Interim board for Desert Knowledge Australia?


p2131-1113-Bob-LiddleThe NT Government is in the process of appointing an interim board for the troubled Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA), according to a source asking not to be named.
The source says the members will be Scott Lovett, the Regional Executive Director for Economic Development (working out of the Chief Minister’s office), as well as businessman Neil Ross (Ross Engineering), prominent Aborigines Paul AhChee (the director of the Desert Park) and Bob Liddle (a consultant to the mining industry, pictured left), and retired NT public servant Ken Johnson, a former regional director of the Parks and Wildlife Commission and CEO of DKA from 2002 to 2006 (pictured at right).
It is expected an official announcement will be made in two weeks’ time.
DKA has recently been the subject of a scathing report.


  1. If Desert Knowledge Australia is ever to deliver full economic and social benefits the direction it takes must be clearly defined by those paying the bills.
    To do this on the board need to be people with a wider perception of world than only locals.
    Two people who come to mind immediately are Simon McKeaon, now chair of CSIRO successful investment banker, philanthropist, and former Australian of the year – a man with extensive contacts in many areas, and a commercial perspective which has been sadly lacking.
    Secondly, Professor Sandra Harding, chair of Universities Australia, and widely versed in research issues. She recently spoke on National Radio (Press club) claiming that $1 invested in food research would return between $20 and $30 in 20 years’ time.
    This is the direction that Alice needs to go, and it is disappointing that the current Government does not see it that way.
    If they did they would never cover vital research facilities with houses. Our future lies in increasing productivity of our land here – particularly food. There should be a designated research officer in DK scouring the world for technologies / methodologies and opportunities that we could use here, and have them on public display to attract investment and consequent jobs.
    An obvious example is the Israeli technology for waste water recovery, production of animal feed from sewerage, upgrading the nutritional value our native pastures (now being done overseas) a billion $ market for camel products, and there are many more.
    18,000 cattle have recently been moved to WA for restocking, several hundred thousand more went interstate for fattening, then add a few thousand camels – and who is putting up a case for a multi species facility here?
    Twiggie Forest has just seen that opportunity and pounced on it. These are the things that DK should be involved in and add a sadly lacking commercial perspective.


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