Tell the government what you want, Alison Anderson


This week’s comment is a mixture of hope and despair: life and politics in the Territory. I’ll start with hope, something everyone needs to help them through life’s eternal struggle, and finally we have some hope.
This week brings some really good news for Alice which unfortunately I can’t share directly with you but I can tell you that a couple of very large development proposals for the Alice are imminent. With them will come new belief, hope and vigour to the own of Alice Springs.
When these projects are added to prospective development proposals presently in the pipeline, as hard as it maybe to believe, Alice is on the verge of a boom! After years of stagnation there is finally light at the end of the tunnel!
So why the despair, you might well ask. The answer is simple, of all things that are required to get these projects underway, political stability is the most essential.
If our present government is broken up, even by changing ministries, it will slow things down at a moment when time is of the essence.
Business closures, layoffs and a sense of hopelessness has fallen over much of the private sector. If the CLP Government is actually bought down by the antics of Alison Anderson and Co, the return to a Labor Government will see Darwin’s burgeoning economy survive but neglect will spell disaster with a capital D for Alice and the regions.
Alison has hit the media this week with complaints about CLP performance in the bush; not delivering she says. I wholeheartedly agree with her message, because to date the CLP Government certainly has not delivered in the bush.
But I vehemently disagree about whose fault that is. What needs to be done about it, and by whom? While I have been an Alison fan and supporter for a considerable time I think on this occasion she has it entirely wrong and maybe it’s time she took a step back and took a look at her own performance and aspirations.
Excuse me if I’m wrong, Alison, but you are part of that very government you are blaming for not delivering. And as you are part of it, how would forming an opposition party, disrupting the present government, help you to deliver anything more than another whinge?
Surely you are already in the most powerful position you can be, politically speaking, to make change, to deliver. Maybe the issue isn’t the government but the lack of performance by some within it.
Delivering what? Where is the dream? Where are the goals? Where’s the vision? What do you want delivered?
You rolled over to bureaucracy over the shires issue. They failed to deliver autonomy to communities, something communities wanted above all else. You’ve failed to lead them out of the quagmire of parasitic bureaucracy that strangles every aspect of community life.
You failed to deliver on a system of leasing not just of houses but of blocks of land capable of creating wealth and a better lifestyle for individuals and families.
You have failed to drive the parasitic and overbearing land councils out of people’s lives. You’ve failed to bring in a system of perpetual leases, individual ownership that one generation can pass to the next – just like other Australians.
So you’ve got plenty to do, Alison, and precious little time left to do it. For all our sakes, make that time count. There must be no step backwards!
If you want to bring worthwhile change it’s best achieved from within the government. Stand fast, hold the line, keep the team strong and take on the issues with a united front.
You know what they say Alison: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Nobody said it wouldn’t be hard, that you wouldn’t feel the pressure, cop some abuse from those desperate for change. A continuing life of dependency is not an answer. It’s a generational life sentence.
Surely, above almost everyone else, Alison, it is your role to deliver that vision, is it not? Anybody can sit on their backside in the corner and agitate, whinge about the government. But it’s a whole lot more difficult to show the way.


  1. Well done Steve. A very well written article. Looking forward to a positive future for Central Australia.

  2. Mr Giles and the NT Government can huff and puff, yet they remain limited in their capabilities to achieve things in ALR(NT) bush communities.
    Most NT Government inability is largely due Commonwealth ALR(NT) legislation, abused by Land Councils, particularly Central Land Council, concerning the relevant Land Trust’s ongoing obstruction and refusals to issue leases – even for essential public services.
    Useful will be a report from Senator Scullion to Commonwealth Parliament’s Hansard setting out exactly how many leases were issued, where they are, for what purposes they were issued, and what commercial value is attached to them.
    Believe the negotiation of leases for the MacDonnell Shire Council facilities still being dragged out, not yet completed.
    Perhaps Alison Anderson and other MLA’s who where “Traditional Owners” hats can explain where they believe negotiations concerning these leases are up to, and why they not completed.
    Until see completed and issued, such as MacDonnell Shire Council’s leases, doubt expect much else to happen.
    Without leases issued NT Government should NOT spend any public money in these communities, indeed should move to reduce services.

