Independent Kim Hopper has succinct policies for Braitling

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Kim Hopper, partner in a small business roasting and selling coffee, is joining a crowded field in the battle for the seat of Braitling.

 

After the disastrous Giles CLP government, and the catastrophic Gunner ALP regime, it is likely that 2020 will be the year of the non-major party candidates – at least in The Centre.

 

All the incumbent Dale Wakefield seems sure to win is the title of holding the soon to be created  portfolio of Minister for Central Australia for the least amount of time – a couple of months.

 

No doubt she will make the most of the successful strategies for coping with the Coronavirus although they originated mostly from the national cabinet formed for that reason.

 

Outspoken Scott McConnell, a defector from the Labor Party, is seeking to switch from remote Stuart to urban Braitling.

 

Dale McIver, for the Territory Alliance (TA), comes from promoting tourism which in the town has has been in decline since well before COVID-19.

 

Standing for the CLP is Joshua Burgoyne whose father-in-law, Damien Ryan, is contesting neighbouring Araluen currently held by TA’s Robyn Lambley.

 

And Australian Federation Party NT campaign director and Town Council member Eli Melky says he is looking for a Braitling candidate.

 

Ms Hopper (photo supplied) describes Braitling as “our diverse community” arcing from Larapinta to the Old Eastside.

 

Acknowledging the geography and possibly social make-up of the seat she is having two launches on the weekend, at the Francis Smith Park on the Eastside and the Grey Park in Braitling.

 

Refreshingly, she handles her own publicity and was admirably succinct in a Q&A with the Alice Springs News based on issues raised in a release from her.

 

NEWS: You are calling for protection of our water basins from pollution. Are you referring to fracking?

 

HOPPER: Yes.

 

NEWS: Is the government’s handling of fracking in breach of their implied undertakings?

 

HOPPER: There is clearly no social license for fracking.

 

NEWS: What role, if any, should mining play in the repayment of our $7b debt?

 

HOPPER: Our long-term recovery plan should be based on the huge potential of the solar industry.

 

NEWS: Investment in waste diversion and re-manufacturing industries – which ones?

 

HOPPER: Tyre processing. Expand current crushed glass processing.

 

NEWS: What should be done with the sewage treatment plant?

 

HOPPER: I have not yet consulted on the sewage plant.

 

NEWS: Support mechanisms for local food producers – how?

 

HOPPER: Prioritise food production industries as an essential service when allocating grants.

 

NEWS: Re-design the school enrolment zones – why?

 

HOPPER: The current system is inequitable especially for New-Eastside children who are not allowed to access Ross Park.

 

NEWS: Adequately fund and resource our public schools – compared to which schools, for example, in Australia are they inadequately funded?

 

HOPPER: The NT has the neediest school sector in Australia and the funding of public schools needs to match this need.

 

NEWS: Enact the Close the Gap recommendations – which ones especially?

 

HOPPER: The targets to achieve health equality have not been reached. The NT is doing worse than the rest of Australia in many aspects. We must address the determinants of health including adequate housing, community control, affordable food, access to health services, and education.

 

NEWS: Develop a long-term staff retention strategy – through which main initiatives?

 

HOPPER: Responsible governments must be acting on expert opinion. I am still consulting with health experts on this measure.

 

NEWS: Create new skills, local jobs – which ones?

 

HOPPER: Number one is jobs in renewable energy and its associated industries.

 

NEWS: What will your how-to-vote card look like with respect to preferences?

 

HOPPER: My team has not yet decided on preferencing.

 

Ms Hopper says the government should switch to “listening to and activating the local solutions we have in spades and putting great ideas into action in our Parliament … and not get bogged down by party politics and division.”

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Trevor Shiell
    Posted June 12, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Well done Kim. We need a new view on things happening here.
    We have lost so many opportunities to develop a unique place in the country but have been so inwardly looking over the years in favouring the interests that are so deeply ingrained here.
    The Japanese have been using crushed glass from a mountain of wine bottles for many years mainly for road base. Here we are happy to dig into a pristine and ancient hillside.
    I once changed some tyres in Adelaide and was PAID for them. They went to China where the rubber was removed by immersing them in liquid nitrogen and sent pack probably.
    Unfortunately that has stopped and we do not have the scale or wage structure to do it here.
    Both SA and Queensland have hydrogen production facilities developing, claiming the comparative advantage of their sunlight!
    No one asked them to investigate here.
    There are several towns that have gone completely off grid with significant savings to all.
    Why did it not happen at Kilgariff?
    One town in NSW has its solar panels over its sewerage ponds! Israel is producing potable water from waste water at under 60c. Singapore produces 60% of its drinking water from waste and they have a separate university department devoted to water recycling.
    Here we treat fossil water as a waste product.
    The sewerage ponds contain a veritable mountain of nutrients but no one has put a commercial value on them as fertiliser as has happened with the Adelaide plains market gardens.
    Why are we not doing this on the communities?
    Should I want to build my own eco friendly house here as in the Eco village at Aldinga in SA or the Christies Close development in the Adelaide CBD, where is the provision?
    Where can I do it and make it representative of our conditions here? $5K for certification fees should I attempt that, thank you very much, let alone getting permissions in the face of am all powerful building industry.
    The WA Government is installing vanadium flow batteries on some Indigenous communities in WA in preference to diesel but never a mention here.
    Has any thought been given to the impending influx of electric vehicles? Queensland has developed its own solar highway. Where is our planning?
    The development of new industries and the associated infrastructure has been guided by bodies that are protecting their own backsides and professional reputations rather than the communal good, and Darwin centred.
    Go Kim!

