Liz Martin says goodbye and good luck

p2271-Liz-MartinLiz Martin OAM is leaving the National Transport Hall of Fame after building it up, over a quarter of a century, into a major local icon with multi-million dollar support from trucking companies and massive involvement by volunteers.

 

In a sad farewell note she says the Hall will continue in Alice Springs, albeit at a much reduced scale, and she hopes at least the camaraderie, commitment and corporate knowledge will be saved.

 

It beggars belief that the government and its instrumentalities have – for years – been incapable of dealing with issues that are trivial when seen in the light of the Hall’s importance to the town.

 

Ms Martin’s work in this field has won her many awards over the years including Australian Road Transport Personality of the Year, Australian Trucking Industry Woman of the Year, NT Achiever of the Year, Tourism Ministers Award for Excellence in Tourism and an Order of Australia Medal.

 

After months of silence the government issued a statement yesterday – but Ms Martin says it is well off the mark.

 

This is her story about these events, crucial to the future of the town.

 

– Erwin Chlanda

 

The National Road Transport Hall of Fame has always been a proudly self-funded community museum.

 

For us it has never NEVER been about the money. I have no problem getting money, and more than the NT Government is offering, if it comes to that. The money offered to our society [by the NT] is conditional and we don’t agree with or wish to operate under those conditions.

 

This has been going on for three years – not just since last year. We have asked and asked for help in restructuring our association so that we can come close to being compliant. We have asked for a little flexability given the uniqueness of our organisation.

 

We been told we have no choice. Our research shows we actually have several options. We were foolish enough to believe that the department would actually help us to transition into a structure that better suited our operations.

 

We could not have been more wrong. Instead, we are being forced to get back in the box and stop thinking outside the square.

 

So the issues in brief:

 

• Our financials from 2013 were lost by the accountant and thankfully finally turned up last year. Subsequently, as advised by three seperate professionals, the following years could not be audited until that year was done.

 

That is a mitigating circumstance and we readily admit our treasurer could have and should have been more vigilant. The following years were done and ready to go. We took our books into Licensing NT twice last year and they refused to even look at them.

 

• We also do not hold our AGM within the required timeframe. We do it in Feb or March. This is because of operational factors including the business of the tourist season, the massive workload of our reunion through to September and sponsor contracts which are traditionally negotiated in October.

 

Our membership is primarily truckies and farmers – in November and December they are delivering Christmas and doing harvest. In January it is still school holidays and money is tight. February or March is ideal as it is before the tourist season starts.

 

The department want us to hold our AGM during the reunion. We have tried that and it failed. When I told the senior compliance officer in Alice Springs that the members were all drinking and having fun and didn’t want the AGM held then, her response was that “they will do what they are told and there is nothing in the Act that says they have to be sober or sensible anyway. Just be there.” We were shocked.

 

• Most of our members are interstate. Most of our committee are also interstate. We were told we needed to have more diligent local committee members.

 

Plenty of people put their hands up but in an organisation as big as ours they need to walk the talk too. While our interstate committee does not get together for a physical meeting often we had a phone hookup every Tuesday.

 

They also contribute significantly to the association in other ways. For example last year one spent $30k setting up a charitable trust for us, another employed a consultant to put a successful submission to ATO for tax deductible recipient status, another spent over $50k bringing in trucks to Alice from all over Australia, another pledged $10,000 for naming rights to our proposed new military museum.

 

I am not going to get that from Alice Springs. It is a small and generous community but it is already giving, giving, giving.

 

• Over the duration of this investigation we have, on request, physically taken our membership register into the OBA offices on two ocassions. We have also emailed it at least twice.

 

As a self-funded organisation it is really important we retain our membership level. It is worth around $35k per annum to us.

 

Our key strategy here has been to invoice our membership every January (in time for the AGM) and post invoices out with our annual newsletter and AGM notices. This in itself saves us $10k in postage. We were told at a meeting with the department by a man called Glen (?) that we were one of only a very few associations to do that.

 

• Over the past year we have been constantly advised that a statutory manager would be appointed and “you will pay for it big time”.

 

When I asked the officer if she meant financially or penalty wise she said: “Both.”

 

The compliance officer advised it would take them about six weeks to appoint a statutory manager who would take control. We did not think this was a particularly bad thing. We thought at least if he/she spent some time inside our business they would better understand our non-compliance issues.

