Lets not forget this is a two way thing. I …

Comment on The financial crisis in the Northern Territory by Trevor Shiell.

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.

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

Mineral exploration on the way up
We should be very concerned in spite of the hype about the ownership of many of these resources which we appear to be taking for granted.
The Verdant Minerals prospect for example is in the line of takeover fire from a supposedly friendly British company on the pretence that they need finance to develop the resource. Totally opportunistic.
We currently have sufficient phosphate resources to last us around 20 years, then we have to import –most likely from Algeria with all the political instability that involves.
This makes the Amaroo project of national food security importance, and cannot be taken for granted.
It is in the national interest to retain Australian control of this asset. The situation is covered in detail in the scientific magazine “Australasian Science” of December 2014 (Ref Prof. Graham Batten, Dept of Plant and Food Science. University of Sydney) which points out that so much of our native phosphorus leaves our shores in the form of food exports, and there is an urgent need to recycle, as there is with potash.
I had the same thing pointed out to me at a food production seminar interstate four years ago but no one in high places noticed, or even seemed to care.
I am a shareholder in Verdant Minerals, and will not be selling mine. There are several other strategic mineral producing companies in the same situation but as yet unnoticed.

Cart before the horse
I am again pointing to the extreme short sighted planning, money shortage or no money shortage.
We are at the centre of a unique set of infrastructure but fail to either realise or capitalise on it or both.
We are at the centre of at least three major cross country highways. North South, East West, with the advent of the Outback Way, and now North West (Tanami from the growing food bowl in the Ord to the markets in the South East).
The Brisbane to Perth route via the Outback Way is very competitive with the conventional route so we have a major interstate traffic hub right on our doorstep.
Then add in the rail link and an international airport and no where else in the country can match that.
Bring in the Outback Way as alternative entry into Alice via Altunga and you have an alternative for heavy transport going to Perth rather than through the current CBD and a new tourist province from the east.
Then add in the fast approaching avalanche of electric vehicles including trucks (Tesla has now on the market electric transport vehicles with a range of up to 800 km and cost savings of around 30 cents per km).
We will once again be caught flat footed, money or no money, and this makes the development of Brewer where the electricity is sourced so obvious as the base for a new commercial hub.
Several major infrastructure projects including interstate airports have been funded by overseas superannuation funds, but not here when we have billions secreted away but out of touch, as our planning is all too frequently.

Ghan walk: Signs of the times
Try watching the sunset as promoted on FM tourist radio from the seats closest to the car park steps on Anzac Hill.
You can’t see the view because of trees planted right there. Another masterpiece in forward thinking.
Watching last week’s landline re Kalgoolie and their murals shows again how shallow we are in our thinking, as does the ABC programme on alternative energy (Catalyst) last week.

Visitor from afar to Alex’s backyard
I last saw one on the Tanami near Chilla Well several years go and another near Newhaven.
I took particular notice because it could not fly, but fluttered along the side of the road as though injured.
I stopped but could not approach it, but it made its way into a low tree with difficulty.
Perhaps they are extending their range for climatic reasons.

Don’t mess with our treasures, says Alice
We seem to never learn in the name of “Progress”.
I am often asked by visitors with long memories, what happened to the bullbar where we used to meet?(Now a characterless adjunct to the Ford Plaza.)
Another asked: “Where are all the verandas?” Another told me: “This is just like Christie’s.” He lives at Christie’s beach, South of Adelaide.
I frequently get comments like: “What happened to Alice Springs” and “it’s just the same as everywhere else.”
We still refuse to look at places like Hahndorf where they have used their heritage to create a huge industry, while we have allowed – even encouraged – a few greedy developers to make their money and then hightail it out.
No wonder people no longer travel the long distances to get here only to find that its just the same –sometimes even worse than the place they had just left.
There has been no imagination or LONG TERM future direction in planning.
Were it not so, where the disgrace of Kilgariff is now would be a vibrant demonstration of what is being done to feed the extra nine billion people expected to inhabit the earth within 30 years, and encourage the investment to make that happen.
They can’t eat houses and Todd Mall would be filled with throngs of people experiencing both the history, culture and possibilities of what can still be a unique town if they make the right decisions on what is valuable.
And that is not they yield in housing allotments or parking spaces per hectare as was a planning consultant’s vision of the town. Time to start again.

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