By ERWIN CHLANDA
At age 24 Ben Kittle (pictured), part of the third generation of the prominent local trading family, is likely to be the youngest chairman ever of a Country Liberal Party branch.
Local historian Alex Nelson isn’t sure but he thinks he’s the second-youngest, elected to lead the CLP’s Flynn branch in 1990 at age 27.
Mr Kittle, who works in the firm Complete Fencing and races rally cars, says he heads up an active Alice Springs CLP branch, with 30 to 40 members attending the monthly meetings.
At these lively exchanges with politicians and ministers take place, unsurprisingly with a keen eye on motor sports.
Mr Kittle says in 2015 the branch cranked up its profile: “We had better communication with the general public but a little more wouldn’t hurt,” he says, “getting out and talking to people.
“We’ve got the stall at the markets. Anyone can stop by and say hello to us, have a chat.
“We get a fair bit of praise for the good things the government is doing down here.”
Mr Kittle says the stand-out achievements of the NT Government this year were Kilgariff, the new court house, new police stations in Alice Springs, Utopia and Yuendumu, “and obviously the future motor sport funding, the grants given to the drag club and speedway.
“Red Centre NATS was another really positive thing.”
Is there a strong flow of ideas and demands from the grassroots to the politicians?
“Definitely. That’s very strong,” says Mr Kittle.
“That happens on a monthly basis. Ideas can come forward and they get discussed. They go through to the relevant ministers or their departments. We get answers back straight-away. The communication is excellent.”
He says “even outside the CLP getting in touch with departments is quite easy”.
This is the wish list of the Alice Springs CLP branch which nominates candidates for preselections for Braitling, Araluen, Stuart and Namatjira.
• Lifestyle infrastructure upgrades should continue in Alice Springs with things such as Braitling School, Larapinta Childcare Centre and the Mereenie Loop upgrade.
• The government should continue the development of motor sports in Central Australia through the relationship between Motor Sports NT and the NT Government, things such as having the foresight of putting aside money for the upgrade of the speedway infrastructure grant.
• Legislative changes such as a rally registration scheme.
• The Local Procurement Committee should be ensuring that the local tender process is truly local as well as supporting the community and local business.
• Supporting ongoing energy sustainability through utilising Central Australia’s sunny environment.
Rally racer puts CLP pedal to the metal
By ERWIN CHLANDA