@ Jack (Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:26 pm): You …

Comment on Inquiry into fracking: Giving it the green light? by Alex Nelson.

@ Jack (Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:26 pm): You are cherry picking your facts about WA, Jack, in order to make a misleading point.
Notwithstanding the rise of mineral and petroleum royalties paid to the WA government as you claim, the state debt is nevertheless projected to reach $42.9 billion in two years from now.
The WA economy is in a considerable mess thanks to the reckless overspending of the budget during the mining boom a few years ago.
What’s more, it was a Liberal-National government that has left WA so deeply in debt, not a Labor government – which kind of shatters the popular view that conservative governments are better at economic management, at least as far as the “Sandgropers” are concerned.
The salutary lesson to learn from the west is that windfall bonanzas from mining and energy industries provide no guarantee of lasting economic benefit, irrespective of which mainstream political party is in power. And that’s not taking into account the revenue foregone by complex and tricky accounting practices that allow large mining corporations to minimize or avoid completely the paying of taxes and royalties in the first place.
We’re all being taken for fools, and perhaps we deserve it.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Inquiry into fracking: Giving it the green light?
@ Hal Duell (Posted December 15, 2017 at 10:56 am): There have been several proposals and experimental projects for tapping into tidal power around Australia, including the northern coastline.
In the mid 1990s experimental work for harnessing tidal power in the Apsley Strait (which divides Melville and Bathurst Islands of the Tiwi islands) was conducted in a joint project by the Northern Territory University (now CDU) and the Power and Water Authority. Nothing seems to have come of it.
If I recall correctly, the Member for Nelson, Gerry Wood, suggested more recently that Apsley Strait (which is directly north of Darwin) be investigated for harnessing tidal power.
It does seem to be an obvious location for such a facility.


Inquiry into fracking: Giving it the green light?
The release of the draft final report of the inquiry into unconventional onshore fracking in the NT comes just two days after the 50th anniversary of Project Gasbuggy in New Mexico, USA.
On December 10, 1967, the US Atomic Energy Commission detonated a 29 kiloton underground nuclear explosion to test this method for fracking for natural gas.
It was the first of three such tests conducted in the US which was a part of a wider program (called Operation Plowshare) to find civil engineering uses for atom bombs.
Project Gasbuggy was of direct relevance to Central Australia because great expectations were held of this method for potential use in the new Mereenie gas field.
In fact, Magellan Petroleum had already applied to the US and Australian Atomic Energy Commissions for a licence to conduct nuclear fracking in The Centre.
Hopes were dashed when the gas extracted from the test sites consistently proved too contaminated with radioactive particles to be safely used; and the new method of hydraulic fracturing helped bring to an end the research program of Operation Plowshare in the mid 1970s.
Of course, it is unconventional onshore hydraulic fracking that now lies at the heart of the current controversy.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Another blackout: Sack TGen board, says Lambley.
All that matters for Labor is Darwin, the rest of us in the Territory can go hang as far as they’re concerned.
From what I’ve heard, the Territory’s dire economic situation (we’re in recession) is worsening significantly so we cannot anticipate an improvement in services anytime soon.
Labor’s political survival strategy is simple: It must hang onto its seats in Darwin if it’s to stand any chance at all in next year’s NT election campaign.


Government fails bush on health, police: McConnell
@ James T Smerk (Posted November 13, 2019 at 4:45 pm): I think you’re on the money, James, it’s difficult to believe there isn’t a calculating, deliberate unspoken policy of engineered population shifts from the outer regional areas of the NT towards the major population centres.
When one takes into account the poor voter enrolment and participation figures of these regions (www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2019/11/08/vast-electorates-poor-participation-in-our-democracy/) in addition to the disruption and reduction of services in remote communities, and the consequent increasing proportion of generally rusted-on Labor supporters moving into the towns, we are witnessing an evolving situation of fewer electorates outside of the Top End that enhances Darwin Labor’s long term prospects of entrenching itself in power.
It is Darwin that is benefitting from the overwhelming pork-barrelling of the Gunner Labor Government, not the regions.
However, don’t expect anything significant to be done about combatting crime and anti-social behaviour in towns like Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine because these issues have the effect of enhancing this demographic shift in favour of the Labor elite in Darwin.
The plan here is to discourage many residents who vote against Labor (or can’t be relied upon to support the ALP at each election) from staying in the major regional towns, thereby diluting support for parties or independents that aren’t pro-Labor.
It’s difficult to believe these cumulative effects aren’t a deliberate unspoken policy of the power elite in Darwin.


