ALICE SPRINGS NEWS,
May 16, 2001.


SOLAR POWER PUSH. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.

Home owners installing solar generators may soon be able to sell electricity to the Power and Water Authority (PAWA). They are also likely to qualify for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) which are already reducing the cost of solar hot water systems by hundreds of dollars. In addition there is an NT Government $400 "assistance package" for first home buyers installing a solar hot water system. The initiatives are driven by new Federal Government laws aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions and stimulating the use of renewable energy. Alice Springs is in the national zone – one of four zones – which qualifies for the highest number of RECs for solar hot water systems. These are allocated in proportion to the performance of the equipment, can be sold, and like shares, fluctuate in value. For example, a solar hot water system rated to deliver 220 litres a day – the two panel variety common in Central Australia – qualifies for an average of 29 RECs worth about $25 each. That is a total of $725 or about a third of the cost of the unit. The value of RECs varies with the demand for them: for example, state and privately owned power companies throughout the nation must acquire a quota of RECs, and if they can’t achieve it through their own uses of renewable energy, they must buy RECs. There is currently a growing trade in RECs between buyers of hot water systems in Alice Springs and power companies in WA and Queensland. Some manufacturers and retailers, including local operators Solahart and Taps, Tubs and Tiles, offer to arrange the sale of RECs as part of their service.The Centre is Australia’s region richest in sunshine, equally suitable for hot water systems based on heat exchange, and domestic power generators employing photo voltaic processes. PAWA last year issued to industry the technical standards for interconnection, and the buy-back scheme is being considered by the PAWA board and "will be announced shortly," according to a spokesman. Says Glenn Marshall, of the Arid Lands Environment Centre in Alice Springs: "Power companies in other states have had buy back schemes in place for several years. "PAWA has been dragging the chain and has been promising for 12 months that they are close to implementing a scheme." According to ReNew Magazine there are some 500 grid connected systems in Australia which have received Australian Greenhouse Office rebates of $7500. "Only one of these has been in the NT, and it is obviously because PAWA has no buy back scheme and people would be merely donating their excess power to PAWA," says Mr Marshall. "At least one interstate power company, Energex, is offering NT residents around $800 rebate to put a solar hot water system on their roofs, but PAWA is not. "Both Energex and PAWA must gather RECs. Energex is being entrepreneurial and pro-active, while PAWA is not. "In an age when greenhouse issues are extremely significant, PAWA should be leading the NT Government's initiatives." The principle of domestic solar generators is simple: they are hooked into the electricity grid in accordance with PAWA's safety guidelines. When the householder uses more power than his unit can produce he buys electricity from the power company. However, when his unit produces more electricity than he requires, it is fed back into the grid, the meter runs in reverse and the householder becomes the seller of power. Peter Teagle, of Eco Energy in Alice Springs, says a main advantage of this system is that no expensive batteries are needed. "A grid connect system suitable for the average three bedroom house in Alice Springs costs around $22,000 fully installed," says Mr Teagle. "This system can produce around seven kilowatt hours of electrical energy per day."It includes solar panels mounted on the roof of the dwelling or other suitable structure with a north facing aspect, for example, a carport. The panels feed DC electricity to an inverter, which converts the electrical energy to 240 volts AC. "The AC energy is then connected to the house electricity loads. "Any unused electricity is exported directly back into the PAWA grid via a meter," says Mr Teagle. System owners will receive a credit for any energy they export back to the PAWA grid on their quarterly account" – when PAWA introduces the scheme. Mr Teagle says there are also generous Federal Government rebates available, up to $5 per watt peak of installed solar panels. Rebates are capped at $7500 for 1500 watts. Apart from the money there is also a "feel good" factor: "Owners of grid connect systems are actively participating in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by producing renewable energy," says Mr Teagle. Mr Marshall says: "Householders can install smaller systems, reducing their dependence on the grid, and still qualify for the $7500 rebate. "For example, a system costing $15,000 would reduce dependence on mains power and half of the cost can be claimed." Home owners' contribution of electricity is especially attractive because of the demand patterns: photo voltaic power is produced during day time when domestic use is low but business and industrial demand is high. However, ReNew Magazine says there have been teething problems in other states. "Some meters are not designed to go both ways," says the magazine. "Some may even have a mechanism preventing ‘backwards' flow, while others may sneakily add up exported flow as if it was imported — thus increasing the bill, not reducing it."

TOP ARTISTS FOR OUR GIANT FEST. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.

