By ERWIN CHLANDA
The contempt of the NT political machinery for the public it is meant to be serving is becoming scandalous.
Example One: A member of the public is observing two youths behaving in a dangerous manner. She makes a report to the police.
It’s the kind of occasion when locals want the reassurance that the authorities are making sure we are safe.
We enquire what action police had taken. We are quoting the report number issued to the woman.
We get no answer.
Example Two: A wet summer is providing the excellent opportunity for fighting buffel grass which is best controlled when it is in a vigorous growth phase, such as after good rain.
The weed, declared noxious in SA, is on the march to take over much of Central Australia, including the best parts of our national parks, the lifeblood of our tourism industry.
To eradicate the plant everywhere is all but impossible, but to remove it from beauty spots – a kilometre radius from Ellery Bighole and Ormiston Gorge, for example – is feasible: Locals have cleared buffel from their patches, and neighbourhood teams have worked wonders.
But while 600 prisoners are sitting idle in their cells, the weed destroys sections of the Larapinta Trail that was built by their predecessors.
We asked the Department of Environment and Parks: Is control work under way? Where? How many hectares? For how long? Number of workers involved?
This is the impertinent reply:-
In collaboration with the Alice Springs Town Council, prioritise hazard reduction (no indication where) … develop a management plan … restore sections of the Todd River … expand efforts by the Alice Springs Landcare and Olive Pink in a short section of the Todd is all the public is told.
How about the West and the East MacDonnells?
A media release – in Gunner Government hallmark style – trumpets the release of public funds supporting special events: “Territorians can look forward to an action-packed 12 months, with 11 new events added to the calendar … latest round of event funding … the Dark Skies Festival in Alice Springs – a week-long celebration of our incredible star-studded skies … in total 29 events received funding from 70 applications.
The Wide Open Space Festival and Desert Festival in the Red Centre are included.
But here is the not-so-good news: The events will each receive “a share of a funding pool worth more than $660,000” – or an average of just $22,700.
Masters Games 2022 to receive funding.
Even this is a somewhat theoretical figure: Parrtjima, the “festival in light,” last year, was estimated to cost between $2m and $5m, according to the chronically fudged attendance and funding figures supplied. That event could gobble up the $660,000 and a lot more
No prizes for guessing the answer from the government’s Major Events Company to our question how the money is going to be divvied up: “The funding amount that each event received is classified as commercial in confidence.”
PHOTO: Even the iconic Telegraph Station is encircled by buffel.