Rex (Posted September 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm), there is …

Comment on LETTER: Time for a third sealed national route by Bob Durnan.

Rex (Posted September 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm), there is a link to an old and not very detailed document on the website, which is what I originally read, but Helen from the Outback Highway committee in Laverton has emailed me a copy of a much larger and more comprehensive effort from April this year after I contacted Patrick and her. I will try to read it tonight and see if it changes any of my opinions.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

LETTER: Time for a third sealed national route
Sorry Rex Neindorf (Posted September 6, 2012 at 12:37 am), hold your horses, comrade, you have got this all mixed up. Patrick Hill and his Outback Highway Development Council aren’t lobbying for the billion or so dollars that would be needed to complete sealing of these roads between Laverton and Boulia: they are simply trying to obtain the mere $150 million required to bring gravel sections of the route up to unsealed all-weather status.
However, even this modest cut-rate version of your dream risks being another one of those you beaut big ideas, beloved of officials conflicted by addiction to one-eyed parochial boosterism, wanting to be seen to be “doing something” for local entrepreneurs, but extremely expensive and with negligible return likely on the investment for the nation, and done at the expense of other needs. We have learnt that lesson already, I would have thought, after hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been written off in the course of the Darwin railway connection fiasco.
There has been no “detailed cost-benefit analysis” undertaken, just some calculations based on some very questionable assumptions, and it is unlikely that there will ever be one, as it would cost Qld, WA and the NT many millions of dollars they don’t have just to bring the thing up to unsealed all-weather status, all for the sake of a few extra coaches, trucks and cars using the route. The cost of paying the interest on the borrowings, along with the cost of maintenance, would in no way be commensurate with the benefits, and it would in turn help undermine the case for maintenance and expansion of the more economically valid rail networks in the states and Territory.
On the list of serious needs in Central Australia (e.g. half a dozen significant arterial routes and many inter-community roads urgently needing major investment just to bring them closer to unsealed all-weather status, many airstrips requiring major upgrades, hundreds of millions needed for housing and associated services, secondary school and VET facilities required in several communities, expanded police and court buildings, early childhood services and centres, youth centres, sports and recreation facilities) the Docker-Uluru and Atitjere-Boulia connections do register, but are not clear priorities. On the other hand, failure to make some of these other investments will cost Australia enormously.
As for your wishful fantasy that having a little-used highway (either sealed or unsealed) that will “pass many Aboriginal communities presenting them with the best opportunity they will ever have to finally leap into the 21st Century” this is delusional. There are only three Aboriginal communities on the unsealed sections of the NT portion of this route, none in Qld, and two in WA. The benefits for these communities will not be “wide ranging”. In fact it could well be the opposite – witness what has happened in tourist highway truckstops such as Ti Tree and Mt Ebenezer over the past forty years – endless problems with alcohol, and very few benefits to the communities. If there was any significant growth in traffic, the “opportunity to open new businesses” would inevitably flow to the regional centres such as Alice, and the reality would turn out not to be a “much better option than receiving benefits”.


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.


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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?


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Conservative (posted May 1, 2019 at 9:19 am): what do you mean by ‘props to Erwin’? Stage ‘props’? It doesn’t make sense.


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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.


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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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