ALICE SPRINGS NEWS,
October 19, 2006. This page
contains all major reports and comment pieces in the current
TOWN COUNCIL DUMP: CONTAMINATION FEARS.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
Hazardous waste is leaking into the ground at the Alice Springs Town
Council depot and should be contained in a concrete pit, says Alderman
And he says the depot’s limited opening hours – four hours a month
– beg the question of where the hazardous waste goes for
the rest of the month.
He suggests “a fair percentage of it” goes into the tipface and “that
is not good for the environment”.
The depot takes waste oil and LPG bottles as well as flammable gases,
liquids and solids, oxidising agents, corrosives and toxic waste.
Council’s director of technical services Eric Peterson says a drainage
system beneath the landfill provides “leachate containment”.
Mr Peterson says the hazardous waste depot is operated under NT
Government regulations by Wastemaster, now Cleanaway.
The cost of operating the depot is just under $1000 per month plus
removal costs when the facility requires emptying.
All materials are collected and transported to South Australia for
disposal at an authorised facility.
Wastemaster is also the landfill management contractor but the
hazardous waste depot is operated seperately as it requires qualified
personnel who log and process all materials “into separate sealed
Ald Koch’s comments came in the course of debate about the depot
at Monday night’s Technical Services Committee meeting.
Ald Robyn Lambley, who chairs council’s Waste Management Advisory
Committee, also raised concerns about the limited opening hours of the
She said members of the advisory committee believe that more hazardous
waste goes into the landfill than is collected at the depot.
Ald Geoff Bell expressed astonishment at the limited opening hours:
this is “crazy” he said, when “we are trying to look after the
Part of the problem was illustrated when the Alice News visited the
depot – a fenced yard at the entrance to the landfill and a stone’s
throw from the sewage ponds: on Tuesday morning two containers of
unidentified waste were sitting outside the gate, despite warnings that
this is an offence.
In a “drum muster area”, drums, labelled as poison and containing
herbicide, had tumbled from their stack and at least one had rusted
On Monday night aldermen generally agreed that the depot opening hours
should be extended, although still to only two Sundays a month when,
according to Ald Koch, “most other councils” open their depots weekly.
CEO Rex Mooney asked for the issue to be taken on notice.
Meanwhile, a decision on the long awaited works restricting access to
Basso Road to prevent illegal camping in Charles Creek, has been
to the December quarterly budget review.
The works have been demanded by senior citizen Gerry Baddock who lives
adjacent to a favoured illegal camping spot in Charles Creek (see
recently Alice News, March 23 and June 22).
The works are estimated to cost $50,000, of which the Territory
Government has agreed to pay half, although Mrs Baddock has suggested
that the trunks of illegally burnt trees, bulldozed into place, would
On Monday director of finance Bob Mildred requested the Finance
Committee to give him direction regarding this item, as well as four
others, not included in the budget and for which he can see no way of
raising the necessary funds. The items are:
• repairs to the basketball stadium, $360,000 (see page 15);
• studies of the CBD and Todd Mall in preparation for upgrade, $200,000;
• repairs to Gap Youth Centre (GYC), $45,000;
• works to restrict vehicular access to Sturt Terrace banks of Todd
This last, arising from a recent request by the Todd & Charles
River Project Group, will be deferred to next year’s budget estimates.
The basketball stadium situation will be raised with Minister for Sport
and Recreation, Kon Vatskalis when he meets with council on Friday.
Commonwealth funds will be sought for the Mall study, while the CBD
study will be deferred.
The GYC repairs will be deferred to the December budget review.
In other council business, Alds Murray Stewart and Koch expressed the
view that native title holders should fast track their processes
land suitable for the proposed short-term accommodation facility for
“Isn’t this about Indigenous people?” asked Ald Stewart. “It’s
remarkable that Indigenous organisations have not been the first to put
up their hand.”
The aldermen were considering a letter of complaint from Centralian
Motors’ Tony Connole about the Dalgety Road site being considered for
the facility, some 250 metres from his business.
Mayor Fran Kilgariff said alternative sites subject to native title
were not an option for the facility as it could take “several years” to
resolve native title issues: “There are legal processes to be gone
through,” she said.
Lhere Artepe’s Bettey Pearce confirmed that even if native title
holders wanted to expedite the process, they could not.
Consultation with custodians and traditional owners, conducted by the
Central Land Council, has to be proven to have taken place before the
Native Title Tribunal, said Mrs Pearce.
The process would take nine months to two years: “When are the aldermen
going to learn about the Native Title Act, considering they are in
partnership with Lhere Artepe?”
ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Two Alice based companies which helped pioneer solar energy use
in Central Australia are getting ready to leave town while Bushlight,
run by the taxpayer funded Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), is
being handed, by the Federal Government, a de facto monopoly over
providing renewable energy
power systems to small Aboriginal communities.
CAT has now received a second grant from Canberra, $11m, together with
the assurance from Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough that any
Federal subsidies for the scheme will be channelled only through
This cuts other companies out of tendering direct for domestic units or
plants for small communities, because it’s unlikely that Aborigines
would have any funds for them other than grants from the Federal
But CAT director Bruce Walker says other companies can sub-contract to
CAT for work, and both of the firms, whose principals were not prepared
be named, had done so in the past.
Bushlight has already spent $24m in Federal grants and NT subsidies
over four years, on just 90 domestic systems across northern Australia.
Equipment cost an average of nearly $180,000 per unit, about three
times the market price, plus a staggering $90,000 per unit was spent on
services such as “community support” and “empowerment”, and the minimal
training needed by users of the equipment.
But Mr Walker says it is clear that the Federal Government has examined
the Bushlight scheme, found it to be appropriate and selected it to be
the national program manager for renewable energy services in the
He says in that framework outside companies are encouraged to take part
in the open tender system.
“This is no different to the process used by the National Aboriginal
Housing Scheme which had ARUP as national project manager,” says Dr
“The Army does a very similar thing.”
A spokesman for Mr Brough says a recent independent evaluation of
Bushlight has found it to successful and has recommended the extension
of the program.
“External companies can tender for Bushlight-generated work,” the
spokesman says. “Manufacturers can bid to produce the systems
following design completion and electrical contractors can tender for
CAT is set to move into the new Desert Knowledge Precinct, under
construction by the NT Government, as Alice Springs is hoping to be
declared a “solar city”.
The CAT web site says Bushlight has two aspects: “First is empowerment
and education of remote communities, which is critical to the success
and sustainability of these systems.
“This will allow them to engage with energy services networks to manage
and maintain the community’s renewable energy services.
“The second factor is the need to improve the reliability of [renewable
energy] systems, manage demand-side issues and establish an energy
services network to give ongoing support to the communities.”
Dr Walker confirms the residents don’t do any repairs but – in this
order – alert their outstation resource centre, a service agent, or CAT
if something goes wrong with their solar units.
Dr Walker claims that residents “observe trends and system performance
... and record data of how a system is used, its peaks, troughs ...
daily readings of meters ... voltage, amps ... how much power left”.
But an official of the Northern Territory government, which kicks in a
hefty subsidy for each unit, says he’s still waiting for details due
last year from people using Bushlight plants.
“We get information very infrequently,” he says. “We have to chase it
Dr Walker says Bushlight was given the thumbs up initially after a
survey by Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) which had found
that on Aboriginal communities only 63% of previously installed solar
systems were working, and only 85% of the diesel systems.
And in a recent survey, says Mr Walker, “nearly 100%” of Bushlight
units were found to be working.
However, industry sources say CAT was a member of ACRE when it did the
initial survey, which means it could hardly be regarded as independent.
DROUGHT BY COMPUTER.
By ERWIN CHLANDA.
When one of the town’s three water tanks ran dry on Wednesday last
week, causing a mild dose of panic in the hospital, it was a case of
An computerised level indicator, which normally alerts that section of
the Power and Water Corporation dealing with water, had given up the
But was it also a case of bad management?
The pumps drawing water from the Mereenie basin, roughly under the Pine
Gap space base, are the town’s biggest consumers of electricity. That’s
where the section of Power and Water that deals with power comes on the
The pumps are usually run at night when other electricity demand is
low, in order to keep the generation load on a reasoably even level.
So if the pumps don’t cut in, the power people in Power and Water would
say to themselves “Why are we using so little power?” or words to the
But it seems that’s as far as it goes – or went.
The power people at Power and Water are apparently not talking to the
water people, or at least not enough. So a backup check that would cost
absolutely nothing isn’t activated. Or wasn’t.
The people who are powerful in the power section of Power and Water are
believed to be looking for a suitable blunt instrument to stimulate
thought processes amongst their staff.
Apart from that things wouldn’t have been as bad as they seemed had it
not been for an almost simultaneous and recurring break in the main to
That part of town was without water for some hours.
Alice has three main tanks, Larapinta (in Paterson Crescent),
Carmichael (off Larapinta Drive, behind the scout hall) and Sadadeen
(near the power station complex) in the Golfcourse Estate.
Power and Water local manager Alan Whyte says during last week’s
problems Larapinta and Sadadeen were each still half full, meaning they
had enough for a day and a half for the areas they are serving.
Once – and it took some hours – the Carmichael tank was found to be the
culprit, water could be diverted from the other two tanks to the CBD,
where pressure had dropped.
And the Mereenie boosters were redlined to bring water into town at the
rate of 500 liters per second, refilling Carmichael in less than a
couple of days.
Alice normally has three days’ water storage – less in February when
the summer heat is at its peak.
Stand by for climate change.
‘SECURITY THREAT’ IF MINISTER THINKS SO.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
Territory Supreme Court judge Sally Thomas, during pre-trial legal
argument in the case of the “Pine Gap Four”, has rejected the defence
argument that the base was not a prohibited area under the Act at the
time the offences.
She ruled last Thursday against the claim of the four that an area
could be declared prohibited only if a security threat to Australia
could be proven as objective fact.
Counsel for the four the previous week called into question the
validity of the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952 which governs
the “prohibited area” status of the spy base.
But Justice Thomas accepted the argument of the Crown that words could
be read into the Act to the effect that the declaration of a prohibited
area could be made if the Defence Minister is “satisfied” that there is
a security threat to Australia.
The reasons for Justice Thomas’s decision will be published “in due
The four are Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie, Bryan Law and Donna Mulhearn,
who in December last year, as Christians Against All Terrorism, managed
to breach the security of the top-secret Pine gap base, with Mr Dowling
and Ms Goldie actually scaling a building, unfurling banners and taking
On Easter weekend this year they were informed that Attorney-General
Phillip Ruddock had decided to charge them under the never before
used Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952, a decision they say
blurs the separation of political and judicial powers.
This law carries a penalty of seven years’ jail for trespassing on Pine
Gap land, as well as two years’ jail for taking photos.
The four had already been charged with a number of more usual charges
(also carrying possible jail terms) under the Crimes Act. These charges
have yet to be heard.
Further pre-trail argument challenging the validity of charging the
four under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952 may yet be
Last Thursday defence counsel Russell Goldflam asked for an adjournment
to allow consultation with senior counsel, retired Federal Court judge
Ron Merkel QC, who is acting without payment for the defendants.
Mr Goldflam said preliminary advice is that the challenge would require
the defendants to notify attorneys-general in other jurisdictions
Australia, “a step which would only be taken after careful
He said the defendants’ application for “discovery” (of documents held
by the Crown that they deem relevant to their defence) could only be
progressed after the pre-trial arguments have been dispensed with.
Justice Thomas had raised the possibility of the trial, whose dates
have yet to be set, moving to Darwin.
Mr Goldflam said this can only happen on application of one of the
parties; he had not been instructed to make such an application and had
not heard that the Crown proposed to do so either.
Pre-trial argument will be heard again on November 8 at 9am.
The court was closed to hear argument from the defence in relation to
a suppression order which prevents the defendants from talking publicly
about what happened to them following their arrest.
LIQUOR LICENCE: WHAT IS THE PUBLIC BENEFIT?
By ERWIN CHLANDA.
The Aboriginal communities of Mutitjulu, Imampa and Docker River have
gained national notoriety for their wretched poverty, violence and
Yet the people in these communities have financial interests in
Nyangatjatjara Aboriginal Corporation (NAC), the owner of Wana
Ungkunytja Pty Ltd, which according to its secretive CEO Glendle
Schrader, has liquid assets of $10m.
The companies are operating community stores and other businesses
including Anangu Tours at the Rock.
Given that an administrator was earlier this year appointed to run NAC,
against its vehement opposition and despite offers of a bail-out by Mr
Schrader, it’s highly surprising that Anangu Tours, wholly owned by
Wana Ungkunytja, has has had the resources to buy the Camel Farm, the
Milky Way Cafe as well as Desert Tours and Transfers in Alice Springs.
The flagship Anangu Tours has been operating for 10 years at The Rock,
but trading figures or numbers of clients are not being disclosed.
Meanwhile, no less than three top level inquiries are now trying to get
a handle on allegations of child sex abuse in Aboriginal communities,
including – prominently – Wana Ungkunytja’s home base of Mutitjulu. The
alleged crimes are fuelled by alcohol and petrol sniffing.
That makes it perfectly amazing that Wana Ungkunytja, through the
manager of the groups’ tourism businesses, Simon Webb, should now be
seeking a liquor licence for the Milky Way Cafe, which currently offers
serene contemplation of The Centre’s starry sky, followed by coffee and
The application to allow the consumption of liquor “ancillary to a
meal” is – judging from early indications – about to unleash a storm of
protest from local residents, determined to prevent the setting up of
an alcohol trader in a residential area.
But there’s more at stake than the peace and quiet of a neighbourhood.
One question the NT Liquor Act requires to be answered is this: is Wana
Ungkunytja “fit and proper” to hold a liquor licence?
The imposition of an administrator upon NAC, and protracted staff
conflicts, were followed by a sharp decline of the college at Yulara,
which now apparently has no headmaster, just a handful of students (the
last we heard was six, with three teachers) and the campuses at
Mutitjulu and Docker River are shut down.
The Alice Springs News has covered the crisis for more than a year,
facing sustained obfuscation from NAC staff, while they were spending
fistfuls of public money.
All Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop would say last week is that
her department is “working with the Administrator of the NAC to
to strengthen community support and engagement with the
and its governance arrangements “.
Clearly a cloud hangs over the Nyangatjatjara group until this issue is
resolved: there must be complete disclosure of the relationships
NAC, Wana Ungkunytja and any other entity that may be involved.
The liquor application is further complicated by the fact that Wana
Ungkunytja is an Aboriginal-owned business.
There are powerful kinship responsibilities in Aboriginal society which
require wishes and favors to be granted in a wide range of
These requirements result in serious tribal penalties if contravened,
and at times, to the individual, the customary laws are more relevant
the Australian or Territory ones.
The Act requires that the “applicant for a licence must make an
affidavit disclosing whether certain persons may be able to influence
the applicant, or expect a benefit from the applicant, if the licence
Before the Licensing Commission to even considers the granting of a
license it must seek full disclosure about the structure of authority
within Wana Ungkunytja Pty Ltd: Who owns it? How is it governed? By
And what tribal and kinship obligations exist between the directors and
managers and any other persons, which could influence the use of any
liquor license, should it be granted?
There are moves to make Alice Springs “dry”, with the intention of
outlawing drinking in public places, or rather, to finally enforce such
Further, indiscriminate camping in creeks and vacant land is prohibited
and this, apparently, will now also be enforced.
The two proposed “transient” camps in town will be dry, and occupants
will have to pay for staying there.
The operators of Milky Way, should a licence be granted, may come under
pressure from its owners or share holders to be generous in the
interpretation of any conditions for the sale of alcohol. And all that
in a residential
This invites a look at the Milky Way liquor application from the
perspective of the worst case scenario.
Here are five hectares of land, Aboriginal owned, where one can drink
for 11 hours and 59 minutes every day.
It is clear the applicant has more in mind than star gazing, given he’s
proposing to start selling alcohol at 12 noon.
It is also clear that such a drinking opportunity would be wholly
unacceptable to the neighborhood, while being extremely lucrative to
the operators. The Act says: “The applicant for a licence must
demonstrate in the application that the grant of the licence will be in
the public interest.”
That seems a big ask, under the circumstances.
To be sure, Mr Webb, when asked the Alice News, was saying all the
right things: the license is sought to create a new venue for both
locals and tourists.
After 5pm the patrons would exclusively be participants in prepaid
tours, arriving on buses, and the venue would not be open to the
“We’re not interested in yahooing,” he says.
But what Mr Webb isn’t doing is pointing out what in his liquor
application, if granted, will stop the Milky Way from turning into
something far less benign than what he describes.
And what Mr Webb will not disclose are the answers to all the other
questions: only Mr Schrader can, he says, and Mr Schrader hasn’t
responded to several requests for comment and replies from the Alice
[The writer is a long-term resident of Rangeview Estate where the Milky
Way Cafe is located.]
OPEN GOVERNMENT, CLARE MARTIN STYLE.
By ERWIN CHLANDA.
The Alice Springs News reported nearly two months ago information which
– finally – made national and Territory headlines last week.
On August 17 we revealed allegations by a whistleblower that Chief
Minister Clare Martin knew in November 2004 – if not earlier – of
allegations that children were prostituting themselves for petrol to
sniff in the chaotic Ayers Rock community of Mutitjulu.
Ms Martin neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, despite several
contacts by The News to her media advisor.
The whistle blower was quite specific: “In November 2004 Chief Minister
wrote to Paul Henderson, the NT Minister for police about the social
dysfunction and substance abuse epidemic in Mutitjulu and significant
human harm that it was causing.
‘[Ms Martin] emphasised the extent of sexual abuse and child neglect
and informed Minister Henderson that children as young as five had
contracted STDs and that young girls were prostituting themselves for
“She also informed Minister Henderson that two thirds of children in
Mutijulu were malnourished.”
The latest flurry of media attention comes after The Australian
newspaper used Freedom of Information legislation to obtain a copy of
While Ms Martin ignored in August the requests for response and comment
by the Alice News, she was not so arrogant following the disclosures in
national media last week.
She finally owned up to having done precisely what was claimed by the
whistle blower who was quoted by us, and who is known to us and trusted
a credible source.
Her conduct is in violation of her usually breathless assurances of
running a transparent, open, accountable, honest government.
The belated attention of the Opposition shows them to be similarly
reactive under the national spotlight rather than in touch with local
Ms Martin’s answers of last week are as disingenuous as her assertions
earlier this year when, in response to an ABC Lateline report, she
claimed to have been shocked about the Mutitjulu allegations.
Now she’s sheltering behind the police inquiries into the allegations
having turned up nothing. But how does Ms Martin explain the presence
of sexually transmitted diseases in little
ERIC GETS BIG GONG.
A local man with Afghan and Aboriginal ancestry has been recognised for
his efforts in promoting multiculturalism in Alice Springs.
Eric Sultan last week won the Territory’s Office of Multicultural
Affairs Charles See-Kee Award.
“I’m honoured to receive the award but also embarrassed in a sense,”
says Mr Sultan.
“There are worthy recipients out there, I’m just lucky that someone
Mr Sultan’s friend, Dr Bavadeen Habibullah nominated him after seeing
his work sharing the history of the Afghan cameleers in Central
“In the 1800s my grandfather came from Afghanistan to Port Augusta as
a cameleer and transported goods with the camel train throughout
Australia and beyond,” said Mr Sultan.
He has spread his heritage in diverse ways including dressing up as
original cameleer Charlie Sadadeen, coordinating an album of songs
including pieces from Ted Egan which is being sold in Germany, the UK
and the US, and also appeared in three national magazines and
Mr Sultan is also a founding member of the Interfaith Group in Alice
Springs which has helped create understanding between church groups
“Alice Springs acknowledges the role of Afghan cameleers more than
anywhere else in Australia,” says Mr Sultan.
“This is also shown in the new sister city partnership between Alice
Springs and Paghman near Kabul.
“Afghanistan is a misunderstood country, especially at the moment, and
we need to create awareness of our cultural history.”
Mr Sultan has also suggested a camp for homeless people returning to
Afghanistan be named with a Central Australian Aboriginal name “to show
the special connection that we have”.
NO MASS CULTURE TSUNAMI HERE.
This year Scrapyard Magicians combines 83 pieces by 20 sculptors, trade
and student exhibitors and includes 40 works exhibited for the first
time at the Silver Bullet Cafe in Hele Crescent.
In the spirit of previous years, the show projects a sense of magic,
beauty and humour, and connects the popular themes of recycled and
salvaged materials, larger than life plants and animals and outdoor
furniture made with breathtaking skill and precision.
On the opening weekend, first time exhibitors Henry Schreiner, Tim Day,
Warwick Beever and Jane Easton surprised and delighted the crowds with
the unexpected quality and power of their work.
While the formidable presence of artist Dan Murphy’s sculptures
contribute greatly to the context, setting and spirit of the site, each
year more and more electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers and
builders are joining Scrapyard Magicians.
This diversification brings additional depth to the show and augurs
well for the future. Some patrons were a bit miffed that only 30% of
the works, mostly smaller pieces, are offered for sale at this year’s
Conversely, we believe that the willingness of local sculptors to allow
a public viewing of a treasured piece they crafted for their personal
enjoyment simply adds to the charm of this exhibition.
It does seem shocking but thankfully not everything in this world is
for sale!! This year’s show includes a display of stationary engines
restored by biomedical
engineer, Ian Ross who is the inspired creator of some of the
whimsical kinetic works on permanent display at the Silver Bullet. Also
on display are several sculptures from the 1960s and 1970s which
provide a historical reference point for this industrial site and one
time home of legendary welder Jack Maskell.
In this tradition, the works of our contemporary scrapyard magicians
will continue to outlast the tsunami of disposable manufactured
MIKE GILLAM, organiser.
MORE PUBLIC ART.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
After several hundred people turned out for a mini arts festival on the
Flynn Church lawns recently, the Uniting Church’s Rev Tracy Spencer is
looking to turn the area over more regularly to public arts events.
A community kitchen, operating out of Adelaide House, fed some 200
people on the night and a few hundred more, “from all walks of life”,
turned up to watch the evening’s program.
It included a number of films projected on the white wall to the north
of the church.
“We’ve had lots of positive feedback and have already been approached
by other groups to show material, “ says Rev Spencer.
She is now seeking to establish a formal group to take the project
further and hopes the town council, Lhere Artepe, CATIA, the NT Film
Office as well as interested people in the community will come on
“From the church’s point of view, this is about working towards the
benefit of the community, providing an opportunity for the community to
represent itself instead of always being represented by external
media,” she says.
“It’s about education as well as entertainment, about encouraging
engagement and dialogue.”
Rev Spencer has teamed up with film-maker David Nixon to raise funds
for a digital story-telling project around next year’s Harmony Day.
She says following the recent debate in the town council about digital
art, the mini-festival settled the doubts in anyone’s mind that digital
story-telling “is art and it belongs in the public sphere”.
After the shock burning of the Central Australian Art Society’s art
shed, an exhibition at Watch This Space celebrates the creative spirit
of artists who have discovered an ironic beauty in their smoke and heat
“Raized” will show burnt objects, damaged drawings, books, and lino cut
prints salvaged from the art shed in Crispe St.
The show, a fundraiser for the art society, open this Friday, 6pm at
Says society president Dugald Beattie: “Raized is not about pain. It is
about hope, imagination and the spirit of creative people.
“It also shows the spirit of cooperation that exists between the art
organizations in this town. Watch This Space have generously offered
their gallery to us and fitted this in at extremely short notice.”
There will also be a display of cuttings and photographs illustrating
the history and aims of the art society which has been alive for 43
Halcyon Lucas, the society’s oldest active member, will speak at the
opening. She took up painting 40 years ago and hasn’t stopped since.
Opening hours: Sat, Oct 2, 10- 2pm; Sun, Oct 22, 1-5 pm; Wed-Fri,
Oct 25-27, 9-5pm.
BASKETBALL IN FALLING DOWN STADIUM
One of the town’s biggest participation sports, basketball, is heading
for the year’s second climax, the finals on December 2.
There are two seasons a year, each with its own finals, over 10 months
(only July and January have no basketball).
Matches are played on five days a week, and the other two days, Sundays
and Thursdays, are used for training.
Association president Elaine Rock says the 400-odd players are being
put to the test in more ways than one.
The stadium is very old and “falling down around our ears”, she says.
“The floors are rotten, have no spring left in them, and we’re worried
about duty of care with nails sticking out.”
The town council estimates $440,000 is needed. The Sports Facilities
Advisory Committee will chip in $80,000 from its reserve, while the
council will have to raise $360,000.
Council’s representative on the committee, Alderman Murray Stewart,
says the committee will be asking the NT Government for $10m a year for
10 years to “deal with the crisis” facing sporting facilities in town.
Ms Rock says the NT Government is providing no support to basketball in
She doesn’t know the spending policies but there is a “perception” that
the lion’s share goes to cricket and AFL, with the new Traeger Park
grandstand a monument to the government’s attitude.
But none of that dampens the enthusiasm of the players.
Many players even compete interstate, despite the cost of “$2500
upwards” per trip and player.
Interstate victories are scarce: “We’re too short and too few,” says Ms
In 2003, when the junior national championships were contested in Alice
Springs, “we did a lot of checking of ages,” she says.
“There were quite a few 12 and 13 years olds taller than six foot.”
You can start young.
Aussie Hoops is for youngsters aged five to eight, and Rising Suns for
under 12s. Ring the stadium on 8952 8356 between 10am and 3pm.
MASTERS OF A GOOD GAME.
COLUMN by ADAM CONNELLY.
The Olympic Games in Sydney was one of the finest things I have ever
been a part of.
No, no, I wasn’t an athlete in the games, but thanks for thinking I
could have been. But I did feel like a participant. I was surrounded by
this wave that caught everyone in its path.
The feeling of positivity and excitement and pride in Sydney for those
two weeks is a feeling I have yet to match.
The Olympics in 2000 were so typically Sydney. Showy, sophisticated and
a bit lairy. It was perfectly executed yet we all held our collective
breaths when the flame wouldn’t move in the opening ceremony.
A moment that more perfectly describes the city, I can’t remember.
The motto of the Olympic movement is Higher, Stronger, Faster.
I wonder what the motto should be for the Masters Games? Perhaps Older,
Alice Springs is about to succumb to the Masters. It will be my first
and I cannot wait.
From all reports from friends in the hospitality industry, Alice
Springs will be swimming in people at the peak of their ability.
The only people not enthused by the idea of the games are those working
in kitchens. The Masters. A mass of athletes who have prepared for this
one week in October. Tapered and honed their bodies for the glory. Well
not quite glory.
More for the week long party that is about to kick off in less than 48
The Masters Games is one of those events that is steeped in history and
legend. Many an anecdote have I heard about the games of times past.
None of these stories, not a one, have involved sporting achievement.
Most have involved the fact that the person telling the story remembers
playing a game of cricket and then waking up a week later in Adelaide
the boot of someone else’s car dressed in a floral sheet.
“Had a great time though.”
That isn’t to say the sport isn’t important.
There are scores of people across the country actually training.
The events will be fun to watch and for the most part the standard will
In fact, knowing that there will be men and women in their sixties who
can run the 100 metre faster than me, doesn’t do the ego any favours.
There is a part of me that is a little sheepish at the fact that, apart
from possibly the 98 year olds competing, the reason I won’t be
any of the events is less to do with the age restriction and more to do
the fact that they’d wipe the floor with me.
But c’mon, let’s not kid ourselves here, the reason thousands of folk
from the four corners are coming to Alice Springs isn’t the high
of sporting excellence, is it? Nor are the athletes of the Masters
here for the stunning beauty of the Red Centre.
They’re here for the party.
And there is one thing Centralians can do pretty well and that is have
a good time.
The Masters is a celebration of being here.
A celebration of participation. From all reports, if having a good time
was an Olympic event, the vast majority of the Masters competitors
be going home with gold.
It’s just lucky alcohol isn’t considered a performance enhancing
substance or there would be a scandal to rival the Tour de France.
If the tales are anything to go by, the next week is going to be
Go to bed now. Get a good sleep.Youy’re going to need it.
Sir,- I am the former business manager of Aboriginal Air Services (AAS)
and I write regarding the complacent attitude of Lynne Peterkin, head
Central Australian Tourism Industry Association (Alice News, Oct 5).
• Developing West MacDonnells National Park: We are not talking about
developing resorts (not necessarily a bad idea anyway), but the roads
these “prime tourist attractions” which are a joke.
Surely funds from Mereenie Loop could be diverted to pay for 10 kms of
sealed roads to Ellery Creek Big Hole (5km) and Finke Gorge National
Park (5km). What an astonishingly complacent attitude from the head of
our tourism association.
• Upgrade Alice Springs Airport, pursue more international flights:
“Let’s just consolidate the charter market and get that growing”.
Hello, it is established and growing. Any chance of trying to stimulate
a few other markets?
Despite Australia still being the most preferred destination of all our
major tourism markets, international tourism to Australia actually
declined by 5% last year while all our competitors grew by 10%.
Aboriginal Air Services (AAS) was a victim of the Regional Assistance
Subsidy Scheme (RASS) contract whereby some operating costs were
for operating to various remote communities throughout SA, NT and WA
received only one flight per week.
From a total budget of $70m, Aboriginal Air received a paltry $336,000
last year. Guess who received most of the remainder – Qantas.
The contract (negotiated before my time) was so inflexible and
voluminous that AAS ended up operating at a significant loss on those
routes because it was not reimbursed for changes in the nature of the
service provided, nor increases in operating costs such as maintenance,
pilots and skyrocketing fuel costs.
Qantas on the other hand would have a whole department that could
afford to devote all the time and energy involved in recouping these
What is the biggest deterrent to flying to Alice Springs – Qantas
Who has just closed its office in Alice Springs – Qantas.
That is the pathetic scene that exists in the airline and tourism
industries and unfortunately the biggest losers are the NT and Central
We need to lobby our Federal politicians on both sides, to:
• Realise that Qantas is no longer government-owned and therefore
entitled to no more assistance than any other private or public company
and that bi-lateral agreements are not in Australia’s best national
• Encourage new and existing carriers to commence services to
Australia, especially from the largest markets in the world, Europe and
the USA and emerging markets of India and China.
• Improve airport infrastructure to facilitate tourism growth to Alice
Springs as a matter of national importance.
We need to lobby our State politicians on both sides, to:
• Improve infrastructure to our existing tourist attractions,
• Have Alice Springs declared an “Open” international airport as soon
It is definitely no time for complacency, Ms Peterkin.
Sir,– After reading [a recent] article regarding the loss of
backpackers to Alice I thought I would drop you an email to say as a
former backpacker I did notice a difference from the first time I
visited Alice to the second time I was there, but not a dramatic change.
The first time I visited Australia was in 1995. Backpackers then toured
around the whole of Australia: we worked for a while to raise funds,
tried to visit as many places as possible and tried to do as many trips
as possible so we could experience what the country had to offer.
I didn’t get time to visit Western Australia so I went back over on
We had a really good time in Alice, we booked a trip to Uluru etc and
I had one of the most wonderful experiences. When we came back
the trip we stayed for about another week and then moved on.
The third time I came back to Australia (2000/2001) I had two friends
with me that had never been travelling before and I wanted to show them
why I fell in love with the country. We bought a car and started
on our journey, eventually ending up in Alice where we stayed in one of
We were looking for work and saw an advert for a cleaner so gave a
call. The person who wanted a cleaner was Jan Hayes of Ooraminna
Bush Camp. She said she really only required one person but told
us to take a drive out.
So with our two wheel drive car and never having driven on roads like
before we set off from the camp site to see if our luck was in with
After having driven at 20 kph!! we arrived at this most wonderful
location. She did explain that really she was only after one
person but with our good old Scottish charm she couldn’t really turn us
We took the offer of free food and board but I think nowadays a lot of
people travelling tend not to go for this kind of offer.
A lot of people travelling are leaving home without much savings and
tend to go to some of the bigger cities like Sydney and they tend to
get stuck there.
They get somewhere to live, go out everynight, spend all their money
and then get a job as they cannot move on without earning more money
and by this time it’s time to go home.
Also as Alice is a smaller town it has limited jobs.
We kept on applying for jobs even when we were at Ooraminna as we
wanted to stay in Alice for as long as possible, but were
We were all small town girls back home and Alice suited us well.
The bush camp was amazing and we have memories from there that will
never leave us.
Some of the nights out we had were really good too. We were there
at the time of the Finke races and it was great.
We did also learn to drive faster on the roads to save feeling the
effect of every bump!!
Everytime I speak to anyone who says they are away to Australia I
always tell them to make sure and visit Alice and Darwin as it’s places
like this that people seem to leave out.
It is my intention to one day return and Alice would definitely be one
of the first places on my list to come back and visit. I met
people there that I will never forget and I would like to thank them
for making us feel so welcome.
I hope that after the new hostel is finished that the backpackers come
Back to frontpage the Alice Springs News.