Jobs not programs, growth not talk: Bonanni

 

 

Councillor elect Kylie Bonanni with husband Fabio and their children (from left} Jacob, Gemma and Tessa.

 

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Alice Springs has massively backed a council candidate who gives young people jobs, not programs; who can stand up for the local construction industry, including a swarm of tradies, staring into an abyss of no contracts, no jobs next year; and someone who has runs on the board over decades as a player in small business, from a lowly worker to running one herself.

 

To be a member of a big Italian family with roots in the town over decades clearly didn’t harm her chances either when Kylie Bonanni got nearly as many primary votes as her four male opponents put together.

 

The councillor elect now sees herself as having a mandate  – obligation – to push the interests of local business, well beyond the council which, she agrees, is a lobby for the town vis-a-vis the Territory and Federal governments.

 

“We need more commitment to the town,” she says. “Nobody knows what work is coming at the start of next year.

 

“Not one builder has any idea what’s happening in January. We need more foresight. They want a voice on council, and not necessarily just on council.

 

“They need to be able to pick up the phone and ask, what’s happening? Is there more work coming for Alice Springs?

 

“My family is involved in this. We have no idea what’s happening next year.”

 

She says she heard Chief Minister Adam Giles speak last night, saying “they are still focussed on Alice Springs” – the go-ahead to the police station and Kilgariff, now reduced to 30 blocks, is part of this, but there is not sufficient certainty to avoid staff lay-offs.

 

“We need a little bit more than ‘this may be happening’,” she says. Both projects are still a long way off.

 

“Council needs to have more input to government,” says Ms Bonanni, listing her reputation as a hard worker as the main reason why people voted for her. “And I am a person of my word. If you give your word you stand by it. I am very loyal. I married into a family that has the same kind of commitments.”

 

She still has close links with business people she worked with soon after she first arrived in town in 26 years ago.

 

Right now she says: “I still have to learn the ropes, but I hope I can be that bridge to the government.”

 

There was a focus on youth services in the campaign yet it didn’t seem to bite with the majority of voters. Why?

 

“A lot of people are focused on youth. I am focused on the town of Alice Springs.

 

“I am not trained in the youth area. Council does have a calendar of events for the youth. I’ve got three kids of my own. Should young people get things on a silver platter?

 

“I think it’s more important that their mums and dads have jobs, money in the bank, and there is money coming into the town, which has a flow-on effect.”

 

Says Ms Bonanni: “In the brickyard we deal with a lot of young people who can’t get mainstream jobs. They have left school early. They don’t have a trade. They come to us. It’s hard work, labouring positions.

 

“If they have a commitment to hard work we give them a job. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t finished high school. And you may have had it a bit tough.

 

“We have a good understanding what these young people need. They need to make money. They might have a child on the way. They need a job.

“We have employed so many young people, black or white. It’s been both.”

 

Her record in the community advanced her chances: “At the brickyards we’ve always dealt with people in an honest and trustworthy way. That’s held me in good stead.”

 

Still involved in the family brick making business Ms Bonanni became the Fundraising Coordinator. of the Cancer Council, opening her eyes to a quite different segment of the town, some of its most vulnerable people.

 

“You don’t come across people with such great needs in your everyday life,” she says.

 

The word passion gets a frequent mention in my talk with her: “I so want to do so much more for Alice Springs.”

 

Believes Alice needs to reach a stable population of 30,000, adding more people to do the heavy-lifting needed to make the town thrive, says Ms Bonanni.

 

PHOTOS (taken a few years back) Ms Bonanni’s husband Fabio and their youngest son Jacob Ennio Bonanni, at the family brickyard. Young workers previously employed there: (Centre) Andy North, who has gone on to serve in the Australian Army in Afghanistan. At right: Nathan Findlay, who is now a baker at the Bakery in Elder Street.

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16 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Janet Brown
    Posted December 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    To all candidates: I withdraw the word nasty.

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  2. Bush Teacher
    Posted December 5, 2013 at 6:51 am

    @Matty Day. Melke has run for a solicitor over a minor grievance and now you say you will strongly pursue any person that commits a defamatory offence against you.
    The local law firms will be licking their lips but the statement is unwarranted. Please address your reputational concerns on these pages.

