I write in response to your article “Challenger for mayoral …

Comment on Challenger for mayoral contest? by Liz Martin.

I write in response to your article “Challenger for mayoral contest” and in support of Alderman Taylor and some of the other related comments. I would be a fool to say that there are not things this council could have done better but Council Bashing is not the way to get them done. That takes an amazing amount of energy that could be put to better use.
For the most part I have enjoyed the past four years serving as an Alderman on the Alice Springs Town Council including the diversity of the elected members and their differences of opinions. Sure, there have been some ups and downs – that is the reality of any group dynamic, but there has also been some major achievements along the way that should not be discounted – and nor should Mayor Damien Ryan’s role in securing them for our town.
If your resolve to serve this community was strong enough being shut down by the numbers wouldn’t be an issue? Isn’t that called, umm, what is it again … that’s right – democracy! Is the fight not worth it? So much valuable time has been wasted this past twelve months in the Council Chamber rehashing and arguing over the vote after the fact. I’m all for the debate before hand, even a bit of a blue clears the air sometimes but once it’s lost or won, it’s lost or won. I have watched the losing voters walk out of the council meeting because they could not get their way halting business and decisions that could have (should have) been resolved that night. I have listened to irrational outbreaks, loud profanities and four letter words, constant interruptions and even some fair-dinkum racist and sexist comments during meetings – but these blokes are usually smart enough to reserve those for the confidential part of the meeting. Is it little wonder nobody wants to debate with them in the public part of the meeting.
One of the potential Mayoral candidates not once, not twice, not even three times, but for FOUR continual years, readily admits he had not even bothered to read his papers prior to the council meetings and then the rest of us have to sit there and listen while the facts of the matter are painstakingly explained to him.
I can think of far more productive ways to spend our meeting time. It’s not as if there are not a million issues out there. Oh, and as for not discussing Law and Order (again and again and again) it would be good if a few new solutions were offered up occasionally. It is just more of the same and you are right, NO I don’t want to hear it again. I want to see their actions. And I certainly did not want to hear that because I didn’t support him that he hopes it is my car “that gets trashed next time”. Too late – I’ve had a few cars trashed over the years – that bit didn’t concern me but we certainly don’t want that attitude emanating from a potential mayor; a person who is supposed to be a community leader working towards genuine inclusion, not only within the council, but also the community at large. I don’t care what anyone says to the contrary, Mayor Damien Ryan has worked single-mindedly towards this, fairly, professionally and way over and above the call of duty often in trying and unpredictable circumstances.
Yep, I have been told I am a “Damien puppet” before and I’ll get told again for saying this but anyone who knows me knows I do have a strong will and a mind of my own and if I didn’t believe it I wouldn’t say it! And no, I don’t see the need to grab a headline for what I do or don’t do in the community. I have even been told that I am anti-tourism because I wouldn’t support a particular alderman on a particular issue – again, I see no need to justify my stance here – surely running what is arguably the most successful self funded community based museum in the country, one that brings millions of dollars into our local economy annually, contradicts that.
I have also been told (constantly) that “people” like the Mayor, myself and Aldermen Clarke, Rawnsley, Taylor and Heenan have been in town “too long” so we don’t see the issues for what they are and should make room for “new blood”. At the end of the day the election (aka the people) will make that decision. Some elected members have declared their hand and others haven’t so this is far from a campaign blurb on their behalf. What I personally witnessed in this group, despite their different political alliances and varying platforms, has been extensive business experience, a diverse set of skills, selfless contribution to community in many and varied ways, drive, dedication and determination and perhaps most importantly, a genuine love for our special part of Australia and its many peoples collectively. It is a sad state of affairs when some have to make themselves look bigger and better by denigrating the efforts of others – especially when these same people have as much to offer if they could just look forward instead of back.
Who knows what will happen with the abandoning of the exhaustive preferential voting system. Nevertheless I wish all candidates well in their campaigns and in the coming election and I especially want to thank ALL my fellow elected members, the CEO Mr. Rex Mooney (whose knowledge and patience astounds me) and the Directors and staff of the Alice Springs Town Council for the past four years. It has for me, been more of a learning circle than a learning curve and yes, I will be putting my hand up for Alderman again; there are a few things this council started that I would like to see come to fruition.

Recent Comments by Liz Martin

‘Historic agreement to strengthen SA-NT bond’
I doubt it will ever be (and hope it doesnt happen Tony) but if we did integrate with SA to form a new state then Darwin should be the capital and Alice the third city. So much untapped potential with both.
Besides! Adelaide who?
Federal infrastructure and services should never be hampered by state boundaries. We have had a century and more of jurisdictional inefficiencies in transport, education and health just to name a few areas of concern. Collaboration and unity is the best outcome.
How about joining ranks with WA and Qld for the Outback Way, too?

