Better roads and more bridges, less red tape with 457 visas and opportunities in growth towns for private enterprise are on the national elections wish list of the local Chamber of Commerce, according to its executive officer, Kay Eade (pictured). ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Today, August 16, Territory Labor committed $10 million over four years to support local developments and initiatives in the Territory Growth Towns. It was billed by Chief Minister Paul Henderson (pictured on the 'Team Henderson' website with Minister for Central Australia Karl Hampton, in sunglasses) as a commitment to "build a better future for all Territorians, no matter where they live".
But it's worth doing the math to make sense of just how much of a "better future" the Chief Minister envisages for those Territorians who don't live in Darwin and do live in the so-called Growth Towns. These are all mainly Aboriginal communities off the Stuart Highway. There are 21 of them. KIERAN FINNANE comments.
The sealing of the 157km Namatjira Drive, which began in 2006, will finally be completed in early 2014, according to Minister for Lands and Planning Gerry McCarthy. On Tuesday he announced $5m worth of funding will be in this year's budget for sealing the final 7km stretch. Work won't start however till mid 2013.
The drive must be one of Australia's most scenic, connecting with Larapinta Drive west of Alice Springs, heading along the MacDonnell Ranges to Glen Helen and beyond from where it heads southwards to Gosses Bluff. An estimated 41 to 183 vehicles travel the road per day.
The on-going sealing of the Tanami Road will also get an allocation of $2m in the budget. The Tanami runs from the Stuart Highway to the WA border, a distance of 703 kms. Sealing began in 2004. To date some 220kms have been sealed, in six separate stretches. The $2m will cover another 4kms.