I started this petition out of sheer desperation. The tiny …

Comment on Stop the light show, says petition to Gunner by Mark Carter.

I started this petition out of sheer desperation. The tiny trickle of information made public by the organisers over the winter was extremely vague.
When projecting lights onto the cliffs of Mt. Gillen was announced I was in disbelief – that entire cliff is a known refuge for the Federally protected Black-flanked (AKA Black-footed) Rock Wallaby.
Any activity which could impact on the animals must by law go through an established legal process.
This is national law which applies in every state and territory. My information from within the NT Government was that no such process had been followed. None. Nothing. Incredible huh?
A powerful politician had taken a whimsical decision and hey presto, 2.5km of wildlife refuge is to be targeted with damaging light pollution and there was to be no stopping it.
In normal circumstances I would pursue the matter through the official channels but by the time the secret plans for this light show were public it was clearly far too late for any of that.
So I did the only thing I could think of to get this issue out there that was compatible with my extremely busy work schedule (I work outdoors usually far from the luxury of regular mobile signal): I started this petition.
We have a terrible record on mammal extinctions in Australia and this animal has been wiped out from many parts of its past range.
The animals we have left around Alice Springs are very precious, but this is not just a conservation issue – we have animal welfare laws in this country too.
When explained to ordinary folk its utterly obvious that the planned venue is totally wrong and that serious risks to these animals are likely.
The strength of light required to project images on cliffs from such a distance is immense. No information on the methods employed in this show has been provided but it stretches credibility to claim that light of such power will not harm animals in its path.
At the end of the day we are talking about the laws of physics here.
As Alex above mentions, is it safe for humans to be up there during the show? No? Well then why would it be safe for an animal with far more sensitive night vision than us?
The science on eye damage from bright light is clear, the fatal effects of stress on Rock Wallabies is equally well known.
The light show will operate from dusk till 10pm, exactly when the animals are most active engaging in grooming, feeding, mating and rearing young. This is obviously a massive risk to these animals’ welfare.
Comments left on the petition by signatories are illuminating. People are shocked this was even considered.
People are baffled that a tourism destination so reliant on the health and beauty of our landscape and wildlife could go ahead with this risky plan for such feeble reward.
One epic irony is that the national conference of the Australian Mammal Society will be held in Alice Springs during this event.
Hundreds of the country’s leading zoologists will be in Alice Springs, spending money, here to enjoy the wildlife and scenery.
I’m told that a delegates’ visit to the Desert Park’s world famous Nocturnal Tour has been cancelled due to the overspill of light pollution making it impossible to run. How ridiculous do you think that makes our region look like?
Is a one-off light show worth the risk? I and hundred of others say “no”.
I call on the new Chief Minister to act quickly and fix a bungle of the previous administration. Hold the festival by all means but cancel the component that targets these precious animals on these ranges.

Recent Comments by Mark Carter

Visitor centre without parking is like a pub with no beer
I don’t understand the premise of this article. Don’t tourists have legs to can walk the 100m from the ample parking in the CBD to the TCA shop?
And how on earth would the huge number of tourists who come here who fly and don’t have cars even get themselves to the “Adelaide turnoff”?

Festival in Light ignores local advice, talent
I strongly agree that, should it go ahead in future, this festival should utilise the built environment in Alice Springs and get lasers and lights away from the wildlife that live on the refuge of Mt Gillen.
Our natural heritage is not just a blank canvas to be blasted with lasers and floodlights for a stunt.
There is strong reason to suspect that the current event is wrecking havoc with the wildlife of the mountain – a site host to protected species and supposedly a protected site in itself. It was madness to allow it this year, but to do it again like this next year would be utterly insane.
This festival seems to have been shame job whichever angle you look at it from.
And what a spectacular waste to cut out local people from the production and instead funnel such huge sums of public money interstate.
Has anyone asked Giles exactly why he diverted so much money away from Alice Springs, the town he claimed to represent and which gave him his job in the first place?

Pet cats range far, are a threat to wildlife
Uncontrolled cats in the open, day or night, are treated as strays by Alice Springs council by-laws just like dogs. Basically its illegal to let your cat roam around outside – they must be kept indoors.
They are out there killing wildlife and defecating on other peoples property.
I would encourage everyone to get a cat trap (free from the council rangers or Land for Wildlife) and use it – the town rangers will deal with any animal you trap.
Pet owners need to either take responsibility for their animals.
Cats have a huge yet unnecessary impact on wildlife. Roaming animals often end up euthanised – if you don’t want that for your pet then KEEP IT INDOORS.

Open speed limit starts tomorrow
Myself and my partner drive long distances regularly for work and I am horrified that this policy is being brought in. I am genuinely concerned that this stretch of road will become too hazardous to be worth using – the thought of oncoming fatigued drivers in poorly maintained vehicles feeling like they are now entitled to drive at 160+ is just horrifying.
Everyone in the NT seems to think they are a driving legend (while the reality is we have the worst accident stats in the country) so the idea that everyone will ‘drive responsibly’ is a sick joke.
And even if they were half as good at driving as they think they are, its simple laws of physics that a ton of metal is less stable and takes longer to stop the faster you go. Hitting a kangaroo will go from being a hazard to being a death sentence at the speeds we are talking about.
The claims of safety made by Minister Styles are demonstrably ridiculous – start with reading this article if you don’t believe me: https://theconversation.com/goodbye-speed-limits-the-nts-risky-road-safety-strategy-19241
Road safety experts the world over don’t support his policy. I just hope when there is innocent blood on the tarmac that Minister Styles has the spine to take responsibility.
And if its one of my loved ones who gets wiped out when an oncoming 20 year old VN Commodore doing 200kph has a blowout then the NT Government can be assured I’ll be suing them into the stone age. This is no way for a modern government to behave.

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