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Rest and Reflection

Welcome to the Rest and Reflection period of the year in the Alice Springs News Online. We’ll keep up with the major news but our focus, till the end of January, will be on comment pieces from thoughtful locals, celebrating our town’s strengths and proposing remedies for its weaknesses.

Keep your readers’ comments coming. We moderate them several times a day. FULL STORY »

Benedict Stevens happy to talk about gallery location

25104 Benedict Stevens SM

 

No longer making his case behind closed doors, Benedict Stevens today fronted local media at the Totem Theatre (picture by EDAN BAXTER), next-door to the Anzac Oval, which plays a major role in the project smitten by unending controversy. FULL STORY »

Another notch putting The Rock ahead of Alice

25108 Connellan airport 2 SM

 

A loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility will supplement funding for upgrading the Ayers Rock Resort airport, including runway lighting “supporting future night flights,” and staff accommodation. By ERWIN CHLANDA. Google Earth image.

 

UPDATE 2.10pm and 4.35pm
NAIF has also “conditionally approved” a $150m loan to Northern Territory Airports Pty Ltd for its Darwin and Alice Springs airports. FULL STORY »

Human rights, centre stage

p2590 Jodie Clarkson SM p2590 Rainer Chlanda crop SM

 

 

Two Central Australian winners of NT Human Rights Awards talk to KIERAN FINNANE about what human rights mean in the context of their work.

UPDATED, 11.35 am, 13 December 2018. FULL STORY »

Much less drunken violence an early Christmas present

 

 

Domestic Violence presentations to the Emergency Department are down a massive 87%, which is the largest impact on this major problem we have seen, writes PAAC’s Dr John Boffa. FULL STORY »

Youth crime operation not enough, curfew needed: Lambley

5247 Dale Wakefield SMp2215-Robyn-Lambley-SM

 

 

Families Minister Dale Wakefield (at left) has put a number on “high risk young people” namely “up to 30”. MLA for Araluen Robyn Lambley (at right) says Operation Cradle is a fizzer. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Health group: Judge them by what they do, not what they say

25107 AMSANT pic OKA multi-million dollar health organisation withholds information on a syphilis outbreak, and  claims it is making about staff said to be in peril because police protection is absent or inadequate. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Image from the AMSANT annual report. FULL STORY »

Not us and them. Just us, says Cr Melky.

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The town has a new slogan and a new group, both called “Safe Alice Springs”. It is taking the problem “to the people, where the power is”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Red Tape still strangling Alice icon

25104 Liz Martin counter SM25104 Liz Martin truck 3 SMWhile the NT Government flounders with its proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery, it continues to strangle with Red Tape an iconic institution that has been putting Alice on the map for decades, brings thousands of visitors into town, earns just under $2m year after year, is run mostly by volunteers and doesn’t cost the taxpayer a cent. EXCLUSIVE by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Anger mounting over closing of Rock climb

p2207-Rock-climb-3 SM25104 Paddy Uluru SM

 

“Here’s hoping that logic and reason win out and the proposed ban is lifted so millions more can join the seven million or so who have already climbed to the summit of this grand sandstone monolith that lies at the heart of our country,” writes actor Marc Hendrickx. PHOTO: Paddy Uluru (Quadrant magazine). FULL STORY »

One house break-in, four cars stolen

The Eastside was the location of multiple thefts as well as assaults on supermarket staff, police report.

 

UPDATE Dec 1.30pm: Three arrested after alleged assaults in an Eastside supermarket. FULL STORY »

Police dog assaulted

“Loki was able to regain control and successfully resolve the situation without further escalation,” says the police release. “The male was taken into custody.” FULL STORY »

Former gallery advisor scathing about its planners

p2561 Desert Mob Michael Lynch SM

 

 

“I just don’t feel the people on this project know what they are doing,” says Michael Lynch (pictured) a veteran arts administrator and CEO of major cultural institutions in Australia, the UK and Hong Kong. EXCLUSIVE by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Alice children’s project gets $5m+ from Feds

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The unique, long-term project, called Children’s Ground, works to surround children with safe, loving and trauma-free environments, based on a strong cultural foundation. FULL STORY »

Council CEO Rex Mooney to retire in July next year

25104 Rex Mooney

 

 

He is the longest serving local government CEO in the Northern Territory and the longest serving Alice Springs Town Council CEO. FULL STORY »

Aboriginal gallery: rushed business case yet immediate start?

p2442 Dal McIver SM

 

Some Open Questions to Tourism Central Australia, whose chairperson Dale McIver (pictured) is clamouring for an immediate start to the National Aboriginal Art Gallery. It will cost the taxpayer at least $50m and some estimate up to $500m, not including operational costs. A national accountancy firm was given just five weeks to draw up a  “Comprehensive” Business Case.  ERWIN CHLANDA puts questions to Ms McIver and the government and gets no answers.

