Chamber slams Labor promises: football instead of stimulating business


Labor’s election promises for Central Australia lack incentives for economic development in remote towns, give no thought to stimulating private enterprise in those areas, and by failing to allocate sufficient money to Alice Springs itself, fall short in returning the town to the tourist destination is used to be.
This is the view of Kay Eade, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce in Alice Springs, pictured at the Greatorex election forum she moderated, with (from left) ALP candidate Rowan Foley and Independent Phil Walcott.
She says money promised for football fields in bush communities would be better spent on stimulating business: “Why do electricians drive in and out from Alice Springs to service these communities?” she says.
“Why not provide incentives for setting up shop in a hub town, with the condition that apprentices are employed?
“Locals soon would develop their own enterprises rather than being told by outsiders what to do.”
Ms Eade questioned the value of the $2.5m upgrading of floodlights at Traeger Park: “How many nationally televised football matches would we get a year? One or two?
“At the end of the day, how much money would that bring into this town?”
She says while roadworks are welcome, it is unfortunate that the sealing of the Mereenie Loop is not proceeding.
It would be a major new attraction for the self-drive, grey nomad market which needs sealed roads for their mobile homes and caravans.
“We are missing out on a lot of money.
“The project has been in the Budget for the last three years that I know of,” she says.
Communities along the Loop Road would have major commercial opportunities flowing from increased tourism.
“There is no policy of assisting businesses and attracting investment at a time when the carbon tax will drive up freight and petrol prices,” says Ms Eade.


  1. Some incentives sound nice, however meaningless.
    Principle incentive for these hub towns is to fix the ongoing disincentive – the absence of valid leases.
    Few businesses establish, develop and operate within these communities due ongoing refusal to provided valid meaningful leases – for housing and business locations.
    The Central Land Council argues in court, “Traditional Owners” only right is to stand somewhere – unless they obtain leases.
    The Central Land Council with Land Trusts continue to refuse to issue valid leases to their tenants.
    Commonwealth supports tenants having no rights.
    Commonwealth funded houses constructed without valid leases, so no security of tenure for residents, no right to operate a business, no right to exclude others from entering their homes and trashing them.
    Commonwealth and Central Land Council prevent these tenants sharing rights elsewhere regarded as basic standards.
    Incentives uneconomical where recipients denied valid leases and basic standards to live or operate their business.
    This problem recognized when the Commonwealth Ombudsman said record keeping for Territory’s remote housing system was seriously flawed.
    “Territory Housing … has difficulties identifying whether people are paying rent when they should not, or conversely, not paying rent when they should.”
    The NT Ombudsman correctly states Commonwealth is leaving NT Housing to solve the problem.
    Disagree with NT Ombudsman calling it “an extremely complex problem” for the problem is simple, the ongoing refusal to issue valid leases.
    Commonwealth exempted need for leases so houses could be constructed, absence of valid leases is the cause of this problem.
    Issuing valid leases is essential to resolve this problem.
    Valid leases enable residents and investors to invest and develop these towns.
    So Commonwealth needs to amend Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act and bring our corporate cowboy Land Trusts subject to same basic standards, same responsibility as other landowners, and require they issue leases valid in the NT.
    If these Land Trusts continue to refuse issue leases, then Commonwealth should act so as to ensure wherever houses constructed ownership is transferred to the residents.
    Why should tenants – particularly the many “Traditional Owner” residents – not be provided title ownership of their own homes?


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