Chansey Paech silent on what he told the ALP about St Mary’s

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By ERWIN CHLANDA

NT Minister Chansey Paech has not responded to a question, put to him three times yesterday by the Alice Springs News, whether his government is buying the land of the former St Mary’s Children’s Village just south of The Gap.

The land is up for sale by the Anglican Church. This has caused distress to some former residents as well as concern over the future of the chapel on the site.

Anglican Bishop Greg Anderson, when asked to comment, told the News this morning: “We have not received an offer from the NT Government for the St Mary’s site.

“I have heard reports on the grapevine (as you no doubt have also) that Chansey Paech announced at an ALP branch meeting in Alice Springs well over a month ago that we had sold the site to the NTG.

“I heard this from an acquaintance of an acquaintance of a friend, so that is a long way short of reliable. A number of parties remain interested in the site,” Bishop Anderson told the News by email.

“I’m sure that if the NT Government wants to buy the site they will let us know. They may well make a media statement to go along with that.”

The News emailed Mr Paech yesterday at 3.54pm, 5.13pm and 7.36pm, asking: “Is the government buying the St Mary’s block? If so, for what purpose and at what cost?”

He did not reply.

PHOTO at top taken in January.

44 COMMENTS

  1. Bit annoyed about this. That block was bought and developed for Aboriginal students from the bush to study in town by Alice Springs Anglican parishioners. It was snaffled by the head office in Darwin and now they are selling it without reference to the locals.
    This stinks.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. As chair in the early 80s Milton Blanche and I sat with Paul Everingham to talk about finance, to continue its original purpose, as the institution has many success stories of people who came through there.
    Real estate interests in Darwin put profits before people and inside Anglican management so nothing happened.
    Darwin interests were paramount. Nothing has changed. I came from the Riverland in SA. When my father died, my mother moved into a retirement village next to a shopping centre in Berri after selling the family home.
    That retirement village was instigated by the Masonic movement and the units were sold at cost by the Governing authority to people down sizing from the family home.
    As they in turn passed on the units were re valued and sold to new occupants at current valuation.
    The difference between the original cost and re valuation was put into a trust fund and used to build new units. So simply putting people and community needs before profits, and that would work perfectly at St Mary’s, but profit will remain the motivation as usual here and the needs of housing for the elderly will take second place.
    In the meantime Albo and his motley crew threw $250m into one section of the community and fled the scene.
    Who makes the next move is up to Chancey and his crew which still can’t remember where Alice Springs is.
    I had an interesting conversation with a government official last year who asked me to call in and sign a paper.
    When I told him I was 1500 km away in Alice springs and could not come he seriously asked me: “Where’s that?”
    That said it all.

  3. Chansey, like most politicians has plenty to say, lots of photos on social media.
    When a serious issue comes up – silence. Nothing. How pathetic!
    Chance for some real leadership from the government as the former residents are being ignored and secret deals are probably going on behind closed doors.

  4. Maybe we can just give Chansey a moment here. This is the first news of any involvement from the NT Government in this long running matter.
    Government buying a piece of land can be a complex process.
    If this is the case then government is likely to be the most responsible land owner in terms of sticking to any agreement with former residents for ongoing site access.

  5. Seriously Chansey, where are you?
    Just saw the time you put into your social media post about a fashion show. One hand clapping.
    How about finding five minutes of your tax payer funded ministerial time to provide some answers in this matter.
    Get your priorities right.
    People have been waiting years for answers on this – how much longer do they have to wait?
    Until you do another lap of the runway in your latest outfit?

  6. Everything about this issue, the reporting, the comments angry, very angry.
    Whatever happened to the compassionate society?
    The taxpayers footing the bill have no voice.
    The former residents have no voice.
    The Minister has a voice BUT he won’t use it.
    Silence and inaction can do more damage than harsh words.

  7. Why would anyone bother with Paech. He is an ineffective light weight, avoids serious issues and scrutiny over fluff and selfies.
    How about some basic factual answers to genuine public questions?

  8. I sometimes wonder if these politicians who are advocating for the Voice and its purpose stop to think how it may operate in practice.
    Here is a sensitive situation where the principles of the Voice could be applied by committed and sincere community leaders. A real test case.
    Not the vague arguments from Albanese and Burney and not the loaded fear from the conservatives.

  9. This has nothing to do with the Voice.
    This is about basic decency and respect to people who have a dislocated and unsettled childhood due to the government policy of removal of children.
    Stick to the core issue – don’t get caught up in the referendum.

