By ERWIN CHLANDA
While The Centre’s only front bencher, Dale Wakefield (at left), announced $13m in NT Government infrastructure spending in Alice Springs, the Independent Member for Araluen, Robyn Lambley (at right), draws attention to almost three times that amount being deferred and possibly axed.
Ms Wakefield says $6m will be spent for the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter and $7m for a new youth detention facility.
The shelter will be “the biggest and busiest accommodation service for women and children in Australia, providing shelter and support to women and children from more than 80 different communities across four States,” according to a media release from Ms Wakefield .
“The new money is part of an overall infrastructure spend of more than $120m to take place in and around Alice Springs over the next two years.”
The yet unscheduled “cash injection into the Central Australian economy will be spent on job-creating projects including upgrading schools, roads, and Alice Springs Hospital. And tens of millions of dollars will be spent in bush communities with new remote housing, maintenance and repairs,” says Ms Wakefield.
“After three months of virtual silence from the Gunner Government, the first major funding announcement they make for Central Australia are cuts to planned infrastructure expenditure,” says Mrs Lambley.
“Projects deferred include a $2.7m upgrade of the Ross Primary School; $11m storm rectification works for the Central Australia Health Service; and numerous road works including an $11.5m upgrade of the Maryvale Road and $4.5m of Larapinta Drive head works.
“People will lose their jobs and some will leave town.”
Ms Lambley says the deferred projects have not been rescheduled, suggesting that some of these projects may be scrapped.
“I am disappointed in this Government; they have prioritised Darwin, Palmerston and Katherine at the expense of Central Australia. I hope this is not a sign of things to come,” says Mrs Lambley.
Ms Wakefield confirmed the ongoing funding for the completion of the $27m Mereenie Inner Loop Road sealing project.
The work, repeatedly deferred from Budget to Budget, to upgrade and seal about 40km of Larapinta Drive between Hermannsburg and Namatjira Drive, under the previous government went to local contractors Exact Mining Services, Ostojic and Black Cat Civil.
Meanwhile Treasurer Nicole Manison announced the following “new and fast-tracked infrastructure projects”:
Palmerston Police Station – $15m.
Katherine Police Station – $5m.
Royal Darwin Hospital – FREE Multi Storey Carpark – $12m.
Royal Darwin Hospital – PET Scanner project $5m.
New home for Rugby League at Warren Park – $25m.
Netball Courts – Darwin – $10m.
National Iconic Arts Trail: East Arnhem – $10m, Katherine Art Extension – $10m, Tennant Creek Art Gallery extension, tourism entrance statements – Tennant Creek – $2m.
Tennant Creek Integrated school project – $6.5m.
Replace Don Dale – $15m.
RIH – Room To Breathe – $10m.
Remote Housing – repairs and maintenance – $5m.