played a leading role in recent law and order campaigns and in the business pressure group, Action for Alice.
He says this has prompted the government to make the changes “which this year – touch wood –  seem to be having some effect, but there is absolutely no point in solving that crisis if we then allow our town to slide backwards to becoming an under-serviced, welfare driven backwater.
“The fundamentals of our town’s economy haven’t changed.
“Alice is still a place of enormous promise and opportunity.”

MELKY STILL UNDECIDED, BUT AGITATING

Meanwhile Alderman Eli Melky, while still not declaring his hand for the coming elections, continues his attack on the actions of the current council.

He has given notice that at council’s committee meeting next Monday he will put a motion to abolish council’s   “Removal of graffiti” by-law, which places the onus of removal on property-owners.

Says Ald Melky: “It is my view that the by-law to penalise the property owner, who is the victim of a graffiti attack, for non-removal of graffiti from their property, infringes one or more principles of the Local Government Act.

“[For example] a by-law must not infringe personal rights in an unreasonable way or to an unreasonable extent and should be consistent with other legislation applying in the council’s area.

“The Act also suggests that a by-law should not impose unreasonable burdens on the community.

“However the principle that I believe most strikes the message is that a by-law should be consistent with basic principles of justice and fairness.

“I think a property owner who has just had his / her property damaged by graffiti should not suffer further costs or the indignity of being treated as an offender by the council.

“Since the introduction of this by-law on February 1 2010, graffiti in the town has increased tenfold and is now spiralling out of control.

“Council has a role in this: we need to act fast and put in a removal of graffiti plan with an objective to remove graffiti within 24 hours of it going up. Graffiti feeds off itself as a self-promotion of anti social activity and is not the fault of the property owner.”

 

ED: See also Paul Lelliott’s comment on the story “Challenger for mayoral contest?”

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18 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Russell Guy
    Posted February 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Now, Steve. According to Janet, the rules of the game are that you are not supposed to be negative.

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  2. Steve Brown
    Posted February 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Another museum opened in Darwin today. I suppose seeing as it’s a memorial to such an important event in our history “The Bombing of Darwin” we should all be really enthusiastic about it.
    Then again when you add to that museum water parks, wave pools, sporting grounds, stadiums, roads, ports and overpasses far in excess of the city’s size then another lot again for Palmerston which apparently isn’t part of “Darwin”, being a few short kilometers away from the city’s centre.
    How do they justify the enormous expenditure differences the staggering in equality in roads services and facilities of every kind between Darwin and Alice? Because there are more people at one address does it mean they are entitled to more services and facilities? I would have thought larger facilities, “yes”, but many more with unsurpassed extravagance? Tragically for us there is a kind of nepotism going on here in the Territory of a kind that you would normally only expect to find in a third world dictatorship! Its time something was done, its time the attention of the nation was drawn to it.
    How do we explain to a kid sitting on a bare earth sporting paddock on some community with no swimming facilities at all, that a population situated on the coast surrounded by oceans, creeks and rivers must have a wave pool, water parks, swimming centres, dams etcetera, all before the community kid gets anything at all. Where is the equality in that?
    How do you tell that kid that a great many of those northern facilities were built by skimming off funds sent by the rest of the nation to improve his lot in the world? The same goes for the community of Alice Springs. We’ve put up with the deliberate neglect for too long. Damien Ryan’s stint as Mayor has seen him continually take the role of apologist for the NT Labor Government, often flying in the face of the passionate opinions of his own constituency as he did with Action for Alice over the Law and Order issues of Christmas 2010.
    Alice Springs needs a strong community voice that fights for us! Not for a greedy bunch of northern nepotistic opportunists!! It’s TIME TO STAND UP! Let’s get our voice back, demand some semblance of equality! Our fair share! Let’s judge Damien on his record just as he asks. Send Damien and Paul Henderson a message from Alice!