    View Comment
  2. Kim Hopper
    Posted June 11, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you @ Darwin Observer in response to your further points:
    2. I am not sure that I agree that reducing local sand mining is a bad thing and my suggestion wouldn’t significantly impact if our crushed glass output is as low as you say, from my enquiries we have an excess of this product in Alice Springs and personally I’d rather see it go to use in civil applications such as pavement and roads rather than used as a mulch / ground cover. Did you know that glass is the world’s most consumed product second to water? Interesting stat! There is a great piece of Australian research showing the economic value of using crushed glass in concrete, and it doesn’t compromise the product as you say.
    4. You are right perhaps “slashed” in terms of school funding isn’t the best description but significantly cut is true with real impacts on programs in the NT: Commonwealth direct funding of public schools will grow by just 1.7% (by $3.3m to $196m), whereas funding of private schools will increase by 4.3% (by $7.6m to a total of $184m).
    Commonwealth grants have been cut by 29.8%.
    NT Remote Aboriginal Investment – children and schooling (NTRAI) cut in half with a 48.7% reduction – from $56m to $28.7m. This will no doubt have knock-on consequences for educational as well as social outcomes.
    You seem to be passionate also and have a wealth of knowledge have you considered politics? I am finding the process very interesting so far.
    All the best, Kim

    View Comment
  3. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted June 11, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    I am in total agreement with Phil Walcott.
    Kim, stick to your guns, keep calm and cool when attacked even insulted, do not drop your standards to please the mob, you know what you are, (a lot of fresh air in our suffering community) what you want (a united healthy Territory). Go for it.

    View Comment
  4. Interested Darwin Observer
    Posted June 11, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Thank you for your reply Kim, I respect that!
    [1] When asked a question about mining in our economic recovery your response pivoted to renewable energy. These are separate though related (economically) industries. Our rare earth mines could be a vital pillar of battery power storage. Our uranium resources also hold potential.
    [2] When you mandate (regulate, exert government control) the use of recycled product in civil works you are then taking work away from existing privately owned aggregate and sand companies. Also, this will likely drive up price considerably of works as sand can be dug from the earth where as glass has to go through high levels of processing (energy and cost) to make it usable. This is at best a niche product suitable for special use. There simply is not a suitable large scale supply of crushed glass nor will there ever be in Alice Springs. The small amount of glass that can be used in concrete would create limited value and damage the efficiency, affordability and robustness (simplicity) of the supply chain concrete production. Concrete is a supremely complex product whereby a change to one product can drastically impact the amount of high carbon cost cement required to achieve desired technical outcome.
    [3] Local storm water collection is of limited use to intensive (efficient) agriculture. Certainly it can help feed the orange trees in the back yard. Building a damn to capture river flows may be of some benefit but this is not politically palatable. The most affordable high quality water source that services our dry town (about only 60mm p/a rain the last two years) is a non renewable resource.
    [4] Morrison has not “slashed” school funding. Even the left leaning ABC fact check has dispelled that.
    To quote ABC: “Under the Coalition, public school funding has grown each year and is projected to continue that way over the forward estimates.
    “The sum cited by Labor refers to the difference between what the two major parties plan to spend over the decade to 2027, with funding growth projected to be smaller under Coalition … smaller increases are not the same as decrease.”
    Where would you propose Desert Springs send their children? Ross Park is on the same side of the river as Ross Park and is not serviced by any school in its own suburb. Gillen School would be the next closest school, but they do not have the capacity unless they then send some of their kids to Braitling – but Braitling is already over 400 students.
    [5] I look forward to seeing a fresh, business person’s opinion! Our current Labor members have never run a chook raffle and wouldn’t know what business is. They only know tax, welfare, debt, ballooning government overreach and taking away of individuals liberty so they can wrap their arms of socialism around us.
    [6] I detected your left leaning ideologies when your policies gave the impression that Government will fix issues through regulations and not once mention anything regarding freedom, liberty, self determination, personal responsibility, cutting programs, cutting services and small, efficient government.
    Again, sincerely, thank you for engaging in the political, democratic process openly!

