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8 storeys, 600 car parks, builder with Alice roots: Melanka


Eight storeys high, 600 car parks partly underground and built by a Darwin firm that has its roots in Alice Springs: That’s the new Melanka site story, according to reliable sources. It is proposed to be built in tandem with the supreme court building (pictured), a Sitzler project, in Parsons Street, at the former site of the Commonwealth Bank. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Francis Kelly new CLC chairman




Yuendumu elder and film maker Francis Jupurrurla Kelly (pictured) was today elected as the chairman of the Central Land Council. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. See UPDATE 4pm.


Jailing the poor helps NT manage economy




The Territory’s rising prison population has served as a long-term mechanism for managing the economy, according to a Charles Darwin University academic Don Zoellner who will speak at a national conference in Alice Springs next week. FULL STORY »

Whitegate row headed for national attention?

 p2148-Whitegate-womenSMComments at a protest rally this morning by residents of the Whitegate camp and their supporters made it clear they are set to seek national attention for the NT government’s plans to close the settlement on the town’s fringe. PHOTO (seated, from left) – Felicity Hayes, Theresa Ryder, Leonie Palmer and MK Turner. Behind Ms Ryder is Ursula Nicholoff-Johnson. Jack Hayes (with hat). At right in the photo are Natalie Wasley, Rod Moss and Kat Hope (with baby). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Today is World Peace Day

Today the International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day, is observed around the world. This is an occasion to recognise the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace, writes Paul Della, President, Rotary Club of Stuart. FULL STORY »

Price turns back on Whitegate after using it in her election campaign: Lawrie




Opposition Leader, Delia Lawrie, says government frontbencher Bess Price (pictured) “was happy enough to use traditional owners connected to the Whitegate families in her election advertising two years ago, but now she will take no action to ensure these people get the water turned back on and their land tenure issues resolved.” FULL STORY »

Mbantua Fest: statement from Perkins, no news on debt payment



The saga about the unpaid debts of the Mbantua Festival is continuing with a statement from Neville Perkins (pictured) issued last week. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Fracking – what guarantees for Alice water supply?


The Town Council has been asked to write to the NT Government to ask for a guarantee that the existing Alice Springs water supply is protected from shale gas exploration in the region. Such a guarantee should include an outline of the evidence on which it is based. The request came from director of the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC), Jimmy Cocking, who spoke to council last night on the controversial issue of fracking – the method by which shale gas is extracted. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Can we still afford the town council?




Is it time they had a look at their own cost structures?


Ryan dismissed but doubts its legitimacy



It appears Maurie Japarta Ryan, the embattled chairman of the Central Land Council, today lost his position during a meeting of the council in Tennant Creek. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Quigley Down Under?



“I like it. I see he’s got a long rifle. He looks like Quigley Down Under,” says Natalie Madrill, taking photos of her children, Ethan and Keithan Reiff, who have climbed onto the base of the statue in the park on Stuart Terrace. Council plans to add signage identifying the statue  will also acknowledge its donation by the Freemasons, despite council footing the $70,000 bill for its installation. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

No more public money for Rock promotion




Replace the sterile, overpriced Uluru experience with the kind of family adventure that made a trip to The Centre what tourists used to love.


Neil Murray returns to The Centre




“Central Australia was part of my education,” says Neil Murray. While he now lives in his “own country” in Western Victoria, he keeps coming back to The Centre, to stay in touch with what he learned here. The singer-songwriter of Warumpi Band fame will play at the Totem Theatre this Saturday – songs from his new album, Bring Thunder and Rain, his 12th solo release. FULL STORY »

Abbott snubs Giles, says Lawrie



In an unprecedented snub Prime Minister Tony Abbott is not meeting with Chief Minister, Adam Giles, during his stay in North East Arnhemland, writes Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie.


Land Council meeting: sparks to fly again



The Central Land Council meeting next week seems set for more turbulence, with this question high on the agenda: Who is running the show, the 90 elected delegates, or the staff and the executive? Maurie Japarta Ryan and Russell Bray (pictured) will be heading back into the fray. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


The art of walking



Participants meet at the Alice Desert Festival hub in the Youth Centre and follow performer Fina Po to a gathering point opposite the Todd Tavern. This event is called Out Hear in Alice Springs, so I’m expecting an emphasis on listening. Po tells us that she will lead a walk in silence – that is, without talk between us. Not talking will help us pay greater than usual attention. KIERAN FINNANE writes about her Out Hear experience. FULL STORY »

