Hal Duell (Posted December 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm), my …

Comment on Sensible infrastructure for the NT? by Bob Durnan.

Hal Duell (Posted December 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm), my ideas of sensible infrastructure projects include all-weather roads, with culverts at creeks and flood-out sections, running between our remote population centres and servicing our cattle stations, tourist attractions and mines; all-weather airstrips with night light systems, and all-weather arterial roads, with bridges over creeks, as needed; affordable accommodation in those locations (such as Alice Springs) where there are jobs and specialised services available (i.e. sufficient affordable accommodation suitable for all Territory citizens and their families who want to reside in these places for purposes of obtaining employment and/or need to make use of the specialised services, in sectors such as education and health); sufficient serviced blocks and housing to meet the needs of those people living in the remote communities, who need to continue to reside in these places; decent civic infrastructure (sport and rec facilities, youth centres, pre-schools, clinics, schools, adult learning centres, adequate staff accommodation) to meet the needs of the populations in the remote communities; good reliable all-weather power, water, sewerage, flood mitigation works and communications systems in our regional towns and remote communities; and adequate facilities in our parks and wildlife and tourism areas.
Much of this infrastructure should be publicly financed and owned, but some of it could be built in partnerships and collaborations between government, private businesses, NGOs, and/or philanthropic foundations, along the lines being pioneered in Alice by the Central Australian Affordable Housing (CAAH) Corporation.
I think uneconomic gas pipelines, uneconomic and environmentally unsustainable irrigated food-bowls, high tech hospital services to attract cashed up overseas cancer patients (as proposed by Giles and Gina in Darwin, on a prime site like the heritage listed Myilly Point), and entrepreneurial education facilities to attract rich overseas students at the DKC, are not at present sensible infrastructure works, especially in comparison to those works and needs listed in my previous paragraph.
If they are to be tried, they should not be competing for government money that is urgently needed to meet the basic needs of our marginalised long-term citizens, now and into the future.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

Sensible infrastructure for the NT?
Hal Duell (Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:06 am), you are playing a good game; thanks for the spirited match. Still, it would be better if it were mixed doubles. Where are you other sportspeople this week?
Anyway, here’s a few return shots for you Hal:
Experts whom I trust assure us that we could be meeting most of our power needs via solar energy in Alice, and in remote central Australian communities, using available technologies.
Expensive to introduce, yes, but more economical in the longer term, and better for us and the environment; and part of a great branding mechanism for our tourism industry – responsibly progressive clean energy sources, in sunny, beautiful, pristine Central Australia.
If we have money to spend on infrastructure, let’s include a mirrors (for concentrating solar energy) and molten salt (storing the energy) installation, as was planned near Mildura until The Abbott Gang threw a vested interests spanner into the works late last year.
Hold the pipelines and fracking until the science is in about how our aquifers, atmosphere and economy are likely to be effected.
Indications from elsewhere are that the local economy would barely benefit at all, with machinery, chemicals and other operational supplies coming in by rail and then trucked straight out to the work sites.
As with the Tanami mines, workers would be mostly flown in and out, with barely a night spent in Alice by the majority of them. Our precious water supplies would be over-consumed, contaminated and under-valued; and our planet’s atmosphere still likely to be severely contaminated, if only just not quite as much as by coal or diesel.
The biggest problem with the gas pipeline proposal (apart from its contributing to the problems of carbon and methane overloads in the atmosphere, by supplementing the process of releasing them from their strata beneath our earth) is the huge amount of government capital that it is likely to tie up for many years, thus depriving other more needy projects of their guernseys. The returns to either the NT government or Alice Springs itself would not be significant.
Gina’s hospital: The details of this proposal are unclear, but it would be safe to say that she will expect government contributions to both the capital and operational costs of this jewel in her northern crown.
As for camels, I believe the bigger problem is the lack of roads and abattoirs within reasonable distance of their (ever shifting) haunts.
I do not disagree with you about the fact that our present labour pool is a good one; I just do not believe that it is possible for us, as a nation, to go on ignoring the needs of our own citizens for jobs.
It is our duty to look out for each other, before we take on the problems of the rest of the world.