 

UPDATE 10.08am December 4: Statement from Dr Crees; editor’s note about deadlines in the tender documents. FULL STORY »

Cattlemen get their day in court over live export ban

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“It was not just the farmers that endured losses – it was contractors, employees and local communities that were devastated by the Government’s ban,” says NT Cattlemen’s Association former CEO and facilitator of the class action, Tracey Hayes (pictured), in a media statement. FULL STORY »

Remove religious exemption, says COGSO

2456 Tabby Fudge SM

 

 

There is no good faith in exempting religious schools and allowing them to refuse enrolment, expel students or sack school staff based on their sexuality, writes Tabby Fudge, (pictured) President of the Northern Territory Council of Government School Organisations. FULL STORY »

Change at the helm of the Central Land Council

25104 Joe Martin-Jard SM

 

 

A senior Federal public servant, Joe Martin-Jard (pictured) will become the chief executive officer of the Central Land Council. FULL STORY »

Happy Birthday, Auntie, and good luck for the next 70.

25103 ABC birthday SM

 

 

The lady helping to bring Alice to its people and the world has turned 70. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Local ABC Chief of Staff Rick Hind with the birthday cake. At left, taking a photo, is Ren Kelly, who has a long-time connection with Radio 8HA / SUN FM. Stewart Brash is in the centre, broadcasting live. Dave Crowe provided music for the birthday party. FULL STORY »

1 Territory too fixed on opposition to fracking: Lambley

2592 Robyn Lambley (ABC pic) SMp2005-Terry-Mills

 

 

They want to form a new political party to “make the Territory great again” says Independent MLA Robyn Lambley (at left). She has teamed up with Terry Mills (at right). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

80% of seniors want “return to legalised assisted dying”

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Ms Shearer says 82% of seniors feel very safe or relatively safe in their communities, survey finds. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: COTA CEO Sue Shearer. FULL STORY »

Parliamentary committee endorses a First Nations Voice

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In its final report to the Australian Parliament, the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples has endorsed the central proposal made in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. FULL STORY »

No cops, no clinics

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The withdrawal of police from bush communities is leading to the closure of health clinics because they cannot comply with occupational health and safety laws, says AMSANT. Remote Haasts Bluff is one of the areas affected (Google Earth photo). FULL STORY »

Safeguarding the Space for ground-up cultural expression

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And why we should push back at top-down approaches of successive NT governments and their agencies, responding to economic drivers. KIERAN FINNANE reflects on the year not quite passed. FULL STORY »

Distant government, frustrated council and community

p2585 Margo MacGregor SM
 
Government plans “exclusive of any meaningful consultation with the community affected by the proposal.” As the year draws to a close these words summed up the local political picture: a distant government holding the purse strings, calling the shots and seemingly incapable of either listening to or communicating frankly with the people and their local representatives. KIERAN FINNANE reports from last night’s council meeting.

Updated 11.42 am, 28 November 2018, Minister’s reply. FULL STORY »

Mayoral temper flares over accountability

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Should councillors’ assets remain secret? The council thinks so. Yet the assets of Federal Parliamentarians are online for all to see. Damien Ryan (pictured) claims his income has been misrepresented. He also speaks with ERWIN CHLANDA about flood mitigation, the gallery, and the council’s apparently limited aspirations to be heard by the NT Government. FULL STORY »

Business index shows NT to be least confident

p2405 Gary Higgins SM2

 

 

Small and medium business confidence second lowest for all times. Worst was the NT in March, writes Opposition Leader Gary Higgins. FULL STORY »

Birth registrations Bill: How many genders are there?

2595 Robyn Lambley #2 SM

 

 

“Changing any information on a birth certificate means it is not a true and accurate record of a birth, and by literal definition is not a birth certificate,” writes Robyn Lambley, Independent Member for Araluen. FULL STORY »

Reverse discrimination: Views differ in the NT and the US

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Affirmative action in the US remains hotly debated while over here the one-sided allocation of public money is done without hesitation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Protesters at a demonstration against Harvard University’s admissions process. Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg/Getty Images. FULL STORY »

Voice to Parliament: Scandinavia can do it, why not Australia?

p2583 Labba at MU SM
As Australia waits for the release of the latest report on constitutional recognition for First Australians, we hear from NIKLAS LABBA on the development of Sámi parliaments in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, a history that is already six decades old. The Sámi people are the Indigenous people of Sápmi in northern Scandinavia. Mr Labba grew up in a Sámi reindeer herding family and is now Academic Director of the Centre for Sámi Studies at the University of Tromsø – Artic University of Norway. FULL STORY »

November rain double the average already

2599 water in Todd SM

 

 

And more to come. The good news is that many of the waterholes are full, including this one in the Todd, just upstream from the Telegraph Station. FULL STORY »

Proposal to end the code of conduct charade

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Complaints must first be made to the relevant council: Proposed changes to the Local Government Act. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The 13th Council during its inauguration in 2017: The smiles faded this year over code of conduct allegations. FULL STORY »

Now $90m earmarked for Aboriginal gallery

2599 Aboriginal Art Directory SMp2411 Lauren Moss presser 150A surprise a minute with the town’s biggest project on the drawing board. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.  Arts Minister Lauren Moss is pictured with Namatjira MLA Chansey Paech and Phillip Watkins, CEO of Desart.

