Public meetings focus
on regional development
Paul Cockram dropped by
Public meetings to promote issues such as regional economic development
are strange affairs. By their nature they are very polite gatherings
with all participants in agreement at least with the overall aim.
Of course we all want economic development, it's like breathing - the
danger is in expecting too much from the making up of 'wish lists' which
look fine on paper but are destined to join all the other consultants'
reports on the back bookshelf.
When I sit in meetings like the 'Barkly Blueprint' I have the urge to
yell out, "Hands up all the people who are not earning any pay
while they sit here and make plans for the benefit of town business".
Not many hands would go up - when the economy's a bit on the slow side,
small business has its nose too close to the grindstone to go to day-long
Okay, that's got rid of all the negative thoughts. There is no harm
in bringing in consultants to listen to ideas and come up with recommendations.
With this in mind I went to see Peter Wyatt, Regional Director Barkly,
Department of the Chief Minister to get his side of the story. Peter
is a man who positively exudes confidence.
"The really exciting aspect of the Barkly Blueprint for me,"
says Peter, "is the way it enables a synergy between all the different
levels of economic development or proposed development in the township
of Tennant and indeed the whole Barkly region.
"We've got different community groups working towards their own
ends, some here, some there, when we could facilitate an amalgamation
of resources leading to a better outcome for all the stakeholders."
Peter Wyatt also reiterated the need for Tennant Creek to have its training
programs underway to capitalise on the golden opportunity that the railway
will provide for local employment.
At the time of going to press, the consultants Bill Grimster and Peter
Long had completed their initial statement of Goals and Projects and
these appear below and over the page.
o To broaden the region's economic base;
o To protect and promote the region's assets;
o To strengthen existing, and develop new, social programs;
o To enhance the communications networks; and
o To effectively co-ordinate the various community interests
The public meeting
was well attended but for most town business people, the reality of earing
a quid for the day precluded them from attending the all-day workshops.
The early discussion
sheets were later converted into statements of aims and objectives.
At the end of a hard
day. Ron Squires, Peter Long, Peter Wyatt and Bill Grimster are still
on their feet while Marcena Cashman, Don Beaton, Bill Cross, Michael Dougall
and Joan Small take it easy.