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HomeIssue 7No plans to stop NATS: Gunner

No plans to stop NATS: Gunner

2473 Nats Gunner & officers OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
There are no plans to stop the the Red Centre Nats which ended yesterday with 14 people, all adults,  being injured, four of them seriously, when flames from a car on the burnout pad shot though the mesh fence into the spectator area.
Medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Sam Goodwin, said the four people flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital “are in a serious condition”.
2473 Nats Dr Sam Goodwin OKAnswering questions during a media doorstop in Alice Springs this morning with Chief Minister Michael Gunner, Dr Goodwin (at left) was asked whether the injuries are life threatening.
“I wouldn’t like to comment,” he said.
Mr Gunner called the incident “serious”.
But when asked by a journalist whether the government would continue to “spend a lot of money” on the event, between $1.2m and $1.3m, according to Major Events chief Andrew Hopper, Mr Gunner said there will be a review.
But he added that the first thing those injured, and their families and friend, had said to him was, “Please let us not be the reason this event gets canceled. We love this event.”
Said Mr Gunner: “We will be doing everything we can to make sure we learn from what occurred, and that next year’s event is conducted as safely as possible. We have no plans to cancel the event.”
2473 Nats Gunner 2 OKIs it a good investment for the taxpayer? Mr Gunner (at right) was asked.
“It’s not something I’ve thought about today,” he said.
Work Safe will lead the investigation and will be working with police.
“The event was conducted according to a process and the question obviously is, it that process adequate,” said Mr Gunner.
Asked by the Alice Springs News Online how many people the event brings to Alice Springs, Mr Gunner consulted with Mr Hopper who said 14,000 people had gone “through the gate”.
We pointed out to Mr Gunner that 14,000 entries through the gate does not equate with 14,000 people as any individual can go through the gate multiple times.
2473 burnout accident 2 OKMr Gunner replied: “We can work with you about those details, of you like, about the exact numbers of attendance. It does draw people from around the country.”
Does the program encourage people to do burnouts in a public place? Mr Gunner was asked.
He said it’s safer to take people with a love for their cars to a place like the drag track, “to a place which is safe. You remove that safe option, the capacity for people to do burnouts in a controlled environment, you create an environment for greater risk of harm.”
Mr Gunner says compensation for victims has not been considered so far. “We are helping them with flights and transportation of cars.”
Andrew Everingham, from St John Ambulance, said the number of patients needing care put the accident into the category of a mass casualty incident, but the service had no difficulty coping.
Mr Hopper was asked why people were allowed so close to the action. He said: “That’s the design of the burn-out [area] which has been there for quite some time.”
When asked about flames being able to go thought cyclone fencing he said: “That’s the part that needs to be investigated.”
UPDATE September 9:
All four patients who were transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital are now in a stable condition, according to the Senior Media Adviser of South Australian Health.


  1. Why not ban it?
    When Gunner (do nothing) shut down open speed limits, he claimed it was because it is dangerous. Center NATS has officially hurt more people than open limits. So?
    It also has the other feature that Gunner (do nothing) hates: Adam Giles though of it.

  2. All to do with money, not the safety and lives of the people. Just goes to show how did these so called safety officers ever get their piece of paper to take the lives of innocent people in their hands.
    A safe place Gunner does recon. Not so safe the way the government runs the country.

  3. I was wondering what it would take for Gunner to visit Alice Springs for more than five minutes.
    Now, man up and pledge a few mill to improve the burnout area to ensure this doesn’t happen again!
    The benefits of the Red Centre Nats is proven now, so come on, invest to make it better and get more participants.
    But this won’t happen because it is in Alice Springs (not Darwin).

  4. The event puts money into more than Alice Springs. From the time the participants start to arrange to go to the location, Alice springs or elsewhere, they start putting money into the economy all the way there and back so it would be very short sighted to ban the event.
    It is a big draw-card coming to Alice Springs and they bring their supporters who all spend money, also tourists who would have moved on often extend their stay out interest or curiosity or simply to be able to say they saw the Nats at the Alice.
    It would not take a great amount to resolve the safety factor just a one meter high panel on the bottom of the fence with a further meter of wire netting or mesh along the top.

  5. Can anyone remember the inevitable demise of the Cannonball Run which was based on the same mentality? Are there any real differences?
    How about a bit of balance in the form of a defensive driving school aimed at young people who think that the more noise they make the faster the car goes and think they are invincible once behind the wheel of a car.
    It’s this mentality which these motor sports encourage that is the danger and needs to be discouraged.
    There is currently no counter argument on safety and defensive driving.
    Similarly with the enormous cost to the community of quad bike injuries. There is also an enormous marketing opportunity in promoting safe defensive driving to the hundreds of senior school students from interstate who visit here every year.


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