I completely agree with Ian and Trevor. These are all …

Comment on LETTER: Scrapping of educational facility by Alex Nelson.

I completely agree with Ian and Trevor. These are all incredibly short-sighted decisions made by governments with no genuine capacity for responsible decision-making.
I’m a lifetime resident of Alice Springs (nearly 50 years); moreover, I grew up at the Arid Zone Research Institute and at the former CSIRO field station (now Centre for Appropriate Technology) next door – our family were the first residents there.
I also worked at AZRI for many years, including in horticulture research under Frank McEllister.
With the exception of my father, I have the longest continuous connection with that area of land of any person living; and I personally worked on a CSIRO project that was conducted on the exact site that is now being developed as the suburb of Kilgariff. I hold the decision to proceed with the development of Kilgariff as easily the worst planning decision in the history of Alice Springs – it is an utterly abominable project.
Strangely, with all my long connection to this area you would think local planners, decision-makers and the media would have taken the opportunity to find out what my experience and concerns would be. Not a bit of it!
The only people to contact me were consultants from interstate, who admitted to me they were effectively mislead by the NT Government and that the whole process of “public consultation” was effectively an exercise of window-dressing the NT Government’s decision to proceed with this reckless project.
This isn’t the first prospective rural land development near Alice Springs to commence with the initial infrastructure of water and power. In 1997/98 I was residing 30km west of town on the Iwupataka Aboriginal Land Trust when ATSIC spent several million dollars of taxpayers’ money to construct a water pipeline to ostensibly service a few families living in this area.
This development coincided with the Reeves Report under the Howard federal government that recommended changing inalienable Aboriginal freehold title to ordinary freehold. That pipeline has the capacity to service a population of 6000.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Party full throttle in battle against fracking
It’s time to end our reliance on the notion of political parties.
What we need in our parliaments and assemblies are elected individuals of integrity and competence, who can negotiate and cooperate with one another to provide the best standard of governance for all.
The evidence built up over many years demonstrates that political parties cannot be relied upon for the provision of good government.
They may start off well intentioned but inevitably end up being captured by powerful vested interests that equate their own aims to the public good.
I think it’s well overdue that another approach towards government and administration is given serious consideration.


When 20% royalties shrivel to as little as 1%
With such an apparently paltry return on investment, we’re effectively told these extractive industries are constantly marginally profitable at best.
We are expected to believe this errant nonsense.
Under the section of Powers of the Parliament, the Australian Constitution commands: “The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order and GOOD GOVERNMENT (my emphasis) of the Commonwealth with respect to” a range of powers.
The Northern Territory Government, being a creature of Commonwealth legislation, is under the same constitutional obligations.
I contend that being ripped off by mining and extractive industry corporations, with no real oversight or scrutiny of their claims for production costs, does not qualify as “good government.”
Equally, a Territory government that is plunging its economy into a financial abyss, and a Federal Government that permits this to happen with no apparent concern or regard for oversight of this economic mismanagement, cannot be construed as “good government”.
We are being (and have long been) systematically betrayed by our respective Territory and Commonwealth Parliaments.
Our system of governance is simply not being adequately held to account.


More to come?
For those who haven’t heard, Christmas Day set a new maximum temperature record at the Alice Springs Airport, reaching 45.7C which exceeded the previous record (45.6C) set in January this year and recently equalled in December.
The previous highest temperature record at the airport was recorded in January 1960.
It’s a sign of the times that reaching maximum temperatures around the 40C mark feels like a cool change!
We continue to be on track to smash the lowest annual rainfall record for the Alice Springs Airport which, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Daily Rainfall figures, stands at 53.4mm for the year – well down on the previous record driest year of 2009, and then 1965 (last year of the infamous 1960s drought).
This figure accords with a couple of records from private residences in town, both slightly above 50mm in total for the year; so it’s odd that the BOM recently stated on ABC radio that the total rainfall for the year in Alice Springs is 66mm – perhaps someone from the BOM can explain this discrepancy?
However, the news this morning is that the Positive Indian Ocean Dipole, the cause of our heatwaves, is breaking down at last.
It will be interesting to see how far the pendulum swings this time, in comparison to similar abrupt switches in weather one and two decades ago, respectively (see my comment).


Government corporation bids for Kilgariff Two
“Asked why the advertisement was published 12 days before Christmas, with the closing date the day after a Friday Boxing Day, the spokesman said the application was advertised “at the first opportunity … in accordance with the Department’s normal procedure”.
Now ain’t that the truth – “the Department’s normal procedure” over the summer holiday break, as has been in practice by agencies of the NT Government for decades.
Open, honest and accountable government, anyone?


Gas and solar: Still uneasy bedfellows
Stumbled across this article yesterday on The Conversation published a few months ago, reporting on US research into this problem.
The proposed solution is counterintuitive, to “overprovide” renewable energy infrastructure (solar and wind), with excess energy into the system essentially “discarded”.
While this project was confined to the state of Minnesota, asked if this model is specific to the US situation or can be applied elsewhere such as Australia, the reply was that it is universal.
Maybe some food for thought for our circumstances in the Centre.


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