By ERWIN CHLANDA
After a night when every single dwelling in Yuendumu was broken into, and when one business there received a half million dollar quote for looking after the security of their premises for the year, the Alice Springs News tried to rattle the cage.
On top of previous stonewalling came this:
“The Emergency Operations Centre has many plans in place, outlining how we will respond in a variety of situations. These whole of government response plans are exercised, revised and updated regularly to ensure they can be enacted quickly and efficiently when needed.”
It took the police three days to provide this patronising non-answer in reply to precise questions.
Turning our enquiry on its head may be an interesting strategy.
Yuendumu is just down the road from what is likely to be the world’s biggest gold mine, Newmont. It has 1,200 direct and indirect employees, on a fly-in and fly-out roster at a massive cost from all over Australia.
Yet there is plenty local labor.
Given the incessant blathering about developing the outback, how come just a handful of workers at the historic Granites mine come from Yuendumu?
How come people in Yuendumu live in decrepit dwellings when it could be a modern outback town with full employment like the mining camp (pictured)?
What exactly is meant by Developing the North? How is it going to work when one considers Newmont as an example?
The mining agreement with the US company, responding to one of the principles of land rights, is based in part on offers of employment to be readily available.
Why they remain largely without take-up is the question that needs to be asked.