June 11, 1997
MacDONNELL RANGE PARK CLAIMED: NT TO SEEK
HELP FROM CANBERRA
Deputy Chief Minister Mike Reed says the NT will seek Federal
Government intervention to "accelerate" hearings of land claims lodged
by the Central Land Council (CLC) last week.
One of The Centre's prime tourist attractions, the West MacDonnell
national park just outside Alice Springs, is included in claims lodged
by the CLC last week, just hours before the deadline set under an
amendment to the Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act of 1976.
According to Mr Reed, the 2000 square kilometre park - as well as other
areas covered by the more than 30 last-minute claims - are now
He says "we can't do a thing" until the Aboriginal Land Commissioner
has either granted or rejected the claim.
This process may take more than a decade, says Mr Reed: "The Kenbi land
claim has been in place 19 years and has still not been resolved."
In the meantime the NT government will be confined to managing the
parks at the present level.
The "West Macs" park includes internationally renowned natural wonders
such as the Ormiston and Redbank gorges, and the head waters of the
Finke, the oldest river in the world.
Mr Reed says a simple way to cut short the process would be not to
oppose the claim, but that would be against the interests of
"Why can't the public as a whole have ownership of national parks?
"Why should they be the property of a particular group," says Mr Reed.
The CLC claims that joint management - including traditional Aboriginal
owners - "has proved spectacularly successful" at Uluru (Ayers Rock),
and "this can be replicated elsewhere and everybody benefits".
But Mr Reed says relationships at Uluru are far from harmonious: The
CLC is "strongly opposing" the appointment of Col Fuller, the NT Parks
and Wildlife head, to the Uluru board of management.
Mr Reed says parks under Aboriginal ownership have their own
managements and bureaucracies, not accountable to the public.
The CLC says "we won't be commenting at this stage" on Mr Reed's
DRUG TAKING RIFE IN ALICE SCHOOLS, SAYS STUDENT
By KIERAN FINNANE
There are kids dealing drugs in every high school in Alice Springs,
including the private schools, according to a young man who contacted
the Alice News last week.
The young man made two calls to the paper's office, after which he
agreed to meet me in person.
I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of his personal account of a
youth drug culture in Alice Springs.
"It's not fair that only one school should be associated with drugs,"
he said, referring to our front page story concerning police
investigations into drug dealing at the Alice Springs High School.
"Cannabis is the light drug for daily use, whenever you can fit it in.
"You can buy it in every high school," he said.
"Even at St Philip's and Catholic High there are a couple of dealers."
He was in Year 8 at Anzac Hill High when he first smoked cannabis:
"Everyone was talking about it . An older boy in Year 9 basically told
us that if we ever wanted to try some to come and see him. We
eventually did and he took us to see a dealer."
"The guy was an everyday adult, his wife was there. They had kids
although I didn't see them."
"They had a decent home, of course they did, they were making a lot of
The young man said LSD and speed for night and weekend use are
available from dealers at Centralian College: "That's the place to
score drugs in Alice Springs."
"Teenagers score the drugs from adults. They pay $400 an ounce for
cannabis then divide it into 16 small bags which they sell for $50 a
"Sometimes they deal $25 bags as well."
"In Alice Springs an LSD trip sells for $35, speed sells for $80 per
The young man claims that student dealers pay for their initial
cannabis supply from their casual job earnings.
Not taking their own use into account, they make a 100 per cent profit
by reselling and so buy the next ounce.
"Nobody grows it, the stuff grown here is too shitty unless you use
hydroponic gear. All the drugs come up from Adelaide. "
"People from Sydney and Melbourne come up here thinking this is a small
town. They're always surprised by the quality of the drugs they can get
He said while heroin is readily available in town and there are some
kids doing heroin, there are no heroin dealers in schools.
He said there's pressure to use drugs because everyone's doing it but
if someone decides against using he said they wouldn't be hassled or
branded a "square".
He said most of the time he didn't meet dealers: friends would take his
money and come back a couple of hours later with the drugs.
Occasionally he met dealers whom he described as "twenty year olds
living in flats, doing all right for themselves with a nice stereo and
He claims to have spent last year, along with 10 of his mates, enrolled
at Centralian College, turning up every day but not going to classes.
"We'd sit out the front and smoke drugs."
He bombed out of school, needless to say: "That's why I'm working a
shitty job, now. Teachers and parents don't even realise you're
stoned," he said.
"It's so easy to hide. You use a bit of deodorant and a couple of drops
of Clear Eyes and no one can tell."
