Rural land misuse in Tollner's too hard basket


p2234-plumber-yard-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
Lands Minister Dave Tollner gave an ‘it’s all too hard’ answer when challenged by Independent Member for Araluen, Robyn Lambley, about the rampant use of rural residential land in Alice Springs for industrial purposes.
Mr Tollner replied: “I am informed that it is very difficult to prosecute those people and in some regards it may well cause a lot of community anxiety to start prosecuting those people.
“It is something that we have to work through, making available more industrial land and that sort of stuff I think is part of the solution and encouraging people in residential areas to maintain peace and quiet.
“Maybe we should put up the price of rural blocks in the rural area.”
Ms Lambley, who chairs the Estimates Committee, put this to Mr Tollner: “I wrote to you on April 27.  I have not yet received a response to the letter.
“Over the last six to 12 months there has been a proliferation of complaints coming to me about business activity going on in the rural area of Alice Springs.
“At the moment it is a permissive system.  You can do what you like until you get caught.  It is pitting neighbours against neighbours.
p2309-prisons-Lambley“It is creating a lot of conflict and a lot of unhappiness when you have people with big trucks living next door to people that live very peacefully and quietly.  There are a lot of people that feel very offended about what is going on.”
Ms Lambley (at right) also asked Mr Tollner about Kilgariff not being connected to the NBN.
“Apparently, it was up to the developers to apply for that when it was being developed.  Was that your responsibility to do that?” she said.
LAMBLEY:  Are you the developers?
TOLLNER:  No, the Land Development Corporation is the developer.
The Land Development Corporation is an arm of the NT Government.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Adam Giles was questioned about the proposed Indigenous cultural centre, and said negotiations are under way both in Darwin and in Alice Springs. He had said earlier that $20m is “on the table” for the project.
Mr Giles said in part: “There is consultation going on with some of the arts and museums officials in Alice Springs and Darwin.  The Darwin one has just started.  It was a new initiative in the budget this year.
“Just to take it back a couple of steps.  As part of the railway line between Alice Springs and Darwin there was an agreement that there would be a cultural centre for want of better terminology, built in Darwin.  It was identified that a block of land at Bullocky Point would probably be the site, but nothing progressed on that.
“In 2003 it was put on hold.  There was also a loose conversation that there would be some sort of agreement as the result of the INPEX deal.  Nothing was forthcoming in that regard.
“I am a big supporter in seeing a cultural centre built in the Top End  and I will get to the bottom end of the question  to support the Larrakeyah,” said Mr Giles.
“Those conversations have been going on quite slowly.
“The Darwin one is more about a Larrakeyah Cultural Centre or a Darwin Cultural Centre for Larrakeyah people.  So the Darwin one should be about consultation with Larrakeyah, the one in Central Australia is about a national cultural centre.
“I think this will take 10 years to get up and running because it is not just about a cultural centre for the Central Arrernte people … it might be in regards to Indigenous people around Australia.
“There are about 300 nations in Australia of Aboriginal population.  If we are going to have a national cultural centre it needs to work with the Commonwealth government,” said Mr Giles.
“We have announced it but what we are doing is starting the conversation with Lhere Artepe and with native title holders before we go further.”
“We have also spoken about philanthropists about how this should occur. I think the facility will be at least a $300m facility.
“If we can get it over the line I think it is going to need a bipartisan approach and it is going to need a lot of time.  There is a lot of healing that needs to go with Aboriginal people around the country but we have to start at home.
“I think the Darwin one will certainly come off a lot sooner if Larrakeyah agrees, but the Central Australian one first is getting a Central owner.
“The wider Central Australia is bringing the Federal counterparts along, bringing on board the Federal Minister for the Arts and the Federal Shadow Minister, whatever parties they may be in.  I think it is long-term, but $1m is in there for the consultation this year alone, so it is happening.”
PLEASE NOTE: These quotes are from an uncorrected proof of the daily Hansard report.
PHOTO at top: Photo used by residents in a campaign against industrial use of a rural residential land. Their submissions were rejected by the Development Consent Authority.
UPDATE 10:20am.
According to a media release from NBN, the first 1900 premises in Alice Springs are now able to connect to the network, in the Braitling, Ciccone, Stuart and parts of the Alice Springs town centre.
The remaining 9000 premises in three other fixed line rollout service areas are expected to switch on in coming weeks and months.
Today’s announcement begins the 18 month countdown for these homes and businesses to make the switch before most existing landline phone and internet services are replaced by services over the NBN network.