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  3. Russell Guy
    Posted February 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Janet, despite all your talk about “race based ideologies,” and restrictions on takeaway alcohol being “discriminatory,” Steve revealed a woeful lack of understanding of local Aboriginal cultures by advocating a “National Aboriginal Culture Centre” (NAAC)in Alice Springs. Despite his often claimed Territorian background, some of us are stunned by that one. It let the cat out of the bag.
    Your defence that an NACC would be a tourist attraction is like much of your stated ‘policy’ to date – simplistic, positive spin. It’ll be a white elephant – a fitting monument to the Brown ticket and associated with a culture destroyed by alcohol.
    The Montreal Gazette (13/2/12) ran the headline ‘Australia’s Constitution permits discrimination, marginalises Aborigines.’ I asked you about this in an earlier post, but you, who admits to knowing the Constitution “very well” didn’t answer those questions.
    There’s a couple of reasonable questions waiting at the Alex Nelson post for you as candidates for public office, but if you candidly answered then, your alcohol-related policies would be revealed as not having been thought through.
    The only culture you appear to have on offer is the grog culture. It’s “More of the same – vote Brown!” For a woman with a “strong Christian faith,” your alcohol-related policy is irresponsible, especially in relation to children. I submit that there’s a link between vandalism, violence, youth frustration and take-away alcohol – 70% of alcohol sold in the NT is takeaway (NTG media release 31/3/12) – but it’s vote Brown for the Clampdown!
    More of policies such as yours will continue to push people into the Emergency Department, filling the cells, courts, hospitals and prisons. Territorians pay $4197 per person, per annum at present for the privilege of supporting your vision. I won’t bore you with the “idiotic” stats, but if you’d like them, please ask.

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  4. Janet Brown
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Russell, you really have some issues you need to deal with and I cannot help you. The cultural centre is not about race it is about tourism. Selling Alice and part of our history and now. Tourists come to experience every thing about Alice. And you have your views and we will never agree.
    I am now requesting that unless you have some points relevant to positive outcomes for Alice Springs please cease your personal attacks on myself and Steve.
    Our fight for our town is to fight for a future to give opportunities to those who want to make it home for themselves and their families. Your focus on myself and Steve is not a healthy one. It contains major negatives and that is not what we are about.
    We are fighting for the future of Alice. That includes a future for all including you if you call Alice home. Alice is an amazing place offering many great opportunities to those come here. We are very supportive of the tourist industry. We love Alice and we miss greatly our friends that have left town due to the issues that are tarnishing our amazing home.
    Alice is worth the hard working from everyone who wants the best for our town. Without the race based policies that promote segregation and separation. So to all those reading this fight for our town don’t change addresses interstate.
    Your vote for Mayor on March 24 will send a message to NT govt where we stand for our town. It is your choice. Progress or recession.

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  5. Russell Guy
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Steve, the irony of you pressuring government for a “National Aboriginal Culture Centre” here in Alice after all your and Janet’s criticism of people involving themselves in “race based ideologies,” is amazing. You exclude and include at the same time, another amazing feat of logic.
    I think you are both missing a point that I make about alcohol-restrictions, but this is the first time that I’ve seen the word “National” introduced to the idea of an Aboriginal Culture Centre here in Alice. As you would hopefully know, this is Arrente traditional country and for you to announce that a “National Aboriginal Culture Centre'” could and should exist without getting permission from the Arrente is politically incorrect. Would they, not trying to be “us and them” here, Janet, want a National Culture Center or an Arrente Culture Centre of possible a Central Australian Culture Centre? Maybe we should find out. Maybe they’re not interested in being asked, or perhaps not used to it? After all, it’s a crazy town. I think Hal Duell got it right when he called it a Cultural Theme Park. We could have a giant stubbie, just like the giant prawn at Ballina. We haven’t got anything like that yet, which is another amazing fact.
    Getting back to alcohol-restrictions and your and Janet’s obsession with them being “discriminatory, race-based ideology”, the point I make is that liberal licensing laws discriminate against the children, both living and unborn, of and also against the alcoholics. That’s backed by statistics compiled by health professionals at a Territory, State and Federal level, but you consider them all idiotic propaganda.
    However, I think your comments about rehabilitation are what most of us are also saying, so we have that, at least, in common. It’s just a difference of opinion in how we move towards restoring some semblance of sanity, but I shouldn’t use that word because it’s subjective and maybe I’m still not living in the “real world” that Janet was on about.
    Can all the scientists be wrong – in every state – about everything to do with alcohol abuse and you and Janet right? Well, as Janet says, nothing is impossible, but I do have eyes and I see kids with their Dads in jail for the third time for DUI in this culture of alcohol which is pretty much the national pastime and pursuit of profit and pleasure, often at the misfortune of those less important than me, as Janet likes to have it. I actually think those kids are more important than me and I try to buy them books and even got a quote on a bike because alcohol addiction takes away the discretionary income from their parents.
    I hope to publish some more of these statistics in the near future, fully referenced, just for your amusement if need be, but hopefully for broader minded citizens who, themselves, are suffering from a glut of grog in their own lives and may want help of some or any sort to get some control back into it. I drank for 43 years, so I have some idea of what I’m talking about, but I digress.