"Last year there was a group of us tripping off our guts on LSD. We set
a bin on fire. A teacher came out and told us to put the fire out and
that was all, she didn't seem to notice anything else."
Another young man, whom I met in the company of the first, confirmed
that as a visitor to the college he could, on any day, be sure to find
"a group of kids passing around a bong".
Both men said that kids are starting to use drugs at a younger age.
The second young man talked of a girl he'd seen, just 12 or 13 years
old, "stoned off her face". T
he other said: "I know kids who have been smoking for five or six years
and their parents don't know."
"Kids are starting too young, at 13 and 14 years old. That's silly."
He says he's been straight for the last two weeks.
"I stopped for a little while and then I realised I could think again."
"Using drugs all the time messes your brain up and kills your morals.
That's why there are so many kids going out and stealing, they don't
even think about it." "They've got no morals, they just want to get
money for drugs."
Now that he's straight, he's spending more time at home.
"You're not missing much - the majority of kids are drug-fucked
At the time of going to press, none of the principals of the local high
schools had responded to the draft of this story faxed to them last
However, David Jukic, TAFE lecturer in horticulture, which is located
on the Sadadeen Secondary side of the campus, said that in his three
years at the college he has never come across evidence of drug-taking
THE AGONY OF BEING "TAKEN AWAY" - Part Two of a
series by JOHN McBEATH
In order to be able to write down his songs and poems, with the aid of
a dictionary, Herbie had also taught himself to read and write over a
period of years.
Apart from performing them himself, some of Herbie's songs were
recorded by the late Buddy Williams and others.
By the late fifties, Herbie says, some things had begun to improve for
Aboriginal stolen children: "When the church mobs took over, there was
quite good schooling at places like St Mary's and others."
Harold Furber finished high school in Darwin in 1968, spending school
holidays, more often than not, on Croker Island, mustering and working
with the cattle there.
On the current Federal Government's position regarding compensation for
people whose lives, like his own, were dislocated, Harold says:
"Aboriginal people seem to be constantly denigrated, on a daily basis,
and because they were ïstolen' they then cop more.
"You get questioned about who you are. We were inculcated with a
different sub-culture, and sometimes that can make some people
uncomfortable with the traditional culture."
"This is a serious issue, and in some cases it can be a problem for the
people taken away to relate to their own families, their own children."
"For me, although I have children of my own, in some ways my closest
family are the people I grew up with on Croker, but I'm still pretty
well accepted by my mob here in Alice."
"To say this (the Stolen Generation era) is all ancient history is an
absolute myth. Now that it has been officially labelled as
ïgenocide' we look at that as something we've been saying for some
"We couldn't say too much about it or we'd be regarded as Shane Stone
put it, ïjust another whingeing, whining black.'"
It is Harold's hope that the current debates about the stolen
generation, reconciliation and land rights, will bring about a change
in mainstream Australia's thinking, "so that we don't have to cop this
antagonism all the time."
"This constant questioning about who you are, and who has the right to
speak for whom.
"We get it from the NT Government all the time. I sit down at
(Government) meetings and people don't look at me when they talk, they
look at the whitefella next to me."
"You think to yourself, I know the issues, I was born here, I live
here, and yet there's two white blokes having a discussion about this
"So all of these sorts of issues, people have to start coming to grips
Herbie Laughton, after working at a variety of jobs on the Alice to
Darwin highway, at several cattle stations north of Tennant Creek, and
a stint on a pearling lugger with a Thursday Island captain out of
Darwin, came back to Alice.
In the late fifties and early sixties Herbie began to be contacted by
others who had shared The Bungalow experience, asking him to help in
tracing families and identities.
His dream of holding a "Bungalow reunion" finally became a reality in
Herbie is inclined to be scornful about some of the Aboriginal Land
Councils, and speaks of clan boundaries within "the Arrernte nation."
"Anything to do with land claims within the Arrernte nation should come
through the Arrernte Council, a council of Elders formed about six
years ago, but this is not happening.
"I would like to ask these people sitting in high positions on ATSIC
and Land Councils whether they've been through any schooling on
Aboriginal history, so they would know where other people come from,
and what their entitlements are?"
"Any dispute about land should be put to a council of Elders who know
"At the moment you've got this mob in town who say ïOh that's my
country or this is my country,' and the Land Council listens to them
instead of going and finding the truth.
"People today are so selfish and greedy they just want to grab
everything they can, and often the people who are really entitled are
"We [Arrernte Council] put a land claim over all of the Arrernte nation
land and Charlie Perkins and Bobby Liddle got together for this
Mbantuarinya claim to take the whole town on."