  1. I’m eternally puzzled why Robyn queries the lack of NBN at Kilgariff but NEVER have I heard her stand up for Ilparpa residents as to why we are the only existing suburb of Alice to be totally bypassed by NBN.
    No, satellite is not good enough 9km from the Post Office of one of Australia’s most modern towns.
    Not only did we miss out on a level 1 service (fibre optic), the level 2 option (wireless) was totally skipped while we were relegated to a crappy level 3 service (satellite) with not even a whimper from the politicians.
    To run my business and get a data limit equivalent to a $49 a month service on the other side of the Gap I had to go on a private network that costs me $349 a month for just 15% of the speed of the $49 service in town.
    These opportunities come once in a generation and NT politicians have totally abandoned Ilparpa on this.

  2. Dear Chris,
    I will be happy to meet you when I’m in the NT late next week to discuss this further, but I disagree with the premise of your assertion that Ilparpa has been by-passed by the NBN. It has not.
    The Sky Muster satellite service is far from “crappy” as you suggest. If you live in Ilparpa, you are eligible to apply for an NBN Sky Muster connection now and plans and prices are availabe to view via the NBN website on All you need do is type your address into the Check Your Address tab on the NBN website homepage and it will link to the telco providers offering a satellite broadband service.
    A range of price-competitive plans are available to view.
    The Sky Muster service is the best broadband service in the world according to independent experts Ovum.
    I suggest you connect first and judge after you begin using the service.
    All best for now,
    Jill Bottrall
    State Corporate Affairs Manager SA and NT

  3. What Chris is too kind to mention is that there is fibre-optic cable running down Ilparpa Rd, but the residents are denied access to it.
    No doubt it is to help all the “gardeners” at Pine Gap with their busy planting schedules. But in the interests of good community relations could our Seppo friends not have shared?
    And as for Kilgariff, not connected to the NBN yet built on the Stuart Highway with two if not three fibre optic cables running past, the entrance-words almost fail me: Only in the NT?

  4. Imagine the rumpus should a few graders, and low loaders suddenly arrive on Stevens Road, push over an acre of virgin bush and set up a road making camp with other associated vehicles.
    Yet that is what is happening in the rural areas, without any constraint.
    It is now so brazen that no zone change signs were displayed, and no action taken by Government. Too hard says Tollner, without admitting that this came about here (as well as in Ilparpa) because of very poor planning and complete lack of forethought.
    There are industrial sites at Brewer specifically to cater for this with housing on site on the same zoning as in Cameron St, and where roads are engineered for heavy transport.
    RL zoning was and still is the cheapest option for businesses to re locate to, and the brutal truth is that industrial land is not as lucrative to the land dealer vested interests as housing in town, so little attention is paid to its marketing and promotion.
    Because of the Gap and its restrictions, development south of the Gap will inevitably be restricted unless a new commercial entity is recognized and built in the vicinity of Brewer where future industrial development will occur and job opportunities will grow.
    One has only to stand at the Gap during the early morning rush hour to appreciate the traffic flows south to where the work is and the reverse in the late afternoon.
    Then add to that the proposed industrial development behind the cemetery also relying on housing and the commercial centre north of the Gap, and the traffic implications imposed by the Gap should have been obvious, and not in the best public interest.
    Kilgariff was a gigantic mistake in planning. It should have been a vibrant display of what could be done here other than housing.
    The housing development should have been at Brewer as the centre of a new commercial entity based around where the jobs will be in the future. What we are seeing now is a direct result of this lack of foresight and has resulted in a situation which Tollner claims is too hard.
    This has been pointed out several times, the first being the consultants to Kilgarriff who pointed out that development follows the rail, but ignored by Government. The imperative in the latest Budget to aid the construction industry adds credence to the concept of a new commercial entity at Brewer would do wonders for that sector.
    Planners have also not recognized the possibilities associated with the airport and the example of Toowoomba where there now is an export hub direct to Asia and the basis of a new technology park employing many people.
    That could have happened here, supporting the concept of development and housing at Brewer, but vested interests short term hijacked the debate for short gains again.
    Land restraints north of the Gap will force development to go south, but planners have caused the current situation for us rural residents and Government does not have he guts to rectify it. It will cost them many votes.

  5. In regards to the commercial activity in the rural area I understand that home based businesses are permitted to operate under the rural living zoning, but the definition of home based business needs to be looked at in regards to limit of activity, size sheds etc in RL zoning.
    I understand the Development Consent Authority considers all complaints put to them and are bound by the current zoning and business definitions.
    Yes, it does need tidying up, but we certainly don’t want to see businesses shut down because of it.
    It is a shame the current member has not done anything about this issue when she was in a position to do so, and that is the same for the NBN issue.
    How was Ilparpa missed out? One must ask the question. As the Country Liberal candidate for Namatjira I will be lobbying for NBN connectivity for the Ilparpa region and will be an active member committed to the appropriate growth of Alice Springs.
    It is an added business cost that as Chris Tangey stated is about time, efficiency and money.
    As I am out in the electorate I am hearing all sides to the issue and welcome your views as I step into the seat and look forward to being an active Member for Namatjira.


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