June 18, 1997
PROMOTERS TAKE A HARD LOOK AT TERRITORY
TOURISM AMIDST CALLS TO GIVE TV STAR DARYL SOMERS THE FLICK
The NT Tourist Commission last month signed a new three-year contract
with TV host Daryl Somers, the Territory's "tourism ambassador".
However, there are provisions for the contract to be reviewed after 12
months, and the commission says his role may change in the light of a
review under way now, looking for new ways of lifting the ailing
Trade sources in The Centre, who asked not to be named, say the host of
"Hey, Hey, It's Saturday" should get the flick because he is irrelevant
to the Northern Territory.
He's seen as appealing mainly to young people - not the well-heeled
middle-aged people who ought to be the target of promotion.
Somers has fronted advertising for the NT Tourist Commission (NTTC)
The commission claims there are no plans to dump Somers but says it is
"reevaluating" promotion strategies. The NTTC will not reveal the fee
paid to Somers.
Also looking at improving promotional strategies is a group of local
businessmen and women working with the NTTC.
Tourism Minister Mike Reed has approved a special NTTC allocation of
$750,000 with the specific purpose of promoting the town of Alice
Springs - as distinct from the region.
Although some of the advisory group's members belong to the Central
Australian Tourism Industry Association (CATIA), the group operates
outside the association whose charter includes representing the Ayers
Meanwhile figures released by the commission reveal that fewer than
half the people visiting The Centre come to Alice Springs. During last
calendar year, 601,000 people travelled to the "Centre Region" - not
including Tennant Creek - but only 273,000 visited The Alice.
The region's only major destinations outside the town are Ayers Rock
and King's Canyon.
The Alice had a three per cent drop in visitor nights and a seven per
cent drop in tourist expenditure.
In the region as a whole, visitor
nights rose by five per cent, and expenditure, by four per cent, with
the benefits clearly going to Ayers Rock.
The region as a whole had a four per cent rise in commercial
accommodation sector revenue, while in the town it dropped nine per
When compared to the previous year, international visitors spent 11 per
cent more in the region despite a drop of a whopping 40 per cent in the
Labor tourism spokesman John Ah Kit, in a comment on NT tourism
generally, says ABS figures show "a big fall" in occupancy rates and
takings by hotels, motels and guest houses with 16 to 25 rooms.
Mr Ah Kit says the drop in the year ending in March was from 16,422 to
"Room occupancy rates, takings from accommodation and other indices of
activity all dropped, as did employment.
"These statistics confirm what smaller accommodation suppliers
throughout the Territory have been saying: This market segment is
receiving fewer guests, especially in regions outside Darwin."
Meanwhile the southern region's tourism lobby, CATIA, is getting a
$260,000 Federal grant for a new information and interpretation centre
now being built at the site of the old government infant health clinic,
right next to the town council's offices at the southern end of the
Federal Member Nick Dondas says the grant is the biggest in the NT
which will get a total of $435,000.
CATIA will also receive $506,400 - the same as the Darwin Region
Tourism Association - as its share of the "bed tax", according to Mr
He says a total of $1.6m will be distributed to the industry, with
$316,500 going to Katherine and $253,200 to Tennant.
The NT Government keeps three quarters of the Tourism Marketing Duty
which will raise $6.3m this year - up from $5.8m last year and $3.8m in
SCHOOL PRINCIPALS ARE ON SIX-FIGURE CONTRACTS -
BUT WHO DO THEY ANSWER TO?
By KIERAN FINNANE
Now may be the time for school councils of Territory Government schools
to negotiate a role in assessing the performance of their school
The performance criteria for principals who have recently taken up new
four year contracts have "still to be negotiated and worked through",
according to Ken Davies, President of the NT Principals' Association.
The principals themselves, like other senior public servants, will
negotiate their performance outcomes with their immediate supervisor,
the regional superintendents, says Mr Davies.