"That undercut the real purpose of what we had done at the Arrernte
Council, deciding to bring in a council of Elders, but they didn't want
"I'm afraid these people in high positions on councils and land
councils don't like me, because I tell them: You people are sitting in
the wrong positions, because you don't know where people come from, or
anything about their land entitlements.'"
Herbie, like Harold, has had some problems reintegrating himself into
his own community, and perhaps paradoxically recalls his stolen years
as "both the happiest, because I had the company of lots of children of
my own age, and also the saddest time, because I had lost my own
Both men (Herbie a founder and life member of the Arrernte Council;
Harold, Deputy Director of the Central Land Council) have a common
legacy: the children with whom they shared the "stolen" experience are,
even today, closer in many ways to each of them than their natural
families from whom they were so abruptly parted, all those years ago.
Correction: In Part One of this report the Alice News incorrectly
quoted Harold Furber as saying his mother had passed away in Alice
In fact, she passed away in Mt Isa where she was flown after becoming
ill at the stock camp where she worked, north east of Alice Springs.
To this day authorities have not officially informed Mr Furber of her
THE TERRITORY'S ASIAN TRADE INITIATIVES ARE
SHORT ON RESULTS, says Dr Alistair Heatley, of the NT University
Since self government in 1978, the Northern Territory Government (NTG)
has relentlessly pursued the development of closer economic, social and
cultural links with Asia and particularly with Indonesia.
Successive Chief Ministers and ministers responsible for trade and
industry (now including Asian Relations) have been loud in their
advocacy of an enhanced Asian connection and conspicuous over the years
for their forays into Asia in the pursuit of increased trade and
Arguments advanced by the NTG to support the strategy have included the
wider Australian orientation towards Asia, the geographic position of
the Territory and the benefits flowing to the Territory economy.
On the latter, it has been contended that, given the failed historical
attempts to develop the Territory from Australian sources, the key to
future regional economic advancement lies in Asian trade and
NTG publicity is fulsome in its support of the assumed economic
potential of Asian linkages and the role of the Territory in providing
a "bridge" between South East Asia and Australia.
A good example can be found in the survey of the Territory economy,
published as part of the annual budget papers.
The NTG's approach to Asian relations has attracted considerable
criticism, notably of the cost of promotion and the meagre results
produced so far.
Probably the worst aspect has been the windy rhetoric and the
excessively high level of expectations generated; the place of the
Territory in the process of establishing more profitable links has
always been vastly exaggerated.
As a long term policy, improving Asian links, in all dimensions, is
sensible for the NTG and local industry but its selling has been
Moreover, there is little present indication that the NTG has learnt
from the mistakes of the past.
Despite well-advertised meetings with Asian leaders, several Memoranda
of understandings and many delegations, the record in respect of
regional trade has not been outstanding.
True, it has increased markedly in recent years but it has occurred
largely in mineral commodities and live cattle exports; the increase
owes relatively little to the NTG's regional diplomacy.
Trade in manufactured goods and in services, which have a greater
impact on the Territory economy particularly in terms of employment,
has lagged well behind.
Measured by qualitative change in and the direction of exports, the
much-vaunted NTG Asian "push" has not so far lived up to expectations.
Neither has Asian investment in the Territory.
There have been some successes, notably in the pastoral industry, but
all too often there have been failures.
Witness the Asian ventures in the Trade Development Zone, the Beaufort
Hotel and Muckatty Station.
It is difficult to point to any significant rise of employment and
economic activity directly related to Asian investment.
As with trade, the benefits for investment from the NTG's Asian
promotion have been small.
Much the same conclusion could be made about the Asian contribution to
the international tourist inflow into the Territory.
I think it would be very hard for the "average" Territorian, especially
those residing outside Darwin, to discern any economic spin-off from
the NTG's long-running Asian preoccupation.
Certainly, it has not created significant new employment opportunities
and thus has done little to encourage population growth.
What might be seen is the higher Asian residency in the Territory and
events like the Arafura Games and NT Expo, but it is doubtful that even
Darwinians would see them associated with the NTG's "master plan".
Although there has been some adverse reaction to the occasional
publicity given to the cost of ministerial promotion, the Asian
strategy is not widely comprehended within the Territory community and
it has never been a major electoral issue.
By its very nature, it is esoteric and interest in it is largely
confined to ministers, the relevant section of the public service and
parts of local industry.
Fostering trade with an investment from Asia is a long-term enterprise;
bridging the cultural and commercial divides will take considerable
time, patience and perseverance.
While the NTG deserves credit for its sometimes pioneering efforts and
its persistence, it has not sold the policy well to Territorians and
its short-term outcomes have been disappointing.
