Private chats with govt heavy: mixed results


2465 Glen Auricht OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Half the elected members of the Alice Springs Town Council (Satour, Melky, Paterson and Auricht – at right) declined an invitation by Chief Minister’s Chief of Staff, Alf Leonardi, for a one-on-one meeting about the National Indigenous Art Gallery in Alice Springs.
Mayor Ryan, Deputy Mayor de Brenni, and councillors Banks and Price didn’t respond to our email survey and we couldn’t reach them by phone. (We’ll update when possible.)
Cr Cocking says he met with Mr Leonardi and MLA for Braitling Dale Wakefield but used his time to “hear how the government got to this point” and how it can be avoided in the future “that the council is last to hear”.
He says he’s been “site agnostic” from the beginning, and will remain so until “I hear the Aranda voices” on the subject.
2529 Jimmy Cocking 130Head of the environmental lobby ALEC for 10 years now, Cr Cocking (at left) says he is conscious of the need to revitalise the CBD, but that must not be at the cost of the gallery. The process so far had “not been ideal”.
Although Cr Auricht declined the one-on-one with Mr Leonardi, he says he ended up having one: He went to the Chief Minister’s office to personally submit his apologies, but Mr Leonardi and Ms Wakefield were there.
Cr Auricht says he had a wide-ranging conversation with them about Hermannsburg, its art movement and other issues, but he carefully excluded talking about the art gallery and its location.
“I did not want to be singled out,” he said.
The council met as a group with Mr Leonardi.


  1. Jimmy, you were elected to represent ratepayers, not the Aranda voices.
    Simply represent the people who elected you, and most of those voices as quite clear on they want.
    Voices of the Aranda should have no bearing on you performing your role, which is represent the ratepayers of Alice springs, not be a hand winging apologist.

  2. @ Local 1: You could do to read up on the NT’s Local Government Act (2011) which, from my understanding, in no way puts the interests of ratepayers above those of the community as a whole, including the traditional owners of the land upon which our town is built.
    For your information:
    The Northern Territory Local Government Act 2011 is the Local Government Act currently in force in the Northern Territory.
    This Act seeks to provide a legislative framework:
    (a) to establish a democratic and effective system of local government that recognises the diversity of communities in the Territory; and
    (b) to confer on councils wide powers to act for the advancement, and in the best interests, of their local communities; and
    (c) to enable councils to play a broad role in promoting the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of their local communities; and
    (d) to impose high standards of ethical conduct on council members; and
    (e) to require of councils high standards of governance, service delivery, asset management and financial accountability; and
    (f) to require councils to promote and assist constructive participation by their local communities in achieving effective local government for their areas.

  3. @ Local 1: I think you misunderstood Mr Cocking.
    In the dog’s breakfast which the government glorifies as a consultation process, the opinions of the traditional owners seem to have been left out, along with many other local inhabitants.
    I say seem to, because the decision making has been done without any document supporting it.
    A proper consultation process would not only seek out the various stakeholder views, including those of the Arrernte people, but would then produce a document summarising them. The document would then set out the pros and cons for the various sites canvassed, the projected variance in costs for land purchase, headworks, relocation of existding facilities etc, and an explanation of why the favoured site was chosen.
    With such information we could all have more informed opinions on the best location.
    If this government has already committed $50m without any such analysis then god help us all as taxpayers!
    And speaking of god, did the ALP not realise that sport is far and away the biggest religion in Alice Springs, with more devotees than all the other religions combined?
    If a CBD site is insisted upon, why not compulsorily purchase the Catholic Church block and put the gallery there. I daresay there would be a lot less fuss.

  4. @ Local 1: Stop it, you will hurt his feelings and feelings are so much more important than serving ALL of those who make up this town we all call home.
    And virtue signalling is way more important than anything.


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