I was associated with the development of the Australian Democrats’ …

Comment on Federal study casts light on future source of town water by Trevor Shiell.

I was associated with the development of the Australian Democrats’ water development policy in the late 70s and the sad fact from that and a universal truth is that the salts contained in any water do not evaporate.
Salt interception schemes along the Murray basin are an expensive but inevitable consequence. Yet we once more fail to look at experiences elsewhere in the world and their remedies.
Israel is producing a ton of potable water from waste using nano technology for under 60 cents a tonne while we use scarce and expensive fossil water to remove our own waste and then treat the water as a waste product! What are we doing?
Elsewhere in Australia sewerage is being used to grow highly nutritious algae for cattle fodder Tasmania and other places have greenhouse technology down to a fine art and are producing bulk food without extravagant use of water just as Sundrop is doing.
This facility at Pt Augusta is producing lots of food from water with water far saltier than ours, and supplying the whole of a major supermarket chain with tomatoes Australia wide with just few hectares. Further up the Murray harvesting the salt is proving lucrative. Once more where were we when all this was happening?

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

Election 2020 salvos fired with Alice the first battleground
There are many achievable plans for the town but the trouble is the government and their planners refuse to look far ahead, and kowtow to a small goup whose vision does not extend beyond house renovation and the Traeger Park complex.
The CBD is where it is for historic reasons, not practical planning in line with current realities. Brewer is a the centre of three major cross country transport facilities –three cross country highways, a cross country rail and an international airport – a fact not lost on the transport people in the Kimberlys, but ignored by most of us here who refuse to put our heads out from under the shell.
This is where industrial development must take place. The far-sighted transport operators and mining companies are already storing at the cattle yards.
The northern rail entry illustrates the point. It is no coincidence that one of the major transport companies in the nation (Linfox) was in town last week at the same time Government was talking about privately developing the Tanami.
A toll road perhaps?
Tourism continues to ignore the potential of the area south of The Gap.
Last week I counted over 40 vehicles and just over 100 visitors being photographed on the welcome rock near the Adelaide turnoff in the 40 or so minutes I sat there waiting for a plane.
A similar situation is occurring at the Old Ghan engine near the cemetery.
Once again I ask where are the tourism people?
It occurred to me that it is only a hop step and jump from the Transport Hall of Fame which would make a great tourism / visitors centre, like Winton with a central theme, an introduction to the whole of the NT rather than attempt to have visitors try to park in the CBD and run them in and out in a couple of electric vehicles as happens elsewhere.
There is no apparent planning for the deluge of electric trucks about to descend on us from at least three manufacturers.
Diesel is an obsolete technology and Brewer is where it should be based on solar power, and the planning should have started years ago.
I don’t see a flood of people going to the museum in the mall and the silly situation with the cultural centre will not solve the problem.
We are planning to have a plan to yet again have another plan to re develop the CBD plan yet again. The cultural centre should be in conjunction with Yirara College to let the students there demonstrate their own cultural heritage and not use this to serve the vested interests of the CBD.
With the current fuss about safety with quad bikes, what better training ground than the motor complex at the drag strip.
We could learn so much if we just opened our eyes and looked around.

Gold theft: the demise of a wattle
Interesting observation. Apart from camel grazing, there is a world of science which has been ignored to our detriment.
I wonder when it will dawn on pollies that there are huge economic opportunities underlying what has been lost at that site.
Commercial interests in SA are farming both of these species of Acacia (and our Caparis, and bush tomato) both for soil enrichment (being legumes), shelter and now seed production for high value bush food.
Prior to that much of the research into the economic potential of these species has been underway in North Africa and India for quite a few years, while we think only of houses, and grader blades.
The soil science of these species is a huge economic goldmine but once more ignored by Governments which have ignored or are ignorant of the science involved.
A WA university has been researching desert Michorriza and native desert legumes for years to improve soil fertility.
Mention that word (Michoriza) to the pollies and you get a huge yawn.
There are other things that could have provided a lot of opportunities here but are ignored.
What is it about native Cyprus pine, for example, that repels termites?
No one bothers to ask and yet research into that would save us millions and create research opportunities, and jobs.
Animal pheromones to control their feral numbers? No one seems to notice their effects on feral animals and use their behaviour to aggregate and control them.
This is used on other animals (fruit fly, etc) but never contemplated here.
Have they ever been charged by a boar intent on mating? Or a herd of 1000 camels charged with hormones and pheromones?
Scientific ignorance or just plain ignorance amongst politicians who see only new houses the same as everywhere else, and grader blades. All of these and others could have been the basis of a completely new set of industries here, but sadly have set up elsewhere. Sad!