WE'RE DOING JUST FINE, says Asian Trade
Minister Eric Poole
Dr Heatley's criticism contains a number of contradictions and is
Almost all Territorians have benefited from our Asia thrust -
especially those working in the cattle industry, shipping and tourism.
Even the retail sector benefits from Asian shoppers coming to Darwin.
Exports (excluding mineral fuels) from the NT to Brunei, Indonesia,
Malaysia and the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area grew from $20
million in 1990/91 to $171 million in 1995/96.
Exports to China, our largest trading partner, grew from $86 million in
1990/91 to $251 million in 1995/96.
´ Seven out of our top ten export destinations are now Asian.
Almost all Territory schoolchildren have the opportunity to learn an
Asian language, and learn about Asian culture, history and society.
On the whole the "average" Territorian is far more Asia-aware than the
"average" Australian from the southern states.
I agree that fostering trade growth (with any region) is a long-term
enterprise but I am disappointed that Dr Heatley is ignorant of the
In the case of live cattle exports to Indonesia we have seen a more
than 1700 per cent increase over the past four years through efforts
ranging from assistance to industry with promotion, developing new
markets through high level inter-government access, the provision of
veterinary services and advice, assistance with establishing the live
cattle export holding yards at Berrimah, and the promotion of new sea
transport links into the region.
Although the NT has a very small manufacturing base, we have
nevertheless seen some remarkable successes in manufacturing exports,
Bernie Ostermeyer's Bulk Transfer Systems has formed a joint venture
with Indonesia's largest vehicle manufacturer, to export and
manufacture innovative side-tipping trucks used in the regional haulage
and mining industry.
Integrated Technical Services is involved in a project to install solar
energy lighting systems in 36,000 homes in Eastern Indonesia, and there
are more NT companies:-
´ They installed video/audio monitoring systems in 27 courts in
´ exported local cut flowers to Japan;
´ have a major contract for seed foraging expertise and equipment
´ formed a joint venture to supply and install remote area power
generation in Sabah and Malaysia;
´ transferred road building technology to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia;
´ sold a mini sawmill to Sarawak, Malaysia;
´ and make regular shipments of halal beef to Brunei and
Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas recently gave recognition to the
role the Territory Government has played in developing the broader
relationship between Australia and Indonesia.
He acknowledged the NT-Indonesia Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) has
contributed to the growth of sub-regional and regional co-operation,
and that the implementation of the MOU has paved the way for the
establishment of the Australia-Indonesia Development Area recently
launched in Ambon by Foreign Minister Downer and Indonesian Minister
If Dr Heatley had listened to any of the Chief Minister's or my recent
speeches on our links with Asia then he would have heard no "windy
rhetoric", but a realistic approach to the region.
Last March the North Australian Research Unit (NARU) held a seminar in
Darwin on NT links with Eastern Indonesia.
I urge Dr Heatley to read the papers presented at that seminar.
As one prominent Australian businessman who lives and works in Jakarta
(and who does not originate from the NT) said to us recently: "I have
to hand it to you, you guys from the Territory are the best at getting
out, making contacts and friends and opening doors for business."
As a result of these efforts NT exports to the region for 1995/96 were
worth $194 million, an increase of 66 per cent on the previous
This year's results will be even better.
The NT Government's "Asia thrust" is a direct response to the demand
from the NT community and business.
ALICE SPRINGS TELEVISION PRODUCTION COMPANY
EMBARKS ON A BRAVE PROJECT
With women at the helm, local TV production is consolidating and
looking to the future.
Priscilla Collins, long-time production manager at CAAMA Productions,
has stepped into Executive Producer's shoes, after the recent departure
of David Jowsey and until a permanent EP is appointed.
Cilla, as she's popularly known, describes the atmosphere at CAAMA as
"very full on".
The production house is acting as series producer of five 30 minute
programs for the National Indigenous Documentary Fund and is fully
producing one of these, Apekathe, in Alice Springs where filming starts
In fact, it tells in part the story of Cilla's family: "It's about what
it's like to be an Aboriginal person with white skin," says Cilla.
The blue-eyed redhead is from an Eastern Arrernte family.
Central to the filming will be a reunion at Arltunga of family members
from all around Australia.
"When you start doing something like this, you soon find out who your
friends and family are and who aren't."
"Some of my family members tried to stop me from doing this but I'm
proud of who I am even if they aren't," says Cilla.
Another family will also be the subject of the documentary, that of
director Steve McGregor's wife Maureen.
