Re Hal Duell (Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm): …

Comment on Shires: either revenue must go up or expectations, down by Bob Durnan.

Re Hal Duell (Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm): the problem of feuding families, clans and language groups does follow many people into town. You only have to look at the regular playing out of major scenes from on-going Yuendumu, Willowra, Laramba, Watiyawanu and Ntaria feuds occurring in Alice Springs during the last couple of years to see this. However some of the intensity of of these skirmishes could be lessened were the alcohol tap to be turned down to a more manageable level.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

Shires: either revenue must go up or expectations, down
Further in reply to Hal Duell (Posted June 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm): Hal,
I agree that “it’s unrealistic to imagine every small outstation can have all the amenities needed for modern life, amenities like roads, schools, stores and medical clinics.”
Despite this, I believe those few outstations which are consistently occupied do need to have their access roads graded, plus sometimes some other road repairs, to enable their occupants to maintain access to their closest “schools, stores and medical clinics” without constantly damaging their vehicles in the process. To do otherwise will only worsen the already considerable problems of over-crowding and social dysfunction in the main settlements, and risk completely wasting the substantial and often worthwhile investments in housing and essential services that have been made on the outstations in the last forty years.
This necessity should stand beside the undeniable need for much more robustly constructed and better maintained connector roads between most of the communities, or settlements. In the west-north-west sector of greater central Australia out from Alice, these settlements include places such as Nyirrpi, Willowra, Yuelamu (formerly Mt Allan), Walungurru (formerly Kintore), Kiwirrkurra, Balgo, Watiyawanu (formerly Mt Liebig) and Ikuntji (formerly Haasts Bluff), for example, as well as the few places anointed as “growth towns” in this sector, such as Hermannsburg, Papunya, Yuendumu and Lajamanu.
These places are much larger than outstations (or homelands as they are sometimes known, especially in the Top End). Outstations consist mainly of single extended family groups living in a handful of houses and /or tin shacks, some of which may not be occupied. Outstations do not normally have schools, stores or clinics, except for some of the larger outstations, or groups of outstations, at Urapuntja (aka Utopia) in the Sandover region to the north-east of Alice, which do have primary school buildings. (The many Hermannsburg outstations had three outstation schools operating in the ’80s and ’90s, but these are no longer functioning, owing to too few students in their vicinity. Attempts at providing schooling and clinics out of the backs of Toyota Troop-carriers, and delivered by travelling staff and local assistants under trees or in tin sheds, were made in the mid-to-late 1970s, but ceased decades ago on most other outstations in central Australia).
On the other hand, the settlements, or communities, like the twelve cited above, mostly contain multiple clans and many family groups, many houses of varying quality, usually have much overcrowding, and most seldom have vacant houses for any serious length of time unless a death of an important person who has lived in the house has occurred. These places usually have what is by contemporary Australian standards mostly rudimentary infrastructure that includes a school, a clinic, some very poor sport/recreation facilities, some staff housing of varied quality, small basic council/shire offices, access to an airstrip of some description, and some poorly bitumenised streets.
These places, unlike outstations, do need to have some of “the amenities needed for modern life”, but these amenities – roads, schools (including pre-schools), stores, police stations, youth/recreation centres, medical clinics and family/early childhood centres – need to be of sufficient standard, quality and size to meet the needs of the local population and the people who often have to move to the community for a few years to ensure the services are able to meet the needs of Australian citizens in the 21st century.
If the Australian tax payers aren’t willing to foot the bills for this infrastructure and the workforce that must go with it, then they are going to be saddled with a mostly perpetually dependent and increasingly troublesome remote population which will gravitate towards places like Alice Springs anyway, but which will have neither the education nor health to permit them to go forth into the wider world for secondary and further education, training, jobs and life’s adventures without falling foul of too many problems and traps, and thus becoming an even greater burden on the state and its beleaguered tax payers.