    View Comment
  3. Matty Day
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    @ Janet Brown, I strongly oppose the claim that you make, that I as one of the candidates in the recent by-election participated in “nasty behaviours” against Kylie Bonanni. I have the upmost respect for Kylie and Fabio and have always interacted with her in a professional and respectful manner before, during and after the campaign. Furthermore I look forward to working with Cr Bonanni and the other elected councillors to continue to develop this great town. I am not a person that will accept the slurrying of my good name lightly and will strongly pursue any person that commits a defamatory offence against me. I would ask you to retract and apologise for your misleading comment in this thread, please.

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  4. Posted December 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Please note my statement refuting “Boys vs Bonnani” and any allegations of “nasty behaviour” on my website: edanbaxter.com.
    The result has been called. It’s time to move on, halt the rumour mill and look to the future.
    As for the other comments in this thread, I don’t know about the CLP power plays that “John Brown” is referring to, but I will suggest that we all take a look at the subsequent comment thread “as a whole” and note the base level it quickly degenerated into.
    I ask you: what are the chances of solving the challenges of our times with this type of political culture?
    For the record, I am not interested in that type of “politics” and never have been. I most certainly did not participate in or seek to be drawn into that type of politics in the recent election.
    Despite all this, I do wish Cr Bonanni all the best.
    I have no doubt that Cr Bonanni and the Bonanni family care very much about the Alice. In future, I’d just urge anyone who seeks to represent the community in an honest and trustworthy way to think about how their actions affect others before making sweeping and unhelpful “claims” and “generalisations”.
    Who knows? Candidates might even be able to find some common ground?

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  5. John Brown
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 11:21 am

    This is still discussion forum isn’t it! Have we lost the right to discuss this propaganda about job creation when many in this community have recently lost jobs?
    Prior to the council election it was said in this forum that Mrs Bonanni was a flag waver for the NTG, (I did not say it, I think it was Melanie Ross, but I read it here). Sure enough first article since elected Kylie is talking about NTG issues about job creation and quoting the Chief Minister. Fail to see how this is a councillor’s role.
    @ Dianne – being offended appears to be a convenient path to avoidance.
    If Kylie has no interest in the seat of Greatorex come out and say so, while she is at it please explain how in her role at council she can create more jobs.

    View Comment
  6. Peter Bassett
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Kylie, Fabio and Family … so pleased to read about your successful entry in Northern Territory politics.
    Once you have helped to balance the ASTC political agenda … and also introduced much needed reforms and programs … trust we soon also see the Adam Giles team taking a keen interest in your abilities.
    It is indeed a pleasure to be able to say I have enjoyed the fortitude and honesty and integrity of the Bonanni Family for over 50 years.

    View Comment
  7. Peter Bassett
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

    John Brown … whoever you may be … you disgust us and most every other ex Alice resident who ever loved raising a family, working hard … and making an honest contribution to our once prosperous and happy town.

    View Comment
  8. Dale
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 8:06 am

    It would be greatly appreciated if Kylie Bonanni would pay attention to the terrible conditions of our footpaths and parks.
    The Spicer Crescent park was once a peaceful delight – it’s now seldom mowed and weeds run rampant.
    Over the last couple of years we have noticed a number of front yards in Alice Springs starting to fill up with old cars and junk, some spilling onto the footpath.
    Alice Spring is becoming ugly and neglected. Council needs to spend less of our rate money on bus shelters and events and return to it’s core business of footpaths, parks and rubbish removal from around the suburbs. And if that’s altogether too boring for most councilors – then maybe we need new blood all round.

