Licensing red tape cut, council told


p2215-chapel-new-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
Good-bye NT Licensing Commission, hello Director-General of Licensing.
The town council last night had a presentation from him, Sean Parnell, a former senior police officer in Alice Springs, noted for his cheerful personality and his many contacts in the community.
He’s taking over from a much criticised commission that, although consisting of volunteers, cost the taxpayer $800,000 a year.
It was too “cumbersome, unwieldy, took too long to process” even simple licences,  said Mr Parnell. “Cutting red tape” is the objective.
He told the councilors that the changes, which took effect on January 1, have also ushered in “new mechanisms for appeal and safeguards”.
Previously any appeals against commission decisions were dealt with by the commission. This put in into the “anomalous” position of reviewing its own decisions, he said.
Now complaints will be considered in the first instance by the new Director-General, but the public would have a further opportunity to complain, namely to the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
p2215-chapel-new-2Mr Parnell said decisions by the Director-General would in part be guided by precedent, as was the case with the commission, but the process would be faster and streamlined.
Occupations licensed include motor vehicle dealers, travel agents, incorporated associations, real estate, business and conveyancing agents, plumbers, builders and electricians.
Cr Chansey Paech asked Mr Parnell whether more licences for take-away alcohol had been applied for, after last year’s lifting of a moratorium.
Mr Parnell said “six or so” licenses had been applied for.
Had more pokies been applied for following the raising of the cap? None had been, said Mr Parnell.
He said the new system had put in place a “more rigorous” process of checking the effect on the community of licenses granted.
For example, it won’t be sufficient for the applicant to provide his own impact statement, as it was adequate under the old system.
They would now need to be supplied by independent people, would need to be “a lot more in depth” and as a result, would cost more.
The views of police and the town council would be sought about impact on the community. There will be more consultation than before, said Mr Parnell, “not just advertising”.
Would there be changes to town camps being dry areas, asked Cr Paech?
This would need the concurrence of the residents, said Mr Parnell, and the Federal Government would have a say in it.
Cr Jade Kudrenko asked whether there were proposed changes in the licensing of prostitution.
Mr Parnell said there would be “no changes without consultation,” police and the council would be asked for their views and a discussion paper released.
Meanwhile it’s back to the drawing board for the cemetery chapel.
Following a mixed reaction by councillors to her first design, architect Susan Dugdale last night presented alternatives (drawings at top and above), including one with a triangular floor plan and a tower.
Large rear doors would allow the mourners at a big funeral to spill outdoors.
The chapel would not be air-conditioned but it’s height, ceiling fans and a flow-through design would provide some comfort on hot days.
There would be much use of natural light.
A family room, a space for a crematorium and a “niche wall” where urns can be placed are also features of the new designs. They will be considered by the council.


  1. No air conditioning? Considering people pay to hire the chapel, there would be ample cost recovery in installing aircon. It is a waste to build anything without it in this part of Australia.

  2. If there’s going to be more community consultation where’s the consultation around the “six or so” new takeaway liquor licenses?
    First I’ve heard of the possibility of six new takeaway licences. Where and when do the community get the opportunity to have input and be “consulted” about this? Given the huge potential negative impacts of six new takeaway outlets, surely this warrants more than a newspaper ad or whatever passes for NT Government consultation these days?

  3. A definite improvement on the first design. Thank you.
    Fans are good, but aircon (kept at 24 degrees) seems to be a must on a hot summer day in Central Australia, unless we keep the use of the new building for a dawn service or an after 5pm. Please consider!

  4. Thanks for the update Erwin. I’ll echo the concerns about increased takeaway licences, but really it’s the previous comment that surprised me most.
    Good architecture and passive cooling / heating should be the norm, not poor design and imprudent energy usage, wherever you live, especially if it’s somewhere between now and the future.

  5. Most Churches don’t have airconditiong in town, harden up at least council are giving us a chapel.

  6. And of course a few solar panels installed on the roof to produce the electricity required for air-con and other power needs. Where has Alice Solar City gone?
    Just imagine the welcoming sign: “This chapel is a solar powered initiative for ever and ever, amen!”


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