  3. Very well said Steve.
    Alison has a strong voice and as a member of the current government needs to be part of the solution and not cause further disruption. Central Australia currently has the strongest representation of the elected government and for the first time in a very long time the CA members are in the position to make a real difference throughout CA, not just the urban communities.

  4. Over the years Alison has been in many positions where she could have made a difference, from Papunya Council, ATSIC, a Labor government and now CLP government.
    Unfortunately she has always let her ego get ahead of her to the detriment of Aboriginal people.
    The other Aboriginal MLAs don’t know what they’ve got themselves into siding with her.

  5. MLAs Alison Anderson, Larisa Lee and Francis Xavier need take their complaints to their relevant Land Trusts and Land Councils.
    Disgruntled backbenchers rather than walking away, need to take the opportunity Question Time provides to ask questions related to lack of progress on projects within their rural electorates.
    Might it be the answers NOT wanted ?
    IMHO most progress delays relate to delays in obtaining rational leases which are essential before money is committed and spent.
    IMHO all fault here remains with the Northern and Central Land Councils, who Commonwealth appoints to act as property agents for the Land Trusts.
    These complaining MLAs need negotiate with their respectively relevant private landowners, and their agents, concerning lack of progress in obtaining the required leases.
    Might it be these answers NOT wanted?
    Where reasonable leases obtained, there delays in project progress may be directed to relevant project managers.
    Without the leases, not a cent of government money should be allocated or expended.
    The Chief Minister perhaps can arrange for the Legislative Assembly – and we the public, to be provided with detailed statements setting out reasons for delays in obtaining the leases, and any other delays in the various projects.

  6. In reply to Steve’s comments messages in the Alice Springs and other articles, comments about Central Australia. According to all these comments Alice Springs, has been exposed to a slowing NT economy more than any other State in Australia since 1980.
    I believe you have it all wrong for blaming Alison Anderson for disruption of Parliament and for the economic problems everyone in Central Australia is facing, considering the modest downgrade that probably has affected the local community in the Alice Springs region and a trend the NT Government is following. It has a problem with its administration of Government funds and has shown that it is lacking skills of managing the NT Budget so that all citizens of the NT will prosper.
    That’s why the Australian Government is not willing to provide NT Government a working capital to succeed e.g. sealing dirt roads to local communities and tourist areas, use our oil and gas to benefit the NT, in areas with a low population especially in the Central Australian region.
    The Reserve Bank has cut rates 8 times since 2011, from 4.75% to 2.5%. But it’s not working for the NT as cost of living has risen. Now the RBA is running out of firepower. Even after billions of dollars have been unleashed, thanks to lower borrowing costs, the NT economy is still stalling. Even with low interest rates the NT government is not attracting investors, is not creating work opportunity and not creating new growth in the Alice Springs Central Australian region.
    Why the NT government is out of options: Both Liberal and Labor have papered over the growing problems in the NT economy via deficit spending and fooled the mainstream.
    Investors are not coming to the NT because it is too expensive, high fuel cost and high taxes are doing exactly the opposite of what they should be doing right now. Don’t be misled and don’t blame Alison Anderson for this Steve. In my view you should hail her a hero for standing up for all citizens and blame the Australian Governments, Labor and Liberal, for not continuing the growth of the NT they way they should.

  7. Required to get projects underway is political stability, not sure is the most essential.
    Raising education levels remains a serious challenge.
    Start with prisoners, let them spend more time in small cubicles doing online education courses, similar to
    NT Education can develop courses to target lower literacy, or use studyladder and similar.
    Completion of tasks earning simple rewards, and raising education, wider understanding, widens ideas and perception of opportunities.


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