Sensible infrastructure for the NT?
Hal Duell (Posted December 7, 2014 at 11:11 am): There may well not be many energy pipelines anywhere in the world not subsidised by government.
That is the problem. Many governments have been long captured by the prophets of corporate greed and shackled themselves to the energy-guzzling rocket of unsustainable over-consumption and cancerous growth. That is no reason for us to continue to imitate that bad behaviour, in the infantile manner perfected by the CLP in previous decades.
There is, of course, a big demand for food, but that does not mean that we should put subsidies for more mad, uneconomic and environmentally unsustainable dam fantasies ahead of pre-schools for existing children.
If it was “economic” to harvest wild camels in remote central Australia, Gary Dann and a dozen others would have been doing it years ago on a much larger scale than is presently occurring.
It is entirely appropriate that governments put money into public hospitals that are run as public hospitals and which address the priority needs identified by the health professionals for the public good.
Gina’s proposal is not like that.
The issue with overseas labour is that Australia’s boom is rapidly coming to an end, and we need to start planning for unemployed Australians to have priority access to whatever jobs there are remaining in this country. I am quite aware that overseas labour, holidaying backpackers and 457 visa holders, have been keeping much of Alice Springs going in the last few years. This cannot continue, and the only Australians who will benefit from it remaining thus are the Ginas of this world, and their political lapdogs.
We need to start training more young Australians to perform these tasks again.
I am not kidding myself that many of these jobs are likely to be filled by people brought up in remote communities, unless they have been able to enjoy decent early childhood experiences and gain a better education than many of those whom I have known have had the misfortune to endure.
I am thinking more about the offspring of Alice Springs, and thousands of other small and large rural communities and towns and cities around Australia, along with some of those from our local remote communities.


Sensible infrastructure for the NT?
Hal Duell (Posted December 6, 2014 at 9:32 am)
If the gas pipeline is “economical”, private enterprise wouldn’t be saying that it needs government to organise and subsidise its construction.
And if those calling for a new “irrigated food bowl” in the north are more than just professional blowhard politicians trying to fool the masses, or self-interested rightwing ideologues trying to provoke greenies with dams, then let them find their own sources of capital to buy the land, construct dams and irrigation systems and roads and services for the project, and prove the great majority of scientists wrong about the folly of throwing good money after bad in such an enterprise.
Similarly, if Gina Rinehart wants to build her high tech cancer hospital for fly-in patients, then let her purchase a suitable block for it in Darwin, rather than massaging Adam to get access to heritage blocks that generations of conservationists have struggled to hold onto for the benefit of posterity.
The same with Mr Hatzimihail’s dream for a luxury supercar production facility in Alice Springs: if he really does have the investors for this, let them buy a block of land and put in the services for it.
The idea that there will be the possibility of an academic faculty based around this and overseas students wanting to pay high fees to study at such an institute in Central Australia is more bizarre than even Steve Brown would judge feasible to tease us with.
These crackpot schemes are highly unlikely to work, even with major government subsidies, and if they somehow did work, they are bound to be importing overseas or interstate labour to carry out the work, from sweeping floors to lecturing students and operating the robotic scalpels.
Let’s get real, and worry about the huge cost to society and taxpayers if we don’t start to alleviate the overcrowding in communities like Areyonga and Atitjere, and don’t provide the early childhood programs that the kids in those communities need if they are to have a chance of avoiding ending up on the scrapheaps of life on the edges of Alice Springs and in the long grass of Darwin.
Nor should we tolerate for one moment this tomfoolery, all smoke and mirrors, by novice politician Giles, in his attempt to hypnotise the gullible with hallucinatory glimpses of seven storey hotel-shop complexes on any vacant site he can identify around town. This way lies even more madness. The Territory, and Alice in particular, cannot afford to put up with such stupidity for more wasted decades.
Existing businesses will benefit from a sensible program of developing the infrastructure we need, which I have outlined below (see Bob Durnan, Posted December 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm).
Tell Adam Giles you are not going to allow yourself to be mesmerised by his shallow, wasteful, risky proposals (which will mainly benefit people like him and his big business cronies), and that we must invest whatever capital we can raise in sensible and responsible infrastructure development that will benefit existing residents of the Territory in the places that really have the priority needs.
I guarantee that there will be more good training and decent jobs available to our local school-leavers in making and maintaining these investments than there will be during the brief disastrous life-spans of Adam’s illusory high profit mirage “investments”.
(NB: I should state here that Richard Bentley will be correct when he takes me to task for not having pointed out in my post that renewable energies should be the hallmark of those sensible infrastructure developments.)


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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.


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.


Massive horse deaths now a risk to humans
Hal: How would the Land Council stand legally if it were to destroy the property of a set of traditional owners without their permission? The CLC does not own the horses.
They are either the property of individual traditional owners and traditional owner family groups, or of persons who have contracts with the TOs to allow their horses to be on the TOs’ land.
Or else they are the responsibility of the particular Land Trust trustees on whose land they are located.
Legally the CLC as a statutory body can only consult and advise the traditional owners, and act on their instructions. It cannot make decisions for them without their permission.


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