Memo Club suspends trading, goes into voluntary administration. Town & Country to close tomorrow.


The Alice Springs Memorial Club has suspended trading,  gone into voluntary administration and “the committee is looking to establish a fighting fund for the people of Alice Springs to contribute to in the aim of reopening the doors as soon as possible,” according to a media release this morning.
And the Todd Mall bistro, Town & Country, is closing tomorrow.
Owner Geoff Booth, who is standing for councillor in Saturday’s election, says on Thursday the popular pub in the heart of the town will be boarded up and secured with razor wire.
Mr Booth says this follows declining trading over two years to now being just

“appalling” and “13 of 14 break-ins” just this year, each causing $800 to $1000 worth of damage.
Mr Booth says his and the Memo Club’s problems are very similar: “People are scared of the nighttime activities. After 5pm the town centre turns into a ghost town.”
He says an application to the Liquor Commission to create a double venue in that location had been withdrawn.
One part would have been tavern-style, and the other offering fine wines and boutique beers with gourmet tapas.
Meanwhile the Memo Club’s administrator, Tim Clifton, of Macks Hall Clifton, says the club was in danger of trading while insolvent, and the move will give it a breathing space of one month.
The debts are “not insignificant, but well less than $1m,” says Mr Clifton.
The main reason for the problem is clearly “not enough people coming through the door”.
During the month a proposition will be made to the creditors, to see if they will “accept some compromises of claims” and if agreed, the club’s management will be returned to the committee.
If not the club may be put into liquidation.
Meanwhile a Department of Justice spokesman says the club has applied to the Liquor Commission for a temporary suspension of its gaming machine and liquor licences.
The club has called a special general meeting for April 1 “and we strongly urge all members and the community to attend,” says the release.
The Memo Club dates back to when the army took over the town in 1940.
The release says: “They established a large camp at the northern end of town. Two Sydney Williams huts were erected at the foot of Anzac Hill. It became the first Memorial Club in 1947.
“The Second World War put Alice Springs on the map. It became one of Australia’s most significant military centres. More than 50 trains a week were coming into town in 1942/43.
“Apart from Darwin there was probably no place in Australia changed by the war as much as Alice.
“The population was approaching 2,000 in 1946 when the town’s ex-servicemen commenced proceedings to form a licensed club. Initially membership was to be restricted to ex-servicemen and the liquor licence granted in the name of the RSL.
“However, they recognised the need to also admit men who hadn’t served with the armed forces in order to trade profitably. So evolved the concept of the Alice Springs Memorial Club made up of exservicemen and associate members. The club was officially opened on Anzac day in 1947 at the foot of Anzac Hill.
“In 1951 the club moved to its present site 127 Todd Street. Over the years the Memo club has helped raise many hundreds of thousands of dollars and now the club needs your help.
“The Memo Club is the only community owned club with the only lawn bowls green in Alice Springs. The Memo Club supports many sporting bodies in Alice Springs, help us SAVE the Memo Club and to help keep the sporting clubs,” says the statement released by the president and committee.
Mr Booth says he bought Town & Country six years ago when it was called Scotty’s and occupied only the southern side of its present complex. He expanded the small beer garden and set up a second bar and large kitchen to take up the entire former courtyard and the former Opal shop behind.
Mr Booth says his other ventures, the Gillen Club and Club Eastside, are doing well.
PICTURES: Top – Town & Country Tavern. Note green sign for extended liquor permit application – now withdrawn. Photo by Hans Boessem, Todd Camera Store. Above right – The Memo Club.
From the frontline: Kids thieving for drunks, take-away restrictions nail in coffin of tourism?
“I’ve met Germans who have a beer with their cornflakes,” says Jason Adami, licensee of Sporties, the restaurant in the Mall near the sails.
He says overseas visitors are bamboozled and irritated by the town’s alcohol regime which, he says, achieves little anyway.
A local of 26 years’ standing and son of the hospitality identity Pat Adami, Mr Adami says while the global financial crisis is doing much damage to the town’s tourism industry, the “unrest” and the alcohol restrictions are just about finishing it off.
And he says it’s not the drunks that are the main problem, but the kids who are doing the drunks’ bidding: “They send in the kids. For the kids it’s excitement.”
Recently still unknown thieves broke into Mr Adami’s business by breaking loose an airconditioner, and gaining access to the bar through the roof space. They did thousands of dolllars worth of damage. The loot was a few bottles of spirits.
“I leave work at 11pm and I see packs of 30, 40 kids, some of them as young as nine,” says Mr Adami.
He says public drunkenness needs to be curbed. It’s now “way worse” than people just being humbugged for cigarettes and cash: “Now it’s stabbings, bashings.
“I’ve said it for years, jail should be jail, in the sense that you should fear the fact of going to jail. It’s a holiday camp now. That’s a well-know fact.”
Mr Adami says if take-away alcohol is the problem then it needs to be fixed without further hurting the tourist industry. He says he would have no problem with extensive restrictions so long as the “bona fide traveller” principle were applied to tourists.
This could include 24/7 trading for people who can prove their normal domicile is outside – for example – a 1500 km radius from Alice Springs.
He says some of his colleagues in tourism expect a downturn this year of as much as 30% to 50%.
“We hear so many horror stories about the take-aways. We need to go further than that.
“People should be able to have a beer on their own land, their own environment. They come here and all they want to do is drink.
“If they misbehave they get booted off their own land.
“They’re not going to stay in the desert. They have long ago lost the skills for that.
“They come to town, and cause trouble here.”


