The boom's on its way!


p2064stevebrownThese last few weeks have seen much comment around planning and development issues, along with some long awaited good news about upcoming projects.
As these projects begin to come on line we will see a turnaround in the town’s economy, the like of which hasn’t been seen since the seventies.
Yes, that means boom times for Alice! For far too long the town has been held back by the prophets of doom, the opponents of everything that looked like development!
Their point of view, more than willingly was backed up of course, by northern-centric Governments only to keen to claim our rightful share of infrastructure spending as their own.
At long last under the leadership of the town’s own Adam Giles, ably assisted by our other local members, the  CLP Government has been able to implement policies of optimism and common sense. These are policies that understand that without the prospect of healthy growth, economies shrink and towns decline.
Mooted changes to the planning act have already seen the shackles of past restraints thrown off as investors begin to eye newly created opportunity.
Yes, I’ve noted a deal of pessimism in recent commentary, hardly surprising as we’ve been through a long bleak time, our  community struggling with various social issues, many related directly to the state of our economy.
However, economies are about a state of mind, they are about confidence! People who feel confident about their future prospects believe that their jobs will continue, that investments will grow, eye off, seek out, opportunities!
They make life changing, future creating plans, and they invest. This in turn creates other opportunities for further investment. The difference between a bleak scenario with nothing happening and a bright bustling positive economy is simply a state of mind!
The projects that have been announced and some than remain unannounced, but are most definitely in the pipeline, will have an enormous effect on that state of mind. They will resurrect the confidence of our town.
The hustle and bustle created by the influx of builder’s tradies, labourers, subcontractors and suppliers required in large numbers by the combined weight of these projects will in turn stimulate other business.
Home builders, small businesses, smoko shops restaurants, cafes,  supermarkets, pubs and clubs will start to thrive,  and the Alice will emerge bursting with new hope from 30 of decline! As new business emerges it will be consolidated by new demands placed upon our economy as some of the long awaited ventures  in mining, tourism, education, storage, agriculture begin to come on line bringing with them new job opportunities resulting in greater demand for all of the above.
What all this means is that despite the misery of the miserable, Alice is about to come back to life and that resurgence should continue over a sustained period of time. So hold on everyone, I know it’s really tough at the moment and likely to remain so for awhile yet, but as they say in the vernacular, there’s a new day a-coming! And that day is not too far away.
This is subject of course to the non occurrence of worldwide calamitous events. Now that would make our doomsayers happy wouldn’t it. They’d get to deliver another mournful pessimism: I told you so. Let’s just hope they remain morose for some time to come.


  1. So, Steve, tell me who is going to live in all these houses and rent all these shops? We are going to have all these builders build build build and then they scream when they are going belly up because no one is buying or renting the properties.
    The shift to online shopping is growing and iI think more shops will close down before other shops open leaving even more space empty.

  2. Thank you Steve for such optimism.
    I’m excited to hear in following weeks how you and your family are re-investing in town to meet the demands of the newly perceived boom.
    Oh course we’d be mad NOT to run out and lease a shop in Todd Mall or buy the Town and Country Pub … the prophet had spoken … it’s a BOOM (or bust).
    Put your money where you mouth is, Councillor Steve, and others might follow mate, until then work with the real Aussie Battler Families to reduce the atrocious cost of living in Alice and quash the us and them forever.

  3. Its impossible to inspire or convince those among us that are negative by nature those who never see the opportunities or immediately talk themselves out of doing anything about them even if they do.
    Fortunately there are enough who view the world in more optimistic terms to drag the uninspired along for the ride.
    So sit back, Lou, if we get it wrong just think you’ll be able to say “I told you so” – all without taking a risk, a moment of future delight coming up perhaps, but not if I can help it!
    As for your comment “putyourmoneywhereyourmouthis” if you’d been paying any attention at all to to the recent conversation on development you would be very much aware that the Brown family is doing just exactly that with a well publicized multi million dollar development proposal before Government even as we speak!
    I can absolutely assure you of one thing when it comes to the Aussie battler, they stand to gain a hell of a lot more from those who get off their backsides take a risk and make something happen than they ever will from those who sit morosely in the corner doing absolutely squat while predicting disaster for those that do!
    Affordability is brought about by one of two means – either by greater production “more of” or by decline which unfortunately leaves no one to take advantage of the affordability!
    Which way do you think we should go? The Brown family is backing the first option and putting their money and opinions where there mouth is! Come along for the ride.

  4. This is such overblown optimism that ordinarily one would suspect mental instability but in its context it’s normal.
    Remember that buffel is much better than native grasses, for a start cows can eat it and tourists don’t see beyond the green.
    Then came the cultural centre on the ridge connected by sky rail to the township.
    And not being one to merely dream Steve plans an old folks home conveniently located out at Whitegums along with parking for road trains. Let the boom times roll.