  10. Still no respect or response from Chansey Paech. He is very busy being important at the Labor National Conference trying to get more Senate seats for his Labor mates.
    How about shedding some light on this important issue Chansey – rather than just whispers in back rooms.
    Seriously, what are his priorities.

  11. Paech. Flakey Paech.
    Like trying to nail jelly to the wall – getting an answer out of a politician.
    Whatever happened to leadership?
    People should remember this when election time comes around again.

  12. Some comments have mentioned the voice. This is probably why this Paech politician fellow is reluctant to get drawn into this.
    Could be a slippery slope and put a target on his back for the leader of the No campaign.

  13. As an Alice Springs local I would like to see a fair and just outcome for the former residents.
    The NT Government needs to make it clear what, if any, involvement it may have in a resolution and if any public funds are required.
    I’m not sure if the Minister and his team of minders monitor local public forums like this anymore – but they should.

  14. I like Chansey. I have got a lot of time for Chansey.
    He is living proof that you don’t need talent to survive in Territory politics.

  15. This saga has been going on for years. And years. Time for some certainty and closure. If the government can help then the Minister should make their position known.

  16. Well no surprises here … more delay, silence and responsibility dodging. Church leaders sitting back, crying poor, waiting for a tax payer last minute bailout.
    Without the noise of the Voice campaign, this could have been resolved some time ago.

  17. @ Evelyne Roulette: Yes building a retirement village is a good idea.
    The Old Timers currently houses a very large and growing contingent of Aboriginal patients, mostly renal and dementia sufferers.
    I visit some I know and it is surprising to see so many relatively young people, 30 – 50 years of age, in the facility.
    More residential care facilities are needed for the influx of remote community people mainly needing dialysis but not at the expense of the elderly.

  18. @ Alex Nelson are you able to provide any more insights into this information that you have shared about the NT Government purchasing the site.

  19. A retirement village would be OK. Is this something the former residents support? Have they been consulted?

  20. I support the NT Government buying the site and constructing aged care living. I think Chansey has done a good job to achieve this outcome.

  21. @ Tom: You are responding to comments not the article. Chansey Paech has said nothing. Done nothing.

  22. Interesting that Paech has still said nothing and now there are reports that Eva Lawler has been providing private briefings on this matter.

  23. Word on the street is that next week Chansey Paech will give an exclusive briefing [to a newspaper] on the government buying St Mary’s. Looking for a softer landing.
    [ED – The Alice Springs News has reported this government purchase previously including here.]

  24. Word on the street is that Chansey Paech is all tip and no iceberg. An iceberg in the desert.
    How about action now for the future that respects the past.

  25. Now that government has bought this site we need to know how much was and paid and what purpose the land will be used for.

  26. Finally. A decent response from the NT Government. Hopefully the former residents are satisfied with the outcome and the church and government honour their commitments.

  27. I believe the dates given in the “response” St Mary’s Hostel, which operated from 1947 – 1972 are not really correct, as the hostel only changed name.
    St Mary’s Children’s Village was the new name for St Mary’s Hostel in Alice Springs from 1972 when it came under the management of the Anglican organisation, St Mary’s Child and Family Welfare Service. The Village included three cottages – Pink Cottage, Grey Cottage and Blue Cottage. Each cottage accommodated up to six Aboriginal children supervised by cottage parent. The village operated into the 1980s.

  28. @ St Mary’s Friend – there is a such a rich and interesting history to St Mary’s. It would be nice to see that history written up and some of the key figures involved, Eileen Heath and others, shared.
    The mission had a range of phases from its founding in the aftermath of WW2.

  29. Good people: Far, far too much cheap sooky whingeing on this page. Also some good honest comments.

  30. @ Lillian Brown: There is an excellent biography of Sister Eileen Heath, titled “Sister Eileen – A Life with the Lid off” by Annette Roberts and published by Access Press, 2002.
    Naturally the book features a great deal of the identities and history of St Mary’s, too.
    I was given a copy two years ago, which is autographed by Sister Eileen.
    Unfortunately, it may be difficult to acquire a copy as there were only 750 books published in the initial print run and I don’t know if there were any reprints.

  31. @ Alex Nelson: Thank you for this information. I was not aware of this book. Perhaps you could write up a review or summary for the Alice Springs News to share with all of us who are so interested in this history. Thank you.

  32. @ Lillian Brown and Russell Guy: Lack of time precludes me at present from writing a review or summary of Eileen Heath’s biography, but the launch of the book was reported in the Alice Springs News all those years ago and scroll to the story “Sister Eileen: She’s a legend!”

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