  1. This is a very sad time for Alice Springs. This will not be the last business to feel the strain of the demise of Alice Springs.
    Whilst we must look at the management of the Club we must also look at the big picture. With Tiger leaving Alice Springs and Qantas charging a fortune to get in and out of Alice Springs certainly has caused some heartache. But you must also look at the terrible issues facing Alice Springs. The media coverage goes all over Australia and in some cases the world. If you continue to get the extremely bad publicity you will never get any one to visit Alice. The Town MUST put all their political and cultural differences aside and work together. BUT in my time in Alice I see this never happening. This issue has become too hard for every one. From Governments, Councils, Indigenous Organisations and individuals. There is blame being placed in every quarter. And they are right. Every one is to blame. And the other thing is that no one will listen to the other side’s view.
    Well, it seems to me that not every one is right. There are good points in all quarters. I see a number of people quoting all sorts of facts and figures. These are useless if the main group does not want to help themselves. The other issue is now we have to be politically correct with these issues. Well, the time has come to make some tough decisions and I see no real leaders to do this. The council has been extremely weak. The NT government is non existent in Alice and of course we have a completely inept Federal Government. They are just throwing funds at the issue. In the mean time Alice will die a very slow and painful death. To see a Club like the memo go into receivership is disgusting and a real black mark on Alice.
    How about you get together and honor the people who created this club as they are the ones who fought for your freedom.
    I am pleased to have left Alice as I did the best I could do whilst there but felt the whole time you are just banging your head against a brick wall. It is now great to go out without feeling threatened and living in a normal place. I have not been asked for a ciggy or $5 since moving. IT IS GREAT.
    I wish all the people there the best but unless you pull your heads in and work together I am sorry to say I see No Future there.

  2. This is an absolute tragedy for our town. We cannot and will not allow it to happen! We cannot allow this continuing slide in our town and its services. This club is an immensely important part of our history and social infrastructure, the very foundations of many of our sporting associations. Time to draw a line in the sand, Alicespringites! Not another backwards step! Lets get on board and save our club!

  3. The town is losing families as well as the clubs. Town & Country will close at 5:00 pm tomorrow. Memo in administration, closed for present, staff paid out. I wonder if people are too scared to go out at night because of the anti social behavior.
    Sporties closing or selling, Jason going by Christmas. Will the Joint Defence Facility be next? I know of three families leaving.

  4. My lord.
    My business is suffering badly right now also, lack of visitors has left us with bugger all staff as we try to move forward and renovate.
    This is a tragedy. The NT Government and Alice Springs Town Council have let us down horribly over the past four years.
    We are only just beginning to find out the problems with the admin at the council. While our businesses are dying they are misusing our rates, and hiding it.
    Anyone thinking about voting for Mayor Ryan or NT Labor must have absolute rocks in their heads.
    I can’t believe that even a single person out there is willing to say they have done a good job.
    I love Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, and both need change and new ideas desperately.