In his view, the superintendents would see an obvious role for school
councils in this process. However, he says ultimately it is up to the
employing authority, the Commissioner for Public Employment, to put
school councils formally into the performance management loop.
The commissioner would have made an assumption that incumbents have
already responded to a set of performance criteria when they were
originally selected into the job, says Mr Davies.
School councils would have had input into the original duty statements
and would have been represented on selection panels, in all probability
chairing the panel.
This continues to be the case in filling new positions. A spill of all
positions was never part of the deal, he says.
"In any change in a system there is always a catch-up process," says Mr
Davies. "Schools themselves, like all sections of the public service,
are still in process of implementing performance management systems.
"This has to be completed by the end of this year and principals are
not yet fully in that loop.
"But let me say this, any principal operating without school council
support these days would be doing it pretty tough.
"By the same token, we shouldn't assume that devolution means the same
sort of relationship between a school council and a principal as exists
in private schools.
"In the government school system principals are treated like senior
public servants, accountable primarily to their supervisors. To go
outside that structure would be to go outside existing public service
"It is now up to school councils and COGSO to negotiate their role in
the process with the Minister and Secretary of the Department of
Education and the Public Employment Commissioner," Mr Davies says.
Bruce Simmons, President of Anzac Hill High School Council, comments:
"It will be very difficult for school councils to have credibility if
they aren't involved with the 'performance management loop'.
"As I'm sure Ken Davies would agree, unless we create win-win
relationships, our school communities will be the big losers."
Outgoing Education Minister Fred Finch did not respond to a request for
LOCALS POUR OUT THEIR HEARTS ON LOCAL CRIME AND
RACE RELATIONS IN A SURVEY BY LABOR MLA PETER TOYNE. Report by BRYAN
Comments from over 1000 people responding to questionnaires circulated
by Stuart MLA Peter Toyne reflect the community's apparent angst over
racial tensions, crime and perceived inequalities.
Many went well beyond giving simple answers: "If our indigenous get
handouts from a nation from five plus generations ago, then why can't
we get a payment from England for deporting us for stealing bread ...
hankies ... and God knows what?" says one respondent.
A sample of other comments:
"I believe that Alice Springs community as a whole needs to come
together to work this problem out, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.
It's time people started to take responsibility for their own actions."
"Introduce hard labour into the jail, the worse the offence the harder
the labour. Make the jail a much more obnoxious place."
"Aboriginal people are disgusted at how gutless the white leaders,
policy makers and enforcers are. They reject weakness. Be fair but
hard, as it was with their tribal life. Make people earn and be
"The anti-social behaviour in Alice Springs will stop when the
Aboriginals request and insist we stop selling them alcohol. If you
speak to any Aboriginal, all they will tell you is how alcohol is
destroying themselves and their culture. "Programs, treatment,
accommodation, patrols, restrictions, control and enforcement cost
money and all it does is make the average tax payer bitter, and then
hatred sets in because nothing so far has worked."
"Myself and my mother from Perth were abused by a group of drunks on
the Flynn Church pathway to the Mall. I no longer support late night
trading and discourage my visitors."
"My uncle was abused and racially taunted by a drunk outside Hoppy's
store and tried to start a fight. [My uncle] was told by the
shop-keeper: ïThat fellow's always picking fights, just keep away
from him.' Why is this person still on the streets if he is so
"Police patrols must start at noon or when the takeaway outlets open,
before people are drunk and fighting and swearing."
"Stop camping at Todd River opposite Stuart Highway shops. Introduce
Singapore laws for garbage spreading, loitering and begging money at
shopping centres. Try to convince Aboriginals that water and soap are
not dangerous to their health."
"There is a high rate of truancy amongst Aboriginal people and an acute
disinterest by parents in making their children attend school. This
ultimately leads to grown ups who are illiterate and who have no
interest in getting a job."
"Until Aboriginals stop blaming all and sundry for their problems, and
take responsibility for themselves, and teach their children
responsibility, nothing will change."