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  9. Sarah P
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I have never replied to a newspaper report. I have seen those ninemsn posts and rolled my eyes at some of the content, however reading this the proverbial last straw has broken.
    This week, after an awful few months with a teenage daughter who wasn’t acting herself … I discovered she was being bullied at school, cyber bullied on facebook and tormented by a group of nasty, horrible girls who thought telling a 13 year old to ‘just go and kill herself’ was OK.
    I’ve spent the last 48 hours telling her that life isn’t always like this. That high school is one fleeting moment and it doesn’t define the rest of your life.
    I read this thread and it probably sounds ridiculous because I honestly couldn’t give a hoot about this crap – but honestly … what the hell.
    These are comments posted by adults. Not highschool girls … yet reading this rubbish I really can’t see much of a difference between the nasty, snide tones that I’ve read from a bunch of 13 and 14-year-olds on facebook – to references about peroxide hair (seriously?!!), and taunts written @ John Brown ‘poor bugger, why do boys keep picking on me’?!?!
    Sorry, but if that isn’t a troll comment than what is??
    Grow up and act like real men and women instead of churning a fake profile out to play out some obvious personal vendetta that you have. This woman hasn’t even been in the role for a month and comments about MLA affiliations are being thrown out!
    Was there a newspaper article that we’ve all missed? Because this sounds more like sour grapes from someone on the inside of something, trying to throw rubbish, then anything that any normal resident would be pondering.
    I’ll be honest Mrs Bonnani, I didn’t put you first on my ballot. However the rubbish I’ve read on here and elsewhere I am glad that you have won, and I will be interested in seeing how you perform in the role and will save my comments regarding you until then!

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  10. Dianne
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    @ John Brown – I dare say that Kylie and her family know a bit more about employment growth in this town than most. Also, your comments at 9.12pm on 30/11 are just so wrong and offensive.

    View Comment
  11. Carol
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

    As a women I was disappointed with the headline and comments from Mrs. Bonnani to be honest. The Advocate editor has a bit to answer for in this, Edan Baxter like in the previous election didn’t preference anyone! Apology needed? Also I took interest when I voted and noticed that only one of the candidates had Mrs. Bonnani number 5 so not sure what all the hoo haa was about. Murdoch media strategy penetrating into our small town perhaps!

    I’d be interested in hearing from Janet Brown about the nasty behaviours she talks about. I know Edan, Matty and Colin personally and I am surprised by the accusation that they might have been nasty to Kylie. They have always presented as intelligent caring community minded young men to me.

    As a teacher, I also am interested in hearing more about how job growth will be achieved by Mrs Bonnani in her role as councillor. Will she address the lack of indigenous workers in the town council office?

    View Comment
  12. Janet Brown
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 6:43 am

    @ John Brown. Kylie did not participate in poor me the boys are picking on me. Kylie was shocked at the nasty behaviours from other candidates during the time of campaigning.
    It was the paper media that took that line. And I know that Kylie got no support from the CLP. Kylie put her hand up as a genuine caring resident of Alice Springs. And a job at the brick yard is better than no job. Congratulations Kylie.

    View Comment
  13. John Brown
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Poor bugger Kylie, why do boys keep picking on me??
    I would love to hear more from Kylie about how this job growth is created in a town like Alice.
    Didn’t the CLP NT Govt just cut funding and jobs for youth programs at Congress and CAALAS?
    Do we tell all the kids that don’t attend school or drop pout that they can go to the brickyard for a job?

    View Comment
  14. Mark Fitzgerald
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Kylie hasn’t even pulled her elected chair to the council table and the peanut gallery has started with their two cents worth … which even if free – would be overpriced.
    Feel free to step up at the next election. In the meantime, it’d be best to allow the elected members to go about their duties and deliver on their promises.
    How’s about doing the Aussie thing, in giving her a fair go and judge on results, not unsubstantiated drivel.
    And in the interest of full disclosure, I went to school with Fab and knowing Kylie like I do, she is her own person, is nobody’s puppet, and is by no means stereo-typical peroxide.

    View Comment
  15. John Brown
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    And the Adam Giles CLP flag waving begins! With script writer at hand, one might think that the effort placed in pushing her over the line in the by election is for a greater purpose than council’s roads rates and rubbish … one might even think that Mr Conlan had better be looking over his shoulder … these peroxide locks are being groomed, folks.

    View Comment
  16. Terry
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Well now, what a treat! Someone who truly cares about The Alice. Wonderful, more strength to you Ms Bonanni, keep up the good work.

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