The camp at the Granites goldmine north-west of Alice Springs. Workers fly in and out from all over Australia. Photo courtesy Newmont Mines.
A recurring theme during the election campaign was the question, why bother voting? And from that quite frequently flows: Let's break away. But how?
Answers to that seem to be taking shape in several quarters. Desert Knowledge chairman Fred Chaney suggested getting rid of the states and running the country from Canberra and through local governments on steroids.
And the election has suddenly shifted the political centre of gravity from Darwin's northern suburbs to the bush, through candidates and even a new party.Now Bruce Walker (pictured), the director of remoteFOCUS, Desert Knowledge Australia in Alice Springs, has argued in a submission to the Senate enquiry into Fly-In, Fly-Out that there are broad issues in remote Australia that need to be fixed.
Is Alice Springs becoming a fly-in, fly-out centre? Statistics say it looks like it.
A growing number of people working or spending time here do not call Alice home. Only 71 "family type" three bedroom homes were built between 2006 and 2011, whereas a much greater number of flats, units and apartments were constructed.
However the FIFO workers aren't engaged in the lucrative mining industry, but most likely in the public service, in government initiatives such as the NT Emergency Response and Closing The Gap, says Dr Andrew Taylor, Senior Research Fellow, Demography and Growth Planning, of the Northern Institute, commenting on the five year Australian census results just released.
Photo: On present trends, when kids pictured above in the 2010 Bangtail Muster reach their teens, their town won't be much bigger, the racial composition will be much the same, they will head interstate to do their tertiary education, the population will be older and a booming tourism industry in The Centre will be the fond memory recalled in a Skype chat with their grandparents.