ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
August 16, 2007. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
Empires crumble. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Tangentyere may lose all or much of its recurrent funding
from the Commonwealth following its rejection of $60m from Indigenous
Affairs Minister Mal Brough for the upgrading of town camps in Alice
And the secretive Aboriginal investment company Centrecorp, in which
Tangentyere has a one fifth share, may be broken up.
A well-placed Federal government source says Tangentyere will soon
cease to do what it was set up for 30 years ago, providing municipal
services to the camps.
Under Mr Brough’s intervention plan the camps will be “normalized” and
turned into suburbs of Alice Springs.
The transfer of leases for 99 years to the NT Government, which will be
put in charge of public housing, is expected to proceed soon.
The source says axing some or all funding for Tangentyere is one option
The organization, although almost entirely supported by the public
purse, has steadfastly refused over the years to disclose its annual
Mr Brough said on July 12 that Tangentyere was receiving about $18m a
year from the Territory government and from numerous Federal bodies.
“So whether they are going to keep all of those funding options I
couldn’t tell you, because they will be [decided] on individual
circumstances,” said Mr Brough.
“I’m not really interested in who funds what, I’m interested in the
health and well-being of children, not some nicety again of deciding
which body should benefit from funding.”
Apart from losing its core function, often poorly performed,
Tangentyere is also facing a Federal review of youth services in
Tangentyere’s Central Australian Youth Link-up Service (CAYLUS) is one
of the organizations under scrutiny.
According to CLP candidate for Lingiari Adam Giles, others to be probed
are Mission Australia, which he says has a $12m contract in the south
western corner of the NT, including Mutitjulu and Docker River, and
Youth Challenges Australia in Kintore, apparently soon to work out of
the Gap Youth Centre in Alice Springs.
CAYLUS has many runs on the board in the fight against petrol sniffing
and with the introduction of Opal fuel, and its team may be snapped up
by another entity.
Tangentyere Job Shop is understood to have lost a major contract.
None of the Tangentyere branches responded to requests from the Alice
News for information.
Meanwhile an explosive meeting was held last week in the office of
Imparja boss Owen Cole, who is also understood to be heading up
Police were called when the meeting was interrupted by dissenters who
called for Centrecorp to be disbanded, labeled its directors as
“gatekeepers” and demanded that its believed to be hundreds of millions
of dollars in investments be used for the benefit of impoverished
Aboriginal people. (See also report on native title holders’ demands).
The Canberra source says the Federal Government has now decided to act
against the Central Land Council (CLC), which owns three fifths of
The Alice News understands that the government is taking action under
Section 23 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act that requires land
councils “to assist Aboriginals ... to carry out commercial activities”
but only “in any manner that will not cause the Land Council to incur
financial liability or enable it to receive financial benefit”.
Says the source: “The legislation is quite clear. The CLC cannot be
involved in a for-profit organization.”
The CLC confirmed in June that it is a shareholder in Centrecorp but
says its profits “are distributed according to its charitable trust
deed for the benefit of Aboriginal people”.
The Alice Springs News asked the CLC how much has been distributed in
the past five years: “Please express this as a total amount of money;
percentage of the accumulated assets, number of people who have
benefited; the 10 largest donations.”
We received no reply, but Mr Cole, on the ABC last Friday, rejected
assertions that Centrecorp is not helping to improve the lives of
indigenous people, and made a startling claim.
He said: “We put in $230,000 in education projects, sporting
activities, other sponsorship of community events, that’s basically
every cent that Centrecorp’s got after it pays its ... bills and that’s
the surplus cash, we invest it entirely into the community.”
This would indicate that Centrecorp made less than a quarter of a
million dollars profit from investments worth hundreds of millions.
According to information from an insider Centrecorp has 19 divisions.
They and their directors are:-
AAC Nominees: Vivian James, David Ross; Bob Kennedy (secretary).
Alice Car Centre: Peter Kittle, Owen Cole, David Ross, Louise Kittle;
Tom Kelly (secretary).
