Electricity cost still up in the air, cuts by Feds a worry for council

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The cost of electricity wasn’t addressed in the NT Budget “and that affects our own budget” which is due to be advertised in draft form next week, says Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan.

 

“We are still waiting for confirmation from Power and Water.”

 

Mayor Ryan says the NT Budget allocations for the Alice Springs Hospital will be a boost for the town.

 

As the head of the Local Government Association of the NT Mayor Ryan welcomed the increase of operational funding for local government in the bush, an extra $5 million for the new local authorities.

 

In the town, a new walkway is being funded from the tourism budget, connecting the precinct around the convention centre to the Telegraph Station: “That’s a good win for the community,” says Mayor Ryan.

 

“My biggest worry for local government is the Federal Budget, in which the Federal Assistance Grants money has been subjected to no CPI increase, “leaving a hole in our budget for the next three years,” says Mayor Ryan.

 

He says these are untied grants. In the 2014/15 Budget the council is receiving $737,704 for general use and $961,392 for roads, a total of $1.7m, and no increase over 2013/14.

 

However, there is an improvement in the Federal Roads to Recovery funding, “for which local government has been fighting for years,” says Mayor Ryan, assisting with road repairs across the Territory.

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8 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. Edan Baxter
    Posted June 1, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    @3 Whilst the Alice has no shortage of hot air and plenty of hyper-ventilating blow-hards, wind turbines are better suited to other locales I think.
    Why not keep going with solar and building on the solid results of Alice Solar Cities and other related projects? Solar will only ever continue to make increasing economic sense (cents).

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  2. Edan Baxter
    Posted June 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    For anyone interested, I chased up the numbers on Fed funding of NT road projects:
    Road spending of $90 million has been committed to by the Feds for six priority upgrades and fixes. This will be matched by $16 million from the NT Government to make a total spend of $106 million. (These figures came from media release made over a month ago.)
    The six projects are expected to involve the following works:
    1. Roper Highway: Construction of new bridges at the Roper River and Wilton River crossings
    2. Port Keats Road: Flood immunity improvement through the Moyle River Floodplain;
    3. Arnhem Link Road: Upgrade of various sections of the track to a good standard gravel road, including flood immunity improvements;
    4. Buntine Highway: Widening and strengthening of the pavement, and sealing of some unsealed sections;
    5. Central Arnhem Road: Construction of a bridge over Rocky Bottom Creek; and
    6. Santa Teresa Road: Upgrade and sealing of various sections between Alice Springs airport and Santa Teresa.
    Apparently there is a bit of debate about whether this is new funding (or a rehash of old commitments made by Labour). But whatever the politics, it’s good that the projects are proceeding. Let’s just hope that Central Australia will see some more new nation-building-bitumen announcements in the lead up to next election.

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  3. Bev O'Callaghan
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Talking about walkways, I wouldn’t mind a footpath outside my house. Only been waiting 40 years. I thought that this is what I pay rates for.

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  4. Sean Meaney
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I suggest you invest in six megawatt wind turbines and sell public owned electricity for a profit. It will provide permanent skilled employment. Building up profitable public infrastructure builds economic independence.

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  5. Anna Sheridan
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:10 am

    @1 I got curious about this walkway too, even went digging into Council’s minutes. My guess is that the walk along the river from Barrett Drive to the end of Sturt Tce is quite nice already – maybe they are thinking of refining the path that goes further along the river to the Telegraph Station? I hear that at the moment it is very overgrown with weeds. If so it shouldn’t be a major work.

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  6. Hal Duell
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 5:52 am

    This new walkway connecting the precinct around the convention centre to the Telegraph Station sounds interesting.
    A couple of questions: Will it include constructing something more than a narrow dirt track around the base of Meyers Hill?
    Is there a map of the proposed development available for public viewing?

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  7. Paul Lelliott
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Hey Damo,
    The age of entitlement is officially over. The Federal budget has cut a knife through grants and funding across a range of programs.
    I wouldn’t be too critical of the Feds for not applying CPI to the Federal Assistance Grants. There are other ways to get your grants increased.
    You need to show the Feds where money is being wasted on non performing projects and organisations.
    You can start with Desert Knowledge and the adjacent Yirara College facility which has become a virtual local base for the heavily funded Clontarf program established in WA. Tap into those funds, Damien, and your money worries will be over.

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  8. Edan Baxter
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks Erwin for initiating discussion about 2014/15 budgets.
    Will be interesting to hear more about electricity costs and P and W, but good news about hospital funding and walkway funding from NTG.
    Out of interest, does anyone know, will the new walkway allow dual-use, i.e. shared with bicycles, or is it intended to be, as described, a “walkway” only? I have only received positive feedback so far about the NT Government’s new mountain-bike trail – it’d be great if this new path was able to be a part of the “bigger map”?
    As regards the Federal Budget and an improvement in the Roads to Recovery funding, can anyone advise what this means, besides an increase in the funding for ongoing repairs / maintenance? Is there any sort of firm commitment yet to complete a decent section of one of the region’s major unsealed roads. I.e. Meerenie Loop, Red Centre Way project etc etc.
    Or is it just piecemeal as usual at this stage?
    Good luck with your Federal funding challenges Damien.

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