Taxpayer funded firm, STEPS Group Australia, sends woman staffer, Ming Lai, to remote communities without training in safe driving on bush roads, no working sat phone, not knowing how to engage 4WD, and when she complains she gets the sack. STEPS's response: "No comment." ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: "Got lost finally found my way to the Aged Care Facility. Stressed out, comforted by Lorraine," says Ming Lai.
Austrian optometrist Alfred Pruckner has just made another holiday visit to The Centre, the most recent ones with his wife Erika after getting married a few years ago. Is he The Centre's most experienced and passionate ambassador in Europe? ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
When it comes to repeat business, Viennese optometrist Alfred Pruckner must be a dream come true for the local tourist industry. Since 1995 he has toured Central Australia 16 times, every time staying for a few weeks, cruising around the bush in big hired 4WDs, taking in the well known attractions, and many not so well known. His experiences over nearly two decades make him more qualified than most to judge the region, from the standpoint of a paying tourist. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PICTURED: Alfred and his partner, Erika, at Chambers Pillar and this week.
ABOVE: 4WD tourists arrive at Palm Valley. RIGHT: Magnificent thick vegetation dominated by the unique Red Cabbage Palms.
With major changes in tourist promotion imminent under the new government, will places like Gosse Bluff and Palm Valley (above) finally get their place in the sun and become drivers of Alice Springs' flagging tourism industry? ERWIN CHLANDA went for a trip into a paradise created millions of years ago.