  5. Dear Anonymous Glad to be Gone,
    Your comments are largely gratuitous, but in saying “I see a number of people quoting all sorts of facts and figures. These are useless if the main group does not want to help themselves,” I have to ask whether you are referring to indigenous as your main group, or the community as a whole?
    If you are referring to the latter, then I agree. If you are referring to the former, and I believe you are because of your “ciggy/humbug” remark, then how can they help themselves while the two pubs are pouring take-away into their long-term addiction, seven days a week?
    That this has in many tragic cases, become a demented psychosis escapes most people. One could make the same analogy with heroin. Please read my Comment piece “The Devil’s Big Day Out” for some thirty-year background on this escalating problem, exacerbated by incoming urban drift.
    Your inference that the NT Government and the Feds are weak is not sustained by the Stronger Futures and Enough is Enough initiatives, both of which have great potential to impact positively on the problem of excessive alcohol supply in Alice Springs.
    The Tennant Creek police put eleven people on the banned drinkers register last week. What a pity Thirsty Thursday was compromised. Alice should be able to learn from it and bring in take-away restrictions.
    The Alcohol and Other Drugs Tribunal is starting up and Alcohol Management Plans are in train. The hapless law and order merchants of Alice will get a big stick from the Feds in the law and order department, if they’re determined to bring on a fight, but what a colossal no-brainer!
    The Memo Club’s closure may be sheeted home to other causes, e.g. the substantial online ordering of grog from interstate and market forces, such as other clubs drawing patronage away from a crime hot-spot.
    The issue of crime needs to be looked at once the excessive take-away alcohol supply is restricted. If an overlying mess is cleared away, physicians can determine which bleeders need attention and how to treat them.
    In any case, failure of the community to address excessive alcohol supply has a role in the demise of the Memo and it won’t be constrained by attacking the symptoms via law and order.
    It’s a tragic shame, because leaving town is not an option for most of those caught up in this vicious circle, but the moral argument is lost on those who are addicted to the same drug.
    On that note, who cares if another Gin Palace or three go to the wall? The Memo Club may have supported youth sporting organizations in the past, but they’re just cultivating the grog culture and indoctrinating youth into the rituals of drunkenness. What a bunch of Philistines!
    Stronger Futures is designed for the future. Scaremongering closures designed to support the need for Law and Order are just that. Bah humbug!

  6. The memo closed for only ONE reason, there was not enough people through the door. This has got NOTHING to do with the racism in the town, political correctness, who you do or don’t politically support, the indigenous culture, the local council or the violence in the town. The people of Alice Springs are to blame, as they simply didn’t support the Memo Club enough. There’s MORE than enough people living in Alice to support the Memo, and they chose to NOT attend enough.
    It’s ALWAYS been perfectly safe to go to the Memo Club.

  7. Thanks Russel.
    Gratuitous. I Think not…
    I always read your comments with great interest. I am referring to the town as a whole.
    You seem fixated on the take away alcohol. This will not fix the issue. It may help but people will only find other ways to get it. You have said Quote “order on line”. What about the illegal trade. We would not have a clue how much is coming in from all over the country.
    I will concede that the urban drift has certainly resulted in the demise of Alice Sprimgs I visited there in 1977 and found the town great but due to all its issues I would not recommend even visiting the town now. Just watch the news and you can see Alice Springs as it is.
    My comments about the Federal Government and NT Government is an opinion. Tell me what influence they have had. Your examples will do nothing. The amount of tax payer money thrown at the issue and its achieved NOTHING. Take a good look – IT IS worse. People are leaving. Tourists are not returning and businesses are closing … and you come up with the take away problem … It’s more than that … Also have a look at comments by some well respected business people such as Phil Danby, Geoff Booth, Jason Adami and Jason Newman. Maybe people should be listening to these people.
    The respect for other people’s property is non existent. Mr Adami’s comments about the kids roaming the streets. Fix that!
    Then we have Tennant Creek. Big deal 11 people on the banned list. Do you honestly think that will do anything? I attended Tennant Creek fortnightly and again the crime in Tennant Creek was certainly getting worse. How much more crime occurs that is not reported.
    I think its about time you had a real good look.
    The way its going you still will be preaching the same stuff when the place is closed all together.
    My time there I heard all this rhetoric and did anything happen. NO. The town actually went backwards.
    When you have a substantial plan something other than “Thirsty Thursday” and you get others to help than maybe things could improve. I am not continuing our discussion any further (But I am sure you will.) But until you all work together NOTHING will change.
    I will continue to read your soapbox reports as it actually gives me a good laugh.
    Gratuitous Anonymous Glad to be Gone

