There are 250 public housing dwellings in the NT that would cost $100,000 each to fix up.
Housing Minister Peter Chandler's first departmental briefing, days after the Country Liberals' election victory in August last year, revealed that two-thirds of the Repair and Maintenance budget had been spent in the financial year's first two months.
In Alice Springs 91 dwellings are currently empty. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Last week's Territory deputation, headed up by Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy and including Alice Mayor Damien Ryan, to the Australian Tourist Commission has a familiar ring to it: If something goes wrong we run to the Feds to bail us out.
The Feds' contribution to the Territory is almost five times the national average, allowing a level of funding for our government tourism body that is the envy of its interstate peers. Yet Tourism NT's sustained underachieving is still failing to halt the industry's decline or turn it around.
Tourism Australia, Tourism NT, and Tourism Central Australia – the supposed watchdog – all seem to be the best of buddies, set to do great things real soon, dodging answers as to why these haven't been done much sooner.
Meanwhile all the NT Opposition, three months out from the election, and some four years after the Global Financial Crisis began to nudge our biggest private industry towards oblivion, still has not disclosed its policy on tourism. ERWIN CHLANDA spoke to some of the players and looked at some of the numbers. Ms McCarthy did not respond to a request for an interview. PHOTOS: The Qantas counter at the Alice airport where the airline has a monopoly. Ormiston Gorge in flood.
Falling on hard times in Alice Springs these days isn't exclusive to the usual suspects: a pregnancy or an accident can turn a two-income family into a single income one, and the town's exorbitant rents can tip that family into crisis.
"The poor can't buy a house here.
"It doesn't take much for repayments becoming too hard, or heating and power bills," says Captain Michael Johnson who with his wife Elizabeth, also a captain in the Salvation Army, heads up that stalwart aid organisation in The Centre.
They're gearing up for their annual doorknock on May 19 and 20, and are still looking for volunteers (call them on 8951 0200).
The Salvos in Alice will be spending more than $1m this year, as usual "way more" than the doorknock yields, says Capt Johnson.
The local Salvos run two men's hostels which are "pretty well always full". ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Captains Michael and Elizabeth Johnson in the Salvos' Thrift Shop.
Defects of the town pool have been described as a "major issue" in a confidential report to the Town Council. Consideration of council matters in confidential sessions is on the table as an election issue, with mayoral candidate Eli Melky accusing council of doing too much business this way. The report says the solar system has been leaking, despite having been repaired in early January, and as such has been shut completely in order to prevent damage to the roof of the indoor complex.
High pressure in filter pots of the leisure pool "continues to be a major problem" and pool staff have "worked under crisis for most of the holiday period. The Plant remains a major problem."
A travelling police roadshow is no substitute for a full-time policing commitment in Alice Springs, says Shadow Minister for Central Australia, Matt Conlan (pictured).
Operation Shiloh, which will see up to 25 officers transiting through Central Australia over the next few weeks, is a stop gap measure which will bring little long term benefit to the town. [Media release.]