ALEC digging in, setting up community centre in the Gap


p2142-Jimmy-Cocking-&-Tanya-2LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) has relocated from it premises in Eastside to its new home at 90 Gap Rd, The Gap.
The ALEC is Central Australia’s own environmental organisation. Founded in 1980, ALEC has been a leading voice for the protection of the environment and sustainable development in Central Australia.
After five years of working in Eastside and successfully delivering desertSMART COOLmob and Alice Water Smart through to completion; while establishing the Alice Springs Community Garden, Arid Edge Environmental Services and Biodiversity Matters; and growing the desertSMART EcoFair to be a calendar event; all while standing up against uranium mining, nuclear waste dumps and the gas fracking industry – it’s time for ALEC to really dig in .
The relocation is a response to the savage cuts to the environment sector in the 2014-15 Federal and Territory Government budgets which left the organisation with no operational funding and limited project opportunities. Thankfully, a local philanthropist purchased the property so that ALEC could establish a community centre and pay less than market rent.
We’re very lucky to have a generous member of the public support the organisation in this way.
‘Given the uncertain funding environment, while also enduring the most anti-environment government, this relocation gives ALEC the breathing space we need to keep on standing up for nature and the people living in arid Australia.
Moving to the Gap will provide some new opportunities for engaging a wider audience on environmental and sustainability issues. We are setting up the property up to showcase sustainable living in central Australia. The community centre will be open to the general public for workshops, community meetings, volunteering opportunities and getting involved in building community resilience.
The new community environment centre will be officially opened on World Environment Day, June 5 from 5-8pm with a gourmet barbecue and environmental short films.
Jimmy Cocking
ALEC Director
(Pictured with TV personality Tanya Ha.)


  1. Very “emotive” language here….”savage cuts” You hadn’t noticed that as a country we are borrowing $1B per month just to pay the interest? Surely that is the very definition of “sustainability” that we don’t just keep borrowing money.
    Lobby groups shouldn’t be funded by the taxpayer – if it is a worthy “cause” then someone will step in – as has been the case here.
    Why should every net taxpayer be “forced” to contribute to causes that (rightly or wrongly) they may not personally agree with.

  2. Welcome to The Gap, Alice’s premier suburb. In my twenty years down here, I’ve watched 90 Gap Road change hands a few times. It will be interesting to see how you go.

  3. On reflection I feel I can better delineate some of the daily joys of life awaiting you in The Gap.
    Relaxing with a glass of wine in my outdoor living area this evening, following a five hour shift stocking shelves in one of our supermarkets, I overheard:
    1) either a couple making love or someone being strangled in the park next door.
    2) sirens racing down the highway.
    3) a heavy train pulling through, and
    4) a spot of domestic violence from the house next door – “Get off my sister! You m*** f***, I’ll put a knife in you.”
    As I said, it will be interesting seeing how you go.

  4. Thanks for the welcome Hal. Hopefully we’ll see you and some of your clan here next Friday for the official launch.
    If not, drop in sometime, we’re here for the long haul.

  5. @ Another Observer:
    The savage cuts have now been followed by a Federal inquiry into the tax deductibility of environmental organisations.
    Not only are the funds being taken away but they are now threatening to remove the means to be able to attract funds.
    Environmental organisations like ALEC are working for the public good. Clean air, clean water and liveable climate are high on the agenda.
    Short term thinking governments are trying to bury environmental groups under the spoil from coal mining and gas fracking. 
    The future is solar, driving carbon emissions down will in fact stimulate the economy and generate long term jobs and put an end to the nonsense created by the market fundamentalists.
    The economy needs energy and the sun has more than enough for all of us.
    The attacks of the current government on renewable energy is an attack on the future. 
    That is the savagery of it all, the impact that this mob will have on the future of our children.

  6. Well said, Jimmy. ALEC has a proud history in The Alice, moved around a bit, good luck in the new location.

  7. @ Jimmy Cocking
    Posted May 27, 2015 at 2:02 pm
    And you are very welcome, Jimmy. I do hope you are here in The Gap for the long haul. This area needs all the community support it can attract.

