August 21, 2017

Media Release #2: On Tourism

This document has been prepared for Tourism Central Australia & Chamber of Commerce members who are interested in learning more about Jimmy Cocking’s positions – i.e. more than could be covered in the allocated timeslots in the forum held Monday 21st of August.

It is also intended to be a helpful document to Alice Springs residents know where Jimmy stands on some keys issues – especially as it relates to Tourism and Tourism Industry Growth.

Leadership for the future.

I believe that our Tourism Industry is going through a time of significant change. I also believe that the $50 Million National Indigenous Art Gallery and $20 Million Regional Cultural Centre is going to change the operating landscape for our town. This change will bring a range of challenges and opportunities.

There is also an additional $20M in the NTG’s Budget 17 for redevelopment of the CBD to “bring it to life and attract people into town.”

If elected Mayor of Alice Springs I would immediately use my position and send a clear signal to businesses, organisations and the community:

  • Your Council will be ready for and support the range of important investments allocated to our town. 
  • Your Council will work hard to ensure that where we have influence, we will use it strategically and to turn good opportunities into great outcomes. 
  • Your Council will identify the implications of these investments and plan accordingly.

In particular, the new destinations will undoubtedly have their own calendar of events and result in increased visitor numbers. This needs to be prepared for now.

CBD, Parking and Amenities.

Hobart has MONA – and that attraction now sees hundreds of thousands of new visitors flow into that part of their city.

Council does a good job as a supporting partner for events, but I feel our Council could be doing a much better job with a clear leadership voice at this critical time.

How is Alice Springs planning to manage our CBD, parking areas and tourist amenities? Are our roads, bikepaths and walking paths setup to make the most of this exciting opportunity for our town? Are these considerations part of a sustainable plan for growth and development? What is our overall Visitor Experience as it relates to sites of heritage, ecological or indigenous significance?

I have thoroughly read through the ASTC municipal plan. It is good, but I feel we need to give significant strategic consideration to the impacts of these significant new investments and start the planning process within Council departments now.

$20Million NTG Todd Mall / CBD Investment

Whilst the details of this investment are still yet to be fully defined, I am thoroughly committed to fighting for the best outcomes for all Alice Springs CBD users including shop-owners, users and visitors.

I do not have a specific plan for how this money be best spent, however I would encourage a thorough planning and implementation stage that draws in voices from all sectors of our town –and encourages the best and brightest in our community to have their say.

Strategic development support for a Regional Indigenous Cultural Event

We as a town must acknowledge that visitors to our town have a growing expectation that we provide regular opportunities to connect with the local stories and the magnificent living culture of our regional indigenous residents.

In this regard, there are some fantastic initiatives and events happening in pockets – but why can’t the Alice Springs Town Council can play a leadership role in helping our whole ecosystem of our town do better? I want to see a Town Council that is working hard with its partners to make success stories become long-term and sustainable.

I strongly believe that Alice Springs is missing an Indigenous-led Cultural Event (similar to Garma or Burrunga) that brings together regional groups with a focus on culture and provides an opportunity to participate in political opportunities afforded by events of that format. I would not rush to grow a local cultural event to the scale of Garma or Burrunga, but to get things started I am committed to funding a review of what has worked well in the past – and consider what form and shape a sustainable event could look like in the Alice Springs Festival and Events ecosystem.\

I will then work as Mayor to build on existing relationships with the NTG, Aboriginal Peak Organisations and other key organisations in our region to make this happen.

If we take small steps now, we will be well positioned for the completion of the National Indigenous Art Gallery and the Cultural Centre.


People ask me about Parrtjima and I say “Yes! An event like this has so much potential and possibilities for our town! There are some great opportunities that can be created when the NT Government commits the cash to these bigger-style events.”

However my key focus if elected Mayor will be: “What are the opportunities going to be in 2 to 3 years time? How can we as a community get ready to do something with a high cultural focus and do it proper-way and sustainably? Could we transition Parrtjima to such a format? Let’s keep the community updated and informed about this.”

Red Centre Nats & Finke Desert Race

I admit that I haven’t attended too many of Alice Springs motor sports events, but I absolutely acknowledge how important these events are to many Alice Springs residents and visitors.

Having grown up on a farm, I know how much fun it can be to tinker with paddock bombs – or taking pride and joy in getting ones’ favourite bike or car looking great.

Voters should rest assured that I am committed to a diverse calendar of Alice Springs events and that I will champion all the great events that our on our calendar.

(Incidentally, my son is mad-keen on cars and I will endeavour to get along to and learn more about the motor-sports community over coming years.)

Town Wifi Mesh

We have seen how popular the WIFI network in the Todd Mall has become. To support key Tourism or Visitor hotspots I would support extending this service where it is economically viable to do so.

(The equipment itself is actually not that expensive, assuming there is a reliable and solid base link to the NBN.)

Council’s Arts and Cultural Policy and Plan

How is the Council going to respond to the suggestions and actions in the recently completed Arts and Cultural Policy and Plan?

Whilst this Policy is not binding, I will always endeavour to work to its aspirations – and with committees such as the Public Art Advisory committee.

As mentioned above, if elected Mayor of Alice Springs I will be encouraging Council to provide leadership on local events and event infrastructure where it is strategically intelligent to do so.

Council has over 185 staff doing important work for our town. The Community Services team do a fantastic job. I want to see Council strengthen their internal capacity to support and develop local events and projects – with a focus on outcomes that result in the long term betterment of our town and region.
Rates and Council Services

We have seen that the Council can act expeditiously when a big development is a stake. E.g. The Melanka block. If I am elected as Mayor of Alice Springs, I will ensure that Council will do whatever it can to cut red tape where appropriate.

 Artist Fees – Support for Pensioners

Presently there is a $50 fee for artists to sell their art in the Todd Mall. There is also a $350 fine for artists selling their art without a permit. It is worth noting that many of these art-vendors are pensioners and their presence adds incredible value to our public spaces.

If elected Mayor I would support a review of the schedule of fees for designated areas and times – especially as it affects pensioners and local artists.

The Outback Way

I am committed to the continuance of efforts to work with our Territory and Federal partners towards sealing the Outback Way.

Cheap Air Flights

I am not able to promise miracles regarding cheap air flights into Alice Springs.

However, I can assure Alice Springs residents that if there is anything whatsoever that I can do to encourage a downwards movement in flight prices, I will do my best. Whether it is lobbying, partnering, town-promotion strategies that increases numbers, subsidising council services etc – I will use my voice to fight hard for the best outcomes for Alice Springs residents.

A Big New Adventure Playground for our Kids

If I am elected Mayor I am supporting investment into a big new adventure playground that will be a great long term asset for local families and our kids. In fact, if we do it right it will also become a regional tourism destination in its own right.

(See my website for further details about this specific policy)

Large Highway Signage and Art Installations on the four main roads into Alice Springs.

If I am elected Mayor I will support the development of signage and art installations that make it clear to visitors that they are entering Arrernte Country.

Doing this would be a comparatively small investment for a huge return. It will also help kickstart the conversation with the NT Government about how Alice Springs’ can play a leadership role in the new emerging regional tourism ecosystem.

(See my website for further details about this specific policy)



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