What a choice to have on Saturday!
On the one hand we have Labor which has removed any doubt about its disdain for Alice Springs by promising to spend as much on footy TV lights – to be used maybe once or twice a year – as it would on the town centre's facelift.
And the Country Liberals are proposing to spend a corresponding amount – $2.5m – on the Youth Centre although locals say that's nowhere near enough and doesn't cover the facilities and services also badly needed. There is a lively debate about a facility costing 15 times as much.
Mayor Damien Ryan and Chamber of Commerce CEO Kay Eade have expressed their dissatisfaction with Labor's effort, with the town's third major lobby, Tourism Central Australia, notably absent from the debate.
Maybe we're asking the wrong questions: I there a bigger main game?
Bruce Walker, who chairs remoteFOCUS, a project facilitated by Desert Knowledge Australia, is raising some interesting questions.
OK, we are those who are living "in the forgotten backyards of the capital cities, and they are not part of a national narrative which makes sense of the decisions made elsewhere which affect their lives".
But the "we" here doesn't mean Territorians, but the people inhabiting desert Australia – those of us living in the vast remote parts of all the states except Victoria and Tasmania.
Would that be the framework that could get us excited? COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.
The Alice Springs News normally closes over the holidays but this time we're challenging our readers to make room for reflection about our town's future in the merriment of the season.
Our decision to go exclusively online in March has been massively vindicated by the subsequent traffic growth on our site.
Since July monthly visits increased 31% from 9906 to 13,012, and page views skyrocketed 76% from 16,920 to 29,792.
Our readers' comments section blossomed, and more than ever in our 18 years of weekly publication, we're the ideas forum of The Alice.
Each week over the festive season, when great food on the table is a pleasure, we're asking you to give Food For Thought a go as well.
Locals prominent in their field, until the end of January 2012, will set the scene for this debate each week.
Then it's over to you, to use our comment box, to agree, argue, protest, expand, praise, cane. You're not limited to just one response: Ranging far and wide will enrich the debate. Take aim at the panelists' points – as well as what other correspondents have to say.
Our usual news reporting will resume on February 2, 2012.
Till then, tell us what YOU think needs to happen in 2012, with Town Council and Territory Parliament elections as political high-points.
Other panel members include:-
CEO of the National Transport Hall of Fame.
The local champion of lateral thinking has parlayed the Hall into the town's top private and volunteer initiative. When this year visitation dropped Liz swapped focus to big functions. How can this kind of "never say die" thinking be applied to the town's current woes?
Photographer, environmental campaigner.
Why looking after our natural heritage and assets is good for our community and good for business. And how we can do it better.
Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce.
When things get though the tough get going. Kay strutted a no-nonsense attitude at a string of recent public functions: Enough talk, more action.
Senior Mparntwe (Alice Springs) custodian. Successful tourism operator over three decades. Toxic infighting has given native title a bad name. How can this be stopped and in what way will the town benefit from its Aboriginal heritage?
Publication December 29. Deadline December 22.
Tourism Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy says a new Tourism Strategic Plan is needed to guide the industry from 2013. Will Alice still have a tourism industry then, and what needs to happen to ensure it will? Deb has been in the tourism industry for 20 years, currently running a Bed and Breakfast, and has a history in sales, marketing, car rentals, tours, inbound and promotion in Sydney and overseas.
A community development worker with over three decades of experience in working with Aboriginal people in town camps and remote communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland. He will look forward to where we would hope to be when the sun sets on the current 10-year second phase of the Federal Intervention into Indigenous affairs in the Territory.