Tourism industry pioneer Brendan Heenan says if the NT borders are not open by July then his, all other Alice caravan parks, the pubs, clubs, restaurants, accommodation, tourist attractions, souvenir shops won’t have a 2020 season. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: In a normal season the space behind Brendan Heenan is filled with caravans.
UPDATE 6.40pm May 17: Half a million caravanners and campers are ready to hit the road within two months.
The so-called Gang of Four were not going to accept the consolation prize. Councillor Liz Martin had said on this site that she would be nominating Cr Brendan Heenan for the role of Alice Springs Deputy Mayor and that runner-up in the mayoral race, Cr Steve Brown, would be ideally suited to chair the Technical Services Committee. Once Cr Heenan was elected by the predicted five / four split in votes, Cr Brown and his supporters, Crs Geoff Booth, Dave Douglas and Eli Melky, were ready.
The four proceeded to refuse all nominations to chair the standing committees in what was clearly a coordinated boycott.
Council has three standing committees – Finance, Corporate and Community Services, and Technical Services – through which is channelled all its business. All councillors are members. There are no standing orders for the meetings and they are normally the place for more robust debate and thorough discussion of issues. They are chaired by councillors elected to the position.
When Mayor Ryan called for nominations to chair the Finance Committee, Cr Booth nominated Cr Chansey Paech. New to council and its youngest member, Cr Paech seemed surprised but chuffed and accepted the nomination. Cr Jade Kudrenko, also new and youthful, tried to head off the manoeuvre, nominating Cr Booth, an experienced businessman. He declined, so Cr Paech was elected.
Cr Paech then nominated Cr Liz Martin to chair the Corporate and Community Services Committee. She accepted and was declared elected.
Next, Cr Eli Melky nominated Cr Kudrenko to chair the Technical Services Committee. She was clearly startled. If the five who supported Cr Heenan to become Deputy Mayor had decided on this in advance, they hadn't counted on such a reaction from the 'Gang of Four'. Cr Kudrenko declined the nomination. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: A happy Cr Steve Brown with Local Government Minister Malarndirri McCarthy after his swearing-in. The good cheer didn't last.