SACRED GROUND: The National Road Transport Hall of Fame plays host to the Alice Springs reunion each year.
SACRED GROUND: The National Road Transport Hall of Fame plays host to the Alice Springs reunion each year. Contributed

Future of Hall of Fame in doubt

A QUESTION mark hangs like a cloud over the future of the Road Transport Hall of Fame following the shock resignation of CEO and transport personality Liz Martin.

In early February, Ms Martin called it a day at the Alice Springs icon, and announced she would be moving on after decades of service following a 30-day notice period.

It's a decision that has left the community and industry wondering who will take her place and what it means for the long-term operations of the association.

NT Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison told the Parliament on February 8 she had been made aware that discussions around closure had taken place.

"We have been made aware that apparently there was a decision around the operations last night to look at disbanding the association at a committee meeting, which was very disappointing to hear," she told Parliament.

"Nonetheless, we will certainly be in contact with them again to offer more assistance to see if we can help them through these issues and doing what we can," she said.

At the time of publication committee members and interested parties including Liz Martin, and representatives of the Northern Territory Government had converged on Alice Springs to discuss the next step for the national transport treasure.

The meeting was the latest in an ongoing dialogue between the association and the Territory Government.

In November last year Ms Martin had hinted she was considering moving the hall interstate, following a number of break-ins and a dispute with the Northern Territory Government.

A month earlier the director-general of licensing began an ongoing investigation into the Road Transport Historical Society Incorporated, focused on the governance of the association and its compliance with requirements under the Associations Act.

NT Opposition Leader Gary Higgins, who had also raised the potential closure of the organisation in Parliament, said the Labor Government had advised in November Parliamentary sittings, that it was helping the tourism landmark, noting the hall of fame was "the victim of continual break-ins and rock throwing".

"The National Road Transport Hall of Fame has contributed greatly to the Alice Springs community," Mr Higgins told Big Rigs.

"It should not be undervalued as an asset for locals and tourists alike

"The Chief Minister should be ashamed by the lack of action by his government to assist the Hall of Fame to stay in Alice Springs.

"Assisting the Hall of Fame to rectify its compliance issues, in working collaboratively with the board, and on a broader scale, limiting the unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that organisations like this have to deal with, should have been the case," he said.

"It sends a terrible message to the Alice Springs community that its own Hall of Fame may be driven out of town, literally, to an interstate location.

However NT Attorney- General Natasha Fyles said the department would continue to work with the Hall of Fame.

"Organisations and businesses operating in the Territory must comply with the law, and the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation, along with Licensing NT, has - and will continue - to work with the National Road Transport Hall of Fame on their compliance issues," she said.

In a more recent statement on social media Ms Martin thanked those who had reached out following her announcement.

"Thank you all for the outpouring of support," she said.

"I just want you to know I am okay.

"As some of you know I had intended to pull back from the day-to-day operations of the Hall of Fame and not continue as chief executive anyway.

"I had intended to stay at committee level and help with reunions and raising money for the trust fund.

"I am only sad that an effective handover has

not been allowed to transition.

"The loss is for the trucking industry and tourism industry," she said.

Ms Martin did, however, confirm she had some other opportunities in the works.

At time of publication the site continues to operate as normal, with volunteers manning the desk and tourists taking in the great history of the road transport industry.

Big Rigs reached out to Liz Martin, all members of the board, and historical sponsors of the organisation PACCAR Australia and Shell Rimula for comment.

None were able to respond by time of print.

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