'Alice water plan out of sight & mind of locals'


We are concerned that changes to the Alice Springs Water Allocation Plan (ASWAP) as prescribed by Councillor Steve Brown are being developed in Darwin, out of sight and mind of Alice Springs residents.
The ASWAP has been sitting in Draft form for more than 15 months since Councillor Brown called for an end to the extraction ‘cap’.
The plan was developed with the community through a series of workshops in from 2005 – 2007 to establish a framework for the plan. The ASWAP provided an example of sustainable water policy and was considered ‘best practice’ under the now scrapped, National Water Initiative.
The plan was broadly supported by the Alice Springs Water Advisory Committee and the wider community. The ‘cap’ played a strong role in creating a need for demand management programs to increase the productive use of water through government-funded programs such as Alice Water Smart.
On March 22, World Water Day 2013, Minister Westra Van Holthe launched the Draft plan at an Alice Water Smart event on the Alice Springs Town Council Lawns.
Less than a week later, Councillor Brown was savaging the plan both publicly and behind closed doors claiming that the ‘cap’ was causing the town to ‘stagnant’.
This is an abominable breach of process where a Councillor uses his access to the Ministers to lobby for the extraction cap to be removed without having attended a single committee meeting.
While ALEC welcomes the recruitment of a water planner and wishes them all the best for its development, this is another job gone to Darwin rather than Alice Springs and Councillor Brown needs to take responsibility for that.
Standing cross armed and saying all sorts of wrong things is not an approach to developing sound water policy. Inclusive, community processes builds a sense of ownership over the plan and ensures it is for the development of all and not just CLP members.
ALEC invites concerned community members to write to the Minister and request a say on the development of the Alice Springs Water Allocation Plan. We don’t want another Stylo Station  scenario down here.
Currently, there is no plan by the Department of Land Resource Management to consult the Alice Springs community in the development of the draft water allocation plan.
Jimmy Cocking (pictured)

Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC)


  1. It may come as a bit of a shock to you Jim but we live in a democracy I have been elected by the community to put the majority point of view wherever and whenever it may be necessary to do so.
    I was subject to a considerable amount of lobbying from community members who were concerned at the very negative, economy damaging interpretations being put about by members of the Water Committee which had no business in doing so. In particular those members were referring to a necessity to cap the town’s growth.
    It may also surprise you to learn that Councillors have no more access to Ministers than any other Territory citizen!
    It was good common-sense argument and a Minister with enough brains to understand it. That won the day Jim, not some kind of unfair lobbying!
    The Water Committee had been hijacked by a left wing agenda. There was input into the committee process by groups such as your own that had no business being there, offering no expertise, no local knowledge, but seen as easily controlled and manipulated by the previous Labor Government who used you to justify less expenditure into Alice Springs infrastructure.
    That was your contribution, backing up a Government agenda that was intent on stifling our community!
    Fortunately since that time the new CLP Government has been smart enough to work out that there are many organisations and NGOs feeding off the taxpayer while contributing nothing but greater costs and inefficiencies to every facet of Government.
    In the interest of making the Territory a free enterprise friendly, efficient and productive economy they are seeking out and de-funding the non contributors, and the very best of luck to them.
    As for Alice’s water supply and water plan, it requires independent research, a management plan drawn up on the basis of that research.
    While there is no rush, the sooner it is done, the sooner we can take advantage of whatever opportunities come to light and begin making necessary infrastructure investments for the proper operation of that plan.

  2. But you weren’t elected by a majority of anything “Councillor” Brown, but by a mathematical exercise in mediocrity!
    As for your comments on the role of the Water Committee, particularly “In particular those members who were referring to a necessity to cap the town’s growth”, I challenge you to produce one shred of evidence to support what can only be described as your (possibly libelous) “conspiracy theory”. One real shred. As usual, the less you know about something, the louder you bleat.

  3. @Cogs: You described yourself well in your outburst. One thing remains true, those who know nothing always resort to uninformed and non researched fact.
    That is why Steve will always come out in front. He has the knowledge and researches well his subjects. He is not a sheep who listen to the propaganda and follow blindly.

  4. You really worship your husband. Guess you have to. But you’re husband certainly does not know everything. Don’t just rely on Google. I’m sure you’re far from it. You and Steve should stick to your station and leave the more important stuff to everyone else with intelligence. If we left the parks to you we would not have visitors come and see Alice Springs.

  5. If it were indeed the case that Councillor Brown “has the knowledge and researches well his subjects” he would have no trouble in providing that evidence. I won’t hold my breath.

  6. “The only ones scared of the truth are those who spread misinformation”. Possibly the most intelligent thing you have ever said, even if it should read “those who spread misinformation are scared of the truth”.
    So when we read previously on this subject “The science is in and the Bu####it is exposed. Arid Lands has one agenda – shutting down our town based on fiction not facts” I note there is not one single fact relating to this topic in those two sentences, it is quite clear who you are talking about.


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