Crunch time for Adam Giles

It’s crunch time in Alice Springs, or if you like, crunch year, for the CLP Government.

 

Many local businesses are expressing real concern and anxiety about the state of the Alice Springs economy and those concerns are over and above the generally recognised national downturn.

 

The building sector in particular is very troubled, with many very unfortunate layoffs occurring over the Christmas New Year period placing many Alice Springs families into financial hardship.

 

There is a mounting anger being directed towards the CLP Government which up to now has been seen by most as promising so much for Alice.

 

However, in their haste to rein in spending that was out of control, and debt inherited from the previous Labor Government – admittedly noble and absolutely essential goals – they have failed to take into account that not all areas of the NT are on an even playing field when it comes to spending and levels of infrastructure. This applies to the government as well as private sectors.

 

Alice for instance, prior to the CLP Government, was the victim of prolonged government neglect while the private sector was also deliberately suppressed. Private infrastructure development was quashed in the planning stages. Cuts in government spending had a devastating effect on our economy while the much healthier economies in the north, where judgments about spending cuts are made, are more able to ride out the cuts in a burgeoning private sector development.

 

When the Chief Minister was made aware of these concerns about Alice he responded that he also expects the private sector to come to the fore and take up the slack: “Stop expecting government to do everything,” was the message.

 

While we should all absolutely agree with and applaud that intention, and while many of us are working very hard and with great urgency to achieve that outcome, the CLP  Government must understand that this important change in mentality and direction cannot be achieved overnight.

 

There is a lag time even with their support for projects of at least 12 months, to get projects through the planning process. Business has to be able to survive that twelve month period! The CLP Government needs to wake up to this with a great deal of urgency and recommence a level of spending.

 

They need to start funding some of that long promised facilitating infrastructure, or else there will be very little of Alice Springs business left at the end of that time.

 

The CLP government would do well to measure its own survivability against that outcome. They would be unwise indeed to forget that the vote that gave them power came from the South not the North.

 

I’ll be brave enough to predict that If they can manage us through the downturn and rekindle the dynamics of our economy they’ll be a Government of legend. If they fail they’ll be history.

 

The way needs to be forward, which for business and government is the only way, because those that stop go backwards.

 

Cut the spending slowly. Keep on borrowing whatever is necessary to provide the private sector with facilitating infrastructure and in turn a burgeoning private sector, the only source of Government revenue, will pay back the debt!

 

Yep! It takes vision, it takes belief and it takes guts! I hope for all our sakes the CLP Government has those qualities.

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2 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. Greg Simon
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Alice Springs the rest of Australia will be or already is an absolutely compliant entity, as envisioned by government, fit for nothing but admiration by the perpetrators as a job well done.

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  2. Melanie Ross
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Steve you make some good points here but you’re very biased when it comes to looking at the record of the previous Government.
    I’m no defender of Labor but let’s be fair. We got land release after 10 years of nothing under the CLP (OK it wasn’t your particular blocks but it doesn’t have to be Brown land to count).
    We had a lot of building work going on – your family business did quite well I imagine. New houses in new suburbs, in town camps, new commercial buildings, Traeger Park, the Mall redevelopment, every school had new buildings.
    But now we have nothing. Adam Giles and his mates promised everything and are delivering nothing.
    Crime is worse, there’s more drunks than ever and as you say, business is hurting and closing down. I personally know five families who have left this year. And it’s only January!
    This Government has been in for two years now. It’s time to stop hoping they will do anything at all for Alice. After all why should they? They know you are going to keep voting for them no matter what, Steve.

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