 

My vice chair and I spent considerable time clearing and setting up a private and functional workspace for them and no one turned up. What I objected to was the standing down of the committee as I knew it would be the beginning of the end.

 

• A meeting was then called by the senior compliance officer in Alice Springs.

 

When we got there an unknown man was present. He was introduced as Glen. I asked the compliance officer who he was and was told I did not need to know.

 

When I asked again I was told I would find out in due course. We assumed he was the elusive statutory manager we still hadn’t seen. Glen, whoever he was, turned out to be very reconciliatory and we thought while he asked some tough questions they were relevant. We felt, for the first time, that we had actually been heard.

 

The officer kept asking when our financials would be done and we kept telling her we could not speak for the accountant. At the end of the meeting the officer said we were still operating illegally and we would have to pay for the statutory manager they were going to appoint.

 

She then said she was going on holidays the next week so it wouldn’t happen immediately. I said I was supposed to be going on holidays too and was told “not while all this is going on you won’t”.

 

At that point we handed her the keys but she wouldn’t take them. Glen asked if we had a key register and we gave it to him thinking he was the appointed one. We were given it back told to go and wait. And wait we did. The manager didn’t turn up, the officer went on holidays and we sat in the office twiddling our thumbs.

 

• My father died in November last year. On the day and indeed at the very time he was about to be cremated I received a call from the senior compliance officer in Alice Springs. She said to me: “We have really got you now. You are in so much trouble. You are operating with an illegal committee.”

 

I said to her: “I don’t know what you mean but my father is being cremated as we speak and I don’t want to do this today.” I had just poured a glass of wine and wanted to chill and reflect a while.

 

The officer’s response was: “You always have an excuse”. It turned out that because she couldn’t find invoices in their names she assumed the committee were not financial .

 

The fact is each of our committee is a life member, most of them platinum ($10,000). She already had this list. Nevertheless I had to go to the office, find the list, run highlighter through their names and email it to her (again). And yes, I was very upset.

 

• We were then advised in writing that we were to be investigated. We have never had a problem with that.

 

Under the Act, Licensing NT is entitled to investigate breaches or contraventions of the Associations Act. We know we are non-compliant and we know we could have done some things differently.

 

We have had our share of disgruntled staff, volunteers and committee. A phone hook up was arranged with my vice chair and I, and an investigator from Darwin and the compliance officer from Alice Springs.

 

We were caught totally unprepared as we were ruthlessly interrogated over our operational matters and my personal life, not our breaches of the Act. [Regarding] my personal life [I was] told it was inappropriate for me to have property or a partner interstate.

 

Yes, I do spend my spare time with my partner interstate but most of it is at truck shows and events around the country.

 

My partner also spends a lot of time in Alice Springs with me. He has his own transport business including a heavy vehicle workshop. He has, for many years, repaired and maintained the eight vehicles in our Hall of Fame and Ghan fleets at no cost to the society.

 

• Among other things we were asked about what we were going to do with the Ghan Museum – he was not aware that we had been operating it for seven years – and why we thought we had the skills and ability to run a museum.

 

We had previously emailed our strategic plan, business plan and our operational policies and procedures to the department. Neither had looked at any of these.

 

I had previously invited the department to come and see our museum and offices which was also declined. Very little of this meeting focussed on our breaches of the Act.

 

I told them I needed urgently to start preparing for our reunion which was our biggest fundraiser. This included negotiation of our sponsor contracts, production of the annual magazine, presentations at truck clubs, membership invoices, AGM notices sent out etc etc.

 

I was told emphatically that I was NOT to do any of that until we became compliant. I explained our fundraising strategies for the quiet period and was again told NO. There could not be an AGM nor any fundraising functions nor any reunion preparations.

 

The Darwin officer was so angry with our “audacity” in not accepting his authority without question that his voice was shaking.

 

We were asked to respond to questions and provide information requested in a letter they had not yet sent to us (it was found and emailed to us the next day). We were able to provide 99% of this within 24 hours.

 

• The absolute lack of confidentiality by compliance officers has also been a serious concern during this process especially given the Act provides that results of investigations may not be publicised.

 

We were told they were going to sort out Northern Territory associations because we had been [allowed to] get away with too much and they (OBA) were taking control. In fact we were told we were going to be made an example of.