"Mr Toyne, it's fine for you to cast aspersions on what the CLP
government has or hasn't done, but what did the Federal ALP do when
they were in power except throw more and more money at the problem? You
can't help people who won't help themselves."
"Make drunks locked in police cells clean up areas where they have
messed up the day before."
"If something is not done soon to combat problems in this town, more
and more people will leave. Wherever you go these days you seem to be
confronted with drunkenness, violence and abuse, and it's bringing this
town down. We have given ourselves another 12 to 15 months to see
whether things improve. If they don't, then we'll be following our
friends and moving away."
"Set up an Aboriginal-owned brewery where the profits go back into
Aboriginal communities. Think about it."
"Aboriginal people have to accept responsibility for their own
problems, by taking care of drunks and petrol sniffers in their own
"I would really like to see reconciliation in Alice Springs, but until
the racism against non-Aboriginals is halted, reconciliation is a pipe
"We feel very strongly about the disgusting state the Todd River is
always in. It is very discouraging for tourists and locals to see such
a potentially beautiful waterway treated with disrespect."
"Enforce hygiene at supermarket liquor outlets. Parents must be held
accountable for their children (petrol sniffing!) Not us. Stop the
dumping of community outcasts in Alice Springs. No more bull-shitting
"Although I think Pauline Hanson is a bit overboard, I do agree
handouts only feed the problem. Why should you help yourself when
others will do it for you?"
"Kill the Blacks!"
"Stop blacks urinating, swearing and drinking in public."
"Authorities should put the responsibility back on individuals to care
for themselves - to enable self pride/respect - instead of wasting more
of our money on ineffective programs."
"As Australia was settled initially by the English, why shouldn't
compensation for Aboriginals be paid by England?"
"The bleeding heart do-gooder attitude has to stop. This town is
divided because there is one set of rules for whites and a different
set of rules for the blacks."
"Pauline Hanson has some very good thoughts and one hell of a lot of us
agree with some of what she has the courage to verbalise."
Mr Toyne says: "Pauline Hanson and vigilante type people don't
represent the majority of the Alice Springs community."
"The bulk I would characterise as being hard-bitten, but not racist.
They are saying, Look, we've had a gutful of this problem and we want
it fixed; we don't want any more feel-good programs, we want some
really hard-edged action."
"They want someone to get in there and do some real work for a change.
Every word that has been written to us is being recorded. It's not just
going to be chucked in a bin."
Mr Toyne says he plans to publish the submissions in their entirety in
a document for distribution to Aboriginal and government organisations,
the town council and other pertinent authorities.
"It gives us a clear indication of what locals are privately thinking
This is signified by strong agreement by over 50 per cent of households
and disagreement by less than 10 per cent.
Statistical results of the survey are so far documented as follows:
Introduction of new crime prevention measures - 25 disagreed, 288
Introduction of an anti-truancy strategy - 21 disagreed, 365 strongly
Introduction of a permanent Juvenile Squad - 49 disagreed, 276 strongly
Increasing police patrols - 25 disagreed, 314 strongly agreed.
Extended programs for young people - 93 disagreed, 224 strongly agreed.
Control of petrol sniffing - 48 disagreed, 288 strongly agreed.
Strengthen Tangentyere Council's night patrol - 37 disagreed, 301
Encouragement of Aboriginal people to return to their home communities
through job creation and training programs - 23 disagreed, 359 strongly
Improvement of short term visitors' abilities to get home through
contract bus services - 103 disagreed, 208 strongly agreed.
Replacement of take-away alcohol sales with home deliveries to bona
fide addresses - 254 disagreed, 149 strongly agreed.
Strengthening of treatment programs for habitual drunks - 66 disagreed,
253 strongly agreed.
Provision of accommodation for family members who come to town with
seriously ill relatives - 132 disagreed, 158 strongly agreed.
Reduction of trading hours and outlets for alcohol sales - 176
disagreed, 251 strongly agreed.
