Through all the trauma and mayhem of the past few …

Comment on Spend big on a youth centre, says councillor by Steve Brown.

Through all the trauma and mayhem of the past few years I think that it was pretty evident to all that the community of Alice Springs has some pretty major issues that required some serious attention, the breakdown in Law and Order being the major contender.
Analysis of criminal and Anti-social activities makes it pretty clear that we have two groups who contribute most of the mayhem, those being adult itinerant drunks, and the other a problem of growing proportions, with dislocated, disaffected, and very often neglected youth.
In putting together my proposal for council I will be concentrating on the latter group as I see it as more urgent and of greater and growing social consequence. I also see the adult group as more of a Territory Government issue.
As with all of these issues, the problems are multi faceted and quite complex. Simplified for easy explanation there are two basic groups of youth. Those who do the right thing, the big majority who go to school, work hard, do the chores, get jobs, etcetera. They take the hard road, the right road and these kids deserve recognition, respect, reward and encouragement.
The first goal of our Youth Centre is to give them some reward, recognise their place in the community.
Those who make up the other group, the neglected, the isolated, those tinkering on the edges of the law, on the edge of making life changing often life destroying decisions.
They must see and want what the others have. See the reward, see a clear demonstration of the benefits of taking the right road. Our Youth Centre’s role is to bring these two naturally opposed groups together, give our neglected kids a way in, help them find ambition, set life goals and achieve those goals.
At present our problem group gathers in the centre of town because they want to be seen to be “cool”, to be in the middle of what’s going on, just like kids have for eternity. Unfortunately, these gatherings are seen as threatening by the wider community which leads to a continuing confrontation with police and youth services, which in turn exacerbates the feeling of isolation these kids feel from community, and contributes to a heightening of hostility which often spills over into unlawful and antisocial activities.
This new Youth Centre will be the community’s way of both rewarding our struggling hard working youth, and reaching out to the neglected.
At the very first step it gives them something to do and some legitimate reason to be right in the middle of things. Given that they now have a reason and a place to be, the potential for conflict is immediately reduced, which will in turn lead to a lessening of hostility.
The Youth Centre will provide music, dance, beauty, fashion, indoor sports, martial arts, boxing, a trendy internet cafe, all the youth services, career and schooling advice, emergency accommodation. It will simply be the busiest, coolest, place in town to be. It will be a police citizens youth club, very well run, firmly monitored and disciplined.
Our two groups will mingle and learn from each other through music, sport and dace kids who have been on the outside will no longer feel so isolated which will help them take the right steps to a happy life which in turn will bring about our own community goal of harmony.
Why a new central centre? Well I have explained “central” above but it’s not only to ”be central”, what we want is “new”. Our present ramshackle effort for youth is some 50 years old and shows it! In showing it we send a very strong message, unintentional perhaps, but nevertheless there, that we don’t care! Look at the disastrous decline in our community, over the past 15 years. It’s time we sent a strong message of change! To set up the institutions that will bring us through the next 50 years successfully, remember the kids we are trying to support and rescue will make up tomorrows community, the price tag might be high today, but the gains for tomorrow are enormous! So let’s dare to dream a little, let’s get off our backsides and build something for our kids and for tomorrow. My proposal is to piggy back this large youth complex on the back of other facilities that will both contribute to the overall buzz / ambience and activity that will make this “the place to be” and will also help to make the complex affordable, both to build and run.
If for instance either the old Melanka site or something similar was available, perhaps the Memo Club, I would see the centre incorporating a transit centre, a number of cafes and specialty shops fronting that space, with a large hall to be use for Blue Light Discos and other community functions, opening into the cafe area. Further behind that again I would see a large auditorium that would house the various activities such as music, beauty and dance classes. The second floor would house backpackers’ accommodation, balconied over and accessible by the transit area and would also include office space for the various youth services.
The next possibly three floors would contain youth hostel accommodation that provides room and three meals a day for young workers.
The rest of the complex could be made up of strata titled town houses, for sale or rent. This complex would put a mass of people, life, activity, excitement, into the one area and bring a whole new “buzz” to our town!
The sounds of frivolity, laughter, as opposed to the screams yells, sounds of breaking glass and violence. Some have raised the question, “why not stay with what we’ve got? Why build a new centre?” Well, I think I’ve given you a few good reasons and now ask you a question in return. “Why not build a new centre?” If we as a community can get this project designed to the concept stage, we can go out and seek funding from a number of sources, just imagine what this project could mean for our town if we can achieve that funding! So let’s get out there and do it! Make it happen! Yes, it’s up to us!

Steve Brown Also Commented

Spend big on a youth centre, says councillor
Your continual claims to have the interests of the community at heart, Russell, simply aren’t borne out by your continual attempts to sabotage discussion on subjects of great interest and importance to our community with parrot like comments that are unhelpful outside the subject, clearly not in the interest of the community.