 

During the course of conversations over time the officers discussed breaches of a local motorcycle club, Riding for the Disabled, the Hospital Drovers and an offroad racing club among others. We are also aware that the Darwin officer told at least two other professionals in Alice Springs we had no record keeping procedures. At that point the department had refused to come and see our business and even look at what we had personally delivered to them.

 

The end result of all this is that the NT Government will make funding available IF (and I have it in writing) we downsize and restructure our organisation to comply with the NT Associations Act.

 

They may now even, on merit, grant us permussion to hold our reunion IF we accept their funding and their changes to our business. Too little too late.

 

Setting aside our issues with our previous accountant losing our financials, we have never fit the Act and nor do I believe we can remain a self-funded and financially viable organisation if we do.

 

I thank Andrew Thorogood, small business champion, who has tried to assist. I am meeting with him on Tuesday and had all this not blown up beforehand my intentions were to relay to him the following.

 

• I have seriously considered my position and it appears I am the stumbling block between a vibrant self-funded national museum and a nicely compliant small town transport museum. I simply cannot work under the restrictive conditions being forced upon me.

 

For that reason I tender my resignation as Chief Executive with 30 days notice as per the terms of my contract (which expired over six months ago anyway).

 

This timing coincides with the end of the 12 months tenure of my committee positions and the proposed date of the AGM had we been permitted to have one. I will not be remaining on the committee beyond that date. What other committee members decide is their business but I think you’ll find most will also not continue on or renominate.

 

I will try and ensure this is a smooth transition. I will deliver financials to the end of March to the accountant and will make myself available for a handover when a new committee OR manager is appointed or elected or whatever the NT Government decides to do.

 

I will be taking my entitlements for long service and holiday pay, both of which have been previously provided for and do not impact operational funding. I am also owed significant funds for overtime and book sales revenue but in order to leave good working capital for the new entity I am prepared to enter into a payment plan with the new entity.

 

My agreement with the previous committee gives me two years’ free tenancy in the cottage I live in on site after my contract ends (ie from now). This was for three reasons, being that I would be on hand for consultancy and as a voluntary historian;  for security given the increasing criminal activity in the area; and because I paid for it initially. I wish to take up 12 months of this tenancy.

 

I doubt I’ll stay that long, I just need to reorganise my life as I have lived there for 17 years providing night security. However, I do not wish to be involved in consultancy, security or volunteering. I expect unfettered access and provision of water and power.

 

I am aware of rumours going around that we are relocating the assets of the society interstate. This is not so and nor are we stupid enough to do it without following proper process.

 

Many of the vehicles are privately owned and what happens with those is the choice of the owners. Yes, some will definitely be leaving. Yes, we have had significant offers to relocate and the two museums I will be working with in Broken Hill and Shepparton already have significant collections; they just need interpretation, character, profile and interaction with the industry and that’s what I can provide.

 

Hopefully there will always be a home in Alice Springs for iconic Territory roadtrains such as Bertha, Julie and the AEC. I love them like my babies and could never justify tearing them from their roots. I just hope someone steps up for them.

 

I will however be relocating my personal trucks and collections and the other items that are mine or that I have paid for. I also advise any locals in Alice Springs to come and get their property or negotiate a new loan agreement with the NT Government.

 

I have given 25 years of my life to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame. I even mortgaged my own house for an overdraft to start it. When I went on the payroll 15 years ago the business had an annual turn over of $40k. In the last year that I was permitted to fundraise and hold events etc (two years ago) we turned over $1.7m.

 

I know I have been guilty of blurring the lines between me and the museum. To me we have always been one. At the end of the day we are just a bunch of enthusiasts who want to play trucks. I am so sad the NT could not facilitate a way for us to do this in Alice Springs.

 

This is the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. For me this has never been a job. It has been my absolute passion and my life. However, through all the challenges and tribulations over the years I have had a truly wonderful journey and amazing opportunities. I could not have done this anywhere but the Alice Springs of old. Thank You.

 

The people of the trucking industry are the most genuine and generous of any sector. They love the Hall of Fame and they love Alice Springs and had made it their Mecca, the keeper of their heritage and the place they celebrate their peers and their mates.

 

I am devastated at the impact this debacle has had on them. To witness big tough truckies break down because they can’t put their recently deceased mates on the Wall of Fame at the annual reunion is something I just can not continue to put myself through.

 

Nevertheless I have made the most incredible friends all over Australia and indeed the world and am so very privileged to have worked with some of them on our committee, others as volunteers, suppliers and customers and others as sponsors or supporters, at the end of the day, all friends. I have always said we have the best family of volunteers in Australia. I didn’t lie. I love you all.