Extreme fun: the 24 Hour Dance Marathon

p2134-Fest-24Dance-5p2134-Fest-24Dance-1No one dropped and you couldn’t beat it for sheer exuberance: the 23rd hour of the Alice Desert Festival’s 24 Hour Dance Marathon. Esther Nunn in the foreground (left) lasted the distance, one of three soloists to do so. The event was initiated by the SO REAL live arts company, principals Franca Barraclough and Melissa Kerl at right.  Story and photos by KIERAN FINNANE. FULL STORY »

Giles got Alice included in northern development: Chamber

p2143-office-northern-austThe Giles Government must be given credit for the work done in promoting the Territory to potential investors as part of the Northern Australia Development Plan, says Neil McLeod, vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce. ERWIN CHLANDA reports in our Two Years of CLP Government feature. FULL STORY »

Tollner resigns as Deputy and from Cabinet



Dave Tollner has resigned as Deputy Chief Minister and from the Cabinet. This comes in wake of homophobic comments he made to a staffer. Chief Minister Adam Giles, under intense pressure inside the parliament and out since the comments were revealed on Thursday, has accepted his resignation. FULL STORY »

Desert Mob: This is who we are




There’s the art and there’s the mob. You don’t get one without the other and in many way Desert Mob has always carried a message of ‘This is who we are’, even if for the outsider the message has often, even mostly, been beautifully opaque. Many artists have told us to not “try to see behind the veil” but others are availing themselves of a range of means to invite us in, on their terms. KIERAN FINNANE reports on her experience of Desert Mob 2014. FULL STORY »

PUP: And then there were two …

2147 Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu


The Palmer United Party in the NT has lost a third of its Parliamentary wing with the defection of Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu (pictured) back to the CLP. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 


The Package delivers on life’s big themes

p2134 Fest Package 10

For anyone who has grown old, who has feared growing old, who has watched a love one grow old; for anyone who has had a child, who has longed for child, who has lost a child; for any woman who has given birth; for anyone in lust, in young love; for anyone afraid of dying, for anyone wanting to meet death with equanimity – The Package is for you. Such is its broad sweep. Life’s package, with an emphasis on the female experience. KIERAN FINNANE reviews a theatrical production that is bound to be a highlight of this year’s Alice Desert Festival FULL STORY »

Batchelor: Little interest in vital courses




The was much pomp and ceremony at the Batchelor graduation last week but the institute is facing serious challenges. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Conlan’s statistics vs reality


This is the bottom line of Alice Springs tourism – declining since 2005, nosediving in 2011, flat as a pancake since then, but Tourism Minister Matt Conlan thinks he’s doing a fine job. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. 


Water for Whitegate, protest rally to target Bess Price



Water for the embattled Whitegate camp, courtesy Lhere Artepe, and on Monday a rally outside the office of MLA Bess Price against the eviction of the camp’s residents who’ve been there for decades. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Felicity Hayes and Whitegate’s water tank. FULL STORY »

Dance till you drop



The countdown in the Alice Desert Festival marathon dancing has begun. At hour four of twenty-four, the dance floor is packed and the energy high. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Traditional owners criticise nuclear dump process



Sixty traditional owners from the Tanami Desert and neighbouring land owners have expressed their frustration with the Federal government’s nomination process for a proposed radioactive waste management facility and with the lack of information from the government, writes David Ross, Central Land Council Director.


Let the Alice Desert Festival begin!



Last night’s street parade, as opener for the festival, was colorful, noisy and fun for all involved, yet … FULL STORY »

For Francis, all Christmases are coming at once


A day after Chief Minister Adam Giles denied any deals with Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu to get him back into the CLP fold, his Arafura electorate was showered with presents – by no other than Mr Giles. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO (courtesy Mr Giles): “Chief Minister and local member at the barge landing site on Bathurst Island today.” FULL STORY »

PUP defection: Tiwi road not in Budget, but work in progress – Giles




Chief Minister Adam Giles this morning explained circumstances surrounding a road project on Melville Island, sparking speculation that he had done a deal with Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu to defect from the Palmer United Party and rejoin the CLP. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 


Kurrupuwu defection dark day for the Territory, Aboriginal people: Anderson



The decision of fellow MLA, Francis Kurrupuwu, to leave the Palmer United Party and return to the Country Liberals is a dark day for the Territory and Aboriginal people, writes Alison Anderson, Palmer United Party Northern Territory Leader and Member for Namatjira.


Let’s re-invent The Alice – as what?




Is the never ending story of the unsealed Mereenie Loop Road Central Australia’s answer to Ground Hog Day, asks HAL DUELL.