Some of Australia's top stage designers and technicians are lending their talents to the Yeperenye Federation Festival – described by traditional owner Max Stuart as "a bit of a corroboree" to show people around the world how "the Arrernte love this country".The September 8 "corroboree" will be one of the key national events marking the Centenary of Federation.Together with the scale of the venue at Blatherskite Park – bigger in fact than that of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony – the significance of the festival necessitates a high level of expertise, says production designer Andrew Carter.Carter has been designing productions for 25 years, for the annual Watershed event in Perth (Australia's biggest live contemporary music event), for the Australian Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and the Nederlands Dans Theatre, among others, as well as for the shows "Mimi" and "Crying Baby" that were part of last year's Dreaming Festival and toured overseas.To make the Yeperenye event work in a venue without theatrical infrastructure, yet involving thousands of performers – including in its concert section around 15 of Australia's most famous, Indigenous and non-Indigenous – before an audience of some 20,000 – including the Governor-General, heads of state and international ambassadors – "you have to have people who've done it before", says Carter."Logistically, it will be like the Army doing an engineering project. "Tonnes and tonnes of gear will be sourced from all around Australia, and be brought in by road, train, and air."There'll be really powerful lighting instruments, costing thousands of dollars each just to rent for one night, and each needing their own operator. "There'll be a giant TV screen, what we call a ‘clipsal' screen, 12 metres by eight metres, weighing six and half tonnes – costing as much to rent as it does to buy a house!"Then there are the more basic issues to think about – like providing water and toilets for the performers and for the public."We are working as much as we can with local people, but the head of each department has to be a highly experienced professional."At present, Carter is flying into Alice Springs every four weeks, to work with the design team, under artistic directors Nigel Jamieson and Rachel Perkins (pictured)."Then I go back to my studio in Perth and make it all happen – draw plans, work out the scale, mechanics, weights, heights, come back, negotiate everything with the traditional owners, up till the final point when it all gets engineered."The Arrernte story of the ancestral Yeperenye caterpillar is providing Carter with "the backbone" of his visual ideas.The theatrical spaces will reflect the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. Some early drawings show, for instance, the concert stage with a wing-like structure which would also provide surfaces for projecting filmed images and lighting effects.Carter says he'll work with suggestive imagery, rather than anything too realistic: "On a large scale that could look tacky – we don't want to end up in Flintstone World."Because the imagery is culturally sensitive and subject to negotiation, and because many aspects of the performances are yet to be finalised, at this stage it's important for his ideas to also be highly flexible.What is now clear is that the festival is shaping up to a big weekend for Alice Springs.Around 1000 Indigenous performers from 25 regions around Australia, as well as groups from throughout the Centre, will take part in a two hour "welcome to country" ceremony from 5pm on Saturday, September 8.The Yeperenye spectacle, involving two thousand Alice Springs school children, black and white, will take place at 7pm, followed by the Road Ahead concert from 7.30pm.The concert is Perkins' baby. The CAAMA-trained film director says she is negotiating with Australia's top artists, who will each have a part of a story to tell about Australia's Indigenous people over the last 100 years.This will be done against a backdrop of filmed imagery, some of it archival, some of it specially created for the event, by Perkins herself and cinematographer Warwick Thornton. The next day will see a noon to dusk cultural festival, allowing for extended sets by the performers of the night before, and a major Indigenous arts and crafts expo.

Arrernte traditional owner Max Stuart can remember a time, when he was a boy around 11 and 12 years of age, when Arrernte people were united, and came together "as one big family"."There was no East Arrernte, West Arrernte, North Arrernte, we all sat in a circle," he says. "I want to bring that back, bring it back to life."Cultural liaison officer of the Yeperenye Federation Festival – the go-between, together with Rosalie Riley and Michael Liddle, of festival organisers at CAAMA and other traditional owners – Mr Stuart sees the occasion as a boon for the Arrernte."We'll show other people how we love this country."I met the Queen, I walked over the bridge [for reconciliation], they were good things but this will be better."Our country was taken away from us, but in the festival, let's forget about that, let's be happy and welcome people from all over the world ... white people and black people shoulder to shoulder."Mrs Riley agrees the festival will be a chance to show the world that "Arrernte culture, language, and dancing are still alive", but "we are still fighting for our land," she says.While the festival will celebrate the story of the Yeperenye, the ancestral caterpillar, the land of the story is locked up – by pastoral lease, the Crown, the town of Alice Springs itself."We are not allowed onto our country to get bush tucker or to hunt. It's trespass," says Mrs Riley.Mr Liddle says too often Arrernte traditional owners are not heard, because of the changes brought about in their country by the growth of Alice Springs. And they are ignored by other Aboriginal people as well as non-Aboriginal people."If we want to go to Warlpiri country or Pitjantjatjara country, we've got to get a permit," he says."But they can come here and play up and do things we wouldn't dream of doing in their country.He wants the other Aboriginal peoples of Central Australia to know that the Arrernte "have still got law here".

