By KAY EADE, the Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce NT, takes a look at what works and what doesn't in our town's economy. She is writing our Rest & Reflection series to which we have asked people who make a difference in The Alice to contribute.
Uranium mining near Alice Springs needs to be back on the table, says a group of about 40 business operators, wanting to drag the town out of its current slump. Tony Bandiera, Samih Habib-Bitar and Darren Burton (pictured from left) spoke with ERWIN CHLANDA on behalf of the group.
As the decline of the northern end of Todd Mall continues it's instructive to look at newspaper advertising from 1968, namely the feature about Murray Neck's joining Retravision that year, writes historian Alex Nelson, of Alice Springs.
With 65 employees, nearly 70% of them Aboriginal, Ingkerreke Commercial is on the leading edge of Indigenous business.
"Aborigines are an integral part of our community and that means they are an integral part of our workforce," says manager Scott McConnell (below) . Aborigines want work but are looking for respect: "They don't need wash-down stations" on the approach roads to Alice Springs – a swipe at Councillor Steve Brown's proposal for “Welcome to Town” centres. On the other hand, young job seekers have expectations like Rock stars, says Mr McConnell. ERWIN CHLANDA reports from the launch by Regional Development Minister Alison Anderson of the draft Indigenous Economic Development Strategy 2013-2020. Ms Anderson (at right, centre) is picturedwith Kym Nolan, Director, Indigenous Economic Development, and Bridgette Bellenger, Executive Director, Regional Development.
The new Regional Development Framework will have an open and transparent link with a cross-agency senior officers group who will ensure that government policies are aligned, that resources are shared, and that regional perspectives are taken into account in government planning and decision making, writes Alison Anderson (pictured), Minister for Regional Development.
The new book, entitled Alice Springs, does not include the very wonderful things that make Alice Springs so special, such as the stunning landscape, its multicultural population nor its many excellent amenities. The book focuses only on the situation of our Aboriginal people without including anything about the people and the opportunities that are available, writes Janice Heaslip.
It's about the size of Central Europe. Less than 48,000 people live there, half of them in the major centre. Six governments look after it. They do not usefully coordinate their services. Yet each year, measured per-capita, they spend an obscene fortune. They rule from capitals thousands of kilometers away. The two main racial groups are at loggerheads. More than a third of the people are on welfare. Public service is the biggest employer. Of the 1800-odd businesses, 79% are micro or small, and of these, 83% rely on government spending and a transient population. There is no coherent plan for that country's future. What is its name? You guessed it – Central Australia.
But wait, there is hope and no better time than now to develop a vision for how this might be different. Dr Bruce Walker(pictured) heads up Desert Knowledge Australia remoteFOCUS in Alice Springs which will release a major report on these issues next week. Here is a snapshot. PHOTO AT TOP: Aborigines were a key to the change of government. This is mobile polling station in the Karnte town camp in Alice Springs.