Alice Springs Real Estate: Bob Kennedy, David Loy, Michael Sitzler,
Douglas Fraser, Michael Roy, David Ross; Bob Kennedy, David Loy
Centrefarm Aboriginal: David Ross, Bruce Tilmouth, Vincent Lange,
Damien Frawley, James McBride; Bob Kennedy (secretary).
Big ‘O’: Kerry Osbourne, Bob Kennedy, David Ross, Dean Osbourne; Kerry
Osbourne, Bob Kennedy (secretary).
Centrefarm Management: David Ross, Leigh Tilmouth; Bob Kennedy
Magnetic: Douglas Fraser, David Ross, Bob Kennedy; Bob Kennedy
NT Progress No1: Owen Cole, Tom Kelly, David Ross, Peter Kittle; Tom
PKMC Property Nominees: Owen Cole, David Ross; Bob Kennedy (secretary).
Yeperenye Pty Ltd: Danny Masters, Owen Cole, Donald Burnett, David
Ross, David Cloke; David Cloke (secretary).
Yeperenye Nominees: Stephanie Bell, Betty Pearce, David Ross, William
Tilmouth, Andy Ross, Peter Renehan, John McBride; Bob Kennedy
CAAMV: Owen Cole, David Ross; Bob Kennedy (secretary).
Ess-Centrecrop: David Ross, Umberto Giancristoforo, Paul Nugent; Bob
Centrecorp Investment: David Ross, Owen Cole, Anthony Petrick,
William Tilmouth, Stephanie Bell; Bob Kennedy (secretary).
Eyre Dealership: Owen Cole, Louise Kittle, Peter Kittle, David Ross,
Tom Kelly, Christopher Szigeti; Tom Kelly (secretary).
Centrecorp Services: Bob Kennedy, David Ross; Bob Kennedy (secretary).
Kings Canyon Nominees: Bob Kennedy, David Ross, Gus Williams, Valerie
Price-Beck, Damien Thomas, Christopher Smith, Darren Cann; Bob Kennedy
Tandor Nominees: Bob Kennedy, David Ross, Tracey Brand, Patrick
McDonald; Bob Kennedy (secretary).
The Lingiari Policy Centre: Richard Ah Mat, Patrick Dodson, Noel
Pearson, Marcia Langton, Darryl Pearse, David Ross; Peter Yu
When the Big One comes. By
The Central Business District, the Eastside, the tourism
precinct and the Gap Area will be under water, exposed to catastrophic
damage and major loss of life if – or when – a one-in-100 year flood
hits the town.
It’s a disaster growing more likely with the advance of global warming
(Alice News, August 9).
This week Steve Brown, who heads up the influential group Advance
Alice, says flood mitigation needs to be moved to the top of the
government’s agenda (see Letters to the Editor).
A spokesman for Opposition leader Jodeeen Carney says the CLP is
dealing with the issue in a broad review of policies.
The government is sitting on its hands. The Alice Springs News is
seeking comment from the Chamber of Commerce and the tourism lobby
And we’ll speak with Kim and Shane Braitling about the deluge in
January which wreaked havoc on their cattle station, Numery.
Had that storm been over the Todd Catchment area – just 150km to the
north-west, Alice Springs as we know it would no longer exist.
Brough intervention: Anderson
says it is the change we had to have. By KIERAN FINNANE.
At Tjuwanpa Outstation Resource Centre, the service organisation for
the Western Arrernte homelands, the discussion on Monday was all about
the future, beyond September 30 when the funding for their programs
comes to an end.
But for one old woman the concern was more basic: she has six children
in her care – her grandchildren and great-grandchildren – and they were
hungry. She was looking for someone to give her money to feed them.
She found little sympathy: everyone knew she had received a cheque for
$7000 the week before – “Howard’s bonus” and the end-of-year
Centrelink reconciliation. All the money had gone on a car.