Wakefield, Ryan star in the Phantom of the Art Gallery
The past invariably catches up with us but it’s rare to do so quickly as it has with the Gunner “mea culpa” Government.
Who remembers the mantra of open, honest, accountable, transparent and trustworthy government promised by NT Labor at the time of the last Territory election campaign in 2016?
Let’s have a few reminders: First, an earnest NT Labor Opposition Leader had the following to say in an ABC profile leading up to the last Territory elections: “The number one thing lacking in Northern Territory politics is trust, according to Labor leader Michael Gunner.
“Mr Gunner, 40, said he had worked hard to re-establish trust with Territorians.
“But, he pointed the finger squarely at the Country Liberals Party (CLP) for what he labelled a “trust deficit”.
“This term has been a term of chaos, and Territorians are just crying out for stability and politicians who will behave. We’ve got a team, I believe, who will do that, Mr Gunner said.”
In an interview with Erwin Chlanda following her election victory, Dale Wakefield spoke along similar lines: “People were sick of having a local Member not focussed on local issues. Transparency of government.”
She went on: “This election shows that if you don’t listen to the electorate, and you don’t take their concerns seriously, anybody can lose their seat. Michael Gunner has given that message to us very strongly. We need to bring trust back to government because I think that has been eroded.”
Pardon me?
Now we find this same Gunner Labor Government indulging in grants of taxpayers’ funds for the benefit of property holders, the inevitable excuse of “commercial in confidence” (so much for transparency), and a reliance on false information from top bureaucrats to justify Cabinet decisions made on the basis of no documented evidence (I’m referring to the reasons given for the destruction of the former Anzac Hill High School).
Now, as revelations start to emerge of all the shady backroom deals behind closed doors over the past two years, Ms Wakefield seeks to excuse herself in a moral light with regard to a meeting held on 27 June: “I mentioned multiple times that I was uncomfortable with the commercial nature of the discussion with the developers present and was unclear as to whether any interest by parties may be in conflict”.
She also makes the most interesting claim: “I note that as the chair of the meeting the Mayor [Damien Ryan] did not call for any conflict of interest declarations” at the meeting that she and her colleague Lauren Moss attended by teleconference.
On the face of it, this is most uncharacteristic of Mr Ryan, as publicly at Town Council meetings he has been most anxious to avoid conflict of interest with regard to discussions about Anzac Oval in light of my nomination for its heritage listing.
The Mayor was also the Local Government representative on the Heritage Council at the time too – he only resigned from that body following the announcement of his preselection as a CLP candidate for Araluen in September.
I can assure he was most assiduous in ensuring he avoided conflict of interest in regard to any discussions about the heritage nominations of Anzac Oval and the old high school.
Perhaps Mr Ryan thought he had an understanding at that particular meeting?
The way things are going, the Michael Gunner Government is rapidly morphing as the Tommy-Gunner “Good Fellas” Government.
If trust and transparency are so obviously lacking with regard to the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, the Civic Centre, the “Top End” of town (in more than one sense of the phrase) and the former Anzac Hill High School – well, where does the rot stop?
Can this government be trusted on any of the issues it’s dealt with – for example, onshore gas fracking?
As Michael Gunner stated in 2016: “I think you’ve got to own things. So if something goes wrong, I as leader own it, and you’ve got to take responsibility.”
So be it.


Government grant for Todd Tavern, Alice Plaza development
OK, so now let’s understand this situation a little more fully.
The Todd Tavern, notwithstanding its distinct architectural value, has for decades been a major source of the grog strife and associated anti-social and crime problems of Alice Springs.
This hotel has long been a major cause of why people don’t venture much into the north end of Todd Street and Mall for many years.
The Alice Plaza (originally Ford Plaza) is the town’s great white elephant – from the time it commenced operation it has been effectively subsidised by taxpayers who, through a range of Commonwealth and (mostly) NT Government agencies, have paid rent on most of the upper level and (at times) for retail space on the ground floor, too (PowerWater, for example).
Despite the massive taxpayer support this building has received for three decades, and no less than four major redesigns over that period, the Alice Plaza has never been a successful development.
When the Alice Plaza’s construction was underway in 1986, the building’s architect declared “the new full mall for Todd Street and the Ford Plaza will be an asset for tourism in Alice Springs” (Develop or die, Centralian Advocate, 18/7/86).
The building’s various owners, the NT Government and the Alice Springs Town Council have been struggling to make this massive miscalculation succeed ever since.
There is no evidence whatsoever that either government (at both tiers) or the commerce sector have any idea – let alone expertise – to rectify their colossal blunders.
They just keep coming up with more hare-brained schemes and projects to throw more taxpayers’ dollars at, always with the promise these “investments” will lead to pots of gold at the end of a rainbow and we’ll all live happily ever after.
No major project undertaken during the history of NT Self-Government, either here in Alice Springs or the Territory as a whole, has come anywhere within cooee of such siren promises.
Rather, we’re going backwards and the pace is worsening.
However, the property holders continue to do nicely out of being endlessly funded at public expense, regardless of which major political party holds power in the Northern Territory.
And now we’ve got a Labor Government spending more taxpayers’ dollars for the benefit of the wealthiest hoi polloi of our town to help them get out of the mess of their own making.
Never has so much been paid by so many to so few in the history of Alice Springs.
This is what “responsible Self-Government” has come to mean, and it is a disaster.
Let the wealthy property holders finance their own solutions, they should not be continued to be propped up at public expense.
Let the wealthy property holders face the responsibilities and consequences of their own poor investment decisions; and should they go under – well, that’s the reality of free market forces.
It is not the duty of government to endlessly spend scarce public funds to save the rich and privileged from themselves.
It’s long past the time when this situation should be called out for what it is – enough is enough.


Now that the Rock can’t be climbed, visiting it will cost more
@ Charlie Carter (Posted November 7, 2019 at 10:09 am): Presumably referring to Clyde Holding, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (1983-87) in the Hawke Government.
Holding was the architect of a proposed national Aboriginal land rights act but this was kyboshed after a strong campaign by the WA mining industry and Labor Premier, Brian Burke.
Instead, a bit under a decade later, the High Court of Australia recognised Native Title as legal.


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