At the February end-of-month Town Council meeting, an Aboriginal man, identified only as Andy, took to the microphone during public question time, to protest the removal of blankets from campers.
Council rangers were “doing wrong”, he said, some people are sick, it is a “worry when they have nowhere to stay”.
It’s “Aboriginal land and white people’s land too”, he said more than once.
CEO Robert jennings was to follow up with him.
Whether that occurred is uncertain. Alice Springs News was told: “Audiences members who asked questions have been provided with information on the night or followed up where necessary.”
The News also asked what is the current practice of rangers with regard to removing blankets and / or other camping materials found in public places.
Mr Jennings provided the following:
“If Rangers come across campers who are breaching the Public Places by-law they are asked to take their belonging with them.
“However, if a campsite has been ‘abandoned’ Rangers can collect the items and store items at the Civic Centre for 10-14 days.
“Rangers avoid taking personal items or medication, and any re-useable bedding can be taken to Tangentyere.
“Bedding that is particularly soiled and poses a clear hygiene risk can be disposed of on the day. Rangers continue to exercise respect when dealing with campers.”
Meanwhile, the News also asked whether there will be readings at the library associated with the FABAlice Festival; and, to council’s knowledge, whether there would be any public displays / performances by drag queens during the festival.
The News also asked FABAlice Festival to contact us: no reply.
These questions followed up on concerns expressed during the February meeting’s public question time.
Mr Jennings has advised that “no FABalice associated readings are to take place in the Library this year”.
He provided no answer on the content of the parade.
– Kieran Finnane
PHOTO from our archive.