At the Hermannsburg Council office the discussion ranged widely over
the Federal intervention. There were diverging views but on one
everyone agreed: the present generation of teenagers and young adults
need somehow to be made to take responsibility for their lives.
One example: a young woman in the community a few months back gave
birth to twins. She’d received from the government a double “baby
bonus”, $12,000. Again, all the money had gone on a car. Now the car
has broken down and the twins are no better off.
These two cases are an illustration of the need for the Federal
Government to take radical control, says Aboriginal MLA Alison
Anderson, who is continuing her one-woman campaign to smooth the way
for the intervention.
For Ms Anderson this is a last chance for Aboriginal communities.
She told the Alice News: “When this doesn’t work we can say, look,
there is no hope for these people.”
Her stance on alterations to the permit system and the leasing of
townships for five years is now unequivocal: “The Commonwealth are
taking control to get stability in the communities.
“You need lock, stock and barrel if you are going to take control, you
need security of tenure.”
She dismisses the concerns of the so-called “Indigenous leadership”.
Their “negatives” get in the way of what’s being achieved.
“There’s compassion involved in this intervention – that’s what I’ve
seen in the volunteers, the nurses, the doctors, even the police and
“We need to hear from the people out here [in communities], the people
who are suffering. If this helps them get healthy, educated children,
it’s worth trying.
“These are exciting times – that’s how the people out here see it. It’s
about time that change happened.
“I get excited for the kids.”
There was more skepticism in the Hermannsburg council office, although
old man Joseph Rontji thought John Howard was “doing all right from
what I can see”.
Another community member had the opposite view, feeling “let down” by
MHR Warren Snowdon and Territory Senator Trish Crossin, who “didn’t
even put up a fight” against the legislation enabling the intervention
to go ahead.
Les Smith, who runs the community’s CDEP, was frustrated with the
continuing lack of information about detail of the changes. The CDEP
broker assigned to the community had been unable or unwilling “to tell
us what she’s going to do”.
The Commonwealth business manager, though, had done “the right thing”:
she’d explained her role, her relationships to government departments.
“That was good.”
The haste to get the ball rolling has Mr Smith off side. He had a phone
call on a Thursday to tell him that the demountables to house
Commonwealth staff were arriving the next day and could he find a site.
CDEP workers did some levelling of the site but outside contractors
have done the rest of the work.
“We didn’t even get an opportunity to quote on putting up the fence,”
said Mr Smith.
“We’re quite capable of doing that.
“And they’re supposed to be looking for ‘real’ work for people to do on
There were quite a few other complaints about the “takeover” and
Territory departments’ demands on “the death knock” until Ms Anderson
brought the talk back to what she sees as the main game: “$871m linked
to the well-being of children and the safety of the community”.
“You can see with land tenure that if the Commonwealth didn’t have
compulsory acquisition, if the land title didn’t change,
traditional owners could kick the business manager out.
“They [the Commonwealth] have to make sure they can do their work
without interruption,” she argued.
Mr Smith shook his head about “people from Canberra” – “I don’t know
how they are going to survive”.
“Well, maybe you can help them out,” urged Ms Anderson.
She turned to council president, Gus Williams: “To build a relationship
you need to be together, share information. That’s really important.
You don’t want to exclude her [the business manager] so you don’t know
what she’s thinking.”
Mr Smith could see the point: “She’ll have an open door here. They’ll
have to put another demountable here, close by. We suggested it.
“The discussion turned to housing: promised funds that haven’t come
through; the Commonwealth demountables that Ms Anderson said have been
brought in “to alleviate pressure on communities” and which Mr Smith
hopes will be left behind when the emergency is over.
Helen Kantawarra, who works in a number of support staff roles in the
community, wanted to know what many people have asked, “Where is the
connection [of all the intervention measures] with children’s safety?
It seems to be getting lost. Kids are going to get left behind with all
this [focus on] housing.”
Mr Rontji made a point: “We know how to build houses.”
Ms Anderson pounced: “You got old working! Not this generation –
Mr Williams agreed: “Uwa.”