    As for your comments about those of us who would like the NTG or even the Feds to introduce takeaway alcohol restrictions as they did in Tennant Creek in the late 1990’s when I was living and working there with Thirsty Thursday – it probably doesn’t interest you if I told you of three case histories, all of which were dear indigenous friends and how they lost their young lives to alcohol-related injury.

    As for your comments about statistics being a propaganda beat-up, that’s just another of your amazing statements. I can’t believe that you and Janet can keep trotting out opinionated, unsubstantiated, amazing statements, but I don’t know everything, so please continue, because I’m in awe of what’s coming next.

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  6. Steve Brown
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I don’t lay claim to the idea of a “National Aboriginal Cultural Centre”, making its home here in The Centre, but I like many others have been an enthusiastic backer of this idea for some considerable time.
    Such a centre would make a fantastic addition to our list of attractions and would also provide many employment opportunities. There is plenty of competition for this centre around Australia. Its coming here is by no means certain. We make these things happen by arguing our case, pressuring government. I’ve been doing a great deal of that over a considerable length of time and should I win the Mayoral contest you can be absolutely certain that I will use the position to push like hell for this centre, along with any other innovative ideas that I think will assist our town’s economy and overall well-being.
    I am an ordinary working bloke who does that in his spare time. There is nothing at all stopping you and others from doing the same, the more voices the better our chance of winning Government support. Should we however fail in attracting Federal support for a National Centre we will then have to turn our attention to what we can do on a local basis because a cultural centre is a very much needed part of a balanced community and tourism infrastructure.
    As for the alcohol questions, try opening your eyes and your minds to what you see in front of you and forget the idiotic statistics! You might want to ask yourself why various bodies supposedly in pursuit of the community good continually use false and misleading statistics to argue their case. The answer is “Propaganda” – our response to our alcohol issues is generated by a bureaucracy intent on appearing to address the issue without actually getting off their proverbial to do anything because it’s all too hard.
    It’s called “being seen to do something”! The harsh reality is, you can’t change what’s going on by writing new rules, especially if you are too gutless to enforce them. We have rules about drinking in public places, in town camps, in housing homes. We have rules about trading hours. We have rules that say you can’t ram raid a club or break and enter a pub. We have rules about drugs and what have all these rules bought us?? No resolution to the problem at all!
    All the rules, bar the trading hours, completely ignored!
    But those rules have succeeded in criminalizing the population, our jails are bursting, and we are pouring a fortune into building more! Yet we still have some that argue for further restrictions! It’s time to stop the stupidity, return to relatively normal restrictions and get to work on creating an inclusive community with an emphasis on self responsibility. We will accomplish this by pushing the serious problem drinkers into mandatory rehabilitation a prison farm model that includes community reintegration programs.
    Problem drinkers will go through this program as many times as it takes to learn that if they wish to drink they must do so in a responsible, law abiding manner. In the long term however the only answer to the alcohol problem lies in creating pathways to meaningful fulfilling lives this can only be bought about over the long term by education, all kids in school, community infrastructure community inclusion, an end to the hand in the face that continually says the world you see in front of you is not for you! The answer lies in true unadulterated equality and in providing the tools and the circumstance to participate in a “welcoming” community.

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  7. russell guy
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks, Janet. But you and Steve didn’t answer my last question about why you thought an Aboriginal Culture Centre was a “fantastic idea” when you considered it so five years ago. I asked you a reasonable question, i.e., why didn’t you do anything about it?
    It’s reasonable to ask questions of someone standing for public office. You continue to try and blindside these questions by accusing people of ranting. Let’s see if Steve can answer the questions I’ve put as he did with Hal Duell.