Shires: either revenue must go up or expectations, down
The sooner the notion of “growth towns” in central Australia is discarded the better. It is only serving to confuse the issue and divert attention from rational planning for the future of remote communities and their relationships to each other and to Alice Springs.
There is little logic in the charade being played out about these local growth towns, as there is very little apparent or likely economic, legal or social basis for the establishment of viable private businesses beyond a handful of single person or single family or other very small enterprises in them.
Likewise there is no foreseeable ability by either the NT government or the Shires to invest sufficient resources in these places to change their current economic and social trajectories.
The figures that Kieran quotes about roads clearly indicate the problems. To prioritise spending on local roads (presumably mainly to outstations) within 50 km of Yuendumu above the completion of sealing the Tanami as far as Yuendumu, or over the need to upgrade and properly maintain the entire lengths of the arterial roads from Yuendumu to Willowra and Nyirrpi, or the Willowra-Ti Tree connector, would appear to be sheer folly. Similarly, to privilege other development in places like Yuendumu (which was losing population well before it was declared a growth town, and appears to have gone on doing so at a greater rate since then) and Lajamanu over the rest of the Stuart electorate communities on the basis of fanciful preferential status rather than allocating funds according to need is indefensible.
There are strong demonstrable needs for infrastructure investment in many other remote communities which haven’t been dubbed growth towns, and it is unbelievable that senior politicians and public servants are continuing to bury their heads in the sand about this.
The fact that the major towns in the NT continue to have their astonishing sporting and other civic facilities upgraded year after year while significant bush communities go for decades begging to get culverts installed and sufficient grading and repairs on their main access roads so they can safely send an ambulance to town or otherwise try to conduct their necessary business in a safe manner speaks for itself.
The standard of sports facilities, where they exist at all, in most remote communities is worse than shameful. Airstrips are often inadequate for night time and wet weather evacuations.
It is rare to find an adequate youth centre or recreation hall or civic centre building in these places, despite exceptionally high needs.
People in Alice Springs wonder why people from the bush want to escape from life in these badly under-resourced and neglected places …


Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Gallery business case slap in the face of custodians
Wrong again Matthew Langan (Posted August 26, 2019 at 6:44 pm).
It was actually “big knob socialist flogs” from the CLP who talked up and used government funds to build the Desert Park, the Araluen Arts Centre and the Strehlow Museum.
If you have complaints about those places and their costs to the public purse, go talk to the conservatives. Nothing to do with the Labor mob.
The CLP under both Adam Giles and Gary Higgins has indicated it would also support a new National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs.


Architect of Katherine’s masterplan to be Alice council CEO
James (Posted June 6, 2019 at 8:14 am): How many parks in Alice Springs commemorate Aboriginal leaders or dignitaries?
Nothing against Father Smith, but couldn’t we consider looking collectively at setting some priorities before rushing in to barrack for our favourite project?


Price family were sole complainants against Cocking & Satour 
Conservative (posted May 1, 2019 at 9:19 am): what do you mean by ‘props to Erwin’? Stage ‘props’? It doesn’t make sense.


Road toll drops by half
Like InterestedDarwinObserver, I think Assistant Commissioner Beer’s claim is a somewhat questionable one.
Given that the majority of NT road deaths are normally the result of single vehicle roll-overs on remote roads, it is questionable whether more intensive traffic policing in Alice would necessarily produce this good result as claimed.
We would need a much bigger sample and more details of the individual accidents to really get an idea about what is actually going on here.


Massive horse deaths now a risk to humans
Hal, (Posted April 14, 2019 at 1:29 am): Don’t be so disingenuous. It is obvious from the article that CLC staff have been trying very hard to get permission to act.
They have now made their frustrations known to the relevant authorities, who are able to step in.
My point is that your criticism should have been aimed at those responsible (the traditional owners in question), not at the CLC as an organisation, as the staff are trying to do their job and get something done about the situation.
I was at both Mulga Bore and Angula a little over a week ago, and found very few people at Mulga, and none at Angula.
There were no dead horses that I saw, or smell of dead horses, around the houses then at either place, but there may have been some elsewhere. Of course the carcasses should be disposed of, wherever they are; that is what the writer and the CLC are trying to achieve.


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