Mr Smith too: “You’re right, I’ve always said they’re a lost
generation, in white society too, they just want to sit in front of
“You’ve got to understand, Little Children Are Sacred is focussed on
Aboriginal people. It’s about us taking responsibility. I haven’t done
enough – I’m prepared to say that openly.”
Mr Smith referred to his long years as a policeman: “I’ve seen this
[child abuse] in European society.”
Ms Anderson: “It’s too easy to say it’s happening over there too – that
muddies the waters. We’ve got to deal with these issues.”
Mr Williams, while still worried about what he sees as a wider
political agenda by the Howard government, acknowledged that the
visiting health teams “found a lot of things wrong with our kids, the
kids who are not going to the clinic”.
Ms Kantawarra said her worry was about whether these things will
be fixed, and “my concern is not only with our children, it’s our
Ms Anderson raised the issue of old age pensioners continuing to get
full access to their benefits: “They’re frightened that they’ll be the
only ones to get cash. Their grandchildren will take it off them.”
Ms Kantawarra: “It’s happening now, today, in this community.”
Mr Smith: “I’ve seen it at the shop myself.”
Ms Anderson: “They smash the money out of their grandparents’ hands.
That’s the cycle we have to break!”
There was more talk, about teaching Aboriginal people what
“quarantine” means, what “performance indicator” means. Ms
Anderson told them about a CD she is making with Desmond Phillipus,
adapting a song about the Prodigal Son of the Bible story to the
current situation on communities.
Mr Smith commented on Ms Anderson’s stance on the intervention: “You’re
fighting for your people. Why aren’t other politicians doing what
Said Ms Anderson: “I don’t want to die knowing that kids are being
raped, that 30 people are living in one house.”
Ms Kantawarra returned to the young generation, lamenting “the
mentality of young girls – have a baby, get $6000.”
Ms Anderson said the “baby bonus” should also be quarantined.
“It should be rolled out over time,” said Ms Kantawarra. “There are a
lot of baby cars [bought with the bonus money] driving around now.”
There was talk of the old ways, where young men and women lived
separately before they were married: “That’s what brought discipline,”
said Mr Williams.
“We’ve got to force our kids to go to school,” said Ms Anderson.
“We used to get a hiding if we didn’t want to go,” said Ms Kantawarra,
who wants kids to be educated so they “can make a contribution not only
to their communities but to the society”.
Ms Anderson was keen to see whether families are getting the
intervention message, that they must send their children to school.
The anecdotal evidence from the school seems to be that yes, more kids
are coming to school; when they get out of the bus and line up, the
lines are “30% longer”.
Ms Anderson spoke to the Hermannsburg school’s home liaison officer,
Ms Inkamala has been home liaison officer for five years and teacher’s
aide at the school for five years before that.
She is now studying for her teaching diploma, through Batchelor
Institute, having finished her Certificate IV last year.
She has four children.
Her youngest, 14 year old Louis Fly, is still at school.
Her oldest son was educated to Year 12 at Alice Springs High, is a CDEP
worker, is training as a mechanic and is also a musician.
Ms Inkamala said she is “proud of his life”.
Her daughter was educated to Year 10 and is training to be a health
Her third born, a son, was at Yirara to Year 11-12, and is also a CDEP
worker and keen footballer.
Ms Inkamala has also fostered 20 other children.
She said she tells parents that if they love their kids they must send
them to school. She also tells them that the government will be
quarantining their money if they don’t.
“Some worry, but some don’t care,” she said.
She also told Ms Anderson that many people in the community have been
drinking over the last two weeks – since Howard’s bonus and the
Centrelink reconciliation money arrived.
“Day and night, the whole community,” she said, “they are bringing grog
in by the back roads.”
Ms Anderson also spoke to the school principal, who has been in the
position for three weeks.
He talked of the importance of not only getting kids to school but
keeping them there – “Aboriginal kids vote with their feet” if the
programs don’t interest them.
