Although I can understand (but not sympathize) with promoting that …

Comment on Fossils display will be in former Westpac building by Trevor Shiell.

Although I can understand (but not sympathize) with promoting that end of the Mall, the reality is that there is little attraction in that end of town.
There are many better places to show our geological history. Georgetown in Northern Queensland shows theirs in a wonderful display of paleontology as a Panorama Guth type display on the walls of their visitors centre where the display is at the height of a 10 year old child and traces the development of various species of the district, as well as the local geological history.
At the ASRI site on the South road there is a great display of the local mining industry, and local geology / minerals and who is doing what and where. Problem is that it is not on display to the public.
This is but one of many potential tourism attractions between the town and the airport which are never acknowledged for their potential to make this town unique as it once was.
It should start with an interpretation cum visitors centre for the whole of the NT where the welcome rock is, and directing visitors to where we want the economic activity to be.
In May last year I sat at the rock for day and counted 102 people having their photo taken there in one morning!
Where the stagnant housing development is now could have been a vibrant display of everything that can be done here to make it the unique place it once was.
Who knows we grow onions, grapes and sweet potato here? And what of the Indigenous food / medicine developments behind ASRI?
Who might like to invest in those industries here and where do they go to see them? What about camel milk?
Some of your readers may have see the portrayal of a multi million dollar international industry in Dubai on SBS recently, and now in Victoria.
There have been at lease three attempts to do that here but their efforts have all gone unrecognized or unseen. Myopia or dazzled by the display of yellow rabbits?

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

Miners are spreading myths, says environmentalist
There was once the possibility of mining diamonds from the Kimberlite pipes at the Merlin deposits near Boroloola by members of the Gutnick family who were prominent mining entrepreneurs at that time.
The project never went ahead, I suspect, because diamond supply and consequent price is still tightly controlled by the De Beers family and other South African interest.
At one time I was a shareholder in the Merlin mine but the ethics of it smelled to high heaven and I quit.
There is no shortage of diamonds but the marketing is so tightly controlled to prevent barriers to further entry.
In addition the main value is in industrial use and in the small but lucrative top end of the market.
Like in so many of the high end uses (recently well demonstrated in the high fashion industry and in our own Indigenous art, where thousands of fine pieces are held in reserve for fear of flooding the market). The idea is to restrict supply to drive up price. There is little value in that for us in the NT as nice and comfortable as it may sound to have the Indigenous women cutting and polishing stones in the Mall thus increasing the supply and driving the price down.
If it were not so there would be an immense flood of polished stone coming out of West Africa.
The powers in control of the market will never let it happen – a sad reality of marketing.
Re the development of other industries which are a more immediate need for us: The failing of this and previous governments has been the lack of proactive planning when new industries have emerged.
The most most obvious ones of recent times have not been diamonds but medicinal cannabis, a billion dollar industry well suited to here, and production of hydrogen from water and solar power for the hydrogen car revolution coming our way.
The establishment of hydrogen production facility in Adelaide was justified on the intensity of the sunlight in Adelaide!
No-one thought to ask them to investigate The Centre, and this lack of proactive planning and action is the root cause of our economic woes.
Where are the demonstration plots of medicinal cannabis to attract the investors?
All covered in houses. And here we are involved in the Beetaloo gas discussions re fracking while the Permian beds under Texas and Mexico have so much gas that they are having difficulty giving it away.
We stew in our own juice.


The financial crisis in the Northern Territory
Lets not forget this is a two way thing.
I am aware of several female friends who have mothered Indigenous children for both social reasons and to get the substantial benefits which go with being Indigenous.
I also have seen contractors in a remote community having completed repairs on around 30 houses then having to return to house one to start again. Pretty lucrative work.
I also recall seeing TV footage two years ago showing a group of Eastern states people being taken to the Top End and shown a house in disrepair, but the occupant insisting on being given a new house when there was a lot of evidence (not mentioned) that she really needed a scrubbing brush, some soap, a toilet brush a broom and a bit off elbow grease to improve her situation considerably.
But the programme was structured to not offer these as an alternative as the rest of us would be expected to do.
To see where the money has gone, and how effectively it has been used, visit Mt Barkley, near Conniston, or Pannels Well near Ambalindum – and this is the thin edge of the wedge.
There will be readers who immediately consider this as racism. But my two closest friends are Indigenous men.
I had an Indigenous tutor as a child and who virtually lived with my family and I grew up with their children.
I also lived for a long time in a remote part of a Pacific Island country where if you wanted a new house you did not wait for the Government to provide – you just got in and built it.


National Indigenous Art Gallery future in doubt: Gunner
The so obvious position for a cultural centre come art showplace is adjacent to Yirrara college and in conjunction with that institution.
It would enable the students to display and promote their own culture and art and at the same time acquire the business skills needed to run such a business, as well as showing the positive side of Indigenous education.
As a complete complex it should also incorporate an open air market for the combined art centre movement.
Of course, this would go down like a lead balloon with the huge vested interests North of The Gap but as Professor Ian Chubb, former Chief scientist, recently said to the National Press Club, its the communal good that is sadly lacking in many planning matters, not sectional inwardly directed interests as so often has happened here.


Human rights, centre stage
Many years ago the then Human Rights Commissioner Dame Roma Mitchell visited Alice and spoke to school groups on human rights. At the end I asked her to also talk on human responsibilities. It didn’t happen. There must be a balance somewhere?


Top committee grapples with tourism development in the North
Any business that presumes to know what the market wants is doomed to fail.
That has happened here. No one to my knowledge talks to the visitors as they arrive or as they leave and what we have is thrust upon them.
I do that on a regular basis both on Anzac Hill, and at the welcome rock south of Alice and suggest that someone from the tourism industry do the same.
A couple of examples, which have been passed on to various people but ignored.
Several years ago the well known “Australia all over” programme canvassed what the travelling public needed in a visitors centre.
The response was unanimous – ample parking and clean toilets. Ours in Alice Springs has neither. Katherine got it right, on the edge of town, as has happened in many other places.
The lack of emphasis or explanation of our regional and unique geology as viewed from Anzac is appalling.
A few seats and tables perhaps. Some wise person planted trees in front of one set of sunset viewing seats! I attempted to explain the geological history to a friend several years ago and finished with an audience of about 30 people – all visitors.
How many know there are fossil fields in the ranges? There are unique one day walks in abundance close to the town, multi million dollar industries in other areas but ignored here.
There is an underlying assumption that visitors and operators are only interested in the high end of the tourism market.
A 100 Km senior school marathon relay in Japan with a TV viewing audience of 80 million was put forward here from Hermansburg or Glen Helen to town, but treated with disdain.
How much would that scale of advertising cost?
Like in so many other areas, the thinking is very short sighted and lacking in vision.
Please talk to the tourists.


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