OUR REST & REFLECTION SERIES: New government, same spin doctors?

Why is Renmark, South Australia, and not The Alice the centre of commercial development of the emerging bush food (pictured) industry?

 

By TREVOR SHIELL

 

Reading the two letters from two current pollies in your latest edition makes me think that they employed the same spin doctors as the previous administration.  Where is the detail? Having watched the latest National Press club offering on the development of Singapore over the last few years, the point was made that their success was due to strategic long term planning – targeting industries and technology, and catering for that demand.

Why do we get our petroleum products from Singapore? The answer is of course that they planned to be world leaders in what they saw as world class technology.

They did the same with ship building. Strategic planning such as this has been sadly lacking in the NT where we rely on short term political expediency. Can I suggest that lee Kwan Yew’s autobiography should be compulsory reading for all pollies who want the best for their constituency, and the NT?
A few specifics for the minister of tourism to ponder.
• We profess to be the centre of development of the emerging bush food industry. Why then is a country High School in SA (Renmark) the centre of commercial development of the emerging industry, while we cover a site which should be the centre and so available to the public (read potential customers) with supposedly low cost houses. ASRI of course. The same argument applies to the high tech tomato facility at Pt Augusta. This is not to detract from the progress at Desert Park. Its simply out of the way.
• The same facility (AZRI) should also be the base for Australia’s food security. A current outbreak of a poultry disease in NSW where a half million birds had to be destroyed illustrates how our isolation in maintaining pure strains should be one of our major assets, and how vulnerable we are.  The same thing and perhaps more vital to our national welfare is maintaining pure strains of bees, the significance of which we do not appreciate. Yet we continue to put houses on a vital facility. Where was the strategic planning? I hesitate to call it scientific ignorance.
• There is little doubt now that climate change is real.  Where is our strategic planning to cater for this? WE could well play a big part in developing food and other crops suited to changing climate, but again we chose to cover our advantage in this area with houses, while research into the camel, as a  source of food, is being done overseas. Similarly with solar energy. WE could have had it here.
• We see constantly a description of various tourism assets in NSW on some commercial TV here. Where are our sites displayed? Where is our Sovereign Hill showing our history? What about the history of our pastoral families and properties? Or mining? The Townsville mining facility brings them in around $10 million a year. Where are our long term planners when they see things such as this?
• We also see up to date tourism display offices interstate on commercial TV (Google Mt Isa tourism). Then look at our pathetic effort, which should be relocated south and expanded along the lines of Mt Isa , McLaren Vale and now Daintree. These are our opposition and we ignore them at our peril. We have neglected the grey nomad caravan market. They have targeted that market and are doing well. Who in their right mind would negotiate the town to reach our office with an 18 ft caravan in tow?
• Are we really expecting tourists to travel thousands of kilometers to see a revamped mall?
• There are dozens of beautiful bush walks within a few klicks of the town, and dozens of walking clubs in the country. Has any attempt been made to join the two together?
• Each time I go to Anzac Hill I am accosted mildly by people wanting to know the geological history of the MacDonell Ranges.  No interpretation, or explanation available.  In fact one commented on no signage to get to Anzac Hill. Of course out visitors are all mindreaders!
• Why is not the Yirrara and Yipirinya  education facilities highlighted as another school of the air and the positive aspects of Indigenous education.  In conjunction with this an open air Indigenous art market run by the artists and art centres themselves?
• Many of the southern schools run outdoor / environmental education centres. Has any effort been made to attract his market here with a customised facility? Probably no one thought of it!
• Japan has an annual marathon relay of around 100 km for senior school students. It attracted an audience of 80 million a few years ago. Where were our planners? How much would it cost to buy that much advertising? Glen Helen to Anzac hill?
• Has anyone ever considered a Todd River fishing competition where keen anglers fish in the river bed for tokens, in association perhaps with Henley on Todd or Camel Cup?
• So many people now are brewing their own beer. How about a national home brew and non alcoholic  Ginger beer expo / championship?
• Some visitors recently were elated with the sight of feral camels on the Mereenie loop. Anywhere closer? Any information on the dynamics?
• With the impending upgrading of the Plenty,  has anyone thought of bringing in potential visitors via the Pinnacles Road, Arltunga and the East Macs to open up a new tourist precinct?
• There are a number of other potential targets south of The Gap but a lack of strategic long term planning prevents them being recognised.

Can I respectfully suggest that we all sit back briefly and re examine our approach to planning, then have a close look at what our competitors are doing and then adopt a long term approach based on the way Singapore does its planning.

Those who denigrate the lack of civil rights in that country, might well ask the same question when they purchase Singapore made fuel and why it is not made here.
Some years ago there was a planning forum here called 2030 or something similar. It seems to have sunk without trace.

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