Ms Anderson said they simply should not be allowed to: “As a society we
have normalised that behaviour. You can’t get away with it in white
“I was bored witless with maths but I still stayed at school.
“Society has made different rules for black people but there’s not a
black way and a white way, there’s only the right way.”
McAdam speaking with forked
tongue? By ERWIN CHLANDA.
What role did Elliot McAdam play in the scuttling of the deal which
would have channelled $60m of Federal money into the upgrading of the
squalid Aboriginal town camps in Alice Springs?
CLP candidate for Lingiari Adam Giles says the NT Minister for Central
Australia has some explaining to do.
Officially Mr McAdam was mediating, on behalf of the NT Government,
between Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Mal Brough, who offered the
money, and Tangentyere Council, negotiating on behalf of the camps,
which was reluctant to accept it.
On the other hand Mr McAdam was urging town campers not to accept the
money under Mr Brough’s conditions, although the NT Government was dead
keen for the deal to proceed.
In the end Alice Springs missed out on the windfall, but $20m of the
Brough cash went to Tennant Creek, Mr McAdam’s home town, which
apparently had not previously been made an offer of Canberra support.
“Mr McAdam should have stepped aside rather than being involved in a
deal with Tangentyere,” says Mr Giles.
“He needs to explain what seems to be a conflict of interest.”
A McAdam staffer now says the Minister is distraught over the collapse
of the Tangentyere deal, but the time line of the events raises
• April 18: Between 200 and 300 town camp residents in a rally in Todd
Mall in the week Parliament sits in Alice Springs.
ABC Radio reports that Mr McAdam told the crowd that the NT Government
wouldn’t insist that town camp residents give up their leases in return
for improved services.
Mr McAdam says: “I want to make it very clear to Mal Brough that he
should not hold you people to ransom.”
• One month later: Tangentyere rejects the money. Mr Brough says he
will take it elsewhere.
• Early June: Mr Brough starts negotiations with Jularikari Council in
Tennant Creek for a grant of $20m in exchange for facilitating 99 year
subleases of public housing land to the NT Government, as was proposed
in Alice Springs.
• Last week: Mr Brough announced the Tennant deal after negotiations
that had taken just two months (the Tangentyere negotiations had
dragged on for more than a year).
Mr Giles said so far as he was aware, there had been no prior offer to
Tennant, but there had been talk around town that the former mining
centre, now with a mainly Aboriginal population, was in with a chance
if the Tangentyere deal should fall over.
The News asked Mr McAdam to provide a comment but he did not.
Organisations ‘no mandate from locals’: Call to hand over Centrecorp
millions. By KIERAN FINNANE.
The native title holder body, Lhere Artepe, is challenging the mandate
of the Combined Aboriginal Organisations of Alice Springs to speak on
behalf of local Aborigines.
Lhere Artepe CEO Kenny Laughton says he was “thrown out” of the CAO
meeting last Thursday, called to develop a response to the Federal
intervention following the visit to Canberra by a delegation of various
He admits to having sworn at various participants in the meeting and
says some participants objected to his lack of respect.
But he says the delegation showed no respect to native title holders,
with nobody coming to see Lhere Artepe about the visit to Canberra.
“Yet Lhere Artepe are supposed to be the peak organisation for dealing
with Aboriginal issues in Alice Springs,” he says.
Mr Laughton says he’s got “an intervention plan of my own” – calling
for the resignation of Owen Cole from Imparja and CAAMA and of David
Ross from the Central Land Council.
He would add William Tilmouth from Tangentyere Council but “they’re
finished anyway”, he says.
On what grounds does he call for these resignations?
On the grounds of them “putting us where we are today – they [have been
in good jobs] while our old people, native title holders of Alice
Springs, live in poverty”.
How can he bring about this move?
“By letting the public know about it.”
What should happen to the organisations?
“All the empire builders and dead wood and whitefella hangers-on should
be cleaned out of them.”
He includes Congress in his firing line.