  8. @1 John, not sure where you’ve been but the general population who frequent the park and old Melanka site opposite the Memo are not exactly the most inviting bunch. Only a month ago after attending a function at the Memo Club we came out to find that a couple of friendly fellows had decided to have a dance on a number of cars in the carpark, leaving behind them extensively dented panelwork and smashed windscreens. It’s things like this that put people off going into town and unfortunately it IS SEVERELY affecting the viability of businesses in the CBD.
    I for one hope that the Memo can be revived as it provides important community assistance through sporting clubs and other associations.

  9. Russell @ editor. While I support everyone’s right to comment Russell the last part of your comment accusing the Memo of supporting a Alcohol Culture is not only insulting to a very large potion of this town it is stupid and defamatory! An accusation could be made about your comments that you are indoctrinating people into the culture of the moron! The Memo has been a wonderful family Club for generations it has supported generations of children’s involvement in sport children of all colours all backgrounds. It has never supported a culture of boozing, always been a place where people went for a quite drink or two a meal and a bit of entertainment. It has run into trouble because not enough heads have been coming through the door. Why is that after all this time do you think?? Could it just possibly be that night after night of vehicles in the public car park being smashed by those haunting the poorly lit surrounds may have something to do with it? Do you suspect that night after night of break and enters may have something to do with it? Do you suspect that the general air of apprehension around town about going out after dark may have something to do with it? How do we help the Memo and all of our business? We enforce Law and Order in this town we don’t make pathetic whimpering excuses for criminal behaviour because of somebodies shape colour background addiction or anything else, because when we do it causes harm to the huge majority of good and decent people of all colours in this town.

  10. @ Russell the one trick pony.
    Just wait until your advocated policies bring mass bootlegging and/or organized crime to town. You think alcoholics are fun … just wait. And maybe read up about American prohibition.

  11. I would like to say get rid of labor FIRSTLY, and get the football BACK to the communities. Everyone start taking responsibility for ALICE. These kids start walking into town around 2.30pm then never leave till early hours in the morning. Can’t blame the police. Communities need to take responsibility. And yes I stopped going out because leaving the Memo and other pubs was getting TOOOO scary. Had a good night, walked to my car and windows were SMASHED. There goes my night.

  12. Dear Anon Glad to be out of here, according to you, we turn out the light. Why don’t you sign your name?
    How many times do I have to say it? Take-Away Alcohol Free Sales Days have never been tried here. It worked in Tennant (read the stats), etc., etc. End of argument if you can’t see it or don’t want to see it, nothing more to say.
    The Banned Drinking Register is a step in the right direction and from where I live, it’s having an effect. People are volunteering to be on it. It’s another measure in the multi-pronged approach that the West Australians are trying at present to contain their part of the escalating national grog problem.
    I’m not looking at all this through a crystal ball, but through 30-plus years of working and at times, living in NT Town Camps. This is an epidemic, there are some who will welcome any help they can get in trying to manage alcoholism (see CAAC stats – better still ring them up, or go and have a look at their daily clinic).
    As for your comments, Steve Brown. Your “moron” remark is a new low for a debate in which you have nothing more to offer. I’ve been to the Memo. You’re not telling me anything new.
    In fact, everything you suggest is old hat, done and dusted. Like many of the newcomers to this Council election, I’m interested in the future, not the past and working with government policies such as Stronger Futures because they’re moving away from the Grog Culture which your law and order policies will drive underground. Alex Nelson said in the Advocate (20/3/12) that you’ve done nothing to change the culture of grog in the past 25 years.
    Anonymous, Steve, the one-trick pony man. Have the courage to sign your name and I’d take you more seriously. I’ve written about bootlegging/black marketeering, if you’d care to look through recent posts at Alice Springs News Online.
    I see grog running all the time and co-operate with police when they have the time to follow-up, that is, when they’re not run off their feet trying to keep up with the effects of excessive alcohol supply that a take-away restriction will assist, in another step in the right direction. Thanks for the reading reference re prohibition. Been there, not advocating it anyway.

