NATS were great but figures don't stack up


p2172-Red-Centre-NATS-4By ERWIN CHLANDA
A media release from Chief Minister Adam Giles claims “13,500 people” attended the inaugural CentreNTRS on the weekend, but the figure seems to be vastly inflated.
The NT Government spent $1m on the event, including $100,000 towards the upgrade of the Alice Springs Inland Dragway burnout pad.
When asked for details a spokeswoman for Mr Giles said: “13,500 people passed through the gates over the weekend. They were only counted when they were first admitted into a venue.”
There were one-day and three-day passes for sale.
With a $50 three-day pass each individual ticket holder could be admitted to Blatherskite Park on three days and to the Alice Springs Inland Drags on two, making it a total of five possible admissions.
With a $20 one-day pass an individual could be admitted to Blatherskite Park and the Drags, making it a total of two possible admissions.
The government’s Major Events organisation is still doing the numbers of how many passes were sold for one and three days respectively, but 13,500 admissions clearly is not the same as 13,500 people.
The spokeswoman did not respond to a question about how many people came from outside Alice Springs to attend the NATS.
She said of the 400 original entrants, 40% were from outside the NT.
The spokeswoman said the economic benefits of the fixture for the town are still being assessed.
Mr Giles said: “The people of Australia have spoken loud and clear – they want the RedCentreNATS to continue in the heart of the country and we will commit to that.
“Summernats in Canberra receives around 1800 entrants and over 100,000 through the gate each year in January.
“I am confident that we can build on our event and give our southern counterparts a real run for their money and maybe after the smoke has cleared, even exceed their extraordinary success,” Mr Giles said.
If further details come to hand we will publish them.


  1. For a first event the turnout of entrants and spectators loved it.
    We had a trade stall out there and I can say wholeheartedly it was money well spent.
    My kids and husband also went out on the Saturday to see the cars and really enjoyed it.
    The parade was also enjoyed too. The town was busy in the lead up to it due to extra people in town and from what I’ve heard accommodation was hard to get.
    When everyone goes home they will tell their friends how great it was and hopefully it’s bigger and better next year. I’ve spoken to heaps of people and haven’t heard a bad word yet.
    Also hi 5 to the organisers for keeping the passes affordable so families could attend without a huge cost.

  2. Are you kidding me, how can you have a go at an event that has been so positive for this town and will be ongoing?
    Time you raised the standards of your publication and get on board with the positives and not trying to find an excuse to criticise successes.
    Why don’t you do a story about the local volunteers that gave up the time to support this event that has generated income into the towns economy that is ongoing.
    Who cares about exact numbers as there was a lot more people in town compared to what would have been, if the government hadn’t trusted and believed in our community to deliver an event that is being talked about Australia wide.

  3. @ Jamie Debrenni: Who cares about exact numbers? The Alice Springs News Online does.
    We are proud of our reputation for separating truth from spin.
    You may not care of how public money is being spent – most taxpayers do care.
    I suggest you google “volunteer” on our site and you will find hundreds of stories, over 20 years, praising the town’s volunteers in events and initiatives such as The Finke, Transport Hall of Fame, Henley on Todd, Camel Cup, countless sporting and social organisations and service clubs – AND the NATS (see Saturday’s report).
    These volunteers would take a dim view of anyone who thinks their reputation needs to be enhanced by the use of incorrect statistics.

  4. If we don’t know the real figures how can we assess the economic returns and decide if it was money well spent?
    The Red Centre Nats was certainly enjoyable and a fabulous event so why is this government yet again trying to hide the real figures?
    It certainly wasn’t the only game in town though. Truckies Reunion, Desert Festival, Desert Mob, Bush Bands all contributed to a great week.
    Mr deBrenni’s reluctance to tell the full story doesn’t bode well for his bid at becoming an alderman.
    Last thing we need in council is another Adam Giles yes man running CLP spin. Plenty of those already.

  5. @ Jamie Debrenni: “Who cares about exact numbers as there was a lot more people in town compared to what would have been, if the government hadn’t trusted and believed in our community ….”
    Could I mimic you?: Are you kidding me?
    Some of us care, and we are supposed to be living in a democracy: dēmokratia, from dēmos “the people” + -kratia “power, rule”. The practice or principles of social equality.
    The elected members are representatives of the people, work for them and are paid by them. Hiding the true facts or embellishing them is an insult.
    “Time you raised the standards of your publication and get on board with the positives and not trying to find an excuse to criticise successes.”
    Are you kidding me? What would Alice Springs News Online gain by criticising successes? Could you explain? Backing your words with a real fact?
    Alice Springs News Online is the only fair newspaper we have in town. We know exactly what is happening or will happen with no hint of prejudice.
    What do we get as real local news with the Advocate and the NT News? Where can we have a forum of discussions? At the council meeting?
    [I wrote to the council with concerns about plans for the Diano oval.] The council replied: “Council is currently looking at the possibility of installing a new athletics track at Rhonda Diano oval however this is only at the design and feasibility stage.
    “If the project was to go ahead the facility would not be for exclusive use for any specific club, the facility would be for the Alice Springs community to use.”
    No, they do what they want and when they want. I am not kidding!

  6. @ Jamie Debrenni: You are a champ and you and your colleagues should be very proud of the achievement.
    I can’t wait for next year and on the back of the Truck Hall of Fame – what an amazing couple of weeks in town.
    Only have to ask the businesses in town how successful it was.
    Good on you Jamie.

  7. The event may have been positive, as is the Truckies Reunion (year after year) but at a cost of 1 MILLION?
    Is the NTG for real? That money spent promoting the numerous other excellent events around town would have been much for beneficial, and consistent for the economy!
    No wonder SummerNats organisers eagerly said “we’ll be back”.
    The more I have checked other support for local events, the more disgraceful Giles and his Government are.

  8. Congrats to Giles for getting something like the NATS off the ground. For those expecting it to be a huge overnight success and bring in millions, settle down.
    Australians have a history of wanting every single investment to produce mega$$$ without delay, whereas countries like the US are more realistic in their investment strategy and so must we be.
    Usually “funding” is something Aboriginal events are propped up with – this makes a nice change.
    I loved my tax dollar being spent on this event and hope to see it grow into something very substantial in the future.


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