Research is the answer. How is it that the Sundrop …

Comment on Northern development is getting cracking – slowly by Trevor Shiell.

Research is the answer. How is it that the Sundrop enterprise in Port Augusta produces 15% of
Australia’s tomatoes from three Ha of salt marsh using recycled water, solar energy and technology?
How is it that this technology is being replicated in Somalia and not here?
And how is it that an Australian company has had to go to Israel to grow medicinal cannabis because of their nano technology in irrigation, not recognised here?
Why did it not happen here as it has in the US and Canada?
How is it that we could have a transport hub where three transcontinental road routes, a transcontinental rail link and an internationally rated airport and a vital gas intersection, are all adjacent to one another (Brewer) but never recognised as a huge asset, or used because of their proximity and direct connections to Asian markets?
And how to make our beef industry more productive when research on that topic (our Acacias, being leguminous) is being done in India, Africa and Asia and not here?
We built ordinary houses where we should be displaying all of that and what is possible.
And how is it that the latest research on improving soil microbiology and fertility (Michorizza) was done here in 1988?
Most of our politicians would not know what that was let alone how it could be used for improved crop productivity as it is doing in other places.
And how is it that the whole of the Danish train system runs on alternative energy and we take for granted our intense solar potential?
Could we not do the same with the North – South rail?
After all we have the sun and the Vanadium for the batteries.
No wonder it has taken three years to get this far.
Bring in Elon Musk with his committee of 1, and forget about conventions and committees.
Singapore and Lee Kwan Yu got it right, and I suggest that every politician and planner should read his story.

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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