Alice Springs news
Alice Springs news; NewspaperNT
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Community newspspers; Australia, Central; Alice Springs (N.T.); Newspapers
v. 8 issue 22
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
failure to control its financial problems and deliver local government services to the people of the community". "The council is massively in debt and has not been providing basic services such as maintaining roads, rubbish collection, dump maintenance, housing maintenance and general amenities," Dr Lim says. "At least 15 houses on the community have been severely damaged and there is no sign that the community or the council is acting to stop this destruction." But Mr Riley says council activities have ground to a halt because Dr Lim's department had progressively cut back funding (Alice News, June 27). Meanwhile, conflicting claims continue about the dealings with Dingo's. The clerk at the time, Mike Burrows, insists that the purchase was made with DLG's knowledge. He denies allegations by Dr Lim that the purchase was made at his, Mr Burrows', "suggestion". In fact the community had earlier wanted to buy Bojangles and had "actually signed documents". The Alice News understands Dingo's was bought for $190,000 and sold about a year later for $70,000. Dr Lim late last week responded to allegations by Mr Riley (Alice News, June 27):- Dr Lim says there was no breach of undertaking by DLG officers to attend a meeting. DLG says the night patrol vehicle is off the road "because it has been poorly used and maintained". "Night patrol funding is an ATSIC responsibility. "ATSIC has ceased funding to Willowra Council because it refused to be accountable." "MLA for Stuart Peter Toyne says the Office of Local Government should have acted when it became clear that there were irregularities in the way funding was being used. "The department responded to every request and tried to intervene, but were rebuffed, obfuscated, and treated with contempt by the council and its staff," says Dr Lim. "This pattern has continued, albeit less aggressively, with the subsequent councils and staff. "Mr Toyne's claim is egregious, as the then Regional Manager for Local Government was in frequent contact with Mr Toyne [about] Willowra's problems. "As he knows, numerous attempts were made to visit and consult and intervene. "A seriously pathological refusal to communicate or allow communication or intervention was pursued by the Willowra Community Inc. elites at that time. "At the time of the restaurant debacle, DLG officers jointly attended a community meeting with Mr Toyne, ATSIC and Central Land Council officers." Dr Lim described as "silly" Dr Toyne's claim that the OLG wanted to force its own agenda on the community, "urging it to amalgamate with another council". "The message seems to be, we'll starve you out unless you join another council," said Dr Toyne. Says Dr Lim: "DLG could have cut off funding to Willowra Council at the same time as ATSIC cut off funding in October 1999. "But DLG continued funding until June 2001 and tried to enable the Council to work through its problems." Dr Lim rejected Mr Riley's explanation that monthly financial reports had not been submitted because eight out of nine councillors are illiterate. Says Dr Lim: "All councils are required to sign monthly financial reports. "The role of the Council Clerk, Riley's position, is to explain those reports and guide councillors through them. "Mr Riley's comment indicates that he has been unable or unwilling to perform that role." Dr Lim says at no time has DLG received a proposal from Mr Riley to start or restart any program, despite encouraging him to do so. "He has in fact not started or restarted any program in more than six months at the community," says Dr Lim. Mr Riley says he wrote to Dr Lim on April 18, asking for assistance with the training of councillors. Mr Riley says the only response he received, on April 27, was an acknowledgment of the letter, and advice that it had been forwarded to Dr Lim. "I have not heard from Dr Lim," says Mr Riley. Return to Alice Springs News Webpage. http://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/
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