Enforcement of the 2km law while providing licensed venues - 52
disagreed, 343 strongly agreed.
Provision of sporting venues out bush and the restructuring of
Centralian football to conduct more games at rural venues - 39
disagreed, 312 strongly agreed.
Strengthening of education-training-employment programs in Alice
Springs - 48 disagreed, 281 strongly agreed.
ABORIGINAL IMPARJA IS TELEVISION WITH FIRE IN
THE BELLY, Reports KIERAN FINNANE
To work in television, whether you're Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal, you
have to have "fire in the belly", says Imparja's new Chief Executive
Officer, Corallie Ferguson.
"It's an intense, multiple deadline work schedule so you have to be
keen," she says, emphasising the importance of a team effort.
"Everybody has their area of expertise, and senior management people
are especially important, but you can't operate alone."
Within this framework, her other key commitment is to "Aboriginal
succession" at Imparja.
Some 33 per cent of staff, working in all areas of the station's
operations, are of Aboriginal descent, including Janine Matthews,
presenter of Yambah's Playtime; Rachel Ellis, Jon Braun and Alan
Dowler, of the news team, and Joanne Lane as Human Resource Manager,
the most senior among them.
Six Aboriginal trainees will complete their three year traineeships in
a range of roles by the end of March next year.
While this Major Employment Strategy (MES), a joint Imparja and DEETYA
initiative, will not be renewed, other approaches promoting Aboriginal
succession will be put in place.
Most of the six trainees will be offered jobs at Imparja if positions
are available, says Corallie, but they will also be free to take their
skills elsewhere, following in the footsteps of a number of other
Imparja trained television professionals.
The station, 10 years old this year and financed originally by a
Bicentennial Authority grant of $2m and other public funding, now
operates on a commercial footing similar to other regional telecasters.
It receives a subsidy from the Federal Government via ATSIC for the
cost of its satellite signal ($2m in 1994-95 - but Corallie says "it's
not that now") but is otherwise self-supporting and all profit is
returned to the company.
Golden West, based in Perth, and Channel Ten, based in Townsville,
receive satellite subsidies from their respective state governments.
Imparja's income is generated by the sale of airtime and, to a lesser
extent, by sales in other areas, such as engineering.
The station is wholly Aboriginal-owned with CAAMA holding a majority of
the shares - 13 out of 23.
The remaining shares, one each, are held by the Central, Northern and
Tiwi Land Councils, the Pitjantjatjara Council, Warlpiri Media (based
in Yuendumu), the Top End Aboriginal Broadcasting Association (TEABA),
and by CAAMA in trust for the Kokatha and Maralinga peoples, based at
Port Augusta; ATSIC holds two shares.
Shareholders have never asked for nor received a dividend.
The spread of ownership reflects the size of Imparja's broadcast
footprint, the largest commercial footprint in the southern hemisphere,
extending from Melville Island in the north to Kangaroo Island in the
south, to the highlands of Victoria and to western New South Wales.
The sheer size of the area is the ongoing challenge for the station to
produce a meaningful regional news bulletin.
"Covering the broadcast area is vital to the existence of free to air
television," says another recent arrival, News Director Kevin
"Pay TV offers unfiltered entertainment, irrespective of where you are.
Only free to air TV will put the resources into responding to regional
The newsroom, with three journalists including Kevin, is capable of
generating up to five stories a day, but the majority of those come out
of Alice Springs.
At present "stringers" based in Darwin and Port Lincoln are also
contributing stories but that still leaves a lot of wide open spaces.
Kevin, formerly Network Editor with SBS and Executive Producer of the
ABC's First Edition, says that, apart from more resources, good
planning is necessary to "allow people to work as intensively as they
have to over long periods".
"All the signs are that things will click. We have good staff -
cameraman Alan Dowler is one of the best I've worked with."
"They and senior management want to succeed," he says.
