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Ongoing saga

AS the convention saga continues, Business News offers its support to the tourism industry, which must start to hurt when so much uncertainty exists.

The situation we find ourselves in, with a new government unwilling to simply accept decisions of the past, is difficult.

Labor fought to open up the convention centre bidding process to make it more transparent and accountable.

Many of us outside of politics felt the public should have had more say in what such a big amount of money was to be spent on.

Instead, the process took on a veil of secrecy and the public was told just what the public was going to get.

Perhaps Richard Court and his mates thought they would win the election but their failure to complete the deal, the one they wanted, before that fateful February day has left everything up in the air.

It is understandable that Geoff Gallop doesn’t accept the current centre as a fait accompli but he now must understand a whole industry awaits his decision.

That’s not a few meetings and conventions people with a big corporate clients overseas, it’s 4000 tourism operators and all the myriad of businesses that rely on them.

Whether or not a convention centre was a great idea or not, it would be an embarrassment if we didn’t get on and build one. Bookings have shown the demand is there and we should honour that.

If it is to be any other form than what is proposed, Dr Gallop should make sure that alternative is ready quickly.

Decisive action, perhaps for the first time in this Government’s short history, is what is needed in this instance.

Making waves in the Kimberley

SOMETHING big is happening in the Kimberley.

The success of El Questro which charges rooms out at $1500 a night has changed forever the perception of the region as a remote forbidding land which is worth little more than grazing cattle in numbers so sparse a European could never understand.

Since tourists started snaking their way up to Cairns from Sydney and, more recently across to Darwin, the Kimberley has increasingly become a more popular destination.

As the world’s population gets older, creating more people with leisure time, the circle is closing around one of Australia’s last untapped resources, helped by Broome’s status as a holiday capital.

The writing is on the wall and now, it seems, private wealth is moving in to dissect the region, possibility to protect, maybe to plunder the riches that it contains.

From down in Perth, the Kimberley has always been difficult to pin down.

It is vastly different from our Mediterranean climate and more traditional industry.

Now, as the first chill of winter bites and the north’s humidity dissipates into the dry, the air of mystery and intrigue has enveloped the region even more tightly than normal.

Talk abounds of wild ideas, things I was told I “would not believe”.

From predictions that the region would become Australia’s first Aboriginal State to private zoos at the centre of a new rival to the Top End’s stunning Kakadu National Park, the rumour mill runs as hot as a summer’s day in Fitzroy Crossing.

Separating hyperbole from fact is not easy. Whatever happens, let’s hope this new rush doesn’t change the fabric of the Kimberley too much too quickly.

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