  13. Let’s get off the alcohol debate for a moment, and consider that Alice Springs is in deep trouble. We could fail; some would say we are failing right now. More and more residents are not wanting to venture out by either day or night, and without that venturing out, our local economy will collapse and the town will fail.
    And why don’t residents want to venture out? Perhaps because by day the streets and parks are full of adult urban-drifters wandering around like unregistered dogs, and by night the same streets and parks are full of feral children looking to break something, and anything will do.
    It’s not the break-ins to the venues with grog on site that is the big news. It’s the fact that wilding children ram-raid for the fun of it, and once inside they take a bottle or two of spirits and any visible cigarettes. Or they go into the parking lots to try to steal a ride, and failing that jump up and down on a bonnet or two.
    Now the town camps want to become gated communities, and who can blame them?
    But for those leaving, a cautionary note if I may: Maybe don’t move to the Gold Coast, or Sydney’s west, or the Top End.
    On reflection, maybe stay here. Maybe lend a hand.

  14. Hal, I can understand you, and no doubt, many others wanting to get off the alcohol debate. It’s been with us seven days a week for so long and we’re all tired of it. Your post reinforces that fact, but it won’t go away with just one day of take-away restriction. Try three, like some others are now proposing. The alternative is not worth imagining.
    Naturally occurring urban drift is exacerbated by lack of housing which is a huge issue, as in other parts of the world with the same problem. I haven’t heard any election candidate acknowledge housing, apart from John Reid who seems to be showing leadership in his policy statements around this issue.
    In regard to the feral children, it’s my opinion that this can be attributed to the tragedy of alcoholism in their immediate and extended family, indeed, the disease is endemic after fifty years in Aboriginal societies. The breakdown is well documented. I’ve been saying this for weeks in these posts.
    I know an Anmatjerre boy of six, who calls my name and when he sees me all he says is “book,” because I’ve given him two. His father has been absent for the past three months in prison, for alcohol-related offences.
    This nice little boy lacks discipline and is distracted. I’m concerned for his schooling and future. If he were my boy, or your boy, wouldn’t you be angry about his chances under the circumstances described above?
    Your comments about the Gold Coast, Sydney’s west and the Top End are well founded. Australia has an escalating excessive alcohol supply problem costing taxpayers $15billion a year (NAAA. 3/12). Add Byron Bay to your list.
    I helped a friend whose business is emptying wheelie bins from holiday lettings there over Christmas. Bin after wheelie bin, seven days a week for two weeks, full of bottles of all description, beer, spirits, champagne. You would think that maybe Alice has a chance to avoid this.

  15. Alcohol is a drug it does not matter who drinks it. You would have to make Alice Springs a completely dry town up to say 10km to the outskirts to solve the problem of the town drunks. You would have to have a lot of police on every corner. The Aboriginals are the alcoholics that are doing the damage. It’s not new so lead by example. Practice what you preach, get in an get your hands dirty go an talk to these people. I do an I have not touched grog in 31 years. God bless. Kiwi Kevin.

  16. @ Kevin Mudford 21/3/12 12:24 pm
    Good on you Kevin, the Alice is too full of those who are so well paid that they have forgotten what it is like to get their hands dirty let alone actually talk with the people.
    Bless you too for, dare I say, you are not part of the problem.
    Diana Whitehouse.

  17. Kevin, you stand afar and hurl lightning bolts like Jove, when praying to Jehovah would be more your calling.
    The last thing we need is a know-it all, itinerant preacher taking up a seat in the grandstand.
    If you want to front the situation in Alice, then rock-up and get your hands dirty, but consider reading related posts from the past weeks of this debate.
    In your enthusiasm to direct traffic, you miss the whole point of a take-away restriction on excessive supply.

