LETTER: Scrapping of educational facility


Sir – How can a government make a unilateral decision to scrap an educational facility which is in partnership with a world renowned scientific organisation?
I understand no consultation took place with CSIRO, parents, teachers or students before the initial decision was made to scrap the Territory’s only Education Centre.
No more in-school, after school, weekend and school holiday programs. No more support for teachers and schools.
I thought we were supposed to be creating a smart society; encouraging scientists!
The next generation is in danger of being denied a service enjoyed by all other young Australians.
One which is unique, essential, not supplementary, definitely frontline, doesn’t have a use-by-date and cannot be delivered by teachers in schools.
Ian Jamieson
Cairns (a former Territorian of thirty six years and educator)


  1. Apparently very easily Ian. Add to that the appalling decision to turn what should be a world class arid zone research facility and repository for species that are in decline in other parts of the world, but vital for our food security, into a low cost housing estate.
    While we scream about the impending food shortage and food security, China is seeing it the other way, while we ignore the science fields in so many other areas. There are no visionaries left, only developers and short sighted politicians. The lack of scientific knowledge in the community is appalling and getting worse. While we give great credence to racing motor bikes etc. our northern neighbours are bounding ahead of us. They simply work harder and look further into our future needs. What is happening now is reminiscent of the ancient Roman games and will inevitably have the same result.

  2. I completely agree with Ian and Trevor. These are all incredibly short-sighted decisions made by governments with no genuine capacity for responsible decision-making.
    I’m a lifetime resident of Alice Springs (nearly 50 years); moreover, I grew up at the Arid Zone Research Institute and at the former CSIRO field station (now Centre for Appropriate Technology) next door – our family were the first residents there.
    I also worked at AZRI for many years, including in horticulture research under Frank McEllister.
    With the exception of my father, I have the longest continuous connection with that area of land of any person living; and I personally worked on a CSIRO project that was conducted on the exact site that is now being developed as the suburb of Kilgariff. I hold the decision to proceed with the development of Kilgariff as easily the worst planning decision in the history of Alice Springs – it is an utterly abominable project.
    Strangely, with all my long connection to this area you would think local planners, decision-makers and the media would have taken the opportunity to find out what my experience and concerns would be. Not a bit of it!
    The only people to contact me were consultants from interstate, who admitted to me they were effectively mislead by the NT Government and that the whole process of “public consultation” was effectively an exercise of window-dressing the NT Government’s decision to proceed with this reckless project.
    This isn’t the first prospective rural land development near Alice Springs to commence with the initial infrastructure of water and power. In 1997/98 I was residing 30km west of town on the Iwupataka Aboriginal Land Trust when ATSIC spent several million dollars of taxpayers’ money to construct a water pipeline to ostensibly service a few families living in this area.
    This development coincided with the Reeves Report under the Howard federal government that recommended changing inalienable Aboriginal freehold title to ordinary freehold. That pipeline has the capacity to service a population of 6000.


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