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.