 

It is interesting that the panic is all about the assets of the society being relocated. I just want to say you have all got it so very wrong. The biggest asset of the society is not the ones with wheels, I can get them anywhere, it is the camaraderie, the corporate knowledge and the character and the compassion of the people of the society; the ones who walk away on two legs. I hope the next entity, in whatever form it takes, can fill even half of one of their shoes.

 

Alice Springs, I say thank you, good bye and good luck.

 

 

 

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39 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. Mike and Maxine Beale
    Posted March 11, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Liz, I was so shocked at this news, which I had just stumbled across, that I had to read your notes to the end. It has brought a tear to my eyes as well.
    Your connection to the historical trucking industry has just been shattered by bumbling government twits who, I believe, cannot see past the nose on their faces or face the reality of what you and your volunteers have achieved over the past 25 years or more.
    I and the members of the committee thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the museum in August 2016 for the AGM of the Australian Historic Motoring Federation.
    It was a wonderful eye opener for myself and my wife Maxine, great to meet a person such as yourself with a brilliant knowledge of the transport industry within Australia.
    I feel it was an absolute honour to meet someone with your vision, tenacity and devotion to such an iconic facility in Alice. It is one of the reasons that we both want to return to Alice to see more of the area.
    You will be sorely missed from that environment but whatever you do next I know you will succeed. From myself, my wife all the members of the AHMF committee we wish you all the best for the future hope we catch you again soon.
    Best wishes,
    Mike Beale
    President AHMF
    President Namoi Valley Antique Vehicle Club, Narrabri NSW

    [ED – Please note our updates to that story.]

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  2. Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Hi Liz,
    It was a great shock to hear and read the events leading up to your decision to say goodbye.
    The many years and accomplishments you have achieved are outstanding which I have followed and admired.
    Especially after visiting you and the fantastic display at the National Hall of Fame at Alice Springs.
    I wish you every success and happiness in your new venture where ever it may be. Your name will always be as one with the National Hall of Fame as it stands today.
    Best wishes
    Roger Dunstan
    President
    Caboolture Historical Society Inc

    View Comment
  3. Catherine Kennedy
    Posted February 17, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    G’Day Liz, typical beurocratic bs. If ever we are able to return to The Alice I do hope with all the bs going on that the Transport Hall of Fame is still up and running.
    We would have liked to catch up but perhaps at Shepparton or Broken Hill we may see you again. Now you will have more time for your writing and enjoyment of retirement (not likely with you re retirement). All the best in your new life. Beth and Mervyn Kennedy.

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  4. Posted February 13, 2018 at 10:31 am

    While volunteering for many months at the Road Transport Hall of Fame I had the opportunity to gather information for my book Wake Up Time, that describes the incredible waste of government and private funds in projects meant to support Indigenous people, but which fail time and again: Government mismanagement at an unprecedented scale, visible to everyone with an open eye.
    Meanwhile I experienced firsthand the major achievements of Liz and her team in establishing, running and expending the transport and Ghan museums.
    What a tremendous outcome for a privately funded organisation.
    All of that in a physical environment that is at times very hostile (break ins, vandalism … my own car was stolen from the museum precinct), but despite these problems – and low support of government – they kept going.
    How is it possible that the NT (and Federal) government would even consider to contribute to approaches that could lead to the end of the THF, while their own policies in Indigenous affairs for instance only result in waste of millions, if not billions of dollars.
    Even if mistakes have been made, then fix them. Get over it and move on. Give a hand to Liz, her team and the hundreds of volunteers.
    If the NT needs anything then it is economic assets that do work, and attract tourists.
    It’s a bloody shame what is happening. I wish Liz and others a prosperous and healthy future.

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  5. Surprised!
    Posted February 13, 2018 at 7:29 am

    I received an email this morning from the NTG: “The Northern Territory Government has announced a new $103 million tourism stimulus package to accelerate the growth of the Territory’s tourism industry in 2018.
    Starting immediately and rolling out over this and the next financial year, Turbocharging Tourism will deliver:
    • $26.57 million for smarter and more targeted tourism marketing;
    • $56.24 million for new tourism infrastructure creating more memorable experiences for our visitors; and
    • $20.78 million to enhance our existing festivals, events and other experiences”
    Clearly Transport Hall of Fame is in the excluded category!
    Surely the government would see the sense in supporting the TFH, rather than simply throwing our money around on new ventures?
    THF is a proven attraction.
    But since when does the government exhibit any common sense.
    As for the comments about the “books” going missing. Well, I have many times, experienced the government misplacing “books” or documents. But they are bigger, so they are allowed to get away with it.
    In this day and age losing the “books” is an unnecessary thing, because it should all be done electronically.
    Perhaps instead of condemning THF, we should be providing some support ($) to assist them with an improvement in technology.

