In response to both Russell Guy and Rex Neindorf, there …

Comment on A car wreck’s tale of bureaucratic incompetence by Alex Nelson.

In response to both Russell Guy and Rex Neindorf, there is no doubt in my mind that the long entrenched and growing social problems we endure in our society can be directly attributed to our country’s multi-tiered system of governance and administration. Our nation’s federal political structure is not just outmoded, it is archaic and hugely inefficient. We have had politicians, especially at federal level, pushing reform of industry and the economy on us for a long time now, and they are continually arguing for greater productivity from the private sector, but the same does not apply to bureaucracy at all three tiers of government.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Northern Territory, which I believe must be the most over-governed jurisdiction on the planet. It’s well worth comparing the NT’s statistics and performance with that of the Australian Capital Territory; we have long indulged in the sport of “Canberra-bashing” but we’re not so keen to pluck the log out of our own eye before telling others to take the sticks out of theirs. The ACT actually provides some very (potentially) useful material for a much better standard of governance than what we must endure in the NT. Charles Dickens wrote “A Tale of Two Cities” a long time ago; Australia could easily provide material for a new classic called “A Tale of Two Territories”.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

A car wreck’s tale of bureaucratic incompetence
Hello Dave, your mention of the brand new, and deeply troubled, Aquatic Leisure Centre raises an interesting point. The value of history comes from the lessons that we can learn from past mistakes (and successes) which can be applied to decisions being made for the present. Do you remember the ill-fated Red Centre Rapids waterslide site of the late 1980s? That was a highly controversial development from beginning to end, when the area it occupied was eventually redeveloped as Mercorella Circuit (ironically right next door to the YMCA). It’s worth recalling that private development was opposed by the Alice Springs Town Council (under late Mayor Leslie Oldfield) from the outset – and the town council’s fears were (ahem) rapidly proven correct. Not just once but twice! (There were two attempts by private developers to make it work, before it was abandoned for several years). Did anybody, not least the Alice Springs Town Council, learn anything from this debacle? Obviously not.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

‘Bring back school based constables’
Oh, I don’t know about that, Evelynne – I recall there were a lot of ratbags during my time at school, and quite a number of them were the students 😉

‘Bring back school based constables’
@ Phil Walcott (Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm): Interesting comment, Phil, because when I was a student at the Alice Springs High School in the late 1970s there was a school counsellor employed there. Her name was Glynnis McMahon, if my memory serves me right, a highly regarded person who worked at the high school for many years.
She passed away in 1989 as I recall, and maybe wasn’t replaced at a time of increasing budgetary constraint. That’s speculative on my part but given you arrived here in 1993 not long after massive cutbacks to public expenditure including significant attrition of staff positions, that’s probably the reason there were apparently no school counsellors employed here by that time.

Federal study casts light on future source of town water
Our family visited the Rocky Hill lucerne operation in the early 1970s when an open day for the public was held there. It continued to operate throughout the 1970s but was long abandoned by the mid 1980s.
I still have in my possession the Primary Industry flow charts for the development of the horticulture industry in Central Australia from the mid 1980s onwards, courtesy of permission from then Horticulture Senior Technical Officer, Frank McEllister.
One aspect stood out for me, there was no mention of potential horticulture development at Rocky Hill.
I inquired of this with Frank, and he told me that area was excluded from consideration because it was reserved as the future water supply for Alice Springs.
This was at a time when it was still expected the town’s population would reach 50,000 by the turn of the century and the NT Government had officially announced the development of a satellite town on Undoolya Station would proceed.
All of this is now forgotten but history always comes back to bite us in the end.

Cops hush up dangerous joyride
I witnessed a similar incident that evening too, which I think was the same vehicle.
I was walking on the footpath next to the ANZ Bank along Parsons Street when this utility came screeching around the corner from Todd Street and raced towards the Leichhardt Terrace intersection.
The utility turned left and charged up towards Wills Terrace where I lost sight of it.
When I got to the corner of Leichhardt Terrace, I observed the utility speeding over the Wills Terrace Causeway where it spun around the Sturt Terrace roundabout, tyres screeching, and then charged back along the causeway onto Wills Terrace past the Todd Tavern, when I again lost sight of it.
Despite being a block away from most of the action I witnessed, I had no difficulty hearing the young hooligans yelling and shouting. They were clearly defiant and rebellious, and deliberately challenging authorities.
Presumably they felt they had nothing to lose by indulging in this behaviour and were heedless of the possible consequences of their actions.

A good spot for the art gallery?
Hal, this is just the latest attempt to re-purpose Anzac Oval as a village green, first proposed by the Alice Springs Town Council in 1979 and firmly resisted by the rugby codes (and especially by John Reeves, then ALP Alice Springs branch president, rugby league president, elected as alderman on the town council, and not long afterwards elected as Member for the Northern Territory. He is now a Federal Court judge.).
The village green concept was tried again in 1994 when the ASTC attempted to relocate the rugby codes to the Ross Park Oval, enticed there by the promise of lighting to facilitate games at night; and stoutly resisted and defeated by local Eastside residents, led by the Eastside Residents’ Association of which I was then a committee member.
And now here we go again …
Quite apart from the old high school complex, Anzac Oval itself is of considerable historical value as it is the first turfed sports oval in the NT and it was established entirely as a community effort over the summer of 1951-52 – no government assistance involved.
Part of that work was done by the town’s children who were organised by the new Youth Centre into an emu parade on one weekend that cleared the whole area of rocks and sticks.
Ah yes, the bad old days of Commonwealth control.

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