COUNCIL BIRTHDAY TOO HARD BASKET? Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.

On the eve of the current town council's first birthday the dump management is set to go back to private enterprise, playgrounds still don't have adequate shade, nor does the CBD have appropriate public toilets. There's some progress with litter, but flood management is still in the too hard basket, and a new council office building is back on the agenda – but this time not as "a Taj Mahal". So says Alderman Jenny Mostran who scored a massive majority in the primary vote for Mayor a year ago, but was pipped at the post, by nine votes, when Fran Erlich received the bulk of Geoff Miers' preferences. Ald Mostran, who despite her clear public approval also failed to get her peers' nod as Deputy Mayor, heads the council's economic and community development committee. She says there is much common ground between the elected members – seven of them new – but "we're not together on all issues". "We argue our stance, and we're not going to compromise our values, but not to the point where a decision doesn't get made. "We're willing to work together." She says when debating issues like alcohol control measures (the council agrees that supply restrictions may be part of urgently needed action) "you've had people come from miles and miles apart to get consensus". Ald Mostran agrees conservatives are in a majority but says there is no pattern of voting that would suggest the existence of factions. She says a proposed new council building, in its earlier draft lampooned as a Taj Mahal by then alderman, Mr Miers, has been on the "back burner for the last 12 months". "We will have to look at replacing it because of the deterioration of the building," or refurbish it. As in previous years, the council has remained unable to meet the pressing need for a suitable public toilet block in the town's centre: "It is certainly an issue that both Ald Annette Smith and I are fairly passionate about, if you can be passionate about toilets," says Ald Mostran. "We really want to have that on the agenda in the next 12 months." Ald Mostran says she and Ald Smith are trying to come up with " a viable solution" that will bring the toilets to the top of a council "to do" list. "It's easier for us to do the home work and put a proposal than to get a report on it," she says. During the run-up to the elections on May 27 last year, Ald Mostran – and several others now serving on the council – were vocal on the need for the council to play an active role in the town's economic development. Results are still sparse. Says Ald Mostran: "We've certainly been active on the Central Australian Regional Economic Development Committee ... we've kept the rates down, we've looked at promotion. "We've been successful in lobbying the government to do a feasibility study of an integrated – that's rail and road – passenger terminal." This would include showers and other facilities for tourists and visitors from the bush. Ald Mostran says economic development isn't only about new projects, but protection of existing ones. "When you have your windows smashed, your customers harassed and excessive shoplifting it has a huge detrimental effect. "The council lobbied successfully for more police patrols. "That happened pretty quickly. "Police foot patrols resumed. "We've put in for a grant from NT Safe for better lighting in the mall. "We need to get the town clean and green. "You can't have major tourism when the town looks like a dump." Ald Mostran also says they've been trying to attract conferences into the town.She says the dump, referred to in official parlance as the land fill, "is the environmentally most sound in the NT". Why do users, who now have to pay, still have to put up with the stench, flies and mud at the dump face, especially in wet weather, when they could be given the option of dropping their load into a skip placed near the new weigh bridge? "That's certainly an option," says Ald Mostran. "If people have good ideas they should approach us and we'll have a look at them. "I would really like to see the dump being operated by private contractors. "The council has run the dump for the past 12 months to get all the environmental guidelines up to scratch and we now know how the dump runs. "When we call tenders to have the dump operated privately we have a lot more knowledge of what's required." She expects tenders will be called "in the next few months". The council hasn't commissioned any consultancies at the moment: "We're very wary about their value. "Are they just a delaying tactic? Are you really going to get the answers you need? "Sometimes consultants will answer questions the way you want them answered." Shade for playgrounds – another hot election issue – "were promised to me in this financial year". "We had the open spaces consultancy in May 2000, which was bigger than Ben Hur. "It covered everything. "So we broke it down and we were adamant that Araluen Park was going to be the prototype. "We have the design and the tenders will be called in five weeks. "Araluen Park will have shade at the end of the financial year." That project will cost $60,000. What about the other parks? "This is a prototype. We've done a review of all the other parks, and we'll be working on these parks once we have done Araluen Park." Ald Mostran says she has achieved greater transparency of the council decision-making process: "I've challenged the way people have access to aldermen." Three months ago open forums before council meetings were introduced, with the agendas published in advance, so that " people can raise an issue before it is ratified by the full council meeting". On Saturday, May 26 aldermen will be available on the council lawns to "let people have their say". Ald Mostran says she raised the town's litter problem in July last year. A program is now being drawn up "based on education and employment of a CDEP ‘work for the dole' crew," under the supervision of council officers, and in cooperation with businesses, "to reinforce pride in the town". The aldermen are also "working on a policy". "Ald Bob Corby moved that we employ a litter officer, which we've done. We're looking at litter hot spots ... so litter doesn't stay there over night. That's where the [recently purchased four-wheel-drive] quad bikes come in." Ald Mostran says in the last 12 months there has been an improvement with litter "in the mall, in parks, in particular trouble spots: "We clean the Lions Walk on Anzac Hill, we do Billygoat Hill. "We're setting up a data base of the worst affected areas. We're looking at getting bigger bins, more bins. "And that's been happening. "Overall the litter has dropped in town." She says the newly introduced spot fines are "certainly not the object of the program". "The program is an eucation based program." The memorandum with Tangentyere Council will bring relief with " stray dogs, litter, cooperation between staff and enforcing bylaws". "Anti-social behaviour is an ongoing problem, and there are peaks and troughs, but now that we have this relationship with Tangentyere, we're working on it, we don't hide from it." The council expects a full briefing next week on the NT Government's plans for the sewage plant (Alice News, April 18). There will be no deficit in the 2001/2002 budget under preparation now, says Ald Mostran. Last year's budget was $13m. Ald Mostran says "rates will rise this year if we can justify it to the ratepayers". "We've been very tight with our budget. "I'm a firm believer that when you're looking after the pennies the pounds will come in."She says this year's budget will be the first of the new council that won't have to deal with commitments from the previous one. Major items of the "wish list" are litter control, parks, a big program on road verges. An important item still needing attention is flood mitigation, says Ald Mostran, and the Eastside levy bank should not be on its own: "The rest of the town is entitled to protection, too. "You only have to look at Katherine and realise the devastation that major floods cause, and sooner or later we're going to get one." So far the council has eradicated couch and other weeds in the creekbeds to free up the flow, and cleaned drains, which has already helped to avoid flooding in Cromwell Drive. A new debate about an upstream dam – recognised as the only form of comprehensive protection for the town – should not be ruled out, says Ald Mostran. Aboriginal attitudes, public views and engineering standards may well have changed since the last dam proposal was knocked on the head by the Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, to protect sacred sites.

