Anderson, Melky & more neglect of Alice

There are signs of things looking up in some areas of the town’s economy, although we do of course have the Federal budget hanging over our heads, which may well dampen growing enthusiasm.

 

I’ve been asked on a number of occasions over the past couple of weeks whether I intended to comment on Alison, Melky and the Palmer Party and I was inclined to do so.

 

At first I was unable to stop laughing long enough to do so. As the story moved along Mr Melky chose to use information gained in trust and friendship against his mates. When considering that I was one of those who facilitated, in good faith, Mr Melky’s return to the CLP, I was too sickened and angry to want to bother.

 

What however has caught my attention on a couple of occasions this week, when dealing with issues surrounding upcoming developments, is just how badly Alice has been let down on the infrastructure development front over a number of decades, and just how enormous those issues are becoming.

 

Even now with a supposedly Alice friendly CLP government installed, there are no obvious moves afoot to catch up on some of this infrastructure shortfall.

 

One issue is the amount of traffic in South Terrace, and with the various developments going ahead, there is a large increases in that usage. It is simply not possible to put these infrastructure upgrade costs back onto the various developments because they are too great, and if we were to attempt to do so, it would price the developments out of existence.

 

They are also well beyond the reach of the town council which is already facing heavy escalations in facility costs, while at the same time seeing a decline in revenue from grant funding. This means that there is no hope of council funding the level of upgrades required without inflicting massive economy dampening rate rises.

 

Even with that it would the 20 years before we could hope to fund just one project such as the Sadadeen Connector.

 

This, simply put, means that we need the Territory Government to take on and fund this and other infrastructure shortfalls, spending a little less in the capital and a whole lot more in the regions.

 

When I started my apprenticeship at the old Alice Springs power station 40 something years ago the main arterial road and suburb development plan for the Alice was permanently on display on the notice board.

 

That plan featured the South Terrace – Stephens Road – Sadadeen connector road (which would start at the present eastern end of Stephens Road, run north along the eastern edge of the Golf Course Estate and feed into Sadadeen Road, roughly opposite the OLSH College). 40 something years ago! And in all that time we have not advanced one tiny step towards its implementation. Not because of a lack of need, but because of a failure of Government. That’s what we all know in the Centre as bare faced neglect with an objective of feeding bare faced greed, in the capital.

 

South Terrace is too narrow and carries far too much traffic. We are about to add the bowling club units, further development at Mt Johns plus Kilgariff. We need South Terrace to be widened and upgraded all the way to Stott Terrace bridge , with layby lanes at various complexes along the way.

 

During the particular period of history to which I refer, the 70s and 80s, the NT Government incrementally funded infrastructural  developments of this kind, doing a small amount of work each year instead of waiting to fund the project as a whole.

 

All our regional road development was achieved in this manner with most major roads receiving somewhere between 10 to 15 kilometres of extension per year. If we had continued along those lines by now we would have both funded and constructed over a 1000 extra kilometres of sealed road in the Alice region alone!

 

I call on the Territory Government to take up this long neglected responsibility, possibly in partnership with the Federal Government’s Develop the North Policy, and reinstate incremental regional infrastructure development with the intention of actually gaining ground on the shortfall.

 

This should see the most urgently required projects, such as the Sadadeen Connector, funded and constructed over the next five years and the incremental growth of all our other major regional roads from now until their completion.

 

It’s time for an Alice friendly Government to show us what they are made of, to right the wrongs of past neglect and bring life back to the Centre.

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