  18. There is something very fishy going on here. A week or two back the pokies were purring and the beer taps bubbling at the Memo Club. Up the road the Town and Country proprietor was proudly planning an upgrade of his business to include a sophisticated late night bar. Now, suddenly, three days before a watershed town council election in which the proud proprietor is standing for Council, there is such a crisis that he is suddenly and dramatically withdrawing his application to upgrade, putting his plans “on hold”, boarding up the T&aC and surrounding the place with razor wire. All very dramatic, and undoubtedly entirely coincidental.
    Apparently we will find out the fate of both these ventures not long after the election. It will be extremely interesting to see if everything is still so calamitous that either or both these establishments have to bite the dust.

  19. Whilst acknowledging the role of anti-social behaviour and the threat of assault and / or vandalism on the decline in patronage at the Memo I think a further cause is the high cost of housing in the town.
    Families paying a mortgage on a house bought in the last few years or paying exorbitant rent whilst also trying to save for a house purchase are cutting back on their discretionary spending. They are going to cut down on their spending and stay home.
    Imagine the effect on the town if each family renting or buying had an extra two to three hundred dollars in their pockets to spend each week.

  20. Despite the varied responses from previous writers, I think everyone would agree that The Alice is facing a BIG problem, one that calls for an equally BIG response.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Russell Guy’s assertion that the common denominator of most of our town’s issues (violent and anti-social behaviour, family violence, neglect of children, etc.) is take-away alcohol.
    Over recent years, I have come to believe that a 12-month trial of a 4-days-a-week (Sundays to Wednesdays inclusive) ban on take away alcohol may serve well as an essential central plank to a multi-pronged plan developed by representatives of police, health, business and tourism organisations, indigenous groups and, of course, the general public).
    As evidenced by the Tennant Creek trial, I believe that the results would be near-instant, in providing welcomed respite for our police, health and the many community support services presently on the 24/7 treadmill, fighting the problems arising from take away alcohol, at all levels of our society.
    Imagine the story such a trial would make for the interstate and overseas media, of a town actually taking control of its future and re-shaping its image.
    I for one am willing to forego some personal freedoms to see if such a trial would work. The only other alternative is to pull the pin and leave the place, but after my 27 years in the place, I know real Territorians do not give up so easily.

  21. Bob Durnan your comments are offensive and show an absolute lack of understanding of what is happening in this town at present. The Memo at its last AGM posted financial reports that indicated it was not trading well and the T and C has seen its patronage decline as the social issues in the town increase. If you live in this town open your eyes and see what is going on but reading your comments it concerns me you may be an adviser to the NT Government and that is why this town is declining at the rate it is. Leave to conspiracy theories to the Alice News.
    [ED – Mr Barnes is invited to substantiate his allegations.]

  22. Dear John Barnes, I’m not an advisor to any government, simply a citizen concerned with the over-representation of alcohol outlets – pubs, clubs and take-aways – that has gutted a town in which I decided to live in 1977.
    Like Domenico Peocrari, I share Bob Durnan’s concerns. A boutique wine bar with gourmet tapas, though not my cup of tea, may sound like a nice attraction to the CBD next to what is more often a public courtyard grog shanty by day, but why is grog seen as sacrosanct when it comes to business survival?
    The number of art galleries that have gone bust is not because of violence-related crime. They’ve shut their doors for other reasons – the GFC’s effect on discretionary income, the high $A effect on overseas visitors, surely you’d agree that this has some effect on businesses such as Town and Country and Sporties. The Memo has different reasons, many of which have been elaborated in postings at this site.
    Law and order candidates’ exclusion of excessive alcohol supply as a perpetrator of crime is its own conspiracy against all the evidence presented by numerous individuals in all walks of life, before, during and after this election campaign if the community lets them get away with it at the polling booth.
    Domenico’s view that tourism can be stimulated by a take-away restriction regime is only one of the real economic benefits which they are missing.