Mereenie Loop Road on the never-never



Transport Minister Peter Styles (pictured) is giving no time frame for the sealing or even the upgrading of the Mereenie Loop Road, a key in efforts by the tourism industry to make Alice Springs again the gateway to The Rock. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Giles to double Indigenous public servants



Chief Minister Adam Giles said he has given instructions for the percentage of Aborigines in the NT public service to be doubled from 8% to 16%. He was speaking at the graduation ceremony at the Batchelor Institute today, when Kathryn Gilbey (pictured with Professor Markham Rose) was honoured as the first student to complete a PhD. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.  FULL STORY »

Steering committee for national Indigenous art centre

A steering committee to create a national Indigenous art centre in Alice Springs will be set up in the next couple of months. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

A national Indigenous culture centre in Alice progressing



CLARIFICATION: Hetti Perkins did not use the word ‘national’ when she made these comments on a “cultural centre or some form of facility in Alice Springs”. See FULL STORY.


Plans for a national Indigenous culture centre in Alice Springs are progressing behind the scenes, prominent Indigenous art world figure, Hetti Perkins, told the crowd at the opening last night of annual Desert Mob. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Building of Parsons Street court to start soon




Construction is expected to begin before the end of the year on the new Alice Springs Supreme Court, writes Chief Minister Adam Giles.


In Centre, roads, energy dominate development report



Improvements of road, rail and natural gas infrastructure in Central Australia are prominent in the final report of the Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia tabled by MHR Warren Entsch (pictured) in Federal Parliament yesterday, but under the headings Water Capture and Storage Infrastructure, Aquifer Management and Agricultural Development Schemes, The Centre doesn’t rate a mention. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Bess Price washes her hands of Whitegate


Community Services Minister Bess Price this afternoon denied having any responsibility for the embattled Whitegate camp. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Northern development: Alice off to hesitant start



The Giles government hanging by a thread and the town being far from assertive, northern development is off to a hesitant start. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Alice Mayor Damien Ryan (left) and Chief Minister Adam Giles at Friday’s information session in Alice Springs.


Let the festivals multiply!





These are the last days of grace before Alice gets frantic with festivals. FULL STORY »

Seniors seek review of cuts in NT Budget

Seniors are urging the NT Government to overturn unfair changes to its Seniors Concession Scheme which were announced in the NT’s 2014 Budget, writes Margaret Borger, National Seniors NT Policy Advisory Group Chair. FULL STORY »

Tollner rejected, Anderson says Giles phoned PUP



Palmer United Party leader Alison Anderson says she would not comment about any coalition with Labor before consulting with her two colleagues, Larisa Lee and Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu. She was speaking after Dave Tollner failed last night to regain his position of Deputy Leader. Mr Tollner has gone on a two-week break, leaving the future of the Giles Government in limbo. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Bess Price seeks ideas for ‘exceptional opportunities for investment in our parks’



Parks Minister Bess Price (pictured) is calling on people with big ideas to submit an expression of interest for new tourism and business developments in Northern Territory parks and reserves.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: Unjustified division




Every Australian, no matter what their origins, should view their flag with pride feeling free to view it, parade it, and even wear it, in the full confidence of belonging, of having that egalitarian right.


Work for the dole at golf club: sounds good on paper only



The Abbott Government’s work for the dole scheme, due to be rolled out nationally, will make a hilarious script for a sitcom if the trial at the Alice Springs Golf Club is any indication. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Lowest number of August property crimes in four years

Alice Springs Police continue to crack down on property related crime, recording the lowest number of unlawful entries in August for the last four years, writes Leith Phillips, Detective Acting Senior Sergeant. FULL STORY »

‘A departmental officer will facilitate discussions next week to determine if additional strategies can be implemented to improve participation levels’ at the Golf Club’s work for the dole scheme.

The Federal Department of Employment has today provided a response to questions the Alice Springs News Online asked a week ago about the work for the dole scheme at the Alice Springs Golf Club. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

‘Fracking pipeline – road to regional inequality’



We are concerned that statements by Federal Industry Minister MacFarlane will drive intensive shale gas fracking across Northern Territory basins and into the Kimberley in WA, writes Jimmy Cocking (pictured), Director, Arid Lands Environment Centre.


Native title meeting invalid?



The Bray family was not acknowledged as a member of Ilpme, one of the three estate groups making up Lhere Artepe (LA), the native title organisation for Alice Springs, at a LA meeting held today, according to a source speaking on condition of not being named. But Russell Bray (whose outstation at 16 Mile is pictured)  says the meeting was “stacked” and invalid. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Changing school holidays? It’s a hard one.

Peter Chandler



We’ve been asking Territorians whether or not school holidays could be reconfigured to achieve better outcomes for students, but although a majority want something other than the status quo, there is no clear alternative at this stage, writes Peter Chandler, Minister for Education.


