It’s no secret that the Shire Councils “have no money” …

Comment on Shires: either revenue must go up or expectations, down by Russell Guy.

It’s no secret that the Shire Councils “have no money” but the question begs, what are they doing with what resources they have? It also seems to me that they could be working with other government departments in creating employment in the remote communities within their boundaries. This is the obvious way to raise rate-based revenue and grow these communities.
There is a lot of talk about Vocational Training Employment Centres (VTECS) and the Remote Jobs Communities Programs (RJCP) from both sides of politics. The talk about training for jobs that actually exist is fair enough, but not that many exist outside mining and that has many teething problems that need to be addressed.
One solution for the Shires in their present state is to engage with those who are talking these programs up and focus on the real problem of job creation and welfare reform. There are Federal government programs for the upgrade of remote airstrips. Perhaps the Shires could look at this as micro-employment projects, leading to other things like tourism.
As far as emergency evacuations go, the history of the RFDS proved that this could be overcome almost a hundred years ago. Roads are roads out bush and sensible driving attitudes with appropriate vehicles are still the best way of living and getting around.
A lot more creative thinking about private sector employment and effective integration with allocated government funding is required from the Central Desert Shire.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Shires: either revenue must go up or expectations, down
Hal and Bob, posted @ June 14th.
Hal, your comment re take-away sales free days in Alice as a precursor to ameliorating some of the related social dysfunction is noted. You, like Bob and myself, and a handful of others posting to this site, have been calling for this for some time.
I would like to see a community push for Sunday to be declared a take-away sales free day in the first instance, for critical community assessment. It’s the day when we all need some time off – alcholics to police – and, depending on your perspective, allows some rest for a productive working week.
If we, as a community, are ever going to get on top of this situation, work and its benefits have to be seen as a priority for all citizens. The current alcohol supply regulations confound that aim and are demonstrably counter-productive on many levels, as we all know.
As you correctly point out, the pollies seem caught in the headlights of the alcohol industry, who contribute to their campaign funds.
Vested interest by licencees is also a factor in continuing this disastrous community-sanctioned program of alcohol-related dysfunction. We need a genuine community desire for change and a push for a Sunday-free from takeaway alcohol sales is a place to start.
Bob, I concede that systematic grading of certain remote roads is a necessity and is an excellent community-driven employment contract – the sort of thing that the Shires could perhaps try to bring about.
The Plenty Highway, being a major tourist and community access road into Central Australia (on the NT side) requires regular grading, but it’s often in a poor condition, due to heavy caravan use, and of course, local traffic, including myself, who have no option, but to tolerate it.

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Feel free to try this at home
The last Sunday in March is apparently ‘Neighbourhood Day’ around Australia. This morning, I was given a free cup of tea at a market stall, announcing the event.
A gent next to me said, “G’day, neighbour.”
I was momentarily affronted that he would break into my morning to tell me this after having had my home broken into during the weak.
I told him so and said that I would get over it, but it’s not the first time I’ve been robbed and I’m bruised.
The flyer that came with the free cuppa said: “The principal aim of Neighbour Day is to build better relationships with the people who live around us. Neighbours are important because good relationships with others can and do change communities, connections help prevent loneliness, isolation and depression. Reach out to families with children and teenagers in your community to help them connect and belong.”
I haven’t exactly been shy about doing this for most of my adult life, but I’m tired, burnt-out, lonely and depressed enough to be affronted by a simple act of goodwill from an anonymous man, posing as a neighbour at a market stall on Saturday morning.
Does anyone else feel like this?