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  5. Karen Elliat
    Posted June 10, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    What a brave move! Onya Kim. I am really excited to have a candidate I can vote for, throwing their hat into the ring.

    View Comment
  6. Kim Hopper
    Posted June 10, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    Thank you @ Phil Walcott and @ Jason Clancy for your messages of support.
    I have been fortunate to receive many encouraging messages since launching my campaign.
    Thank you Darwin Observer for taking the time to input. Erwin requested that I send very short answers so I can understand why you have jumped to some conclusions, below are my responses to your points made:
    1. I am not putting Fracking and Mining in the same camp, mining plays a very important part in our lives globally including in the renewables industry and Australia and the NT play a significant role in that.
    2. My comments on tyre and glass processing were about local solutions to our waste management, we already produce crushed glass which could be mandated for use in civil works to contribute to a more circular economy. There are many examples of small scale industries of this type around Australia.
    3. I would challenge your comment that water is a non-renewable resource, if managed properly it absolutely should be renewable. Water harvesting on all infrastructure in Central Australia should be mandatory. My comment on food production being seen as an essential service is based on the experience of local food producers that had a huge increase in demand on them over the COVID-19 shut-downs but were not prioritised in the government support packages.
    4. I do not have a problem with Sadadeen Primary School, we have fantastic public schools in Alice Springs. The issue with the school zoning is that families in New Eastside used to be able to send their kids on a nice walk to school. The Bourke Street speed humps were put in to service this purpose, but when Ross Park became over-allocated it was New Eastside that was removed from the catchment, not Desert Springs. This needs to be reviewed.
    I am still consulting on the schools issue and not saying that the funding is the NT Government’s fault.
    The Morrison Government slashed public school funding in 2019. But it must be said that there is a dramatic difference in need between the two schools and I think you are wanting me to say that it creates a racial divide, which it does.
    Ross Park is also the only school that doesn’t have a town camp zoned to it. I am not against any of these schools, I am just echoing the request from the electorate that the zoning needs to be revisited.
    5. Your comment on no realistic way to pay for it: We need a renewable industry recovery, conservative governments around the world are taking this approach, it is a long term industry-focussed solution on which I will have a detailed policy on before the election.
    I am a business woman and have no illusions or un-realistic expectations of our indebted government.
    6. My team have not yet decided on preferences, I am interested to see you have put me in the Greens camp, is this due to my opposition to fracking or my renewable energy focus?
    Both of these issues have main stream backing and are not a niche left issue.

    View Comment
  7. Jason Clancy
    Posted June 10, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    With a heart of gold and a passion for change, Kim will do very well if she gets the support. Best of Luck.

    View Comment
  8. Interested Darwin Observer
    Posted June 10, 2020 at 9:25 am

    I don’t understand why this candidate is not standing for the Greens?

    A few points – You seem to suggest that mining should not be part of our future. Mining will exist for a long time to come, it provides vital raw materials for everything in our life. Do not place mining and fracking in the same column.

    What will Alice Springs do with tyre and glass processing? We are too remote to import the nations materials therefore we have a limited supply of these waste materials. I mean we could become a niche door mat producer but that’s hardly big picture stuff.

    What food production do we support? Cattle industry or crops utilizing our non renewable water?

    New Eastside and Sadadeen is an adequate boundary and is suitably serviced by Sadadeen Primary school which couldn’t be more than a 3 minute drive from anywhere in the zone. Whats your problem with this school? How is this inequitable? Ross park already serves 2.3 times more students than Sadadeen Primary, they don’t need any more! Ross Park receives less money for capital works than Sadadeen Primary despite serving many hundred more children. Sadadeen Primary School also has almost twice the number of full time equivalent staff as compared to Ross Park on a per student basis. Whats your angle here Kim, cut the talk of it being “inequitable” and just say it…

    Are our schools underfunded? Sadadeen Primary School currently operates on $29,000 per student per year which is 50% more than OLSH per student. Where is the funding issue? How much more should the tax payer spend on a single child every year? Is $29,000 tax dollars per student per year not enough?

    Reading your policy direction (Big government, fixing all social ills with tax dollars and no realistic way of growing industry to pay for it) I can help you with your how to vote card preferences: Green Party, Left Independents, Labor/TAP (could go either way) and CLP last…

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  9. Posted June 10, 2020 at 6:55 am

    A refreshing and positive approach to our NT political landscape. A dynamic, proactive position that clearly enunciates her priorities, Kim Hopper’s Independent candidacy will prove interesting to observe.
    With her passion for people elevated above the usual argy-bargy of mostly ego-driven, point-scoring political party politics, it’s enlightening to see such a focus being manifested.
    As the NT and her people grow forward into this different era of being, we’re ready to embrace new approaches to old issues.
    Kim’s stated priorities in this campaign have the essence of our whole community at heart. She is wished well in her endeavours.

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