GROG: GIVE TRIALS A GO? Comment by ANN CLOKE.

Friends rang to say: "Great to get the Alice Springs News delivered to the door, so civilised! Read your piece ...""Keep your views light-hearted," advised Francoise. Well that was my intention. I thought about doing a little snippet on all those splendid hats, and where they disappear to in between prestigious race days... that was before I discovered the "Alcohol in the Alice" newsletter. Everyone is talking about the proposed trial of liquor restrictions in the Alice and many people are hoping that this trial will offer solutions to other problems as well – like the litter one. Last weekend we met a couple who have been here about three months. I enjoy meeting people and talking about first impressions of Alice. We managed to get into one of those inane discussions which tends to lump all issues together, covers everything and resolves nothing – and everyone has an opinion. The new arrivals couldn't believe the spectacular landscape, colours, the ranges (they had thought the Centre would be flat and uninteresting), the many benefits the town has to offer, however they both remarked on the state of the town, litter- wise, and the glaring fact that we haven't sorted out our "social problems" yet. The debate about liquor restrictions is not a new one. Most citizens will be interested to see how much impact restricting the sales of alcohol will have on our social dilemma – general security and safety, and walking around the town at night, especially after viewing a late movie are key concerns. Alice Springs has become an angry town. There have been a number of changes to the Liquor Licensing Laws over the years: the banning of the sale of sherry and port in flagons; the introduction of the ruling allowing the purchase of one four litre cask of wine per person after 4 pm; licensing hours have been shortened; and the Tyeweretye Club opened for business. I spoke to staff members at two of our bottle shops and they each suggested that it's not the regulations which need to be changed, it's the patrons who need to be educated. At some point we each have to be responsible for our own actions. However, they also suggested that if the proposed trial of liquor restrictions is actioned in conjunction with tougher measures to reinforce the two kilometre drinking law, then many of Alice's social problems will be sorted out. The majority of townspeople will probably support changes to the Liquor Licensing Act even though many do not agree with the restrictions in principle – any action seems better than nothing. It's not acceptable for any person, black, white or brindled, to loiter around public places, drinking alcohol, creating disturbances, dropping litter, using obscene language, defecating, abusing and threatening passers-by and generally being aggressive or violent. The whole issue of alcohol restrictions will only ever have a bandaid effect until positive alternatives are identified and put in place. Peoples' attitudes need to change – they need to accept that this IS our problem and it will not go away. All sectors of our community need to face reality and get involved with coming up with solutions, because unless there is strong community support for action there will be no change.

