Thursday, May 30, 2024

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HomeVolume 29Red tape strangles Bangtail Muster

Red tape strangles Bangtail Muster

When you throw a couple of gold coins into the buckets at the Bangtail Muster you’re probably thinking the money will go to a worthy charity.

Think again.

The $1400 or so donated by the 3500 delighted spectators each May Day makes up barely 10% of the event’s cost.

Of course the couple of dozen volunteers from the Rotary Club of Alice Springs, one of the town’s oldest service clubs – a dwindling cohort – don’t get the cash. 

It goes to a company providing traffic management, this year estimated to cost $14,000, according to according to Eli Melky, the manager of the fixture.

Most of that cash will again come from the Town Council, the NT Government and Yeperenye shopping centre.

And it all used to be so easy in a town that was famous for making its own fun.

Of course there had to be traffic management between 1961, when the club took over, and about 2017: Club members had lollypop sticks with signs on top saying “Go” on one side and “Stop” on the other. They kept perfect control of the streets for these 65 years.

Then the bureaucrats got their claws into the event.

The parade varies hardly at all from year to year – same starting point, up Todd Street, through the Mall, with the Anzac Oval the destination. Notwithstanding that, every year a new traffic plan has to be drawn up, some 35 pages of it, and at a cost of some $1200. Most of he rest of the expense is for staff. 

Assuming traffic management is hardly the stuff of Albert Einstein, Rotary members decided to get qualified in the art, to save the event and channel available funds to the community.

Easier said than done: An instructor had to be brought down from Darwin, at a cost of $12,000. 

And then, notwithstanding that the Muster hasn’t changed much since 1959, the bureaucrats decided to limit the validity of the traffic management qualifications acquired by the Rotarians to a mere three years.

Apply that to the Henley on Todd, which starts with a parade, and to the events for motoring fans, plus add the growing costs for insurance, the future of the town’s DIY entertainment is not looking great.


  1. Well done to everyone giving their time to keep the Bangtail Muster going. Little kids and their families love the event.
    But, please can we have a break down of why one person coming from Darwin to teach traffic control cost sooo much money?
    Ie: Teaching hours, accommodation, food, venue, what else? Curious.

  2. There is another even greater impediment on the horizon to this and many other events.
    Where do many of them occur, and or finish up?
    Anzac Oval.
    If the insane art galley proposal goes ahead, no Anzac Oval.
    The current Government insists it is a done deal, but no sod has been turned as yet.
    Any candidate for the forthcoming election that stands on a “Save Anzac Oval” platform will get my serious consideration.


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