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  6. Helen Noonan
    Posted February 13, 2018 at 4:32 am

    Sorry to hear this. Good luck in the future. Hope it all gets sorted.

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  7. Ric and Shirley Browne
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    So sorry to hear of your situation Liz. Alice Springs Hall of Fame will not be the same without you. All the hard work and dedication you have put into Australia’s transport icon and then to have to walk away. SO SAD.
    All the best in your new venture and good luck.
    Love Ric and Shirley Browne.

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  8. Psuedo Guru
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    NT Government just announced $103m promo tourism spend. Support for the Transport Hall of Fame and budget flights into Alice would produce immediate results.

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  9. Matty Harkin
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Liz, I stand with you on anything. There are many words I could use here towards the wombat headed magpie legged bureaucratic flat faced numb skull government. They have no heart no soul, Was ever any of them changing flats, or broken springs, or on a shovel digging a truck out. Bless ya friend, what ever you do.

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  10. Mike Keatley
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Hey Liz, very sad days ahead for Alice. Sorry to see you step down, you have put your heart and soul into the HOF. All the best for the future.

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  11. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    @ Chris2: Politicians, elected or not, do not rule the county. Public servants do. Politicians came and go, public servants remain.
    When the Minister is inundated with correspondence, Bernard offers to take it off his hands by sending “official replies”.
    Bernard: “I’ll just say, ‘The Minister has asked me to thank you for your letter’ and something like ‘The matter is under consideration’, or even ‘under active consideration’.”
    Hacker: “What’s the difference?”
    Bernard: “Well, ‘under consideration’ means we’ve lost the file, ‘under active consideration’ means we’re trying to find it.”

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  12. Dallas Hill
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    My many thanks to you, Liz. You are a true Aussie Legend.
    This is an absolute disgrace. This is an insult to yourself and the many volunteers that have put in many hours of hard work to make it a success.
    How dare the NT Government attempt to belittle you all the hard work.
    They, the government officials, must remember they are public servants (not Gods).
    I used to pre-plan my trips north to coincide with this annual event.
    I loved being able to wheel my truck into the Alice knowing a couple of days off and a great time was to be had.
    Shame to that inept government. Bloody shame.

    View Comment
  13. Laurie and Ros MacBeth
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Sorry to read this Liz, you have worked so hard to achieve so much for the transport industry. I’m sure you will be a success in whatever your next venture is.
    Your long time friend, Laurie MacBeth.

    View Comment
  14. Ben
    Posted February 11, 2018 at 4:30 am

    I’m on the committee and the compliance officer for one of the other clubs who is apparently being investigated.
    It’s interesting that they cited us as also being non compliant. One because we have never been notified, two because we ARE compliant (KPMG and the NTG said so) and three because even if we weren’t, that should be kept confidential.
    I’ve worked in finance for 26 years and been a CPA for 17. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a better grasp of the regulations than the department.
    Best of luck Liz, but there is one part that they are right on. “The accountant lost my books” isn’t an excuse. Might be time to switch firms.

    View Comment
  15. Dave Chapman
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Sad to hear what is happening up there but I know one thing for sure, whoever takes over up there, if they haven’t got the passion that Liz has that will be the end of it.
    Hopefully something can be done to save the place but without Liz I can’t see that happening. Good luck, Liz.

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  16. Posted February 10, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    This is an absolute travesty.
    Once in a lifetime do you find someone that puts their hart and soul into what they do, they infect everyone around them with their passion.
    To the power brokers that started this process, shame on you, what where you thinking?
    This will cost the region millions in lost tourism dollars.
    To Liz, thank you for building the transport industry’s Field of Dreams.

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  17. Chris2
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    If only we had a strong committed Chief Minister who with the greater good of Alice Springs in mind was prepared to direct the petty bureaucrats to fix the impasse, no matter what it took.
    Alas, sadly we have what we have.

