By ERWIN CHLANDA
A Territory Alliance government would give a grant of $750,000 to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame which the Gunner Government put into statutory management last year, giving administrative issues as the reason and saying the Hall would need to rely on its own resources.
The statutory manager, Adelaide law firm Rosey Batt and Associates, is involved in protracted legal action with Liz Martin (pictured), the hall’s former manager and driving force.
The Alice Springs News has been unable to obtain, from the lawyers and the NT Government, financial information about the hall’s current management.
We have learned that at the time of the take-over the hall had $300,000 in the bank.
The government told the News in August last year the Associations Act provides “that the expenses of and incidental to the conduct of the affairs of an association by a statutory manager are payable from the association’s funds”.
In December the government said: “Ms Batt’s fees are confidential, as is the current bank balance of the Road Transport Historical Society.
“The Northern Territory Government has not contributed any public funds to the Association in the period since Ms Batt was appointed statutory manager.”
The hall had operated during decades of growth under mostly volunteer management, and gained national recognition.
The potential grant from the Territory Alliance “towards preserving [the hall and] ensuring this iconic and major attraction does not close and compliance building issues can be fixed” was announced by the party’s candidate for Braitling, Dale McIver, who also outlined other key proposals for the tourism industry of Central Australia which is gearing up for a crucial strategy meeting this week.
A commitment of $5m will build the Kwatja water park for children, which the Gunner Government has planned (for in or near the CBD) but “not delivered,” says Ms McIver, the former CEO of Tourism Central Australia.
The awkwardly located Visitor Information Centre will be repositioned where “large vehicle parking, public toilets and ample room for information displays and staff” will be available. TA is committing $500,000 to this purpose.
The same amounts will go into bilingual signage providing connection to “local culture and language” and into upgrades of Anzac Hill / Untyeyettwele.
“We want to make Alice an RV friendly town,” says Ms McIver.
“With over 50% of travellers arriving via road – pre-COVID – it is important that we provide the appropriate amenities.
“This will be done in collaboration with the Alice Springs Town Council.”
Installation of fast charge points for electric vehicles are also planned.
A major $300m will go to NT tourism operators, including $150m quarantined for regional businesses outside of Darwin.
“We will provide a tourism investment fund to assist in the upgrading and modernisation of existing facilities and expand the tourism voucher scheme to include interstate travellers.”