  5. Don’t you just love the typical negative drone from the rusted anti development crowd.
    They would prefer Alice to suffer in their dreary outlook than look at the obvious opportunities to make this place vibrant again. The anti everything minority in this town lack vision, logic and sense and we would be best to ignore their dribble.
    Good on you Steve, keep fighting the good fight! You might be surprised to know the majority agree with you.

  6. Well, Steve, I guess you won’t be surprised to read the negative comments.
    For myself, I hope you’re right.
    I do most sincerely hope you are right. Time will tell, but I was encouraged to see a whole raft of new units heading for completion just to the west of Diarama Village.

  7. Steve you seem like a nice bloke but I cant help but think that you want to offload your land for a tidy price before it all starts heading south – that’s both the population and the price of your land.
    One of the other posters mentioned the internet – it is killing retail. Building shops etc does not create demand and there are already more than enough restaurants. To mention clubs, the Memo Club has been struggling since it reopened. You can have all the development you want, but that won’t lead to a boom.

  8. Gee thanks, Dave Ellery, you must be new in town are you? It’s not to often I get accused of being a nice bloke many thanks, can’t quite work out your economics though. Let’s see if I’ve got it straight: We run out, borrow and invest millions in roads and infrastructure to the family property, divide it up and sell it off to a market you say is non existent, and we do this in order to beat the collapse of the non existent market and we stand to make squillions doing it, better even than that at last we’ll get to offload our much loved family property! Huh?
    @ Peters: You mention mental instability, a gentle word, mate, that is usually associated with a very dark and bleak outlook with the afflicted often feeling compelled to inflict their misery on others. This ringing any warning bells for you? So did you have a point other than sharing your misery?
    And your expertise on buffel! Did you pick that up riding your armchair? We are presently running about 800 head on what amounts to a very small pastoral property. They are eating about 90% buffel and doing very nicely, thank you very much. I’ll raise a glass to you on market day. Buffel – we love it!

  9. I think we need that fellow Alex who notes that “everything old is new again.”
    I say best of luck with your current enthusiasm Steve but find it hard to see what has changed in recent months that has lead to such a change in your confidence.
    With interest rates low and the value of our dollar in decline now it’s the time to invest, both privately and publicly.

  10. The only thing that has changed is Steve needing to suck up to Giles and the CLP after bagging them for the last couple of years, now that Whitegums had been positioned against Whitegate as the potential retirement village development site.
    The need for flag waving and tea parties is renewed. However, it’s a thinly veiled attempt at positivity from the usually vitreous negativiy we have come to know in these comment pages.

  11. @ Putyourmoneywhereyourmouthis
    Posted October 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm
    I am absolutely NOT trying to pick an argument here, but when did Whitegate ever gain the status as a potential retirement village development site? I am intrigued. Can we please have more on this?

  12. @ Putyourmoneywhereyourmouthis, maybe you should try putting your brains as well as your mouth into gear if your going to make comment.
    I don’t need to curry favor with anyone, mate. My allegiance is with all those who struggle to lift our community out of the doldrums no matter what their politics.
    However, in chasing that outcome I played a foundational role in tipping Labor out of government and was and remain very proud to have helped in anyway I could the CLP Government into it.
    This article is most definitely spruiking and supporting some of the outcomes that this change in political philosophy is set to bring about.
    Aside to all of that sitting squarely in my sights, as always, is the ineptitude and incompetence of any government bureaucracy that is not functioning as it should in the service of our community.
    I am absolutely determined to seek it out and shine the light on it so that we can wring the changes necessary to bring new life to The Centre, no matter whose toes I may squash in the process.
    It’s a good thing you are commenting anonymously, mate, as I suspect I would find you slap bang in the middle of some of that incompetency!

  13. Let’s hope the Brown family gets their development consent approval for their White Gums subdivision soon.
    Only then will we hear no more from Steve about the town needing to lift its water cap, the benefits of allowing smaller blocks in sub divisions and the wonders of buffel grass.

  14. It would be great to see a boom here in Alice but there are something we need to be careful of: Where do we get if from?
    If it is mining don’t expect the boom in town. It will all be FIFO and then when finished it will only kill this area.
    If it is tourism, well let’s get better flights cheaper and so encourage people to come out here.
    If is is infrastructure or industry – great all the best.
    But are we not still one of the most expensive areas to live in, and if things big are coming, do you really think it will make things cheaper? I doubt it. Just be careful what we get, as the wrong things that come may only destroy the things that are so great about Alice.

