We hope you didn’t have plans to roll your swag out at the Noonamah Rodeo next week, if you did sadly think again.
In a decision Noonamah Rodeo event organiser Tony Innes said “defies logic”, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics has prohibited people staying at the ground’s campsite.
This is despite the fact punters have camped in that spot for the past seven years.
“They have agreed for us to have people park there, but they have said no one is allowed to camp there,” Mr Innes said.
“I obviously asked questions… but they are just not backing down on it.
“What they are saying defies logic.”
However, a spokeswoman from the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics denied camping was being banned.
“(We have) requested that the event organisers investigate alternative land to ensure people are not sleeping amongst vehicles, on the side of the Stuart Highway or where it is a hazard to do so,” she said.
“The department is continuing to work with the event organiser to ensure the event continues in the safest manner possible.
“Camping is still an option, and this will be managed in consultation with the event organisers to make it the safest possible option for the community.”
But Mr Innes said he was clearly told “no camping”.
“That’s the only place where people can camp,” he said.
“Once the caravan park fills up that’s where people stay. We have tried the private land… there is nowhere else to go.”
Bigger rodeos at Noonamah, about 40km outside of Darwin, can attract crowds upwards of 3500 people.
Mr Innes said competitors and those travelling long distances to see the show would be most affected by the change.
“We have people coming in from Katherine and Mataranka, and even further away,” he said.
“A lot of station people drive in to see the show.
“And competitors camp there with their horses.”
Mr Innes described the rodeo as being a tourism drawcard and a Top End icon.
He said he was keen to work with the Government, but felt as though he was being tied up in red tape.
The department spokeswoman said the concerns were in relation to safety.
“The Noonamah Rodeo has grown over time to an event that attracts over 3500 people and 1000–1200 vehicles,” she said.
“Given the size of the event, the department and police have become concerned with the management of safety issues, as it is adjacent to the Stuart Highway — a national highway.”