Calls for 130 km/h south of the border.
By ERWIN CHLANDA
Work has started on a new town plan for Alice Springs and there are several “substantial” private projects in the pipeline which he is looking forward to ushering through the administrative process, says Chief Minister Adam Giles.
He would not give details nor an estimate of their total value but added: “I look forward to be able to jointly announce with [Tourism Minister] Matt Conlan the redevelopment of the Melanka site in the near future.”
And Mr Giles remains adamant that there has been a sharp decrease in crime in Alice Springs, despite statistical evidence to the contrary.
Asked what Alice Springs had wanted him to do when he became Chief Minister he said: “Fix crime.”
Property crime and assaults are “down substantially” and alcohol consumption is down 7%, he says.
“The amenity of town has improved substantially” which is a big change from “a couple of years ago under Labor, the misery and dysfunction. You can never fully eradicate crime but it’s such a turn-around. It is amazing how quickly the town has changed.”
Although the statistics show increases in violent crime, Mr Giles sticks by his guns.
This is how he explains the increases in the statistics: “We now have more police out there, able to catch more of the offenders, protect the victims of domestic violence, which occurs all to often.
“We work towards 100% prosecution, and with domestic violence that wasn’t always the case.
“You will see the numbers go up in a statistical sense, but the numbers of actual incidences are going down.
We put to him that the ALP is saying 2013 was the most violent year in the NT’s history.
“Doomsday Delia will always say that. [Michael] Gunner lives in Darwin. He doesn’t get here very often.”
He’s talking about the Territory.
“Well, he is wrong. We’re getting figures up to 48% reduction in some areas. Amazing.”
Alcohol consumption, too, had decreased sharply, says Mr Giles: “We’ve had a 4% across the Territory, 7% lower wholesale supply in Alice Springs.
“People are saying it’s getting worse. We have the data that they are getting significantly better. Other jurisdictions would be happy with a 1% drop.”
Does it take into account mail order purchases?
“No data take into account what comes in throughout the post, never has.”
“You can’t do it. How do you know what comes in somebody’s package? What if your uncle posts you a bottle of wine?”
Mr Giles was speaking exclusively with the Alice Springs News Online after the two day meeting of the CLP Central Council in Alice Springs which closed this morning.
He said when elected, the town had not made any demands of him in the field of commercial development, except to “ensure that we are growing and moving forward.
“We provide a supportive environment to the private sector. There is too much reliance on the government to be financing every development in town.
“We want the private sector to move forward with that. We welcome [private initiatives] with open arms and will facilitate them.”
What has come forward?
A range of things, some of which are “commercial in confidence and they haven’t been announced yet, so I can’t talk about those. There is a lot on the drawing board.”
The tender for the leasing of supreme court rooms “I think will go out in a couple of weeks” – with more work for private businesses to follow.
“We are going to see a whole lot more than has ever been done in Alice Springs in the previous Labor Government,” says Mr Giles.
A range of different things “will completely change the landscape of Alice Springs.”
How many millions would these projects be jointly worth?
“Substantial. I can’t say.”
Mr Giles says there has not been a town structure plan for “many, many years” and the Planning Commission is now formulating one, setting out “the general direction into which the town will head in the future, providing guiding principles”.
When will a draft be released for public comment? “We’ll wait and see.”
Mr Giles says he’s in communication with South Australia about an increase of the speed limit to 130 km/h on its stretch of the Stuart Highway.
He says: “Let’s hope there is a change of government in South Australia” that recognises that the stretch between the border and Port Augusta should be 130 km/h so that “they can stop pinging” Alice Springs and Central Australian residents going to Adelaide “where we are supporting their economy”.
Big private projects, new town plan for Alice – Giles
Calls for 130 km/h south of the border.