By ERWIN CHLANDA
Like the Town Council’s Draft Municipal Plan 2022/23 put up for public comment early last month, the 2030 Strategic Plan released yesterday is a plan to make plans.
The words “develop” or “developing” appear 26 times.
Hardly anywhere in the glossy document is there an outline of what exactly needs to be done – just that a number of things need to be done. The why, when, how and at what cost are mostly missing.
For none of these is there an outline of costing, of what the public has to say about it, no time table nor who will pay for it – presumably the ratepayer and government grants.
Mayor Matt Paterson is quoted saying: “We pride ourselves on the traditional role of ‘rates, roads and rubbish’ … but we’ve also begun expanding beyond that.
“A plan of this length is something Alice Springs Town Council has not done before … developed after extensive discussion between Elected Members.”
Did anyone else get a say? Evidently not. The plan is an “elected member document” and no public comment was invited, according to a spokesman. Comment on each project will be invited once they move closer to reality.
One of the plan’s five “pillars” is liveability which the plan says will need plans for multicultural action, engagement for the young residents, disability friendly recreational facilities, library, reconciliation, assets that encourage active lifestyles, recreational infrastructure as well as social and built infrastructure.
“Safety” will require to advocate for capital works in the Gap Corridor to increase safety and liveability for all users.
The word to “advocate” – not actually doing it – appears 12 times, including in Pillar Two which wants increased accommodation that supports vulnerable members of our community, including visitors, hostels and crisis housing.
The council wants to partner “with all levels of government and the community to deliver on the Central Australian Regeneration Deal,” funding for various needs which was part of key election commitments from Federal Labor.
There should be a road regulation audit and “regular Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) audits”.
Not-for-profit CPTED is based in Canada, has an international reach, and describes itself as “a multi-disciplinary approach for reducing crime and fear of crime [aiming] to reduce victimisation, deter offender decisions that precede criminal acts, and build a sense of community among inhabitants so they can gain territorial control of areas to reduce crime opportunities.”
CPTED seeks to “prevent crime through urban design [including] street access controls such as road barriers, to create mini-neighbourhoods in residential areas or landscaping to control access into the fronts of buildings”.
Under Environment the council is planning to “develop and implement a greening strategy” and “investigate opportunities to improve regional waste, sewerage and water systems, including food waste and recycling”.
Being “proactive in adapting to climate change” is also on the agenda as well as implementing “a heat mitigation strategy that increases the liveability”.
The council will “actively participate in emergency management planning, preparation, response and recovery activities”.
It will advocate – that word again – for all infrastructure to be renewable-friendly and engage and work with traditional owners (through Lhere Artepe) to improve ecosystem management; investigate opportunities for food security including community gardens; and contribute to the NT Government’s 50% renewable energy by 2030 target.
The economy “pillar” is as generalised as the rest of the document: “Develop and implement” a strategy to stimulate: the night time economy; an economic development plan; an innovation strategy; development and growth of small businesses; a regional sports centre; increase the population and an increased role in planning discussions within the municipality.
There are some useful statistics published in the plan.
Estimated resident population of the town (2021): 26,476.
17.6% are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.
23% of the population was born overseas.
19% speak a language at home other than English.
Median Age: 35.
Gross Regional Product: $1.88 billion.
13,506 local jobs.
15,666 employed residents.
2,050 local businesses.
Median weekly household income: $1,877.
University Qualification: 22%.
Trade Qualification: 19%.
Industry sector of employment (top three):
Public Administration and Safety 18%.
Health Care and Social Assistance 19.3%.
That means at least 37% are public servants, presumably not including Pine Gap nor the plethora of publicly funded NGOs, mostly concerned with Aboriginal issues.