LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – As a defeated candidate for the seat of Araluen in the last NT election I have thought it appropriate to stand aside and let those elected have a fair go.
However, here we are just 18 short months into Labour’s four-year term and our town is already facing calamity, leaving me to contemplate reforming the Advance Alice and Action for Alice Groups that led the charge against the last disastrous Labor Government.
With our three local Labor MLAs either missing in action or out deepening the divides in our community by flying separate flags, we cannot afford to be silent any longer.
Once again a Labor government hampered by a lack of real life experience outside the suffocating confines of bureaucracy have handed the reins of power, lock stock and barrel, to an inept, uncaring NT public sector, FiFo department heads, a corporate memory bank of about six months, as blow-in employee replaces blow-out employee at a rate that is seriously threatening stable, honest government.
Add to that an horrific racist employment policy that is seriously dumbing down many of our vital agencies. In such an environment the manipulations of unions thrive.
This is clearly demonstrated by the Chief Minister’s capitulation to an entitled police union which has decided, on its own accord, that it will tell us, the tax payers, what we can expect for our money, focussed on movie land fast cars and CSI style cleaning up after a crime is committed.
Where are the hard yards in crime prevention? Police at bottle shops have been dumped in favour of a ridiculously inept Banned Drinkers Register.
Once again we see escalation in the drinking camps, the screaming on the streets, violence, break-ins, anti-social behaviour, and hospital attendances. Yes, all the hall marks of our last Labor government!
While we certainly aren’t back to the sheer mayhem of the Clair Martin years just yet, we are heading down that road at a hell of a rate. We see the drying up of funding not just to the town but to the whole region as Darwin once again draws in all funds to prop up its ailing economy.
Government answers so far: Promises of grand projects while quietly omitting to tell us that these promises are all on the 10 year forward estimate. None of those projects will start before some six years after this government is potentially booted out at the next election.
And now we are facing the loss of one of the jewels in the Centralian tourism crown, almost unbelievably, the National Transport Hall of Fame (HOF).
This is a massive step too far on a already disgraceful and dangerously escalating downhill slide.
The litany of behaviour detailed by Liz Martin, CEO of HOF, the thinly veiled attempts to remove her and the committee from the HOF, points either to an unacceptable agenda of which the government itself may or may not be a participant, or it simply points to a department way out of control.
Either way it is an abuse of power far outside the intentions of the Associations Act, as I have been personally informed by departmental officers when seeking help on various association issues.
The Act is intended to be a guideline for, and a protection of, voluntary organisations, not a jackbooted policeman to bring them down.
The kind of action Liz details threatens the very existence of voluntary groups everywhere. In doing so it threatens the very basis of our community life.
Right now, other struggling community groups would be quite justified in closing their doors before they too are subjected to the same bullying tactics over their own voluntary contributions to the community!
All those who had a hand in this should either be dismissed or suspended immediately while an investigation is undertaken.
MLAs should urgently meet with HOF officials and find a way to save this extremely valuable part of our tourism infrastructure, keeping front and centre of their reasoning the heavy losses already being incurred by our region’s struggling economy.
This fiasco is already costing this year’s truckies’ reunion and at the very least a decline in numbers of visitors for years to come, as disgruntled or just plain pissed off truckies turn their backs on what amounts to utterly appalling disrespectful treatment of their wonderful gift to this region.
We must act to stop the slide now, before irreparable damage is done to our already shaky national reputation.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR