ALICE SPRINGS NEWS,
August 3, 2006. This page contains
all major reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
CHANCE TO SHIFT NOISY POWERHOUSE.
By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Power and Water seems to have a golden opportunity for a 10 year plan
to move the Alice power station away from where it is causing a noise
smell nuisance close to residential areas.
All eight of the Ron Goodin Power Station’s piston engines will reach
the end of their life within 10 years, some of them within just three
Of the three replacement engines bought so far, all of them turbine
powered, the Titan, set up outdoors, is causing noise so serious that
Power and Water is currently accommodating one Range Crescent family in
a local luxury hotel until a solution is found.
Power and Water boss Kim Wood describes the noise levels as
“unacceptable” and the NT Government’s Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) says it has given “advice” to Power and Water, owned by the NT
Government, “on the levels of sound attenuation that will be required
to keep noise below the nuisance threshold”.
Mr Wood says if the fitting of sound dampening baffles scheduled for
October is not successful, in the event of “continuing unacceptable
noise levels, Power and Water will consider other options, including
the possibility of relocating the Titan”.
A logical new location would be Brewer Estate, well outside the town,
on the South Stuart Highway, an industrial complex owned by the NT
Government and already home to a private power station.
Mr Wood says “Power and Water currently has no plans to relocate the
Ron Goodin Power Station”.
Clearly, a decision is likely to depend on the pressure Alice Springs
is able to bring to bear on the NT Government which is currently
a second power station in Darwin.
The time seems right for liberating the long suffering residents in the
Golf Course Estate from the noise and smell emanating from the power
station since the advent of the turbines, far more intrusive than the
piston motors running when the subdivision was opened up.
The power station’s five Mirrlees and three Pielstick engines can run
on diesel or gas. They are mounted on massive concrete foundations not
needed for turbine engines which also require less maintenance.
However, with the rise of fuel prices, state-of-the-art piston engines
may be a better deal than turbines.
The replacement cost of the generation hall in the event of a shift to
Brewer Estate, not counting the motors and generators, is probably
The super heavy foundations required by the old machines would not be
Even if, because of their fuel efficiency, new piston engines were
installed, medium size foundations would suffice.
Shifting the Titan, which is on wheels, wouldn’t take much, but getting
the electricity to the consumer is another question.
Mr Wood says the cost moving the Titan to Brewer Estate plus running
new lines would be around $12m, while relocating “the entire power
station could cost many times that amount”.
Generation manager in Alice Springs Jean-Luc Revel says because of the
present power station’s proximity to the town, all that’s needed is a
distribution network. But if the major generation capacity were to be
moved to Brewer, then a 66,000 volt transmission line may be needed,
with a sub-station close to town from which the distribution lines
would fan out.
Interstate noise consultants were hired, says Mr Wood, because “the
Department [of Environment] advised they do not conduct work of this
nature, as their policy is to respond to complaints from the public”.
Meanwhile it is understood that a complaint has been lodged, and an
officer of the department is now taking sound readings.
It is also not clear why the consultants’ report refers to the
“average” noise of the Titan and not to noise peaks, and how much that
average noise is above the background noise (Alice News, July 27).
Territory authorities, apparently in the absence of definitive local
legislation, are guided by noise laws and regulations in NSW.
In that state “intrusive noise” is defined as noise which for any 15
minute period is five decibels or more louder than the background
The NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 sets the
following penalties for noise offenders:-
• In the case of a corporation, a penalty not exceeding $1m and, in the
case of a continuing offence, to a further penalty not exceeding
$120,000 for each day the offence continues.
• In the case of an individual, a penalty not exceeding $250,000 and,
in the case of a continuing offence, to a further penalty not exceeding
$60,000 for each day the offence continues.
Mr Wood has told the Alice Springs News about the question of average
and peak noises: “I will have our generation people clarify the matter
with the consultant, then give you a response as soon as it is
CENTRECORP PART OF PETER KITTLE'S EXPANSION IN SA.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
Centrecorp Aboriginal Investment Company is part of the Peter Kittle
Motor Company expansion into South Australia.
A member of the Centrecorp board, Imparja chief Owen Cole, confirmed
the corporation’s involvement in a brief phone interview.
Alice News: We understand that Peter Kittle Motor Company is undergoing
a significant expansion in Adelaide, buying two more Toyota
wondering if Centrecorp is involved with that expansion?
Owen Cole: Centrecorp is involved with Peter Kittle so that tells you.
News: What is the advantage of that investment for Aboriginal people
in Central Australia – it won’t create opportunities for
employment here, will it?
Cole: Blind Freddy could tell you what the advantage is. It’s a
If the News could take over The Australian you’d do it. What’s the
News: The issues aren’t the same. There’s high unemployment amongst
Aboriginal people in the Centre. Why doesn’t Centrecorp [founded as
charitable institution to invest mining, oil and gas royalties on
behalf of the Aboriginal people to whom they are due] focus on
investments that create employment opportunities?
Cole: We do.
News: In what ways?
Cole: In obvious ways. You just have to look. Why don’t you employ
News: We would if they came through the door and were qualified.
Cole: There you go. I’ve got nothing more to say.
TOURISM UP AFTER SLOW START.
By ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
A good tourist season has breathed optimism into the Mall, with most
traders the Alice News spoke to upbeat about their business.
And CATIA chair Lynne Peterkin says there’ve been “reasonable rises
across the board”.
She says compared with last July tour company figures are up by as much
as 15 per cent and car hire companies are up 10 per cent.
Accommodation figures “vary so much” but in July Ms Peterkin’s own bed
and breakfast Orangewood, was up 20 per cent from last July.
“Most people I’ve been speaking to have forward bookings until mid
November which is very good,” says Ms Peterkin, explaining the boost by
big conferences and the Masters Games.
But she says the backpacker market is still flat and some tour
operators have reported their figures have levelled out.
“It’s because there are a lot more self drivers and so they’re not
taking tours. While the rise in the cost of fuel hasn’t stopped
their annual trek north chasing the sun, they’re not spending as much
“The fuel prices have not stopped the numbers coming but indications
are they’re not spending as much when they’re here.”
Conferences bring extra custom to The Dressing Room, says manager,
“The conferences at the Convention Centre help me through: there was a
principals one this week and the nurses one recently helped too.”
The Red Dog Café has seen “at least a 20 per cent increase in
customers”, says Chris Brandso.
“Last year we were doing good each morning and at weekends, now we’re
busy all day.
“The events like the truckies conference meant we had big days last
year: this year it’s steadier which I think is better.”
Starting a shop website last year has paid dividends over the last six
months, says Pam Hooper, proprietor of Don Thomas Saddlery.
“At first it was a bit light on but over the past six months we get
thousands of hits a day.
“We’ve got a good solid local base but the website really has worked
well for overseas orders across the world from Japan to California.
“This year we’ve had lots more interest on saddlery items and horse
care items. I think people are after anything different from around the
“We haven’t got around to a website yet, that’s the next thing to do,”
says Hans Boessem, manager of the Todd Camera Store.
“We’re having a better year than last year. People aren’t spending more
money but there are more people coming through. I’ve noticed a lot of
Europeans. Not so many Japanese: I think they go straight to Ayers Rock
The proposed runway at Yulara can only reduce business for Alice
Springs, predicts Barry Dew of Alice Souvenirs who also owns Outbush
and the Bush
Store tourist shops.
“There are less international tourists this year. It’s hard to compare
numbers of domestic tourists.
“But the tourist industry needs to sit down and get something done for
“I’ve got three shops and in 20 years of trading I’ve never seen a
representative of the tourist bureau.”
An unexpected number of locals are contributing to the latest internet
café in town, says owner of Adventcha Net, Daniel Davis.
“Business is much better than we thought.
“We’ve had a couple of hundred people a day: mature age people,
backpackers, quite a few locals. There’s a real mixture of locals and
Although locals make up the majority of patrons at The Lane, the number
of visitors is increasing, says James Nolan.
“Tourists normally make up 30 per cent but they’re up to 35 to 40 per
cent at the moment.
“Overall figures track similarly to last year,” says Mr Nolan.
Retailers underestimate the value of tourists, says Bev Ellis of
“We did a survey last year and found that 35 per cent of people coming
through the shop were from interstate or internationals,” says Ms Ellis
who says the refurbishment of the Alice Plaza and car park has shaken
businesses in the Plaza.
“It’s difficult to use last year as a comparison because of the
redevelopment. There are several vacant shops here now.”
On the proposed beautifying of the Todd Mall by the town council, Ms
Ellis says: “Any changes to the Todd Mall will be expensive and there
be a lot of thought about them. It needs an orderly and progressive
The Plaza redevelopment hasn’t meant a significant reduction in trade
at Murray Neck Music World says manager Ronnie Couturier.
“It hasn’t affected us. We’re still busy. [The redevelopment work]
might be off-putting for some stores but we’ve still seen good trading.
“Figures have gone down a little but will regain in the long term.”
COUNCIL TO INVESTIGATE TENDER FOR FURNITURE.
Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
A committee of aldermen will investigate the tendering process for the
of furniture to the new Civic Centre.
The Alice Springs News revealed in its issue of June 29, two days
the centre officially opened, that local traders had been frozen out of
$300,000 furniture deal.
Murray Neck Homeworld was not supplied with tender documents despite
promised them; the tender period was just seven working days; and
and finishes nominated could not be supplied by local companies.
The tender was managed on behalf of the council by engineering firm
On Monday aldermen voted unanimously to support the investigation.
“Our specific directions were to use local and Territory companies
possible,” said Alderman David Koch.
“There could be good reasons why the tender went interstate. Was it
timing, or was it inefficiency on our part or on the part of GHD?
“The people of Alice Springs are asking for answers.”
Ald Murray Stewart said it was part of council’s charter “to ensure a
go for Alice Springs and Territory businesses” and asked what will
to the town “if we can’t look after our own.
“We should clear the air or if fault is found, ensure that it never
again,” said Ald Stewart.
Ald Samih Habib, whose motion it was to form the investigative
said the only reason he supported to redevelopment of the Civic Centre
to “create jobs, keep the town moving”.
Answers on the tender process are necessary, he said, because “business
support us. If my daughter’s in Girl Guides, she goes to local business
support. No one else looks after us”.
Council had breached its own policy, said Ald Habib.
“Do we trust ourselves, our director and staff or not?
“People [in business] are struggling and they want answers.”
In other council business:
Aldermen heard from Andrew Durbridge of DBL Property P/L, consultants
a scoping and costing study of the proposed heated swimming pool.
Mayor Fran Kilgariff allowed some questions from the public gallery to
put to Mr Durbridge.
There was anxiety expressed that the facility may not cater for the
to swim” needs of the community. At present school children can only
during terms one and four, but a heated pool would allow programs all
Mr Durbridge said the “base facility” he would be looking at is a 25m
of uniform 2m depth, attractive for competitive swimmers and events,
“learn to swim” lanes or a separate teaching pool would be costed as an
A uniform 2m depth would be “totally inappropriate” for learners and
teachers, according to a speaker from the public gallery.
Mr Durbridge said his job is to provide a “technical analysis” of all
options so that council can then make a decision.
Another speaker suggested that “council has already made a decision”,
Ms Kilgariif strongly denied.
Ald Jane Clark suggested that all user groups channel their statistics
use of the pool to the consultants through council’s works manager,
Council formalised its refusal to accept handover of the Traeger Park
until the security fence issue is resolved but supported the creation
a working party together with representatives of the Territory
to review the Traeger Park masterplan.
This is with a view to providing up to date costings, recommended
and funding responsibilities.
A number of aldermen reiterated concern over the lack of consultation
the naming of the grandstand (see Alice News, July 20). The Territory
will hear from them on this, but before taking any other action council
wait for the results of negotiation by AFLCA with the Hayes family.
OUR TOWN LIKE ALICE.
By ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
Audiences are set to fall in love all over again with Peter Finch and
Virginia McKenna as the town steps back to 1956 for a celebratory
screening of A
Town Like Alice, marking the film’s 50th anniversary.
The film of Nevil Shute’s novel premiered in Australia at the Pioneer
Theatre, now the YHA, and will be shown there again using three reels
of film on
the old-fashioned projector.
Guests are encouraged to dress in 1950s styles to walk down the red
carpet, and film memorabilia will also be displayed.
As a young girl, Telka Williams nearly appeared in the film and she
remembers the excitement of the premiere, attended by Peter Finch and
“The film was wonderful then and still is today,” says Ms Williams.
“I was working as a hairdresser in Todd Street at the time it was being
filmed, and I and an apprentice friend of mine were extras.
“All the cars had to leave the road and there was just a horseman
riding down Todd Street.
“We had to walk across the road three or four times or so.
“On the night of the premiere we were sitting on the edge of our seats
waiting to see ourselves.
“But the humorous part was we had been cut and didn’t end up in the
film at all! We were very disappointed.
“I remember it was a cold night and I took my pillow to the theatre. We
sat in the back half and it was packed.”
The irony of the film is that Alice Springs only features in the last
seven minutes of the movie. But it is the unforgettable romance of the
story (based on a real-life adventure) which has made Alice Springs the
famous town of its size in the world.
Locals may remember a screening in 1999 for the Cancer Council when
Virginia McKenna visited Alice Springs for the first time.
On August 16 at 7pm. Tickets available from Dymocks, the YHA and the
National Trust. All profits will be donated to the Royal Flying Doctor
Service, as they were at the premiere (when $25,000 was raised).
YOUTH BREAKS THE BEAST.
Report by ELISABETH ATTWOOD.
The sound of hip hop booms through the corridors of Alice Springs High
I open the studio door and am faced with a scene like from the dance
A large group of male and female students dressed in colourful funky
clothes step forward in formation, pumping their arms and sharply
moving their head left and right.
They’re led by Gerard Veltre, a hip hop dancer, choreographer and
director from Melbourne (pictured with student Brittany Mather).
The music cuts and the class relaxes.
“I’m so proud of you guys!” says Veltre as he claps his hands and
shares some last minute advice: it’s the last time the class will meet
The workshop is one of a series teaching hip hop dance and music
organised by Incite Youth Arts.
“It’s been a really special experience,” says Veltre.
“It’s one thing teaching in Melbourne and Sydney but to have the
opportunity to meet with students from Alice Springs and teach at
Yipirinya, an Aboriginal school, is a real privilege.
“People here know hip hop and they’re very cool dancers.
“We’re not really teaching but sharing and developing youth culture so
it stays in the community when we leave.
“It’s about nursing artists to be community teachers, like
Brittany Mather from OLSH College is a mentor for the program which
means she’s been helping groups in different schools learn hip hop
The plan is for her to carry on the work that Veltre has done.
“I’m like an assistant to Gerard,” says Brittany.
“I used to go to dance classes, now I do it on my own.
“Being a mentor is good experience. I’ve learnt heaps from Gerard: he’s
older and a very good dancer.”
Hip hop music workshops are being held this Friday and next Wednesday
and Friday (August 9 and 11) at the Red Hot Arts Space. Call 89
for more info.
The program ends with a gig at The Lane, Hip Hop Up Top at 7pm, August
12, with Combat Wombat.
BABY OF A BABY BOOMER.
Columnist ADAM CONNELLY.
I am the child of a baby boomer.
I know my parents are baby boomers because baby boomers have embraced
nostalgia like no other generation before or since. The music, the old
cars restored and the good old days when love was free and one person
could change the
Now I don’t have a problem with nostalgia. I do have a problem with
middle aged men using nostalgia as an excuse to try and fit their
middle aged buttocks into their nowhere near middle aged jeans but no
problem with nostalgia
All nostalgia is is a sentimental view of history. Nothing wrong with
that in good measure and the baby boomer excels at it.
Being born in 1975, I fall into a classification gap. I don’t think I
fit into Generation X and I’m certainly not Generation Y or E. Whatever
category I fit must love a good list. We can’t get enough of lists. The
this or the best 50 that.