  15. We need to look around with our eyes open before we imagine that housing is the be all and end all of commercial development here.
    Why would anyone build locally just to support the tradies who when one project is finished move elsewhere for the next?
    And as for investors – beware. Look at Karatha, Muranbah and now Gladstone and listen to the RBA advice before moving.
    So much for mining. There is the distinct smell of burned fingers in those places.
    I can land a 4 BR house here on site for $180K from Adelaide and its even cheaper interstate. As well we can’t sell houses to China for them to eat.
    They are after one million tonnes of animal protein next year and have already depleted much of Asia looking for it.
    The $16m or so that has gone into housing here (after cajoling by self interest groups) could have provided seed capital for a multi species abattoir and research into making our arid zone pastures far more productive than just relying on buffel.
    This is what has happened interstate with clovers, stylos etc. but our local Acacias are being developed in Africa and India to do what we should have done here.
    It may have escaped the notice of Government and others that in recent times some 300,000 head of cattle have gone interstate (SA) to have value added to them before slaughter.
    Now another 18K or so have gone all the way to WA for restocking. Now isn’t it a coincidence also that Twiggy Forest and other Chinese interests have or are about to open up slaughtering facilities to enter the boxed meat market in China at about four to five dollars a kilo. His comments on ABC rural should be obligatory listening for all pollies.
    We are providing the raw materials for others to add value to, and make money from, because of our obsession with housing.
    Add to that a billion dollar market out there for camel products including milk, which, in spite of some valiant efforts here to enter, has been prevented by red tape, while we prepare to spent $4m a year to shoot them and leave them to rot.
    In the meantime the Indonesians are fattening their own cattle on palm oil waste and by doing so adding value to the extent of $5 or so a kilo and on selling them to China, while we sell ours to Indonesia at half that price to replace theirs.
    That’s what we should be doing here, but unfortunately the research facility to do that here is being covered by houses in the name of housing development.

  16. 800 head!!? That’s a stocking rate north of of 12 head per square klm!
    It wasn’t that long ago Janet was singing the praises of White Gums’ environmental cred.
    At least one person in the camp is having a lend of themselves!

  17. Are we still getting the cable car up to the restaurant atop Mr Gillen? Wasn’t that a shoo-in for local entrepreneurs and investors?

  18. @ Cogs: With the usual coalition of Green stupidity not only are your maths way off but you apparently once again are lacking even the vaguest understanding of your subject matter.
    After heavy rainfall more grass it grows, not little bit by little bit over time. It grows all at once! This grass has a lifetime within which it can be used. Now if you are in Parks or a quasi environmentalist you see this as an opportunity to start more fires and destroy more country at a cost to the tax payers.
    If you are in the pastoral business you see it as an opportunity to make a dollar, employ people and pay taxes. However, you have only limited time in which to do that unless you receive more rain. So what you do is bring in enough cattle to eat that grass before it can burn or rot. This saves the country from the devastation of fire and makes a dollar.
    When the grass runs out you sell the cattle while they are in prime condition, this way making the maximum dollar out of the rainfall event while at the same time protecting the country from destruction by fire. Amazing isn’t it. And so simple.
    I’m surprised that you struggle so much with the concept!
    Never mind, keep at it, next time you need another lesson, make another comment.

  19. Not since the seventies, eh Stephen? Has Alice Springs really moved on yet from the 50s?
    I’m sure I saw a prawn cocktail on a menu the other day.

  20. I hope I’m not too late, seeing as you were in such a generous mood to give such a detailed “lesson”, and the offer of more.
    Still waiting for some substantial evidence on your claims of Jimmy Cocking’s manipulation of the Water Advisory Committee. Now, that would be enlightening!

  21. Can’t believe some of the statements below. Do you all think government jobs will fill the void for over a thousand people that rely on continued development?
    There are hundreds directly employed in the building industry and hundreds more that service them. This includes dozens of businesses in this town.
    Yet you anti everything crowd believe the best thing to do is sit on our hands.
    What a parallel universe you must live in to believe the town can afford to shrink for the sake of some backward self serving ideology.
    Development and redevelopment projects is exactly the panacea to current economic problems in Alice. Much or most of this is private investment funds which lifts most of the burden for stimulus away from the tax payer. This is a win win scenario!

  22. Steve, thank you for standing up for what the majority of people are thinking.
    The loudmouth minorities which are well represented below believe they have some God given right to lecture us on the future of our town.
    I bet most of these people are part of that typical transient crowd that leave before they can become responsible for the mess they create. We need growth, the town has been stagnant for over a decade and so many businesses are suffering.
    Adam Giles also needs to make sure that agencies such as the department of infrastructure provides some financial stability back to Central Australia.
    A quick read of government expenditure indicates the Berrimah line is as thick as ever. The Giles government needs to realise that we cannot afford to be cut back any further and the slash and burn approach will add more pain to an already dire situation.

  23. Its great to see the government spending money to try and stabalise the Alice Springs economy, but has there been any real thought that once these infrastructures have been built then what?
    Tradies will leave town and we are back to where we started. This town needs to build / create industry to survive, grow and prosper. Stop relying on federal funding.
    This town has been so reliant either indirect or directly federal funding and welfare. Let’s pull together and start thinking positive and logically, on how this town can sustain properity and growth on its own.
    This town has a lot to offer, just needs some comon sense and people with foresight, rather than thinking how one can get rich quick schemes, such as high rents and overcharging.
    The cost of living here is similar to Sydney. Let’s get real. Does it have to be or are prices just purposely held up, such as land and housing? How long can the rest of Australia keep carrying the Northern Territory before they start to jack up?


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