A quarter of tiny works Budget goes to expand gaol


Central Australia is getting $40m in new capital works spending in the Territory’s $5.3b Budget.
This is not counting re-votes from previous Budgets.
The Centre’s slice is just 3% of what Treasurer Delia Lawrie describes as “a huge $1.3 billion infrastructure investment across the emergency services, education, health, roads, corrections and housing sectors”.
A quarter – $10m – of Central Australia’s new allocations will be spent on the Alice Springs Correctional Centre (at right, Google Earth), $5m on the Alice hospital and $5m on the Mereenie road, the Red Centre Way.
Construct a child care centre at Ntaria (Hermannsburg) $1,871,000.
Walungurru School – replace administration block destroyed by fire with new staff room, storage space and office $1,100,000.
Housing, Local Government and Regional Services
Ntaria – water supply upgrades $2,200,000.
Alice Springs Hospital – remediation and upgrade of operating theatres and wards $5,000,000.
Construct a new remote health centre at Ntaria $6,400,000.
Upgrade the health centre at Papunya $1,750,000.
Children and Families
Alice Springs Youth Hub – upgrade the facilities at Anzac Hill campus including a new lift and skate ramp $1,010,000.
Alice Springs Correctional Centre – Construct a 20-bed Supported Accommodation and Program Centre $5,780,000.
Provide new and upgraded infrastructure to support an additional 50 prisoners $4,580,000.
Lands and Planning
Working Future – upgrade and seal existing airstrip at Utopia $2,500,000.
Red Centre Way (Mereenie) – completion of the seal on Namatjira Drive $5,000,000.
Working Future – continuation of the upgrade and seal of the Tanami Road $2,000,000.
The spin Karl Hampton, Minister for Central Australia, puts on the Budget is a lot more bullish, because he apparently rolls re-votes, new money and operational funding all into one.
For example, the “$147 million for Alice Springs Hospital [is] part of a record health budget, $28 million for Central Australian roads … as the Territory gears up for growth.
“We are continuing the $3.9 million redevelopment of the Greatorex Building for a new Alice Springs Police Station.
“The record funding in health includes $231.32 million for acute care services in the Central Australian region.”
Meanwhile the Opposition says Territorians will pay in excess of $1b in interest repayments “as a result of the Labor Government’s failure to reign in debt”.
Opposition Leader, Terry Mills says: “The Government’s spending spree has left the Territory with a $491 million budget deficit, $100 million more than forecast last year.
“By 2015-16, the deficit will still be an enormous $278 million.
“Debt will more than double from $1.7 billion this financial year to $3.6 billion by 2015-16 – about $35,000 for every man, woman and child in the Territory.
“In 2010, the Government said the Territory’s net debt would be $1.68 billion by 2013-14 – but that figure has blown-out to $3.1 billion.”
Peter Solly, General Manager Tourism Central Australia, says the Budget “recognised the importance of providing additional funding to the tourism sector to stimulate demand and support the industry in response to the Global Financial Crisis.
“However, the real value of base funding to the tourism sector has not kept up with inflation.
“It is critical that further funding be found for marketing and new product facilitation.
“Stable, recurrent funding is critical and will allow for constructive partnerships between government and industry.
“This is especially important as the Territory tourism industry is dominated by small to medium-size businesses.”


  1. So what about the Barkly? Where is the money to provide the community with proper access to Community Health Services?
    Currently if you wish to access Age Care and Disability Services in Tennant Creek (or maybe even child health) you need to negotiate a staircase that even mountain goats would struggle on. Please leave your wheelchair or pram downstairs.
    Well there is a lift, the local Member will say. What lift?
    Broken out of action 98% of the time and when it does work it is like a dog box in size and you hope it doesn’t break down when you are in there.
    Recently an 86 year old man had to carry his oxygen bottle on his back and drag himself up the stair just to obtain a Pensioner Concession Card. Did I mention that service is also on the first floor.
    Don’t ask the local Member for help with this. Did I mention that he and his lovely wife have relocated and now live in Darwin.
    Forget the people in the Barkly. Everyone else does!

  2. The question should be: Why hasn’t the LANDLORD fixed the lift? Or why was the office tenancy set up in a dodgy old building in the first place?

  3. @1 Good question … who knows in answer to both questions. All I know is every time I want to access Services in that building the Lift is not working.

  4. Far from there being local rehab facilities around, both Tennant and Alice have such facilities.
    The real question, Kevin, is that there have been many people, Cr Heenan, Cr Martin, Cr Brown, Terry Mills, Rex Neindorf, all giving us their views on the necessity for rehab ranging from drying out to incarceration for the terms of their natural life, but none of them are prepared to do the work in recommending a report into the number of beds needed or the types of facility and the cost required to carry out their plans.
    What they have in common is that they reject statistics and the obvious need for supply restrictions as a means of turning down consumption and alcohol-related violence. Decades of setting up multi-licenced outlets in the CBD are coming home to roost and all they do is crow.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with Russell Guy’s analysis of the situation. To pin one’s hopes simply upon “rehab centres”, whilst arguing for doing away with alcohol restrictions, is a set-up for failure. I do not believe there is a silver bullet solution to the grog-fueled problems of our town. Instead, I’m afraid it is time we “bit the bullet” and included take-away grog-free days as part of a suite of measures to deal with what is a complex issue.


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