Moss challenge: Find Centre alternative to barra


p2411 barraBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Tourism Minister Lauren Moss has thrown out a challenge for Central Australia to come up with a promotion to rival the Million Dollar Fish competition in the Top End.
Asked by the Alice Springs News Online during a media conference yesterday whether she would be open to suggestions – in the absence of barramundi in The Centre – she said: “Absolutely. The tourism board will obviously be looking at this as well.
“There’s no chance of barras here but I’m always happy to hear people’s ideas for new campaigns.
“This is an incredible apart of the world and we should be looking looking at these unique opportunities.”
p2201-Lauren-MossMs Moss said eight barras had been caught so far in the second round of the competition, with a few days left.
There had been 45,000 registrations for the competition. Although Territorians caught all the eight fishes – and got  $10,000 prize money each – 55% of those registering were from interstate.
“They brought $9m into the economy last year, We’re up on registrations.”
“These are people coming to the NT, spending money with local businesses and tourism operators. It’s a really great campaign for the Top End.
A spokesman for Ms Moss says the Million Dollar Fish is budgeted by the NT Government at $350,000 per year which includes operational and marketing costs.
“The prizes are underwritten by CrownBet as the major sponsor. It is CrownBet that pays 100% of prize money throughout the campaign, with campaign partners contributing prizes,” says the spokesman.
The $1m fish is still out there.


  1. We are not even allowed to legally fish in Central Australia. Everyone’s heard stories of Rangers threatening people with fines for trying to land a spangled perch around Alice (listed as Noxious in other states. Spangled and Fisheries Rangers).
    Look up where you’re legally allowed to fish and you’ll find Policeman’s Waterhole is as far south you go to get a line wet without being fined. Even Tennant Creek residents think that’s too far out to drive to go fishing.
    Let us fish Spangleds and put a multi million dollar competition into Alice.
    Or better yet use the money to pay off the Aboriginal Area Protection Authority and put in a flood mitigation / recreational lake in Alice!

  2. What about Lasseters golden trails?
    It already has the mystery and gold fever to attract interest.
    The story travels from Harts Range, Alice Springs, East and west MacDonnells, King’s Canyon and Uluru.
    Some of the popular travellers are caravan and self drive rental cars. If they visit all locations could go into a draw to win.
    Only private or rental regos eligible no corporations or government.
    Sure a local business would do the draw nights.
    Just some thing for those of us that can only catch fish in the frozen section.

  3. Does anyone not recall the Desert Rose Destinations scheme devised by local residents in 1990-91 to promote tourism travel in Central Australia?
    The concept was inspired by the NT’s floral emblem, the Sturt’s Desert Rose, and featured road loops (petals) at two different scales for exploring the region – one for travelling in a day or less, the other for longer periods of time.
    I still have my colourful fold-up poster detailing all the options available.
    For travelling one day or less the petal-loops were:
    1. Western Loop – Larapinta Drive to Simpsons Gap (and Standley Chasm if time permitted), then return via Honeymoon Gap and Ilparpa Road to town;
    2. South-western Loop – through Heavitree Gap to the Old Timers’ Museum, Pioneer Park, MacDonnell Siding (Old Ghan) and Chateau Hornsby. Return by the same route;
    3. Southern Route – south Stuart Highway then the Deep Well road, down to Ewaninga Siding and the Ewaninga rock carvings, then return;
    4. Northern Route – the Old Telegraph Station, then through the northern hills to the Bond Springs Airstrip and the Tropic of Capricorn, then return;
    5. South-eastern Route – through Heavitree Gap, across the old causeway to the Mecca Date Gardens, then on through the old Farm Area (today’s Ragonesi Road) to the Frontier Camel Farm and Arid Australian Reptile Display, then on to Emily and Jessie Gaps, then return.
    For longer stays in the Centre the petal options were:
    1. Ayers Rock, Olgas and Kings Canyon Loop;
    2. Western MacDonnell Ranges Loop (including Hermannsburg, Palm Valley, Gosse’s Bluff and Wallace Rockhole Community);
    3. Eastern Goldfields Loop (east along the Ross Highway and return via The Garden Station to the north Stuart Highway);
    4. Simpson Desert and Dalhousie Hot Springs Loop (4WD) – including Old Andado Station, amongst other attractions;
    5. Chambers Pillar and Rainbow Valley Loop.
    The Desert Rose Destinations scheme was devised in response to the then latest government funded study into the tourism potential of Central Australia.
    The simple yet comprehensive text was written by Dick Kimber, the brilliant artwork was by Bronwyn Beesley, and it was compiled by Brenda Thornley.
    Clearly this document is outdated (and of considerable historical interest) but it certainly wouldn’t take much to revise and update the whole concept.
    However, as things stand, the standard bureaucratic practice is to start all over again with expensive taxpayer-funded consultancies, studies and reports, to come up with concepts that are little more advanced from previous studies going back to the HKF Report of 1969.
    The real symbol for Central Australian tourism seems not to be the Desert Rose with its petals, rather it’s a bogged wagon wheel with spokes, stuck in a bog as we delight spinning endlessly round and round with our longterm vision obscured by raised bulldust.


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