LETTERS: Pine Gap: Does Mayor have her head in sand?

Sir,- I read with absolute dismay the comments of the mayor Fran Erlich in relation to activities at the Pine Gap Base (Alice News, May 9). By stating that Alice Springs is not likely to be at any more risk because of New Missile Defence, she acknowledges that Alice Springs is already at risk because of the siting of the base in the town. Yet, amazingly, the mayor "does not expect a briefing". Why? Because the Americans contribute so much to the economy and we are only at "the micro level". So we are micro, and they give us so much money! So who expects to know what they are doing? So what are they doing in there (down there)? Well, some call it the space base (harmless enough), and others say it is a critical part of the great war machine. Some say we are a nuclear target, others that we are not. Some say they can eavesdrop on our emails and phone calls in Moscow and Beijing, others say they guide missiles from submarines. Some say it's great for the economy and others say it's a tragic military spending wasteland. Some say this and some say that and it goes on and on and on and on. But the truth is, we don't know for sure what is going on in there. This is why the comments of the mayor are so staggering. She doesn't even expect to know. She just says they contribute to our economy and the people are "fantastic". But I really wonder about the public morality of closing our eyes and holding out our hands for the money. It seems it's just so much easier to be nice. The truth is, we don't have the public information to judge – and certainly not enough public debate. We have only our suspicions, one way or the other. But what is extremely troubling is the "niceness", the code of silence, the "we can trust them, they must be all right" and "we'll take the money and ask questions later" attitude. If our community leaders are so complacent, it's no wonder this war machine is growing on the edge of our town.
John Grundy
Alice Springs

Sir,- I have sent the following letter to the Development Consent Authority:- You will soon meet to consider an application by the NT Government to subdivide a block of land in Head Street, next to the School of the Air. The block will be auctioned to a developer on June 1, who is obliged to subdivide it into 15 residential lots, and then sell seven lots back to the NT government who will on-sell them to first home buyers at a subsidised price ($48,000). The Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) has concerns about this development, which is openly acknowledged as a rushed political decision to accommodate first home buyers. Firstly, why didn't the NT government subsidise existing vacant blocks in town, instead of opening an entirely new subdivision to do the same thing? More importantly, the Head St site had been earmarked (by government personnel and others) as a future "Greenstreet" development which was to show-case arid zone design principles in the town. This badly needed objective has been shelved in favour of short-term political point-scoring. How long does Alice Springs have to wait for government leadership on arid zone developments? As with the $10 million Convention Centre (which had no design requirement for arid- zone appropriateness), this Head Street process demonstrates the government's disdain for its own Alice in Ten Desert Knowledge Project, and its lack of planning vision for the town. Head Street could have been a wonderful opportunity to incorporate best-practice stormwater harvesting (as discussed by the visiting stormwater expert, Marino Evangelisti, whose visit to Alice Springs last year was sponsored by the NT government), traffic calming, pedestrian focused streets and lot layouts which maximise the advantages of the sun, without adding to the overall cost of the development. Equally, it is simple to mandate for well-designed houses, which face north- south, have minimal windows on the western side, have good cross-ventilation for cooling and incorporate numerous other insulating features. In the mid 1990s, the Department of Lands, Planning and Environment specified minimum arid-zone features for new houses in the Diarama subdivision. Interestingly, DLPE staff claimed in the Alice Springs News last week that they cannot impose such conditions because the NT Planning Act (1999) and the Alice Springs Land Use Objectives (1999) do not specify then. They also indicated that the forthcoming Urban Design Manual (which is being developed by the Alice in Ten Built Environment Project) will provide a framework for better design. From ALEC's understanding of the manual, it will only be granted "guideline" status by the NT government, and therefore can continue to be ignored by developers if they wish. ALEC therefore asks the Development Consent Authority to exercise its responsibility towards improving the built environment of our town. We urge you to ensure that the subdivision reflects common sense design principles in the arid zone, instigating a demonstration site in Alice Springs that others can draw inspiration from, by doing the following:- 1. Ask the NT government why they are not subsidising existing vacant blocks in Alice Springs. By rushing the Head Street site, they lose the opportunity to develop a showcase " Greenstreet" site. 2. Instruct DLPE, prior to auction, to develop a subdivision layout that maximises arid zone features such as stormwater harvesting, traffic-calming, a focus on pedestrians, open space, and maximises the solar gain of each lot. 3. Instruct DLPE to develop minimum house design requirements for all new houses on the subdivision, which maximise the passive features which make a house comfortable without large energy inputs for cooling and heating. 4. Inform prospective developers that if they purchase the land, they will be obliged to liaise with DLPE and the Desert Knowledge group to maximise arid zone features in the subdivision. The DCA may claim that it is not its role to impose such conditions on developments. However, somewhere in the chain of hierarchy somebody needs to take a stand to instigate desert- focused developments in Alice Springs. Otherwise the government will continue to ride rough-shod over potential " Greenstreet" sites, to the long-term detriment of Alice Springs.
Glenn Marshall
Coordinator
Arid Lands Environment Centre

