By ERWIN CHLANDA
Labor’s election promises for Central Australia lack incentives for economic development in remote towns, give no thought to stimulating private enterprise in those areas, and by failing to allocate sufficient money to Alice Springs itself, fall short in returning the town to the tourist destination is used to be.
This is the view of Kay Eade, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce in Alice Springs, pictured at the Greatorex election forum she moderated, with (from left) ALP candidate Rowan Foley and Independent Phil Walcott.
She says money promised for football fields in bush communities would be better spent on stimulating business: “Why do electricians drive in and out from Alice Springs to service these communities?” she says.
“Why not provide incentives for setting up shop in a hub town, with the condition that apprentices are employed?
“Locals soon would develop their own enterprises rather than being told by outsiders what to do.”
Ms Eade questioned the value of the $2.5m upgrading of floodlights at Traeger Park: “How many nationally televised football matches would we get a year? One or two?
“At the end of the day, how much money would that bring into this town?”
She says while roadworks are welcome, it is unfortunate that the sealing of the Mereenie Loop is not proceeding.
It would be a major new attraction for the self-drive, grey nomad market which needs sealed roads for their mobile homes and caravans.
“We are missing out on a lot of money.
“The project has been in the Budget for the last three years that I know of,” she says.
Communities along the Loop Road would have major commercial opportunities flowing from increased tourism.
“There is no policy of assisting businesses and attracting investment at a time when the carbon tax will drive up freight and petrol prices,” says Ms Eade.