    View Comment
  18. R Henry
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Every NT Government as it comes to power promises to cut red tape then goes on to support more of the same.
    Like the Feds, ministers are getting to be too busy preening their egos to attend to matters like this and more and more finance attracting concerns slide away from the local regions.

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  19. Mark Wilson
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Immediate questions arise in my mind (can you do some digging here, Erwin?):
    1. What involvement did the Minister for Business and Industry have in this breakdown between NRTHoF and his department? If not, why not? The Associations Act is under the control of the NT Government and in particular the Chief Minister, being also the Minister for Business and Industry. The Minister’s full title is: Trade, Business and Innovation. Can only wonder where the innovation went to here. All we have witnessed is an intransigent department. If there’s another side can the Minister please enlighten us?
    2. What involvement have our town council CEO, Mayor and appointed councillors had in mediating a solution between the parties? If not, why not?
    This breakdown has been a long time coming. Well time for parties to get together. It seems that egos and possible incompetence have played significant roles. The incompetence in the loss of the financial records seem to have merely exacerbated other systemic issues.
    Where to now our beloved Alice Springs town? It is so sad to see the town lose such a committed and talented lady, not to mention the damage to the Hall of Fame itself.
    Best wishes, and thank-you Liz Martin for your years of dedicated service to our town. May your next adventures find less bureaucracy.

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  20. Douglas Draeger
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Best wishes and good luck with your future projects Liz. You are a bloody legend. Alice Springs locals will have to step up now to ensure the museum continues to run. They won’t. The existing volunteers, existing committee and existing Board are all intrastate members and Alice Springs does not care. Sad but true. You will continue to have your supporters wherever the future is for a new road transport history museum.
    All the best.

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  21. Ken Brown
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Very sad to hear Liz. Bev and I wish you all the best for your future, but as they say you can only bash your head on the brick wall for so long. Surely the powers that be could arrange some way of overcoming the difficulties surrounding this iconic major historic museum.
    Ken & Bev Brown.

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  22. Daran Rumbal
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    One of the most motivated and professional ladies I have had the pleasure of meeting and doing business with in the Alice. I cannot believe what I have been reading and what a sorry world we live in when we try to knock down those around us who have done so much for our community. Once again Alice loses an icon!

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  23. David
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Without commenting on the merits or otherwise of this sordid business, if Liz’s description of the events and conversations with the “senior compliance officer” are correct, that person should be shown the door immediately. At best she appears to be arrogant and unfit for a responsible position.

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  24. Hermann Weber
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    This is unbelievable. I fully understand Liz and wish her well. What she has achieved cannot be denied. Petty officialdom gone mad must be held accountable. Where are the Oldies who made our Town what it is? Can you imagine this happening when Everingham was in charge? One word from him would have fixed this mess. I do hope, but won’t hold my breath, that this will be solved in an honourable way and at least the bureaucrats involved get the sack.

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  25. Richard Lim
    Posted February 10, 2018 at 8:49 am

    It is a sad day when Liz Martin sees the only way forward for her in regard to her creation which she raised to maturity, is to walk away from it. I think it is probably too late to change Liz’s mind.
    It is frustrating that officious bureaucracy, whose job is to facilitate, becomes a major obstacle.
    How the Alice Springs community can intervene is difficult to envisage.
    The Government … a member or all members of Parliament in Central Australia … could be the facilitator. Bring in a mediator .. one without prior briefing from the personalities in play … to go through the full process.
    Good luck Liz. See you in Broken Hill or Shepparton … your corporate memory, your passion, your dedication to all things trucks, cannot be lost.

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  26. Jerry Fitzsimmons
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    Firstly Liz. Let me say I admire your courage to speak out.
    Your commitment to our town I also acknowledge.
    Your efforts to survive, which you have outlined are almost beyond belief-but like so many of us in Alice would know, having to deal with those lobbed into a position of authority, and I wish to emphasise lobbed, it can be onerous.
    What you have diligently outlined is a story so many of us in the Territory have often had to grapple with.
    Nowhere else in this wonderful part of Australia would the people, it appears, you have had to answer to, hold down or survive in a job.
    However, one thing rest assured is certain is that those who have pulled rank on you will have to deal with, one day, what they themselves are creating-and it ain’t nice, believe me.
    Liz, thank you for what you gave to Alice Springs, in many ways.