He asks how come during Prime Minister John Howard’s 11 years of
systematic dismantling of Aboriginal affairs, the land councils have
not been touched, suggesting that it is because they are effectively
He’s calling for the assets and funds of Centrecorp and Yeperenye Pty
Ltd and related companies to be handed over to Lhere Artepe.
“We are the traditional owners – they should not do business without
“Lhere Artepe has had enough of the gatekeepers’ control of this town,
squeezing the lifeblood out of us.
“The questions have been asked for thirty years – where’s all the money
“It is not doing anything for the traditional owners.”
What would Lhere Artepe use the money for?
To create opportunities for young Indigenous people, Mr Laughton says.
He says Lhere Artepe is in partnership with Arrernte Council and
Ingkerreke Resource Centre.
He’s calling for Indigenous housing money to be channelled through
Lhere Artepe which would sub-contract to these organisations to provide
services to the town camps.
What about Minister for Indigenous Affairs Mal Brough’s plans to
“normalise” the camps and have all public housing managed by Territory
Mr Laughton waves this aside, saying no law can challenge traditional
law on this country.
Now where have I heard this
one before? By ERWIN CHLANDA.
People feigning exasperation about what they allege is the lack of
consultation about Mal Brough’s taskforce should recall the
letter from Opposition Leader Jodeen Carney to Chief Minister Clare
Martin in May.
Ms Carney is proposing dramatic intervention in Aboriginal communities.
That letter was circulated, amongst others, to all Members of the
Either Mr Brough and Ms Carney are extraordinary soul mates, or he’s
simply following much of her script to the letter.
Situation: Civil order in Aboriginal communities and town camps have
deteriorated to a point of disintegration.
Public safety is not being maintained; women and children are subject
to rapes and occasionally death.
Health and educational outcomes have collapsed.
Objective: To create public order in Aboriginal communities and town
camps and to ensure effective delivery of public services.
Suggested short, medium and long-term proposals appear hereunder.
They, and other initiatives, need to be considered.
Crisis Cabinet’s Response: [The initiative] will need Federal
representation with Federal financial commitments.
It will also need representation from the ALP and the CLP in the
Endorsement to do its functions needs to be enunciated by the Prime
Minister, the Leader of the Opposition as well as both the Territory
Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition.
A commitment to financial support must also be made by the Territory.
Short term: The short term solutions are designed to achieve the
restoration of order to Aboriginal communities swiftly and
comprehensively, including immediate and urgent action to address
violence and abuse.
Short term Declared Areas are required to establish order and ensure
basic human rights are afforded to members of the communities.
The [initiative will have] Declared Areas of Operation ... to which the
following powers and functions apply:-
A power of arrest without warrant in Aboriginal communities and town
Agreed determination to remove any children in need of care.
Agree to dismiss any Local Community Government Council it deems
dysfunctional and appoint administrators, as deemed necessary.
Use of both Australian Federal Police and Northern Territory Police to
support Courts and to become more interventionist.
Complete crack down on grog runners, petrol sellers, drug
To ensure that there is immediate care available for victims of
crime. These services will be delivered in the Declared Areas.
Medium Term: Responses are designed to deliver services that can be
responsively implemented, but are aimed at creating outcomes that will
support long term solutions.
Areas for consideration by the Crisis Cabinet will include but not be
• Provision of rehabilitation services to victims and offenders,
located in Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine.
• Education will be supported by truancy officers and by tying
Centrelink payments with attendance at schools.
• Mandatory regular health checkups for all children under 16 years
(noting the high rates of STIs in a number of these communities).
• Public services, power, water, sewerage and other services to be
brought up to speed using the assistance of local labour.
• Provision of house maintenance and cleaning instruction in declared
• House care to be determined to a certain standard.
• Provision of community kitchens in identified dysfunctional
Long Term: The long term objectives will be applied in a fashion that
may see the Crisis Cabinet replaced with another body.
The functions would include, but not be limited to:
• Review legislation and practices which inhibit the development of
Aboriginal lands as a source of employment for Aboriginal people.