Making the most of The Rock challenge
Re the comment: “Promotion of the women’s and the road transport halls of fame and Olive Pink Botanic Garden could lift their image and be useful to extend the season at either end.”
I am just wondering what “lift” our image means and how it relates to extending the season at either end.
The National Road Transport Hall of Fame has consistently operated contrary to downward trends in tourism. The last year was our best ever with a turnover of $1.7m, 30 additional trucks were added to the collection with a nett worth of $1m. Our visitor numbers are up there in the top three attractions and the other two are taxpayer funded or assisted.
Yes, we do tend to run our own race out here. We are self funded and community based and dont have a big advertising budget. We have had to think smart, work hard and be opportunistic and lateral in our approach.
While Alice Springs may not know much about us the transport industry on a global level certainly does.
That is our bread and butter and it flows on througout the town. Tourism is our cream and yes we see lots of challenges moving forward but me thinks a few businesses in town could take a leaf out of our book.

Tourism bonanza in final CLP year
In 21 years of operation the 2015/16 year was by far the best for the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in all sectors of our business, in some areas by 40%.
A turnover of $1.7m for a self funded community based museum with a staff of three is pretty amazing.
We attribute this to many things including our volunteer workforce, our small budget marketing strategy, the trucking industry and most certainly Government marketing which increased the self drive and grey nomad sectors which are our bread and butter.
By taking operators to prospective agents / visitors we started to get back that real characters of the Outback feel.
It made us personalities, not just a destination, and they want to come visit.
It is what we had lost from the Hey Hey days!
We do the same to a much lesser degree with the trucking industry.
I have to say we have always had a great relationship with both NT Government and Alice Springs Town Council, both of whom are very tourist orientated.
Thank you Tony Mayell and Adam Giles, you both always gave me an ear when I wanted one.

Aiming for an events led tourism recovery
Great to read Jamie’s enthusiasm for the town and especially on tourism.
Having had to the opportunity to chat to him about tourism (long before he put his hand up for council) I know his enthusiasm is genuine and well grounded.
I have always said we have the potential here to be the events capital of Australia. Where else can we get such a diverse mix as trucks, desert racing, indigenous arts and beanies all of which attract an international audience.
Good to see also that Jamie is going in with an open mind.
The 4Ps (Protocol, Policy, Process and Procedure) can indeed be frustrating especially if you come from a private enterprise background as I do.
I agree there is room for improvement in several sectors that continue to frustrate the community. It is hard (but not impossible) to do that without compromising stakeholder and community consultation.
I am sad to leave council and absolutely enjoyed my time there. However, I leave with a wider appreciation of what community is all about, the uniqueness of our man made and natural environments and the culture and diversity of our populations. There really is no-where else like it in the world!
To me it has always been about roads, rates and rubbish as the core business of council – that keeps us busy enough. However, each of those come under the massive umbrella commonly called “community”.
The current Mayor and Councillors do a great job under sometimes very difficult circumstances and it will be good to see them “bolstered with new blood”.
Council has a key role to play in the social and economic well-being of the broader community. This is intrinsically linked to how council manages roads rates and rubbish.
The work council does behind the scenes is often thankless but truly commendable; particularly with community events, the arts, social services and their provision, sporting activities, youth and senior issues and the lobbying of all levels of government on all manner of issues.
I commend Jamie for taking a stand for the town and its future and know he calls Alice “home”. For that alone he will excel. I also congratulate the other candidates for putting their hands up – its all about diversity and representation of all sectors of the community so I wish you all well.
I look forward to reading all your profiles as we near election day. I am available if any would like a chat notwithstanding the confidential stuff!
And Yes, the complexities of confidential section will open the eyes of any new councillor – it certainly did mine.
As an old ex-councillor friend (from Darwin), once told me, being on council is like working a five step program …
1 x W – Well-being (of the community).
2 x Cs – Commitment and Consultation.
3 x Rs – Roads Rates and Rubbish.
4 x Ps – Protocol, Policy, Process and Procedure.
5 x Fs – Facilities, Faculties, Fun and Forethought for the – Future.

Uranium mining would help to save Alice: Businessmen
What is unfair to them about them telling lies about my place, Richard Bentley? I would assume they can validate their opinions, objectives and anticipated outcomes without messing all over two community based organisations, immediately alienating a sector of the community they are proposing to assist!
That’s a failure in 101 Community Inclusion! I have an opinion on water mitigation and nuclear power and uranium mining but I didn’t even mention those! I mentioned the lies about the Hall of Fame, and they are lies – come see for yourself if you don’t want to take my word for it.
We are proud of our achievements out here. In case you didn’t know part of the uranium (Pamela Angela) site is (was) actually on our land, so we are well across the issues.

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