It'll be quite a family affair: Cilla's husband Allan, who has just
graduated from a cinematographer's extension course at the Australian
Film, Television and Radio School, will be behind the camera.
"It'll be interesting to see how that goes," laughs Cilla.
Total budget for the production is $130,000, with CAAMA getting a
further $50,000 fee as series producer.
The other programs in the series will be filmed at Yuendumu (a
spotlight on the now famous Women's Night Patrol), at Townsville,
Broome and in South Australia.
Broadcast of the series on national ABC television starts in July, with
Apekathe scheduled to go to air in September.
Meanwhile CAAMA continues to produce Nganampa Anwernekenhe, funded
jointly by Imparja and ATSIC to the tune of $250,000 and broadcast on
Imparja at 8pm on Thursday nights.
The next 13 programs are currently in pre-production.
"We get a lot of positive feedback about Nganampa," says Cilla.
"Aboriginal people are proud of seeing their culture presented on TV."
For the rest, CAAMA competes in the national mainstream market for
corporate and commercial work.
"We're a company like any other, we get no government funding and
haven't for something like eight years when we went from being CAAMA TV
to being CAAMA Productions," says Cilla.
Ongoing clients include the Australian Sports Commission and the NT
Department of Health with campaigns like Quit, breast cancer screening
and road safety.
The productions do not necessarily have an Aboriginal emphasis.
"We get phone calls from all over Australia," says Cilla.
"Our crew and gear are recognised as being absolutely competitive."
Cilla estimates that this work brings in another $100,000 per year,
keeping their eight full-time staff fully occupied, as well as giving
rise to work for a pool of five free-lancers.
On staff are an on-line and off-line editor, a cameraman, three
producer-directors, a production manager (Cilla's permanent position),
a production assistant and an executive producer.
They are equipped with state-of-the-art SP Betacam camera and editing
gear, have recently acquired a brand new sound kit and new lights, and
have a digital on-line suite, where the TV programs are finished.
Alice Springs is one of few towns in Australia which has such
sophisticated TV equipment - every bit on par with the best edit suites
in Sydney and Melbourne.
"We're completely self-sufficient unless we want to use film, in which
case we hire gear in," says Cilla.
Imparja, part of the CAAMA Group of Companies, has a new general
manager, Corallie Ferguson.
She sees her role in this the tenth anniversary of the Aboriginal-owned
television station, as a dual one of "commercial growth and succession
for Aboriginal people".
MORE NEXT WEEK.
ALICE RIDER STEPHEN GREENFIELD WINS 22nd FINKE
Alice Springs rider Stephen Greenfield took out the 22nd Finke Desert
Race from Darwin's Jason Hill in a blistering race.
And in a warning to the two wheeled brigade, Paul Simpson broke all
records, to lead the cars home not far behind the bikes.
Greenfield has been the bridesmaid of Finke on three previous
occasions, and the Crown this year was well deserved by the Desert City
Motors foreman who turned out an immaculately presented Honda CR 500.
For Honda it was their seventh successive Finke win.
At the Prologue, Greenfield established control of the race by claiming
quickest time over the 11 km Dash.
Then in the race proper he led the bikes to Finke, arriving at the
border town with an under two hour performance, and a four minute lead
over the second placed Jason Hill, from Darwin.
On the return trip the field tasted Green-field's dust all the way, as
he stormed home some two minutes quicker than on his downward trip.
His overall time of 3.53.02 ensured the dominance continued for the
bikes over the four wheelers.
Jason Hill maintained second position on his CR500, giving Honda the
The third rider across the line was local Michael Vroom on a Kawasaki
For Greenfield it was a well paced performance over a track he knows
Hill learned that next year he needs to come south earlier for pre race
And in coming third Vroom even surprised himself, as he started well
back in the field and had only aimed at finishing in the top ten.
In the cars, Paul Simpson's effort in his Jimco with a V6 motor marked
a new dimension in the sport.
He was unheaded to Finke, reaching the half way mark an amazing 10
minutes quicker than the previous track record.
The Warrnambool based Simpson then set all, including the bike riders,
a real challenge when on the return trip he defied the odds and crossed
the finish line in 4.02.47!
In second place for the second successive year was Mark Burrows,
accompanied by Michael Shannon, in their Cougar 2200.
This combination are the current Australian Off Road Champions, making
Simpson's win all the more creditable.
Third placed across the line was the first local, Lachlan Weir, with
Patricia Hall in the "silly seat" of their Southern Cross 1600.
Also from Class Two, and in a Southern Cross, were fourth placed Brett
Taylor and Barry Smith, from Alice Springs.
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