The Keith Lawrie Flats came under pressure for demolition in …

Comment on Keith Lawrie Flats – people have had enough! by Alex Nelson.

The Keith Lawrie Flats came under pressure for demolition in February 2004 from neighbouring residents and then Member for Araluen, Jodeen Carney. This story was part of a feature report about the problem of petrol sniffing in Alice Springs.
The Minister for Housing, John Ah Kit, stated the NT Government had no intention of demolishing existing public housing stock, and in March 2004 announced this block of flats would be a part of the government’s multi-million dollar “urban renewal program.”
I was suspicious of the initial report about the Keith Lawrie Flats as it was only three years after the former CLP government had announced its intention to demolish the Cawood Court complex and replace it with house blocks and a retirement village.
The effect of this approach was obvious – it would reduce the quantity of available housing in town at a time of existing short supply and so contribute to driving up the price of real estate.
The CLP lost office before this could happen, and in late 2001 the new Labor government (specifically Housing Minister Kon Vatskalis) reversed that decision in favour of the CLP’s former practice of selling rundown public housing to developers to refurbish the flats and release them for private ownership. Consequently the Cawood Court complex became the City Edge Apartments and sold rapidly when released for sale.
I had a few letters published in the Centralian Advocate (and got some haughty responses) early in 2004 about this matter. The Keith Lawrie Flats were later shut down for quite some time. I took photos of the abandoned complex about January 2006, by that time over-run with weeds.
Later that year the units were reduced in number from 32 to 22, were extensively renovated and (as I recall) were to be closely monitored and controlled to avoid the problems that afflicted them previously.
The stories I have on file about this don’t reveal the public expense involved but sadly it’s apparently entirely wasted as this complex has reportedly reverted to slum conditions again, effectively within a decade.
At least some of the blame for this must accrue to the previous Country Liberals government because the flats surely can’t have declined so precipitously in just the one year of the current government.
In 2004 I suggested the Keith Lawrie Flats should be sold, renovated and released for private sale. The Housing Minister, John Ah Kit, wrote to me saying the government was reluctant to do this because of the adverse impact on waiting times for public housing.
Given the return of the anti-social behaviour at the Keith Lawrie Flats and other complexes, maybe the NT Government just has to bite the bullet on this one and offload these properties for sale.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Australian flag stolen from Anzac Hill
Not for the first time – https://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2018/03/25/in-a-flap-over-flags-a-possible-compromise/


Gunner demands council deal with Mayor’s ‘conflict of interest’
Damien Ryan is the third mayor of Alice Springs to stand as a candidate for a Territory election campaign, the two previous being Leslie Oldfield in 1990 and Fran Kilgariff in 2005.
Leslie Oldfield stood as an independent candidate for the seat of Braitling, against sitting CLP member Roger Vale – an interesting contrast to the current situation of CLP candidate Damien Ryan contesting Araluen against sitting independent member Robyn Lambley.
Lambley is a former CLP member, while Oldfield had once been Roger Vale’s electorate officer!
Fran Kilgariff stood as a Labor candidate for the seat of Greatorex, held by the CLP’s Dr Richard Lim.
The NT Government in 2005 was also Labor, under CM Clare Martin, predecessor as Member for Fannie Bay of current CM Michael Gunner.
Apparently NT Labor didn’t have a problem back in 2005 with the mayor of Alice Springs running as a Labor candidate; and it’s rather disingenuous of Labor now to argue differently about Damien Ryan standing for the CLP.
In 2005 I had a series of articles published in the Alice Springs News commenting about NT politics, in one of which I pointed out that no mayor in the NT who had run as a candidate for the NT Legislative Assembly had been successful; and I was virtually alone in my assertion that Fran Kilgariff would equally prove unsuccessful.
That situation still stands and, frankly, I think will remain the case after the NT elections later this year.


Trashing and rebuilding: “Investing” by NT Government
It should be recalled that the Henderson Labor Government had no problem repurposing the old high school, after Anzac Hill High School was closed at the end of 2009, as the Youth Hub which was a major part of its program for dealing with children and teenagers on the streets at night.
There was much protestation from Labor when the CLP shut down the Youth Hub after it won government in 2012.
The vacant site of the former high school is mute testimony to the bungling incompetence that has become the hallmark of the Gunner Labor Government.
The fate of that old school is the same that lies in wait for Labor in this year’s NT election campaign, for it is a government that truly deserves to be completely expunged from holding office.


Why not us?
And now it’s 20% chance tomorrow (Tuesday) rising to 70% chance on Thursday (with “possible storm, heavy falls” according to the BOM) declining to 40% chance by Sunday.
I’m making preparations, accordingly.


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.


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