QUARTER OF A CENTURY OF GREAT AUSSIE CRAFT. Report by DOROTHY GRIMM.

The Alice Craft Acquisition permanent collection is an impressive history of Australian craft over the past 25 years. "I know of none like it in all of Australia. "The people whose works are in the collection are the top in their field and set the example for others to follow." So says Dr Jean Battersby, foundation chief executive officer of the Australia Council, the Federal Government's principal arts agency, and "purchasing adviser" for the 26th Alice Craft Acquisition. While Dr Battersby was at the gallery, former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam also arrived. His visit prompted her to recall that "in the late 1960s we made recommendations to the government for support in three fields – film, Aboriginal art, and craft – which were not receiving help at the time". "Film and Aboriginal art got support but craft was knocked back. "I was at a meeting where members of the Community Arts Advisory Board described crafts people as ‘only Saturday afternoon dabblers.' "The absolute snobbery of the statement! "With the subsequent change of government and Gough Whitlam as Minister for the Arts we had a national crafts board within a few weeks." Dr Battersby says that until the Australia Council initiated separate funding for craft and crafts persons, crafts people were " second class citizens": "Very few could make a living as a professional crafts person; most had to teach. "With the establishment of the Australia Council and the Crafts Board's encouragement, [that changed]. "And entering into acquisitions such as the Alice one provided them with the opportunity to show their work, which they needed." Dr Battersby says that since craft is a broader art form, more people are apt to respond to it than they might to other art forms. "Craft is practical; craft is something people can do with their hands," Dr Battersby says."People feel comfortable when they are exposed to craft. "They do not always feel comfortable when exposed to other art forms, such as opera. "And it is easier for people to work with their natural response than to try to develop something with which they do not feel comfortable." Seven pieces were acquired this year, following Dr Battersby's recommendations. One of her responsibilities was to look for works which would help round out the collection. "Of course quality is the overall factor," she says. "In the final analysis what comes to the top should be good, like cream rising. "It is easy to pick quality if one looks at things enough and if one know the process, if one understand what goes into making craft. "First of all I looked for technical competence. "Then I looked for originality and refinement of execution, and a little bit of humour if possible. "I also looked for something that related the choice to outback Australia, like fibres and related material. "But there really was no right or wrong to the criteria." Dr Battersby's choices were: Blue Chaos 1 - Blue Murder, a kiln formed glass by Jon Firth from Darwin; Machu Picchu, a silk and cotton wrap by Milena Young from Alice Springs; Galaxy Brooch, made of 9ct yellow and white gold by Jeanette Dyke from Victoria; Medicine Bag, made of corrugated iron by Heather Leonard from Victoria; Pilbara Series - Platter of porcelain by Anita McIntyre of ACT; Essence of the Spirit, hand woven textile by Kate Ward of ACT; and, Underground, a wooden box by Andrew Wood of Victoria. Dr Battersby says that although additional funding was available for the acquisition of Northern Territory craft pieces, there were not a lot of pieces entered by Aboriginal crafts people, which was disappointing. The acquisition shows at Araluen through May 27. A retrospective of previous acquisitions is on display at the Territory Craft Gallery, in the building adjacent to Araluen.

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