Meanwhile, other programming remains much the same - "cherry-picking"
from the Seven and Nine networks, with the Winter Olympics next
February an upcoming highlight.
While CAAMA's original vision for Imparja intended a high level of
weekly Aboriginal programming, the expense of field production and
other considerations have set limits on this.
The current regular Aboriginal programs are the CAAMA-produced Nganampa
Anwernekenhe (Thursdays, 8pm and Sundays, 11am) and BRACS, a selection
of remote community productions (Sunday, 11.30am).
Ten years down the track, the focus of Australia's only indigenous
television station is frankly commercial, with Aboriginal ownership and
succession its most important distinguishing features.
LABOR WANTS TO MAKE BIG CHANGES TO TOWN PLANNING
Labor would revamp town planning procedures by introducing appeal
rights for objectors, allow town councils to appoint members of the
Planning Authority, and making the process more transparent.
Shadow Minister for Lands Clare Martin says under a Labor Government,
all land use objectives and town plans will be systematically updated,
following a widespread consultation with residents, developers,
planners, business and local government.
"Under our plan, all residents and business where rezoning and
development applications occur will be notified," says Ms Martin.
"They will be advised as to how they can be part of the decision
"All decisions made either by the Minister or the Planning Authority
(PA) will be published and reasons for the decision made clear.
"Third party rights will be defined and limited third party appeals
will be allowed."
Under the present law, only applicants - developers - can appeal to a
tribunal against a decision by the PA; objectors don't have that right.
Ms Martin says: "The Minister will not have the power to appoint the
local government representatives of the Planning Authority.
"This will be done by Local Government themselves."
"We will also ensure any contact between the Minister, his or her
office and the Planning Authority on development applications is
documented and available under the Freedom of Information Act."
"This will prevent any pressure being placed on the Planning Authority
"We have a plethora of residents' groups established because they feel
they have been left out of the planning process."
"In Darwin, the Lord Mayor has resigned from the Planning Authority and
other well-known community members have gone public with their
frustration over how planning occurs."
Greatorex MLA Richard Lim says Ms Martin "is trying to lead people up
the garden path as usual."
"I was on the Planning Authority [then the Town Planning Authority] for
seven of the eight years I was associated with the Alice town council,
and I do understand the process.
"Currently, the PA consists of five members, one from Central
Australia, plus three appointments by the Minister from nominations
submitted by the Alice Springs town council."
Dr Lim says the Alice town council rejected demands from the Minister
to nominate a non-alderman.
"As a result the council can dominate any issue that comes before them."
He says the council has a planning and development committee, meeting
usually a few days prior to the PA meeting, but the PA can change or
alter any resolutions. Dr Lim says: "Many residents' groups are formed
because town council members are not responsive to the community."
"That's because the majority of PA members are also aldermen."
"For instance, I am the Member for Greatorex which takes in the east
side of Alice Springs."
"There is a resident's action group called the Eastside Resident's
"We have constant dialogue. At the time of the cluster dwellings
controversy, we considered the problem together, listened to all sides,
and we finally took our views to the PA and a mutually satisfying
decision was made."
ERA chief Andre Burgess says her organisation had had a meeting with
the Minister, but there had been no recognisable result.
"We would welcome a review of the planning process," Ms Burgess said.
"Planning is probably one of the biggest issue facing us as a community
as we go into the next century."
Ms Burgess says through the new PA chairman John Maley, "we have been
given a good hearing.
However, there are problems with the Planning Authority."
The fact that a position on the PA, despite council nominations, was
left vacant for "so long" was unacceptable.
"This is one issue Mike Reed could have acted upon," says Ms Burgess.
"As a community group, we have forced our way in to have a say in the
"It needs to be a more accountable process. We have joined in on the
consultative process because we took the initiative to do so.
"Alice Springs is a unique place. You can't just go on dividing off all
the blocks and squashing in as many developments as possible, making it
look like the Gold Coast - forget it!"
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