By ERWIN CHLANDA
There is a bit of smoke and mirrors in the Budget which raises the uneasy suspicion there may be more.
$20m has been identified as an expenditure for “development and revitalising infrastructure” of the Alice Springs CBD in the 2017/18 Budget.
Apart from the Alice town centre not having been “vital” for a long time, so it’s not a revitalisation, and that there is convincing evidence that infrastructure isn’t the problem but its use, the money aspect is a puzzle.
Mayor Damien Ryan, in the Budget lock-up yesterday morning, before Nicole Manison had even risen to give her Budget speech, discovered this in Budget Paper No 4: “$10m to commence works on the $120m City Deals project for the development and revitalising of infrastructure in the Darwin and Alice Springs CBDs.”
Conscious that Chief Minister Michael Gunner had announced a split-up of $100m for Darwin and $20m for Alice Springs, the Alice Springs News Online sought an explanation from the Treasurer’s media advisor.
As it turns out, Alice will not be getting $20m for the above mentioned purposes in the 2017/18 year, and when – if at all – is not even clear.
The advisor said this: “$10 million in cash will commence these projects this year, with the balance to be expended once the projects and design works have been finalised.”
As that was inconclusive, we asked: “Please advise how much Darwin and Alice, respectively, will be getting in 2017/18 under the City Deals.”
Putting two and two together leads to the conclusion that the expenditure in Alice may be less than $2m, not even one one-tenth of the $20m. It could even mean we get nothing this financial year, if “projects and design works” aren’t finalised – to the expectation of the government, presumably.
The $20m apportioned by Mr Gunner to Alice is 16.6% of the $120m City Deals project which clearly is extending beyond 2017/18. How much longer is not certain.
If Mr Gunner splits up the $10m for 2017/18 along the same ratio, we’ll be getting $1.7m.
Mayor Ryan said he would raise bringing forward the allocation with Mr Gunner.
PHOTO: The Mall when it’s buzzing.
We have received the following update from the Treasurer’s media advisor:
$20m will be spent on revitalising Alice’s CBD over the next four years, and $100m for Darwin.
In 2017-18, $10 million has been allocated to identify and commence the projects, from the $20m and $100m buckets for Alice and Darwin respectively.
Alice Springs will receive a $20 million upgrade to its CBD.
Additionally, we are working with the Commonwealth Government on their City Deals to secure more funding for both Alice Springs and Darwin CBDs.
By ERWIN CHLANDA