The announcement by Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro that Damien Ryan would move straight to the front bench is likely to fuel the controversy about the conflict of interest by current members of the Town Council standing for a seat in Parliament.
Mayor Ryan, still in his $100,000 a year council job, recently absented himself from a crucial special meeting of the council dealing with the proposed Aboriginal art gallery, arguably the town’s major current project.
When asked for the reason why he was an apology for that meeting on May 7 the Mayor did not respond.
The Labor government has promised $50m for the project but has struggled to get support for its proposed location in the so-called Anzac Precinct. The Town Council is reserving its position on the location until the position of traditional owners is known.
The government has cast council in the role of obstructor and has publicly denounced the “conflict of interest” of Mayor Ryan in dealing with the issue while standing as a candidate.
Ms Finocchiaro’s announcement yesterday was based on the assumption that her CLP will win the election and that in Araluen Mr Ryan will unseat Robyn Lambley, who recently joined the Territory Alliance.
“The CLP Cabinet Executive will include myself as Leader, Tracey Hayes (contesting Fannie Bay), Gerard Maley (contesting Nelson), Damien Ryan (contesting Araluen) and Steve Edgington (contesting Barkly). I’m also pleased to announce that Tracey Hayes will be Treasurer in a CLP Government,” said the Opposition Leader in a media release.
“A former small businessman in a variety of fields including tourism and hospitality, Damien Ryan (at left) has been the Mayor of Alice Springs for 12 years. He’s a former commissioner of the Territory Grants Commission.
“Damien has been heavily involved in the Australian Local Government Association and is a proud advocate of Alice Springs and the red centre, and wants to see economic development and law and order for Alice Springs.”
Mayor Ryan is quoted in the release: “Alice Springs and Central Australia need and deserve a strong voice in the Territory Parliament.
Former Central Australian Ms Hayes (at right) is standing against Chief Minister Michael Gunner.