By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Territory Government, if re-elected next week, will spend as much on a third set of lights for Traeger Park as it will for the rest of the town.
Announcing election promises for Central Australia, Chief Minister Paul Henderson said in Alice Springs today it will cost $2.5m to upgrade the lights to broadcasting standard, so that AFL games such as the Indigenous All Stars can be broadcast nation-wide.
It will be available in 2014-15.
The same amount will be paid to the Town Council for the enhancement of the CBD and community parks. Mr Henderson says this will add to the $5m previously granted and now “earning interest in the bank”.
Of that only $1.5m will be available in 2014-15 and the rest in 2015-16.
More than $5m will be spent on upgrading schools “across Central Australia” – no details were given which schools.
A “Territory wide bush roads package” – no costs given – will include roads in the TiTree, Titjikala and Santa Teresa regions
but not the tourist road, the Mereenie Loop, between Alice Springs and King’s Canyon.
Mr Henderson said his government had already spent “tens of millions of dollars” on that road and there are now different priorities.
Yuendumu and Kintore (populations about 790 and 350, respectively) will get $1m each for sporting grounds. (These commitments give Labor candidates in both the bush seats, Namatjira and Stuart, something to play with.)
Claiming that the promises for Central Australia amounted to about $150m Mr Henderson clearly included a string of further projects in Centralian bush communities, including a $2m creche, a $6.4m “multi purpose youth facility” and $13m for housing at Ntaria, a $4.4m family centre and $13m for housing in Yuendumu, and $7m for upgrading health clinics at Papunya, Titjikala and Docker River.
When questioned, Mr Henderson conceded that most of that money will come from Canberra and the time frame was subject to negotiations, lease by lease.
He said all that expenditure would flow from an agreement with the Central Land Council for lease payments for land needed for government facilities – something he said the Country Liberals were opposed to.
What’s more, the Federal funds would be the result of his negotiations. There is little relevance to differentiate between NT and Federal spending, he said: some 80% of the NT Budget comes from Canberra in any case.
Asked what his government, if re-elected, would do to aid the ailing businesses of Alice Springs, Mr Henderson said he would not sack “one single public servant”.
Mr Henderson said there would be no further campaign announcements from the ALP about infrastructure spending in The Centre.
PHOTO: Mr Henderson (centre) during the announcement today. He is flanked by (from left) ALP candidates Adam Findlay (Araluen), Rowan Foley (Greatorex) and Deborah Rock (Braitling).