“We need to start thinking about fundamentals. Are we locked into a path where we can’t really change and we can’t see the alternatives?” asks the town's top academic, CDU Professor Rolf Gerritsen. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Barry Abbott (with microphone) and leading Aboriginal people at a protest about the Whitegate camp at the eastern edge of Alice Springs.
Questions to Minister Lauren Moss: For our apparently vast expenditure, how many bums in seats do we get? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Prof Rolf Gerritsen who wonders whether the engagement of consultants is prevarication on the part of the government.
"We could establish Darwin as a city-territory in a fashion similar to Canberra and the ACT. With greater access to politicians and ministers, people in Darwin are much more readily able to influence decisions than the people in a place like Yuendumu, for example, who rarely see a politician," says Professor Rolf Gerritsen (pictured). Report contributed by Patrick Nelson, Charles Darwin University.
The answer from two academics to the question posed by the Strehlow Conference, Where to from here? is not what most people would be happy to hear. Rolf Gerritsen says there is no end in sight to the "covert resistance" displayed by Aborigines towards whitefellers' efforts to Close The Gap. And Don Zoellner suggests the ballooning expenditure for a deliberate policy of fixing social problems though the justice system is driving the Northern Territory towards a financial abyss. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
UPDATED October 25, 2012, 11.55 am. See FULL STORY.
Reducing debt means reducing the size of the public service
Economist Rolf Gerritsen welcomes the Country Liberals Government's "fiscal rectitude": "Let us hope that [it] lasts longer than the Government’s first budget (which is as long as it lasted when the Martin Government was elected)." He describes the Government's intentions to return the NT budget to surplus by the end of its first term and then to begin repaying debt as "laudable" as interest costs "are a dead weight on the budget". KIERAN FINNANE reports.