Forty years ago Alice Springs was presented with a choice …

Comment on Local government: A lot of action beyond the 3Rs by Alex Nelson.

Forty years ago Alice Springs was presented with a choice – a national museum about outback life in Australia, or a casino.
We lost the opportunity for the former but the NT Government, and many in the business community, thought a casino would be a great asset to complement The Alice’s then burgeoning tourism industry.
There was also considerable local opposition to the casino but the NT Government over-ruled these objections.
So Longreach ended up with the unique Stockman’s Hall of Fame – “nowhere else has one” – while Alice Springs got Australia’s first mainland casino (Tasmania got Wrest Point in 1973), quickly followed by Darwin and then every other capital city in the country, all of which (unlike Alice Springs) are serviced by international flights.
Once again we are confronted by a similar situation. We’ve got the National Road Transport Hall of Fame (nowhere else has one) but this major attraction for our town is on the verge of leaving, with a number of other centres reportedly clamouring to host it.
Meanwhile, even as we face the prospect of losing this major attraction, the NT Government is pushing ahead with a “National Iconic Indigenous Art Gallery”.
However, there is nothing to prevent all the major capital cities of Australia following suit with similar attractions, built at greater expense than we can afford for ours and far more readily accessible to visitors from overseas.
The current NT Labor Government is in grave danger of repeating history, making exactly the same kind of decisions that the new CLP Government made at the beginning of Self-Government 40 years ago, and leaving us with the bitter after-taste of missed opportunities and bungled priorities.
Nothing has changed.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Local government: A lot of action beyond the 3Rs
Sadly it would appear that Murray Bridge has just taken an enormous hit to its economy, with the news of a major industrial fire taking hold in the town’s abattoir.

Local government: A lot of action beyond the 3Rs
@ Leigh Childs (Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm): I’ve never been to Broken Hill but am certainly aware of that town’s approach to solving its problems, courtesy of Erwin Chlanda’s report published five years ago –
It’s perhaps not surprising that the National Road Transport Hall of Fame is considering its options in relocating from Alice Springs to Broken Hill.
Another place worth checking out for its efforts to rejuvenate its fortunes is Albany, WA, according to an article I read about three years ago.
More recently there was a very interesting report by Kieran Finnane about the effort being made to re-invigorate Katherine ( by that town’s CEO Robert Jennings, who I understand did make a presentation for the Alice Springs Town Council attended by some of our councillors.
There’s also the example provided by Domenico Pecorari about his home town of Petritoli in Italy (
There appears to be lots of examples of how towns of similar size to Alice Springs have or are succeeding in improving their economies and liveability.
However, for some reason Alice Springs, which has been wrestling with these issues for some decades now, seems peculiarly resistant to learning and adapting from all these other examples – but, crikey, we sure do like to argue about it!

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Four charter flights from Japan to Alice Springs
The concept of Alice Springs Airport serving as an international flight arrival and departure facility is an old one.
It’s typical of the difficulties this region faces with major infrastructure developments of this kind; consider, for example, the histories of constructing the north-south railway (well over a century from its original conception), the sealing of the south Stuart Highway (this took decades), and the still awaited sealing of the “Outback Way” and Tanami Road (first called for by new Member for Stuart, Tony Greatorex, in 1966).
Nothing new in any of this; and it’s telling that progress on these issues is no faster under self-government of the NT (or, in the case of the airport, under private ownership) than it was when the Commonwealth had direct control of the Territory.
Some of us may live long enough to see the completion of all of these major transportation infrastructure developments for Central Australia.

Planning an Aboriginal art centre without Aboriginal people
What everybody seems to be avoiding here is that Doris Stuart has made a serious allegation of being misrepresented as a part of the “group preparing for the gallery” without her knowledge or approval.
She also raises serious questions about the operation of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.
Many years ago, when working as the storeman for Woolworths Alice Springs, I was confronted with an allegation of theft of a consignment of seafood (about $2000 worth, as I recall).
The docket acknowledging receipt of the consignment was signed in my name – except the signature wasn’t mine.
Whoever was responsible for the theft didn’t even bother to attempt to mimic my actual signature but the store management equally couldn’t be bothered to check that fact, too.
I never heard another word about it despite the fact an inhouse crime had been committed.
So I have some understanding of what Doris Stuart is complaining about, and I would consider that she is a victim of an act of corruption.
This should be formally investigated, in my opinion.

Council shoots Anzac precinct gallery down in flames
The Treasurer, Nicole Manison, has just released a “STATEMENT” declaring: “The Northern Territory is still $500 million out of pocket every year despite the Federal Government’s proposed new legislation on GST distribution.
“This legislation protects us from future cuts, but does nothing to restore the $500 million less GST revenue we have lost from Canberra.
“That’s $500 million less for police, teachers and nurses – and this continues to hurt us.”
Well, if the NT’s economic circumstances are now so dire, with so much less money available for essential services, does the NT Government have the $50 million to spare (let alone any extra funding) to spend on a National Aboriginal Art Gallery for which there is no actual plan and no substance to the claims made for its supposed economic benefit?
Notwithstanding its massive majority in the NT Legislative Assembly, this is a government that appears to be floundering with no real idea of what to do.
I think we’re in a lot more trouble than most of us realise.

Anzac Oval: hand it over, says NT Government
@ Hal Duell (Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:08 pm):My personal opinion is that I think you’re on the money with your suggestion about the NT Government’s motives, Hal.

Rain: Yesss!
@ Charlie Carter (Posted October 12, 2018 at 7:44 am): You’re correct, Charlie, except the Indian Ocean dipole is positive and the major driver of the current drought conditions across much of Australia.
So now we’re about to cop it from both directions – a “perfect storm,” oddly enough.

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