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  8. Janet Brown
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Oh don’t let the facts and truth get in the way of a stats provider. And Dom you really should stop and think about your rant. All things you mentioned are for safety of the entire population. No difference between states and territory. My point that you ignore is conformity to other states and territories. You talk about stats – I live in the real world. If it is your choice to live in the world outside of the facts of what you see and know. That is fine but rose colored glasses are not found in my personal objects. Facts, truth and knowledge are what I believe in. Not someone’s idea of the world according to them.

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  9. Domenico Pecorari
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Janet, you seem to be confusing hard-core data (statistics) with the more rubbery “public opinion” figures we are often thrown by polling agencies. Yes, your comments usually apply to the latter but, I’m sorry to inform you that facts, such as the data Russell presented, are facts!
    I suggest that you too try using real data to substantiate your opinions and those your tag-team partner, Steve, whose “laissez-faire” attitude would, I believe, most likely take this town back to the situation from which we have progressed to date.
    Do you both really think that individual freedom is paramount? If so, you must be all for doing away with seat-belts; crash helmets; blood-alcohol and speed limits; gun, driving and car licenses; and a myriad of other measures which society enforces upon us for our own safety and well-being. As you say, Steve, we do live within a democratic system. My question to you is: would you ever accept take-away sale-free days, even if the majority of the townsfolk called for it?

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  10. Janet Brown
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Russell. You rant about stats. It depends on the answer you require to how you ask the question to obtain the stats needed to promote segregation and the removal of personal rights. Six break ins in six weeks at Town and Country. That is real stats that prove that if you cannot buy grog you steal it. It also proves that open or closed grog is always available. So are these people breaking in committing a criminal act or are they being forced into criminal behavior due to outrageous restrictions. I personally would like to live in a town that enjoys same treatments as towns in Victoria, Queensland and others. To be treated differently in my opinion is to have my basic rights removed due to more choice in where I want to live in Australia. And I am sick of segregation imported by paternal views such as yours. Racism is alive and well in such statements that you stated in your comment.

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  11. Russell Guy
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Steve, I’m impressed at the way you’ve taken it upon yourself to speak for Aboriginal drinkers who you feel are racially discriminated against by restrictions on the privilege by law to consume this legal drug. You say it’s these restrictions that generate ‘segregation, isolation, humiliation and immense anger’ and that you’re in favour of removing restrictions.
    Your policy is: ‘Make those who misbehave pay the price and leave everybody else alone.’ Let me take one of your sentences. “We’ve escalated all levels of crime one hundred fold.” I dare you to back it up with statistical data. Some areas of crime have decreased as a result of restrictions and a standardised floor price per unit of alcohol sold. I can give you those stats if you like.
    Do you really expect the crisis in public alcoholism and the social neglect afforded your Aboriginal friends for so long to be solved by immediately arresting alcoholics, processing, holding in custody and sending them off to rehabilitation? Do you think it would help to reduce the amount of alcohol available on any given day in the interests of managing this situation?
    Interestingly, whitefellers who drink are never part of the problem you refer to. We all live in the “confines of the law” and none of us are alcoholics according to your vision. Have you ever considered that these “idiotic” restrictions were put in place for the common good?
    I submit that the problems you refer to exist because the restrictions haven’t gone far enough. A restriction on takeaway alcohol sales is part of my vision for a more compassionate and culturally integrated Alice Springs.
    Can I refer you to the following statistics? “Territorians consume alcohol at 1.5 times the national average and alcohol misuse costs our community an estimated $642m per year. Alcohol continues to be involved in 60% of all assaults and alcohol abuse costs $4197 per year for every adult Territorian, compared to $944 per adult nationally. (Delia Lawrie. Minister for Alcohol Planning. NTG. Media Release. 22/2/11).”

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  12. Hal Duell
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Steve
    Thank you for your clearly expressed reply.
    We’ll have to agree to disagree on the grog, but we’re on the same page with the other two.
    The whole statehood development thing feels to me like an attempt to impose a 19th century answer on a 21st century question.
    I’m more in favour of looking at a two-tier form of government for us here in Central Australia. We could do quite well with regional and federal only, and by-passing the extra layer of bureaucratic oversight and outright skimming we currently have to put up with from Darwin.