  23. Despite all the doom and gloom, Newmont’s Granites Gold Mine, which must be the largest single business in Central Australia, seems to be going along quite nicely. According to Newmont’s 2011 Annual Report, their Granites Mine had an operating profit of over $100 Million last year. Apart though from the royalties and wages / small contractors they have to pay, I wonder what Newmont is actually contributing to Alice Springs at a community level at a time when so many are doing it tough?

  24. Sorry John Barnes (@Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:11 am):
    You are correct that I am not up to date with the Memo Club’s financial situation (although I am a Memo member). But you are incorrect about my motives for pointing out the extraordinary political convenience (for the law’n’order panic candidates, including not least Geoff Booth) of the coincidence of these two licensees suddenly deciding to announce their threatened closures three days before the election. I am not an apologist for or adviser to the NT Government, nor I am employed by them since I resigned from their employ almost six years ago. In fact, I have been a consistent critic of their policies since then, particularly as they relate to lack of adequate policing, housing, infrastructure and education efforts in bush communities, insufficient affordable accommodation in Alice Springs, and their lack of adequate child welfare action and alcohol regulation (such as a floor price based on the price of beer, and days free from take-away alcohol sales) in Central Australia as a whole. However they have introduced the “Enough is Enough” policies, including the banned drinkers register and SMART Court and the Alcohol Tribunal, and expanded alcohol and drug treatment programs, and for these moves they deserve much credit.
    Credit must be given where credit is due, and questionable behaviour needs to be questioned wherever it occurs too.

  25. As a resident of over 40 years I am now starting to say – “is it time to go?”.
    Alice now has many problems, which although not new, have got so far out of control that I fear we will never overcome them. Here are just a few:
    1. Young, aggressive, unemployed youth roaming the streets causing untold mayhem.
    2. Excessive residential rents leaving the average renter with little or no disposal income to spend in the towns social venues. Ditto mortgage payments.
    3. Hordes of itinerant drunks coming to Alice from outlying communities because Alice is a “party town”. (Just go and sit in the magistrate’s court for a day and listen to the excuses given up for drunken behaviour and property damage).
    4. Local clubs such as the Gillen Club, Memo Club and Club Eastside having their members pump inordinate amounts of money into their poker machines. Is it little wonder that turnover is down as eventually pokie players will simply run out of money and will not be able to afford any of the club’s other facilities.
    5. Courts imposing “slap on the wrist” sentences for assaults and property damage. What about a boot camp out bush to teach young thugs a bit about respect?
    6. No affordable residential land for our young people to get a foot in the door and build their futures. Most leave town and never come back.
    7. A government centered in Darwin with little or no interest in Alice Springs as they have come to the conclusion that they can stay in government by simply winning the votes in Darwin’s northern suburbs. The Berrimah Line is now an impenetrable brick wall.
    8. The European Debt crisis and the high Australian Dollar have seriously impacted on our ability to attract overseas tourists. Let’s then concentrate on the domestic market until things improve.
    9. A weak and ineffective Town Council who are more interested in raising revenue from parking fines, graffiti victims, and property developers, and seeing who can shout the loudest at Council meetings, than getting out and doing something to beautify the town and promoting its benefits and features. Can we hire Port Augusta’s terrific lady mayor for a year or so?
    10. A stupid and ineffective Liquor Commission who continue to come up with lame brain solutions to our drinking problems which do nothing more than inconvenience law abiding residents and tourists.
    I could go on and on but all I am doing is making myself more depressed. Think I’ll have a stiff drink (hang on, what time is it?)

  26. @Douglas, I agree with a lot of the issues you raise, one that keeps bugging me as an operator is the line thrown out about the GFC, Eurozone and high Aussie Dollar. While those things are certainly not helping, the constant use of them as and excuse by some is shameful.
    Tourism numbers in the NT began to decline well before the 2008 GFC. What the current NT Government don’t want is people talking about the difference between the decline in numbers at an Austalian Wide level and at a NT Level.
    In 2011 visitors from the UK declined 6% for the country yet fell 18% in the NT. Germany declined 4% country wide, yet 10% in the NT.
    While the other numbers then rise and fall and jump around, however those sample amounts are so small that 500 extra people can be a 5% jump. So they don’t tell much of a story.
    The problem is not that they aren’t coming to Australia, its that they are no longer choosing the NT when they get here.


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