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  27. Dere and Karen Nathan
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    So sorry to read this Liz. We enjoyed many hours of volunteering with you.
    Hope something can be resurrected and keep the Hall of Fame operating.
    It is an icon in Alice Springs. We wish you all the best with your future endeavours.
    Derek and Karen.

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  28. Phil
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    I don’t wish to speak ill of anyone and the museum is/was an amazing place to visit but let’s talk about the elephant in the room “long term poor corporate governance”.
    Saying the accountants lost the books is like saying the dog ate the homework.
    I really hope this whole mess gets turned around fur Australia’s sake, let alone Alice Springs’s sake. The facility itself is iconic.

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  29. Neil Haywood
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    The Hall Of Fame will crumble without Liz Martin and don’t think the transport industry Old School will take this laying down.

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  30. Danny Whitford
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Sorry to read this, Liz. All the best in whatever your new venture may be. I am Greg’s brother, I think from memory he was inducted in 2010. Good Luck.

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  31. Another Alice Local
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Sorry to see the trouble that this iconic place has got into and the stress on Liz is a damn shame, as is her decision to move on.
    Clearly things will change without Liz at the Hall of Fame, and perhaps the Hall will not survive without her presence and personal energy and committment. What a pity.
    All the same, reading Liz’s letter of explanation makes me think that this association’s way of doing things might inform a valuable case study on what not-to-do in good governance for not-for-profit organisations.

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  32. Kevin Everett
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Liz I have known you for 17 years since I arrived in Alice, I have always admired your true grit and the passion you have had for the Transport Hall of Fame.
    It is a very sad day in the history of Alice Springs.
    I am very annoyed at this whole situation. This is an outrage.
    I wish you all the best for your future.
    Love from Kevin Everett

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  33. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    So sorry Liz. May be it is time in Alice Springs to have the volunteers striking in support of the Hall of Fame.
    Alice Springs, like many other towns in the country, depends on the efforts of the volunteers who give generously of their time to help associations / organisations / others.
    In Alice the list is huge.
    One day or two without volunteers, and the government will realize where they go wrong.

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  34. Surprised!
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    WOW. What a terrible shame. Liz is a fantastic ambassador for tourism. Something this town needs desperately.
    All of the people at THF work tirelessly and passionately, only to be squashed by the Governments stupidity and inflexibility.
    Yet another clear demonstration of our pollies’ lack of skills.
    Perhaps if THF was in Darwin, they’d get more support.

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  35. John Sheridan
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Well I am bloody flabbergasted. Another outstandingly successful organisation looks to be stuffed by a government body. A major tourism icon in Central Australia. And the taxpayers / voters let the fools do it.
    Different if there was criminal activity involved. But just some red tape – obviously not dotted /crossed etc? Hopefully it can be saved but not if there is any government involvement.

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  36. John Bell
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Liz Martin is typical of the hardworking people who have given the Alice a good name over many years.
    The National Transport Hall of Fame situation is a tragedy should never have been allowed to occur.
    It’s easy to see where it is headed, with Liz and the organisation a needless casualty of government regulations. Volunteer organisations rarely receive the financial recognition that they deserve.
    The loss of this admirable Hall of Fame will leave a huge hole that will need to be filled.
    A Central Australian Sports Hall of Fame is long overdue. However, even if it gets financial support from government or council or private business, it is hardly likely that the volunteers who would inevitably staff it would get the support they need.
    Alice should take a leaf out of the book of Queanbeyan, a NSW town of similar population.
    Its Sports Hall of Fame is magnificent in its simplicity – right in the heart of town. A gem.

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  37. Another Local
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    What a shame to see Liz go, especially under these circumstances.
    Anyone who has to deal with Licensing NT on a regular basis knows how entirely incompetent the majority of their staff are.
    There are always two sides to a story, but knowing what LNT are like, Liz’s side sounds all too believable. God help the Road Transport Hall of Fame.

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  38. Melissa
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Alice is in big trouble and we have a Government determined to break it completely.
    Technical compliance bull$#it is all this government is about. They will continue to destroy small local businesses and industry the way they’re going.
    Good Luck to you Liz, you have helped create something from nothing, you are a true champion of enterprise.
    Pity this bureaucratic government doesn’t see that people like you are essential to strong communities.

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  39. Alice Local
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Damn shame to see you go Liz, after all the hard work you and your volunteers have done out there. Pity the government doesn’t see it that way as it’s shame to see they are not human like us!

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