 

UPDATE: Minister Moss provided a statement at 5.17pm, explaining the role of the two galleries. FULL STORY »

Code of conduct allegations ‘vexatious, frivolous’ – councillor

2529 Jimmy Cocking SM

 

Councillor Jimmy Cocking (pictured) is speaking out about a code of conduct process on which there are finally some findings. It dates back to an event in January this year, has been conducted in secrecy, into allegations not publicly disclosed, made by a person still unknown and investigated by a government appointed committee whose membership has been kept secret. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

 

UPDATE 5.28pm: Department answers questions from the Alice Springs News Online – well, some of them. FULL STORY »

Scholarships of up to $60,000 for Aboriginal students

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$15,000 a year for “Aboriginal Territorians who want to pursue a career in education” announced by Minister for Education Selena Uibo (pictured) this morning. FULL STORY »

Government to spend $67m on youth database

2599 FB rant SM

The NT Government is spending nearly $67m on a “Client Management System Alignment program … providing a 360 degree view of a child”. That is $33,333 per child, using number of children, 2007, whose families received family support casework services in 2026-17. Meanwhile social media posts reflect public frustration. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Top committee grapples with tourism development in the North

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More than 17 million tourists visiting Northern Australia in 2014/15 and spending 10 billion dollars is a fact that could be expected to send the pulse rate up a notch or two. But despite its stirring title, “Northern Horizons – Unleashing Our Tourism Potential”, the Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia report, at least judging by its chapter six, is short on excitement, specific initiatives and detail that could further crank up the industry. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Go north, young man

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Just 5% of Australia’s population living in the top half the nation’s land mass are producing 60% of its exports. ERWIN CHLANDA reports from a Northern Australia Development and Trade presentation this morning. FULL STORY »

Questions raised about Alice kids in Don Dale during riot

2599 Don Dale riot SM

 

10 Alice Springs children were in Don Dale during the riot. Had procedures been followed in their transfer from Alice Springs? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: ABC TV News Darwin.

UPDATE 2:30pm November 13: Statement from Territory Families.

UPDATE November 17: Comment from youth worker. FULL STORY »

Deputy Mayor Paterson: Don’t stop now!

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Gullies, creekbed and scrub – the Alice Springs Town Council should be strutting its stuff. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA FULL STORY »

Air traffic: Looking down on Alice

2552 Qantas indigenous livery SM

 

Qantas flights: What’s good for The Rock is less than half as good for The Alice. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

 

UPDATE Nov 15 Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon says changes to the Qantas and Jetstar network are at the expense of Territorians in Central Australia.

  FULL STORY »

Syphilis outbreak: More resources needed

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The current combined action of governments and the community controlled sector must be supported by sufficient resources to end this longstanding and damaging outbreak, says the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance. Image: Lesions of secondary syphilis on tongue. FULL STORY »

Boomerang Fred’s long distance love affair with The Centre

2593 Alfred & Erika SM

 

 

Austrian optometrist Alfred Pruckner has just made another holiday visit to The Centre, the most recent ones with his wife Erika after getting married a few years ago. Is he The Centre’s most experienced and passionate ambassador in Europe? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Discussions are nice but actions are needed

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What we really need is to end emissions from fossil fuels, get to zero net emissions within 12 years and go 100% renewable, writes Hayley Michener, from Repower Alice Springs. Photo by Thomas Hafeneth on Unsplash. FULL STORY »

More government handouts for alcohol traders

2581 Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspector Sam Joseph SM

 

 

The Alcohol Secure Grants Program provide grants “to create a physical barrier to liquor supplies [including] security windows and doors, internal and external roller doors,” says Police Minister Nicole Manison. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspector Sam Joseph outside an Alice Springs bottle shop. FULL STORY »

Coles Mural: Government, Heritage Council fall silent

2598 Coop's Shot Tower SM

 

Minster Lauren Moss has the legal power to overrule the Heritage Council (and she did), but does she have the moral right? This is one of the questions asked in a lively debate in the Alice Springs News Online that fell on deaf ears. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Coop’s Shot Tower in Melbourne – an example of how other jurisdictions celebrate their heritage. FULL STORY »