What a golden opportunity was wasted with the aerial camel …

Comment on Footy glory for Centre’s best lasts just a weekend by Hal Duell.

What a golden opportunity was wasted with the aerial camel cull. Just consider how many jobs could have been created had CLC and the not-so-ninti ones used a bit of imagination. And it’s not like chances lie thick on the ground out there.
It would not have been easy, but the employment needed to muster the camels off the various homelands here in the NT and in WA and SA would have offered so many of the youth featured in this story, and their brothers in other communities, a chance to do something more than just pick up rubbish. The knowledge of how to organise a desert muster is still available, but unless it’s tapped into, it too will pass.
And the end result? A smaller herd of feral pests, an export dollar or three to add to the national coffers, honest work experience doing something that would live on in stories and self-respect for the rest of the participants’ lives and a bit of money earned (at least for a time).
Winners all around.
Not easy, but doable. And still possible. I doubt if that aerial cull did much more than bugger-all to turn the original situation around. It’s almost too easy to say Australia has consigned these youths to a life of indolence, although I’m not disputing that that is the situation on the ground. It’s also almost too easy to blame grog, although again I’m not disputing the tragedy of lives wasted drinking alcohol. What isn’t so easy is getting a public admission from those tasked with doing something about it that they have failed to make the most of the opportunity offered and wish to make amends.
The camels are still there. The work is still to do.

Hal Duell Also Commented

Footy glory for Centre’s best lasts just a weekend

Point taken, and thank you for the clarification. You were speaking not of tourist ventures but of attempts to capitalise on a valuable national asset.
So that returns me to my final statement: If the locals do not want to do anything, then give the opportunity to others who do and tell the lazy ones to stop whinging about their sorry lives.
There’s still the sticking point of access to country, and I fear that will prove to be a deal breaker. Another wasted opportunity and just too bad. And all the while we all know the way forward – stop the easy dole money and the just as easy work-for-the-dole schemes.
I sympathise with the bloke who tried to get a camel meat venture going at Docker only to see it all come tumbling down the day he left.
Many years ago, and in another life, I managed the store at Docker on a relief contract for a few months. I remember being astonished when asked to stock rabbits which had to retail at (I think) $5 each. All the while rabbits were think on the ground just across the river. You could get fresh meat with a stick!

Footy glory for Centre’s best lasts just a weekend
It sounds like the enterprises you mentioned at Docker and Kintore had a local business outcome in mind. Was the idea that old one of getting tourists to come all the way out there for camel rides? I’m not surprised they failed.
That is definitely not what I am suggesting. My idea is to muster the feral camels into portable yards, and then truck the animals caught into a permanent, centrally located abattoir.
Bores may have to be sunk and portable trap yards erected. It will cost money, and equipment will have to be maintained – Toyotas and motor bikes and the rest of it. It won’t be easy, it will have to be mobile and access to homelands will be necessary.
To say that is all too hard so lets just shoot the critters instead is such an unimaginative response. The money spent paying people to pick up rubbish while helicopter pilots waste their chance to DO something is money poorly invested.
And if they don’t want to do anything? Then give the job to someone else and tell the lazy ones to stop whinging about their sorry lives.

Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Anger with out-of-control kids: council needs to step up
One common trait among all the Aboriginal kids running amok in this town is that they are all, to a boy/to a girl, racist.
It’s not just Whitey copping the abuse, altho it is largely Whitey running the programs (early intervention, school lunch, etc.) trying to keep these kids from being flogged and [abused] and generally passed around before they reach puberty.
Rather it’s anyone not deemed to be Aboriginal. Hang around the front door of the supermarket in the Coles Complex and listen to the language these kids direct to the African security guards. Come inside and listen to the language directed to the largely Asian night staff.
And what are the Aboriginal organisations in Alice doing about it? Too easy – nothing.
You don’t and won’t hear the same timbre of comments coming from European kids, from Asian kids, from African kids. For openers, they are too well mannered. Also, it’s because they and their parents are too busy studying and working to build a life that works in this multifaceted society of ours.
In short, all but the Aboriginals are too busy living to put up with the losing proposition of being forever on the outside looking in while blaming that amorphous “other” for their woes. Is it really too much to ask that they pull their socks up? Everyone else has.

Ministers lash out at council over gallery
I appeal to the NT government, especially to Ministers Gunner and Wakefield, to reconsider their approach to building the proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs.
I doubt if many residents, and certainly not a majority, would be opposed to the gallery being built here. But why do you need to destroy what we have (an old high school, a central oval and a debt-free and functioning civic centre) to do that?
It’s not like we’re short of space down here.
It’s a bit unfair to ask council to solve your location problem when to date both of your proposals have presented it with a solution impossible to sell to the residents. And remember, councillors also face the coming elections.
Indigenous suggestions range from the Desert Park to the Desert Knowledge precinct.
It’s not negotiating if you reject in advance any suggestions other than your own.
And a note to council: The NT Government has clearly stated through Minister Wakefield that these discussions can be held in open. Time for you to stop hiding from us. Let’s hear what you have to say.

Locally produced hemp could replace plastic
This is a very good initiative. Congratulations to the Gunner government.
Hemp is a not only a better fibre than cotton, but growing it uses less water and fewer chemicals. What not to like?
Again, congratulations to the Gunner government.

Gunner goofs: No council ‘decisions’ on gallery site
Perhaps one of the more astonishing features of this continuing saga is the overweening arrogance of Alice’s current group of councillors.
They somehow think they have the right to dispose of our civic centre.
They forget they were elected to look after our assets, not use them as bargaining chips in some shady back-room deal.
Commercial-in-confidence is such a scam. Come on councillors – I challenge any of you to grow a pair.

Despite clear leads, no-one was punished for making this mess
It can be done. Read this.

Be Sociable, Share!

A new way to support our journalism

We do not have a paywall. If you support our independent journalism you can make a financial contribution by clicking the red button below. This will help us cover expenses and sustain the news service we’ve been providing since 1994, in a locally owned and operated medium.

Erwin Chlanda, Editor