I sometimes think in lists. Just like John Cusak in the film High
Fidelity I am a top five freak. I can tell you my top five Sunday
my top five things to do while listening to my top five Sunday morning
songs, even my top five favourite ex-girlfriends (OK maybe that’s a top
don’t get out much!).
With this in mind, I give you my first ever top five list published.
Here goes: Adam Connelly’s top five things he would never have done had
he not moved to Alice Springs. (When written in the third person a list
assumes a sense of importance. See, all bases covered.)
Number five –ridden a camel.
Sure I didn’t race one at the Camel Cup but I did get to go around the
track on a lovely beast called Sam. I don’t think Sam was exactly
with the idea of carrying around such a burdensome load but I had a
Wel,l it is easy to say one has had a ball after the fact. Truth be
told while two and a half metres above the ground on the back of an
animal which up until recently I’d only seen in zoos or on television
my thoughts weren’t, “Wow this is fun”. More like, “Lord Jesus, full of
Grace…” Having said that, while riding a camel never quite made it on
the things to do before I die list, I’m glad for the experience.
Number four – paid more rent than a mortgage.
Friends of mine just asked their bank manager for an 800,000
dollar mortgage in Sydney. $800,000!
House prices here in Alice Springs are far more sensible. A decent home
in a quiet street is an obtainable goal. However, sneaky people known
have figured out an ingenious ruse.
Due to the high number of people who come to the Alice for a short
period of time, many of them would prefer to rent a home.
It blows my mind that the place in which I live has the same rent as a
place three times bigger in a capital city. This entry also belongs on
“Adam’s top five things that get my back up” list.
Number three – said “Too easy”.
Just as different places have different names for the same thing, so
too do they have different sayings. Let’s not get started on the whole
Devon, Paloni, Fritz hoohar. But I can safely say that never before
moving to the Territory did I ever say “too easy”. I say it all the
In Sydney it was “no worries”. My friend in Cairns says “she’s apples”
but here it’s just “too easy”.
Number two – I would never have thought five hundred kilometres was
close. In Sydney distance is a measure of time.
Your destination might be 25 kms away but it still might take you and
hour and a half. But here we talk of Yulara being down the road.
Why do I not mind the idea of taking a day trip to the Rock here but
would have never taken a day trip to Coffs Harbour or Albury?
Now for the number one thing I would have never done if I hadn’t moved
to Alice Springs.
I NEVER would have drunk a beer made in Queensland. Drinking a cane
toad beer in Sydney is like wearing maroon on State of Origin night.
Inconceivable! Treason of the highest order.
A cardinal sin. But here in the Territory, it’s like a neutral zone.
It’s like the Switzerland of beer. And on a hot stinking day in
February, there’s no place like Switzerland.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The following is an edited version of a statement released on Monday by
Gregory Andrews, now Assistant Secretary, Communities Engagement, in
of Indigenous Policy Coordination in Canberra.
Sir,– On 21 June I appeared on Lateline’s program about child abuse and
other social problems at Mutitjulu community near Uluru. The ABC asked
me to appear because they knew of my former work with the Mutitjulu
I decided to speak to Lateline because of my deep concern for the
I decided that I would only appear anonymously because when I spoke out
during the NT Coronial Inquest into the deaths of two petrol sniffers I
was threatened with violence and intimidated on a number of occasions.
This abuse extended to harassment of my wife and me when we were in
hospital with our new-born son.
[I also wanted] media attention to focus on the issue, not on me.
Most of the media have respected my privacy. But the release of
information about me [by some] has put [me and] my family in danger. I
have been threatened and have endured persistent harassing phone calls
and emails. Offensive
faxes have been sent to me containing defaced photographs of me.
I have had to seek the assistance of the police, change my telephone
numbers, and temporarily move residence.
Some print media and others have sought to discredit my integrity and
credibility. The threats and character assassination have been
difficult enough for me and my family. What is worse is the message
sent to disempowered Indigenous Australians about what might happen if
they stand up for their and their
children’s basic human rights.
Return to Alice Springs News Webpage.