Billionaire may invest in giant Tennant solar farm
Remember back to the “towards 2030” project of two Labor Governments ago: A proposal was put in, to place a series of such facilities as this from Darwin to here to electrify the rail line and export the electricity interstate using the rail network.
It happens across Europe ,Japan and elsewhere but not here because we refuse to look around at what is possible elsewhere.
Can you imagine the tourism potential of a trans national railway powered by alternative energy?
It would have provided the Indigenous interests all the way along the line with a constant revenue stream as well as serve the national interest.
Now this morning on ABC RN I hear John Hewson supporting a similar project.
The usual excuse is money and it is sad that much of our infrastructure is financed from overseas while we continue to use houses often well beyond our needs.
The Towards 2030 concept was swallowed up in the usual social platitudes, and shows the shallow nature of planning over recent years, and which continues to this day.
Hydrogen production facilities are currently being set up in Adelaide because of their “superior” sunlight characteristics.
No one was encouraged to look here, and we have no where to demonstrate the potential of the large multi million dollar hemp facility being planned further north because the research and demonstration facility here is now covered with houses the same as any other suburb in Australia.
And so the list goes on, with Anzac Hill.
The obvious place for a cultural centre is still with Yirara College so the students there can learn and demonstrate their own culture and learn the necessary management skills.
In addition the Road Transport Hall of Fame could become a visitors information centre with minor road deviations from the main South Road, and serve the whole of the NT as has happened elsewhere. The shallow nature of the planning is breathtaking.

New mines in The Centre – a snapshot
In the late 60s a BHP geologist examined several magnetic lines of lineament across the continent. Many of the existing mineral deposits were found to be on these lines and they all intersected in the Jervois area. The land was subsequently taken up by Mithril Resources, an offshoot of BHP and the potential there is massive.
Verdant resources is a sad case as it has massive resources of phosphate.
One school of thought is that Australia will run out of phosphate within 20 years, then it will probably have to come from North Africa, with all the potential instability to supply for political reasons, and consequences for our farmers.
Yet in spite of this the powers that be allowed the sale of the company to overseas interests –fortunately British, headed by an Australian, and not the usual Chinese.
They did not purchase the venture for feel good reasons but they were looking 20 years down the road as we should have been doing.
That was a strategic Australian asset lost again, the reason being that we could not raise enough money in this country to develop it in the national interest.
However we can still muster the money to build houses far in excess of our needs and imports to satisfy our need to be bigger than the man down the street, but cannot muster the dollars to keep control of a strategic asset essential to the welfare of the nation.
Much the same almost happened with rare earths in Northern Minerals which produces dysprosium, an essential ingredient in the new generation of jet engines.
Chinese private interests were chasing it. As a shareholder in Verdant (and Northern Minerals) I protested but to no avail and the few dollars involved short term were heard more clearly than the voice of a small shareholder, and the welfare long term of the nation.
I am also a shareholder and supporter of both TNG and Arafura.

Ministers lash out at council over gallery
It is inevitable that the commercial centre will move south of The Gap and in spite of all the vested interests in the current CBD, how many re invigorations of the mall, and how many plans and initiatives have resulted in not much?
The dinosuar museum is a case in point, with many people not even knowing it is there and a cultural centre as proposed will go the same way.
No one seems to have noticed that we have a unique set of facilities grossly under recognised and unutilised with the convergence of three cross country highways, Outback Way, Stuart Highway and now the Tanami with an international standard airport and cross country rail.
This is where the long term economic activity will have to be. The obvious place for a cultural centre is in conjunction with Yirara College, where students can proudly display their cultures and as a learning exercise in management skills, and show the positive side of Indigenous education.
Add to that a brand new visitors centre where the Transport Hall of Fame is along the lines of Katherine, Winton and other places, to intercept visitors rather than the reactive approach where they arrive in town and then are targeted.
Such a centre should serve the whole of the NT. The numbers of visitors stopping at the welcome rock makes this an obvious action but never explored by planners. The cultural centre and the hall of fame should be the centre piece of a visitors experience, as it is in Winton.

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