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
It was about a quarter of a century ago – how time flies – a few years before I undertook a postgraduate Master of Social Science degree in sociology, anthropology and cross-cultural psychology (JCU, 2000), published the core of my thesis as BAPTISED AMONG CROCODILES: A History of the Daintree Aboriginal Mission 1940-1962 (Boolarong Press, Brisbane).
And it was before I did a further five years, primarily in alcohol dependency mentoring at a remote Central Australian community, this after 15 years of working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations around the country, mainly producing recordings and events for indigenous dance bands, that I thought that Alice Springs would become a kind of New York.
People from all over the US move to the Big Apple in search of greater opportunity for their dreams and aspirations and it’s no different among the Indigenous of Central Australia.
But I wonder if local town planners have factored this movement into their vision for the future?
Not so long ago, the too-often criticised police were talking about moving youth back to their communities, but the word is out that the purposelessness and abuse associated with these desert satellites is causing enough concern to render assisted passage to somewhere else.
These problems were first mooted, to my knowledge, by R M Williams in the 1930s who noted that the desert tribes were on a collision course with liberal alcohol supply.
Fast forward to the Gunner Government acting on most of the Riley Report recommendations (with the notable exception of banning Sunday takeaway).
It’s no coincidence that one of the most troubled neighbourhoods in Tennant Creek, where Sunday takeaway is currently under emergency extension, is referred to as “the Bronx.”
It’s early days in the implementation of various supply reduction measures, but 40 years of critical mass in the alcohol supply infrastructure cannot be exonerated for the Shakespearean tragedy of progressive Western values.
Beyond the alcohol plague, assuming that it will be reeled in, governments will have to give thought to how remote community families and former alcoholics will be accommodated in towns like Alice Springs, with attendant social support and employment opportunity.
The concept of safe or dry, no grog houses or Mandatory Rehabilitation Centres, will need to be extended to entire neighbourhoods, rising above the refugee or migrant settlements of yore.
This type of housing estate requires considerable financing, planning and input if it is to be built and assisted to succeed above the expectations of many of those who are complicit in causing the tragedy of lost generations and future opportunity.
It will transform the current vision of Alice Springs, but first of all, it needs to be put on the drawing board.
Ursula Le Guin, the novelist who passed away a couple of months ago, recently said: “I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.
“We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.”
Tracker was one. Surely, we can learn from what defeated his vision or the Enlightenment has bitten the dust.

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
I spoke to Tracker a few times during the Robert Tickner period. One of his more infamous quotes was referring to Aboriginal people as a farm for whitefellers to manage and be well paid for producing the current tragedy.
Quite a few informed commentators are now talking about assisting those who want to move from remote communities into towns where employment and education opportunities either exist or could be set up to end the hopelessness and various forms of abuse that can go with a purposeless life on a remote community.
More than one is talking about overcrowded housing as a major cause of dysfunction. I’m stating the obvious.
If Alice was to be a centre for remote community refugees to retrain, restart and realise a future, who would build the houses and where would they be built?
Who would pay the electricity bills while the transition is fostered?
Would Tangentyere and other organisations be resourced to manage this situation?
Could it even be done?
Tracker seemed to think so.
The Federal Government did it to resettle migrants.
I recall Bob Beadman saying a couple of years ago that alcoholism would bankrupt the NT, or words to that affect and finally, we have a floor price, but in moving from generational alcoholism to the provision of basic housing, it appears that there are too many hard questions not being asked or acted upon.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: it’s not over yet
@ Fiona: There’s some kind of irony in appealing for symbolic unity under an Aboriginal flag when Kittles, an Aboriginal-owned company is continuously trashed by children of Native Title holders.
It suggests that there’s some other law at work and that trying to construct a body of politically-inspired law has limited chances of changing anything.
Whilst I don’t doubt the sincerity of your attempt to unify, I make the suggestion that the practical method of law enforcement, alcohol supply reduction and housing in Alice Springs for those who may wish to leave remote communities for education and employment opportunities in town has better prospects than adding to the divisions on the hill.

Chamber of Commerce in a grog Catch 22
@ Paul Parker, posted 1st March, 2018 at 6:49am: How appropriate was ‘Sit-down money’ and the ‘Two kilometer law’, Paul?
Do you absolve the critical mass of take-away outlets in the 5km radius of the CBD as having any impact on the situation you describe?
Generational alcoholism has something to do with the present historical ennui and the police have stated that they can’t arrest their way out of it, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on failures to deal appropriately with intoxication and disturbing the peace.

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