The Centralian advocate Tue 22 Aug 2006
Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers; Northern Territory; Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.); Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.); Australia, Central
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
v. 60 no. 26
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
8 Centralian Advocate, Tuesday, August 22, 2006 PU B : C A D V D A T E : 22-A U G -2006 PA G E : 8 C O L O R : C M Y K OPINION EDITORIAL, August 22, 2006 Dry area plan is a positive first step THENTGovernments restricteddry area legislationwill go a long way towards sending a strong message to drunken itinerant visitors. Under the legislation, Territorians will be able to apply to have urban areas prescribed as dry areas. In the case of Alice Springs, it means the council can push ahead with plans to declare the whole municipality with a few small exceptions as a dry area. Once the declaration is made, drinkers will need to think twice before brazenly squatting under a tree in the Todd or Charles rivers with a cask or two. If they ignore the law, they risk a fine as well as loss of their booze. With any luck, the effect of the law will be to discourage any drinking of alcohol that occurs outside the confines of homes or licenced premises. Hopefully this will lead to more responsible consumption. As Mayor Fran Kilgariff observed yesterday, the plan particularly needs the support of indigenous leaders if town camp areas are also to be declared dry. There doesnt seem much point in forging ahead to ban grog in public areas of town if the camps are excluded it will only force drunks into these areas. Of course, this new social reform can only ever be a small part of the solution. There is good reason why itinerant drinkers flock to Alice Springs to drink grog because they can, and they are denied access to grog in remote areas. The grog ban in town will simply force drinkers to become more innovative. Until we address the underlying causes of indigenous alcoholism a lack of education, employment opportunities and too much wasted welfare, drunks will continue to self-medicate with the most accessible drug on the market. The Centralian Advocate PO Box 2254 Alice Springs NT 0871 Editorial facsimile: (08) 8950 9740 Theft of panels is a blow to tourism Trephina Gorge is one of best managed parks in the Northern Territory, a reader says. Sir,The theft of solar panels from Trephina Gorge, as reported in your newspaper (Centralian Advocate, 18/08/06) is another low blow to Territory tourism. For many years, different sets of solar panels at the park have been targeted by thieves who must think that our Parks and Wildlife Service is made of money. As a result of the theft, the rangers have had to go to quite elaborate and expensive lengths toprotect thepanels it seems theyll now have to think again. A line in your story from the district ranger James Gorman proves just how important it is thatwebevigilant against people who steal or cause damage to the parks. Mr Gorman was quoted as saying that with $20,000 worth of gear pinched, it is $20,000 less that the rangers will have access to, to help manage this fantastic part of the Eastern MacDonnells. The loss of such funds is unlikely to hurt the park in the short term, but it will limit the ability of the park management to continue to develop Trephina Gorge over time. If you look back at develop ment of Trephina Gorge over many years, you can see that the installation of top shelf visitor services takes enormous time and money. I for one think Trephina Gorge is one of the best illustrations of how to manage park visitors, how to enhance their experience, and how to provide excellent interpretation. The campgrounds, the day use area the provision of water and ablutions etc mean the gorge can be comfortably visited by many. This is why I find the theft of the solar panels so galling. Where is the community spirit of the thieves? Where is their concern for promoting a top tourist image? I sincerely hope the offenders are caught and made an example of. If anyone knows who pinched the panels, they would be doing the whole community a favour by reporting the culprits to the police. Name and address withheld Pensioners say thanks for help Sir, You recently wrote a story about us having had three cars stolen and trashed more than six times from our home in the Territory Housing units at Larapinta. The latest one was found bogged between Charles Creek and Hoppys Camp. The car was towed back with every window broken, and lights and panels smashed. Thank you to the overwhelming response from your readers. As pensioners, wewould like to thank the many people who phoned with great offers of help. We received so many, to name them personally would be a big list. You know who you are. Wewould like tomention a special big thank you to the following: Teddy Bear Hospital, Todd Mall Market stalls, Palliative Care Central Australia and Darwin Cancer Council. Once again, the Alice Springs community has shown its generosity. Frank and Pearl Bee Alice Springs Counting drunks Sir, It is long past time when rules, regulations and obligations apply to everybody. After two calls to the Census hotline and one call to Darwin, I was told that because you have to drive through twoAboriginal camps to get here they assumed that only Aboriginals live there and there are different arrangements from them. Really For the record, I purchased my land on July 7, 1977 long before the camps existed and the road from the Stuart Highway is gazetted and ends at my gate and you drivepast thecamps,not through them. I was not the only one not to fill out a form on Census night. The 17 illegal campers in theCharlesRiverwho arrived after dark, as usual, were not included in the count done by the large 4WDs which did the Charles River, who did not approach the campers but counted the men, women and children. What a missed opportunity. We could have had official figures on the number of half drunk, full drunk and dead drunk. The number of bladders, green cans and plonk bottles was unbelievable. What and when did their children last eat. Howcan theyafford to keep those late model 4WDs turning 24/7 and which land means so much to them that they are never on it. Gerry Baddock Alice Springs Who will fix the camps? Sir, As a ratepayer in town I am alarmed by the reports that our councilmay soonbeasked to assume responsibility for services on town camps. While the Federal and Territ ory Government have committed extra funds to improving the camps, I am not convinced that enough funding will ever be put on the table to ensure that the camps are brought up to a standard commensurate with other parts of the town. If themoneydoesnt followthe transfer of responsibility, then the council would be committing itself to future liabilities that ratepayers will need to find many millions of dollars for. The other problem centres on camp residents themselves will they ever be asked to chip in, in the form of rates, to help pay for the work that is required? If we expect to improve life on town camps, then surely it makes sense to upgrade the houses and the municipal services provided to the camps. For this to happen, we need better management of such services, management that the council is better placed to provide. If we ever get to the point where living standards on the camps equal those outside, then surely these grotty places will cease to exist as camps, and will instead be viewed as an extension of the muncipality. Part of the problem with towns camps is the obvious lack of responsibility for individual homes and the communal areas. It is the same issue on remote communities if you dont have home ownership, who then takes responsibility for the upkeep of the houses? If the current state of our town camps is any indication, there is waste and mismanagement in the funding allocated to Tangentyere Council to provide services. Its easy to sit back, though, and simply blame the other council. Before the town council takes over the camps, we need a more detailed, long-term plan for their reconstruction. We also need to know who is planning to pay for such work. John Watson Alice Springs
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