Spend big on a youth centre, says councillor
Hey Phil, Just think how much we can save if we do nothing at all! Perhaps that could be your platform, or maybe not I suppose, the Labor Parties already have taken that particular one haven’t they? Believe it or not, my intention isn’t to save money rather it is to gain for the town of Alice Springs much deserved infrastructure that hard working tax paying Territorians are owed after years of neglect, in case that has escaped your attention.
Since the intervention and for the next dozen years, billions, have and are to be spent in an endeavor to assist Aboriginal Aussies into a wealthier happier more included position in our society. I believe this PCYC is an essential piece in the road to inclusivity. Would I accept the broken down, dated, poorly positioned old buildings and infrastructure that you are recommending, Phil. Would I attempt to shove the kids in the back blocks once again, in the bit of old time squalor that you are recommending? The answer is “No I would not”!
I think that it has been very clearly demonstrated that as a community we have no trouble at all in attracting a few miserly dollars to give a few old buildings a lick of paint rather than spend on new buildings. Time and time again our northern government has demonstrated its willingness to give us less than second best. You or anybody else sticking their hand up to represent us need to fight for the very best for our community, not to bow scrape and submit to whatever drivel is begrudgingly sent in our direction!
The facts are a project of this size would be enormously beneficial for our town in very many ways to many different sectors. When you get to see the proposal you’ll hopefully understand that, so perhaps it would be wise to wait a little while before casting judgement. Remember Aim High, Fall High. Aim Low and you get what Alice has been handed over past years: Nothing!

Recent Comments by Steve Brown

Cr Melky alleges budget irregularity
Mmm, as usual Cr Melky fails to grasp even the most basic of budgeting principles. It is pretty much in line with his earlier confidence in predicting a budget surplus of around $12.6m last financial year, even promising to resign if he got it wrong.
I believe the surplus came in around $1.2m, some $11.4m less than predicted. I wonder what happened to the resignation. LOL
The half million Cr Melky is worried about will not appear on the next financial year’s list of expenses so council will not need to raise funds to cover it.
This should translate into a much lower or even no increase in the rates this time round, unless of course councillors who don’t understand what they are doing force additional cost onto the community.
Try working on that, Cr Melky, perhaps you could promise to resign again, if there’s an increase … just a thought.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: it’s not over yet
I’ve been reliably informed that the petition is not signed by a thousand locals but by persons from right across the globe. As such it makes a contemptuous mockery of local opinion and should be treated with the distain that it deserves.
Any petition must carry the names and the residential addresses of those who sign so that they may be verified.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ Concerned Arrernte Man: If you were indeed a concerned Arrernte “man” you would use your real name, like a man, so that we locals know what your word is worth.
What I suspect is that you aren’t local at all. We are trying to put our town together not rip it apart, your intention is clearly the opposite.
Anzac Hill was sincerely and solemnly dedicated by TOs many years ago to the purpose which it serves respectfully to this day.
It was and remains a joint community effort, if indeed you are a Arrernte man you would do well to respect and to learn from the decisions of your elders.

‘Dangerous, alarming’ property tax strongly opposed by council
Yeh Evelyn I used those words so as not to go into a long winded conversation about the technicalities of Drilling for Gas as it has nothing to do with the conversation at hand… However I am extremely well aware of the dangers or otherwise of Drilling. I have drilled water bores myself and I have family in the exploration business who own their own Rigs. Horizontal Drilling has been in use for a long time it has been developed simply to save costs because you don’t have to drill as many vertical penetrations through the water bearing Aquifers as such it is actually a much safer less expensive method of extraction. Further to this my comment around safety of some forms of Fracking refers to Coal Seam Gas which I substantially oppose.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
It is important when dealing with issues that stir emotions and threaten to deepen the divides in our community that we remember and respect that we are One Nation called Australia. That we are a Democracy! We regard all our citizens as equals! In a democracy decisions fall in favour of the Majority, regardless of race, gender or religion.

Separate recognition is not respect! It is a continuation of, a deepening of, the Politics of Apartheid and Victimhood.
Nothing, but greater and greater division will come of it!
No good ever comes from Apartheid.
Only the institutionalised acceptance of lower standards and less expectation, for those on the wrong side of it.
Previously as a Councillor and Political Candidate I was approached time and time again by locals of Aboriginal background, Aussies who are sick to death of division who just want to get on with their lives just like the rest of us, stating that they do not want to see separate flags flying on Anzac Hill because that sends the message that they aren’t accepted as Australians.
I am also aware of Councillor DeBrenni and other efforts to consult widely on this front, checking the views of many locals Aboriginal and non-alike, making sure that their views are expressed clearly in Council.
Many local families don’t wish others to know their views as in a small town it can lead to family infighting as we have witnessed firsthand with a small group of locals attacking views expressed by Councillor Price. They rely heavily on their Elected Representatives to put forward their view and to stand up for them.
This whole flag flying issue was instigated by Labor MLA Chansey Paech its only intent to create disruption dissent and division its only intent to divert attention from his failure to stand up for our Community while once again it comes apart under a Labor Government.
The ladies who approached Council did so with a letter about respect reconciliation and working together. There was no mention whatsoever of flying flags, nor was it mentioned by Catherine Satour when presenting the letter. From events later in the evening it came to the fore that the letter was actually apart of an attack on Councillor Price because of her expressed views on the very things that should also be of great concern to these ladies.

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