By KIERAN FINNANE
The look-alike mould – white, male, middle-aged, in business, likely conservative – for the Alice Springs division of the Development Consent Authority will be broken when its membership turns over in the new financial year.
Last night the Town Council voted for fresh blood on the authority: recently-elected Councillor and Deputy Mayor Jamie de Brenni (above left), who fits the mould, got unanimous support, but Councillor Jade Kudrenko (above right) was also supported with seven out of nine votes. Only Crs Steve Brown and Brendan Heenan, both current members of the authority, did not support her nomination. Cr Kudrenko is white also, but female, young, an employee of the Central Land Council, a Green, and is a strong performer on council.
DCA members are appointed by the Minister for Lands and Planning. Council was asked, as required by the Planning Act, to put forward two nominees and an alternate for them, for the two-year appointments from July 2016.
Following hot on the heels of the vote for Deputy Mayor two weeks ago, when Cr Kudrenko was defeated by what can fairly be described as a conservative block on council, the call for nominations saw a jockeying between those same forces.
Above: Mayor Damien Ryan and executive at last night’s meeting.
Cr Brown had been nominated by Cr Heenan to continue in his role. Mayor Damien Ryan asked him about what would happen should he win “the position you’re chasing in another area” (that is, election to the Legislative Assembly as Member for Araluen).
Cr Brown said he’d thought about that, but “having continuity is pretty important” and he’d prefer to stay in the role “for a while”. If he were to succeed at the NT elections, he would have to resign from the DCA. The NT elections are in August at the latest, so his resignation could be just a few months away, but Cr Brown didn’t see a difficulty, it would be up to his fellow councillors to decide. His nomination was seconded by Deputy Mayor de Brenni.
Cr Heenan then nominated Deputy Mayor de Brenni, seconded Cr Brown.
Cr Eli Melky had initially nominated himself, but Mayor Ryan said he would nominate him, seconded by Cr Jacinta Price.
This meant there were four nominations for three positions. Cr Melky then offered to “step away” in the interest of a smoother process, as he’d like to see Cr Kudrenko – “fresh blood” – on the authority. Cr Paech, who had nominated Cr Kudrenko, tried to encourage him to stay in the contest, but Cr Melky persisted in his withdrawal.
Cr Brown then also said he’d consider pulling out if he could nominate Cr Heenan in his place (keeping it in the family, in more ways than one). But Mayor Ryan wouldn’t allow that: Cr Brown had had the chance to put forward a nomination when they had been called for.
In the show of hands vote, Crs Kudrenko, Paech and Melky did not support Cr Brown. As third in the contest, he will become the alternate member of the authority (required to attend if either Deputy Mayor de Brenni or Cr Kudrenko are absent).
The other members of the DCA’s Alice Springs division currently are David Koch, a businessman and prominent Country Liberal, and Alistair Feehan, who runs Imparja Television and was associated in a business venture with former conservative councillor Geoff Booth to set up an escort agency in Alice Springs. (Community reaction led to the resignation of Cr Booth.)
The DCA is chaired by Denis Burke, former Country Liberal Chief Minister.