Report figures on the proportion of Aboriginal people expected in Alice by 2030 "way, way off". Researcher now says she got it wrong.
"Rest easy, the public servants are onto it. But if you've got any (cost free) new ideas, let us know."
This was essentially the message from Tuesday's feedback forum on the Alice Springs Community Action Plan. The fact that the forum did not cover new ground or open up a space for new insights, directions and initiatives would have given comfort to the boycotters (see separate report), although Alderman Eli Melky did attend.
First up, consultant Jane Munday summarised the report she had compiled, "intended as the first stage in developing" the action plan. This is described as a "research report", commissioned by the Department of the Chief Minister. Ms Munday is experienced and well-qualified in public relations and marketing. Her report is essentially about a number of consultation exercises she conducted; its "research" is not of the probing kind. For instance, she repeats what is frequently heard in public fora, that "the proportion of Aboriginal residents (now 21%) is expected to increase to about 45% by 2030". She sources the figure to a presentation at the Kilgarrif forum by the Department of Lands and Planning.
Such an increase would be huge, a radical change to the demography of the town and with potentially far-reaching implications, but it is "way, way off" according to Dean Carson, Professor for Rural and Remote Research at Flinders University. Ms Munday has provided a comprehensive reply which appears at the end of the full story. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photos: The crowd thins as boredom sets in. NT Police's Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations, Mark Payne.
With deliberately lit fires continuing (80 in the last week) and coming to symbolise a reckless lawlessness threatening the security of the town, a rearguard action on law and order issues by Aldermen Eli Melky and Murray Stewart crashed and burned last night.
It was the Town Council's end of month meeting. The public gallery was more than ordinarily full though not crowded. It included, significantly, MLAs Alison Anderson (Independent) and Adam Giles (Country Liberals), president of MacDonnell Shire Sid Anderson, controversial would-be Country Liberals candidate Leo Abbott, prominent activist couple Steve and Janet Brown, and outspoken general manager of Ingkerreke, Scott McConnell.
In public question time at the start of the meeting Steve Brown put the issues on the agenda, asking council to discuss them in the open part of the meeting. He said he and others in the gallery were "thoroughly tired" of the "forum process", alluding to this evening's community feedback forum on the so-called Community Action Plan to combat crime and anti-social behaviour. Pictured: Fire in the ranges above the MacDonnell Range Caravan Park on Monday. It and other fires burning along the range east of the Gap came from the control burn the Fire Service undertook on the weekend, to bring a maliciously lit fire on Undoolya Station under control. Senior Station Fire Officer in Alice Springs, John Kleeman, says these fires will be useful to reduce fuel load in the ranges and that there are major breaks between them and nearby infrastructure. Meanwhile, there have been 8o deliberately lit grass fires around town. KIERAN FINNANE reports.