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  13. Steve Brown
    Posted February 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    @ Hal Thanks for the Comment Hal. No I do not support an alcohol free day I am in fact very much in support of winding back the many idiotic restrictions we have already introduced.
    Restrictions that are blatantly racist and paternal in their nature do not assist our community at all! In fact they exacerbate the problems enormously. How would you for instance like it if on purchasing a carton of beer you decided to partake of a can only to be accosted by police and the entire contents of your carton poured out on the ground in front of you?
    I know that I would feel extremely angry and humiliated. How would you feel if you were told that you couldn’t drink it in your own home but that rule only applied to the whiteys? How do you feel when some paternal soul says: “No you can’t have a drink today, I don’t think you need one”! You see where I’m going with this Hal?
    Restrictions generate segregation, isolation, humiliation and immense anger. That anger results in disrespect, contempt and payback! This comes back tenfold in the form of break and enters, assaults, anti social and criminal behaviour.
    So what have we achieved with restrictions? We’ve criminalized many that weren’t criminals prior, including many innocents who were simply badgered into supply! We’ve escalated all levels of crime one hundred fold. The only ones subjected by, and complying with, the restrictions are those that were always responsible and living within the confines of the law.
    Restrictions have had a negative effect on them as well, general resentment at being inconvenienced, paying the price, losing freedoms because of the action of others, whose action have continued unabated around them. The whole effect is a heightening of tensions and a tragic loss of the lighthearted sense of fun and adventure that this town once oozed.
    We can change the level of tension and criminal behaviour in this town almost instantly by winding back the restrictions to sensible trading hours, allowing all people their legal right as equal Australians to drink in their own homes should they so choose and concentrating all our energies on those who behave badly with immediate arrest and mandatory rehabilitation.
    My Policy: Make those who misbehave pay the price and leave everybody else alone!
    As for the possibility of a processing centre there is so much going on in this area that processing of this kind is quite unlikely to continue for very long. But how useful would an accommodation centre capable of housing 500 souls be to Alice?? You get the jobs from construction you get the jobs while it operates, it would be an enormous boon to say the airport corporation who could provide suitably located land and when it closes, as it most certainly will, we would be left with an amazing complex for which I could think of endless possibilities. You’ve got to grab your chances when they come, how do I feel about it: “Bring it on!”
    Statehood? After a lifetime of living in Alice and seeing the complete disregard the disinterest and sometime contempt with which we are treated by our so called capital I ask, “what’s in it for us”? The answer appears to be more of the same! As a result I think that Australia as a whole should be thinking about a new method of government that better represents and supports its regions. When I see a council area like the greater Brisbane Council which services millions then look to the Territory that as a whole supports some 250,000 with more than half the population either public servants or welfare recipients.
    I can’t help but wonder if we would be better served by getting rid of a lot of government and dividing the Territory into two regional councils, at least until the time comes that we have created a self reliant economy, not one that depends on handouts from the rest of the nation. So for me the answer is “No to Statehood” for the foreseeable future.

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  14. Steve Brown
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Yeah Dave’ I’m not sure what your point is supposed to be or is it that you simply don’t understand, or like the democratic process. Nothing government does is fixed, it is always open to change if you can swing the argument to your way of thinking. Council can have a very marked impact on this process at any time. As for Parks and Wildlife, they do not have, nor are they entitled to have, an opinion on anything! Their role is to comply with the wishes of those who fund them. Us the tax payers, as represented by our elected members. In Alice the neighbour’s barking dog is quite often responsible for saving the house next door from break and enter. You might also want to consider, while we are talking barking dogs, the usefulness of the dog that cowers in the corner and barks for nobody.

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  15. Posted February 10, 2012 at 1:47 am

    For a history of the Central Australian economy, I highly recommend these videos by Dr. Bruce Walker: http://youtu.be/Y3n58rUG3tE?list=PLBE38851E72A6AEDE

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  16. Posted February 10, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Parks and Wildlife write joint management plans in consultation with traditional owners and are open to public comment until such time as they each get signed off in the Legislative Assembly. There’s not much to be done from within the Town Council to disrupt this process unless you think it constructive to use the Town Council as a vantage point from which to bark at the NT Government. Barking can be very therapeutic but often upsets the neighbours.

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  17. Hal Duell
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    @1
    Fair go Goddess of Northside. Who are you? Steve has put his thoughts out in the open and attached his name. The least you could do is the same.
    Steve – Can you give us your thoughts on alcohol take-away free days, statehood and a refugee processing centre?
    Thanks, Hal.

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  18. Goddess of Northside
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Any hard hitting TV adds planned? Or did he learn from the past?

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