  8. Once again @ Jimmy Cocking: The “emotive” language that you display is all about seeming rather than doing.
    Why should my tax dollars go to subsidise your efforts when we have local, territory and federal public servants doing the job?
    At the end of the day, if alternative energies are viable, then they will be funded by the private sector.
    The billions of dollars that are being squandered on putting solar on people’s rooftops are simply forcing the price of electricity up for those that cannot afford it, and that is not “fair”.
    Further – why should your business (because whichever way you want to dress it up that is what it is!) be exempt from taxes simply because you think it is a worthy cause?
    Seriously, if you knew how hard it was to make a dollar in business, you may be a little more respectful in the demands that you are making.
    If we really wanted to save the environment and protect future generations we would go nuclear – but that doesn’t fit with the narrative of the carey sharey seeming rather than doing of the green groups that infest every level of our society.

  9. @ Another Observer – at least I have the courage to put my name to my beliefs and therefore take responsibility for what I say.
    ALEC is a “doing” organisation and I can assure you it is as hard to make a dollar working for the public good as it is working for profits.
    Businesses respond to markets, organisations respond to need. Given that organisations generally deliver services cheaper and more effectively than governments can is why funding and projects are made available through competitive rounds.
    Nuclear is not the answer. One, it is decades away, which is too late for the climate.
    Two, tens of billions of dollars to centralise electricity generation to make a few people rich rather than distributing power generation and giving millions a level of independence from the grid is not a better option.
    Three, the potential for weapons manufacture, radioactive waste generation and the impacts on water through mining add fuel to the “no” case for nuclear.
    Every rooftop could be generating electricity. Electric cars could stabilise the grid and act as storage overnight and during the day.
    Solar power and electric cars are available off the shelf now. Nuclear is not.
    Government housing and low income programs could support people getting solar which would reduce the amount of money being poured into burning fossil fuels and reduce energy bills.
    The problem is that the Federal government subsidises fossil fuels to the tune of $2 billion per year. While the Renewable Energy Target debacle created by the Abbott Government is predicted to damage the renewable energy industry by $6 billion by 2020.
    Caring and sharing is an important part of living within our means. The dog eat dog world you are seeming to espouse is no good for anyone. I would rather live in a community where people cared and shared than a selfish and greedy one, where nobody trusts anyone.
    It is possible for government, business and community sectors to work together for a better today and tomorrow. Not just seeming so but actually doing so.
    Maybe if you removed your “observer” status and became a known doer in the community, you too will see the benefit of cooperation and collaboration.

  10. Solar seems pretty good to me. I spent the money and put some panels on my roof and now I make more than double the power I use.
    Cool – no bills for me and Power Water Corporation get the excess for free.

  11. Well it would be great if all people who had solar power were disconnected from the grid and left to fend on there own.
    But I guess everyone else will pay for power to street lighting, public buildings and so on. Oh, I forgot Jimmy, the government will pay for that. lol

  12. @ Jimmy: All the best with the new endeavours and opportunities that will no doubt come out of the move.
    Out of adversity comes strength. The Federal inquiry into DGR status of environment groups is clearly an ideological and underhanded attack on any activity that may support the green vote, even though environmental organisations are non-partisan.
    It takes strong community advocacy to create the systemic transformation this society needs to build conservation economies, more community resilience and greater equality.
    There have been great outcomes that advocacy has achieved for Australians and our magnificent environment.
    The Franklin River, the Kimberley, Fraser Island, cleaner air and water, healthier communities and sustainable industries and jobs – all have flowed from the advocacy of organisations like ALEC. Good luck with this next phase of your work.

  13. I’ve supported conservation and land care forever, unfortunately, conservation “issues” and aboriginal “rights” have shown us the phoney side of “conservationism”.
    I believe I have a lot offer real conservation organisations, but with the only criteria accepted these days with organisations like ALEC is that I must:
    • Hate Tony Abbott
    • Hate the mining industry
    • Hate Australian farmers
    • Love the lefties version of Aboriginality
    • Love animal rights provided this does not extend to the starving dogs on Aboriginal communities.
    • Love the Greens / Labor parties
    Well, I’m pleased funding has been removed from ALEC, now let’s see it being spent on the real land care issues facing our country. I will then offer my services.

  14. “Conservationist” might be interested in this initiative by ALEC … no anti miner / farmer reference in sight, just plain good conservation …
    Might be time to emerge from the shadows and get involved.
    I took part in an ALEC organized activity out at the Archery Club a couple of years ago, setting and checking traps to monitor wildlife in the buffel areas. Learned a lot, found it a hate free zone. Give them a go, “Conservationist”.


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