By ERWIN CHLANDA
The NT Government has rekindled a long running dispute about Blatherskite Park competing unfairly against privately owned caravan parks for customers.
Bendan Heenan, owner of the multi award wining MacDonnell Range Holiday Park, says Planning Minister Eva Lawler gave an exceptional development permit in September last year to the government-owned Blatherskite show grounds, allowing it to accommodate up to 30 caravans or motor homes.
Mr Heenan says the intention had been for Blatherskite Park to be used when all other caravan parks are full.
However, he says not only are sites apparently being made available at any time, but he has observed 65 to 70 recreational vehicles being accommodated there.
Mr Heenan says the move is in conflict with “competitive neutrality” which on a Territory Government website is described in this way:–
“Government businesses may compete with private sector businesses in a variety of markets.
“When this happens, government businesses should comply with competitive neutrality principles to ensure they don’t have a competitive advantage because of public ownership.
“Where a private sector business believes a government business has an unfair competitive advantage as a result of public ownership, a complaint can be lodged.”
Minister Lawler, who signed off on the exceptional development permit, provided the following response when asked for comment by the Alice Springs News: “If concerns exist regarding the use of the property then these matters should be brought to the attention of the Development Consent Authority.”