By KIERAN FINNANE
Whatever happened to the Port Augusta model? Since Councillor Steve Brown (at right) produced a report to council on what he has drawn from that southern city’s approach to “community harmony”, the public has heard not another peep.
Back in May, when he and like-minded councillors were focussed on having a council body monitor the effective delivery of government services in Alice Springs, there was sense of urgency in the discussion. It was the kind of development that called for early morning meetings; progress on it was supposed to be “vital” and “immediate” in order to address the “considerable anxiety” in the community over the decline in law and order.
Now, says Cr Brown, council is waiting for the right moment to talk to the new Territory Government about what is on its mind.
Has there been any direct contact on the issue? No, only courtesy meetings.
Will council be seeking direct contact soon? Not until after the government brings down its mini-budget, promised for December 4.
And we all know what happens after that – Christmas and the summer holidays, not a good time for getting the wheels of government turning while also a time when social tensions can be heightened.
Cr Brown’s plans, including a new youth centre and other youth-focused projects, now come with a considerable price tag, and at this point, with lots of belt-tightening messages coming from the new government, he is not liking his chances of getting those plans up.
As for the watchdog role – his proposed “Heads of Departments Harmony Monitoring Committee” – although it would be essentially cost-free, he is politely waiting to be heard.
And meanwhile, the community is in the dark on the whole council’s attitudes towards Cr Brown’s proposals. When will we hear that debate in a public forum?
Pictured above: The Country Liberals’ major promise for Alice during their election campaign was $2.5m to upgrade the Alice Springs Youth Centre, a long way behind Cr Brown’s proposals for Alice’s Port Augusta-inspired responses to social problems. In our photo the then prospective Chief Minister Terry Mills talks to the Youth Centre’s Marie Petery and June Noble. With them are Braitling MLA Adam Giles and Araluen MLA Robyn Lambley, now Minister for Central Australia.