Death from alcohol: is the industry culpable?

An inquiry examining the harmful use of alcohol will be called upon to explore the culpability of the alcohol industry, examining the alcohol supply chain and its role in providing alcohol to communities where harms are most significant, writes Michael Thorn, of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.



Flagging harmony or controversy?


A symbolic gesture to further acknowledge Anzac Hill as an important place for Arrernte traditional owners: an easy one for the Town Council? Not so. Councillor Jade Kudrenko wants to “engage stakeholders” in a proposal to fly the Aboriginal flag, but Cr Steve Brown says that Australians all fought under one flag and Indigenous Australians should not be considered separately. KIERAN FINNANE reports from last night’s council meeting.


Law & order success; less Rock in tourism pitch



Full marks for law and order, but the tourism promotion focus needs to be shifted from the Rock to the Alice, and lots more work is needed on cranking up the economy. That’s the view of Daniel Davis, vice-president of the CLP. ERWIN CHLANDA reports in our Two Years of CLP Government feature. PHOTO: Police officers checking people entering the Todd Tavern bottle shop.


Rewarding innovative Indigenous leadership



The Alice-base organisation Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi is one of the eight finalists in the Indigenous Governance Awards, to be decided by October 30, organised by Reconciliation Australia and co-sponsored by mining giant BHP Billiton. But amongst the eight finalists picked from 113 entrants are no commercial firms producing goods or services for sale. ERWIN CHLANDA reports


Community-based handymen to save money



A new housing maintenance officer based at Papunya, also delivering services to the communities of Mt Liebig and Haasts Bluff, is helping to deliver quicker response times for housing repairs and maintenance in Central Australia, writes Matt Conlan, Minister for Housing.


Ryan: CLC members ready for breakaway



Maurie Ryan, the chairman of the Central Land Council, under threat of being sacked, says the majority of its 24,000 members are ready for a break-away land council. He says he discussed the issue with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion in Canberra today, where he had gone at his own expense. Sen Scullion suggested awaiting the outcome of a special general meeting of the CLC next month, to be called to decide his fate, Mr Ryan says. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Bradshaw school girl back from Japan with gold



Eight-year old Ffion Jones returned with a gold medal to Bradshaw Primary School this morning from the 65th Shukohai Karate Anniversary Championships held in Kobe, Japan, where she topped the Under 9s Kumite division.


Small is good in boosting Alice economy



Jimmy Cocking, CEO of the Arid Lands Environment Centre, says Alice Springs should start a string of eco-style small enterprises to give the local economy a shot in the arm, and residents should generate their own electricity as a buffer against inevitable price rises. ERWIN CHLANDA reports in our Two Years of CLP Government feature. Mr Cocking is pictured with environmentalist and science journalist Tanya Ha. FULL STORY »

Not so happy birthday for CLP government



Speculation that its second Leader in as many years may get the chop will mark the CLP Government’s birthday tomorrow. As uproar over remarks seen as homophobic forced the Treasurer to resign and the party is in turmoil, we publish today the views of community leaders about how Alice Springs has fared since the August 25, 2012 election (scroll down to separate reports). And ERWIN CHLANDA comments on his reporting on a government that promised transparency but is too often palming off enquiries to minders, and is led by a Chief Minister increasingly thin-skinned and short tempered.


Cops at bottlos a winner, says Congress



Cops at bottle shops have contributed dramatically to a reduction of alcohol consumption, according to new data collected by the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress CEO Donna Ah Chee (pictured). But, she says, the Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) should be brought back. ERWIN CHLANDA reports in our Two Years of CLP Government feature.


What’s in this edition?


Law & order success; less Rock in tourism pitch

Flagging harmony or controversy?

Small is good in boosting Alice economy

Two years CLP government: The Mayor’s view

Cops at bottlos a winner, says Congress

Giles got Alice included in northern development: Chamber

Tollner resigns as Deputy and from Cabinet

Giles evades question on Alice nuke dump

‘Felicity ain’t moving’

We were tricked into signing letter: Native title holders

Adam Giles, not Aborigines, raised nuke dump near Alice



‘This is who we are’. KIERAN FINNANE on Desert Mob.

Let the festivals multiply!

‘What holds you, the beauty or the damage?’

When adults turn into kids who make the town famous

Race relations: where from, where now, where to?



OneSteel to close

Pilot in Alice balloon disaster goes to gaol again

Western Desert mental health service to continue

Native title owners don’t want nuke dump, have brawl over land

Mbantua Festival firm suspected to be insolvent, owes $500,000



Not so happy birthday for CLP government

Land needs to get cheaper, much cheaper



‘Giles government worst in nation’