Chief Minister Natasha Fyles posted thanks yesterday (30/4) to the army of volunteers supporting the flood victims from Kalkaringi, Dargaragu and Pigeon Hole at the Howard Springs (Inpex Village) centre. She also said we do not kick people when they are down – this is in response to people who had been removed from their flood-affected communities.

I certainly do not believe in kicking people while they are down. I always try to be an empathetic person when considering the situation of people who have fallen on hard times or who are distressed by circumstances.

I can assure the Chief Minister and everybody else connected with the government that my reactions to what has happened at Howard Springs are not influenced or coloured because the people at the centre were down on their luck.

Neither do I have anything other than respect for the army of volunteers who were trying to support those several hundred people. They deserve our appreciation and certainly have mine.

It is true to say that I feel for the volunteers because many of them have had to put up with a situation of supporting and helping people, not all of whom were appreciative of their accommodation, meals, and cleaning that was done to keep them. Various other tasks aimed to make the stay of those at the centre, albeit in accommodation not their own, as pleasant as possible.

I also appreciate that not everybody at Howard Springs was connected with the extensive damage. Some of that would have happened during social altercations between people and possibly as a consequence of alcohol.

However, the centre has been extensively damaged. To suggest the damage was normal wear and tear or occasioned by the loneliness people felt for being away from their communities is an extravagance. What happened at Howard Springs is simply an extension of the chaos happening around the Northern Territory and brought to this location.

There needs to be a complete account, made public, of the damage and the destruction that has occurred at the Howard Springs Centre.

No, it’s not a case of kicking people while they are down but rather of attributing terrible damage to those who caused it while being looked after and provided with everything that would make life comfortable.

I ask the question. If those at the centre had not been remotely living first Australians, would they have been esxcused because of what happened at Howard Springs?

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