• Ensuring that there is sufficient development of facilities such as
sport and recreational facilities.
• Restoration of Local Government to communities where it has been
• Repeal of legislation that was introduced to implement Short Term
goals, including the disbandment of the flying squad.
• Removal of inquisitorial courts and a restoration to the normal
service delivery functions.
• Determination of locations and functions of sustainable government
• Jobs planning – for example, use of Centrelink income to supplement
investment to create cheaper labour.
• Compulsory work for the dole delivery.
• Oversee complete return to normalisation of government service
delivery and legal structures.
Oh, by the way, the May during which this letter was written and
disseminated was not this year, it was in 2006.
National heavyweight enters
the employment game in The Alice. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Tangentyere Job Shop manager Peter “Strachy” Strachan says his company
has lost the Job Network contract because it failed to score well
enough on the “star rating” introduced by the Federal Department of
Employment and Workplace Relations.
The national performance level was “well above where we were,” said Mr
Strachan, but the assessment system is “flawed” by failing to take into
account the special job market situation in Central Australia,
including poor education.
The contract represents about 40% of the Job Shop business, and 17 of
its 42 staff (including full time, part time and CDEP employees) lost
Most of them were employed by the new contractor, Job Find, a national
operator with 350 employees in 28 centers servicing 47 locations.
Included, significantly, are remote places with high Aboriginal
populations, Palm Island, Lockhait River, Weipa, Cooktown and
In addition to Alice Springs, Job Find have also clinched the contracts
for Katherine and Mt Isa.
Executive Director Michael Hughes says in Palmerston and Casuarina the
company is running four and a half star (out of five) operations.
Job Find got the nod just 18 days ago but already has an office in
Alice, and 15 staff including local girl Seraphina Bray currently in
Mutitjulu to explore opportunities in the park and the Ayers Rock
Despite Alice Springs’ desperate demand for labour the Job Shop,
started in 2000, is fighting an uphill battle.
Mr Strachan says he had up to 1600 people on his books.
During the past 12 months he placed 237, some 90% of them Alice Springs
But placements don’t count unless they translate into outcomes: In fact
employment agencies don’t get a cent unless people stay in the job for
at least 13 weeks.
The goal is 26 weeks, when a new recruit is regarded as settled in.
The Tangentyere “placements” in the last 12 months were just 80 people
staying 13 weeks and of these, 70 stayed 26.
That’s less than five per cent of the 1600 job “seekers”.
Mr Hughes seems undaunted.
His company has a string of educational devices, some internet based,
to get people “upskilled”.
But he says the key strategy is to take the bull by the horns.
For example, this week Job Find commenced a deal with the Sydney based
Tribal Warrior Association, a private trainer of maritime labour.
Groups of five Aborigines are getting on the job training on boats.
Ultimately the scheme will operate all the way up and down the east
coast, to qualify as certificated deck hands. After that they will get
employment on vessels ranging from coastal ferries to cruise ships.
Youth issues drown in alcohol
concerns. By KIERAN FINNANE.
There are no prizes for guessing what a public meeting about the
results of community consultation over anti-social behaviour focussed
You got it right: alcohol.
This means that an occasion to wrestle with community ills, attended by
about 50 individuals and a 15-member “stakeholder” panel, retraced
well-worn ground over one and a half hours.
The poles of the debate were as expected: that excessive drinking is a
minority problem, concerning around 300 individuals; that excessive
drinking is a whole of community problem.
That we are limiting availability of alcohol too much; that we are not
limiting it enough.
In the end the pro-restrictions lobby won the day, though no doubt that
had been decided well beforehand. They had all their demands met or
promised serious consideration, bar setting a minimum price benchmark
to make beer the cheapest drink.
Chief Minister Clare Martin announced that Alice Springs will get
an ID system for individual purchases of alcohol “to help police and
the justice system deal with alcohol-related offending”.
She also said:
• Treasury is looking at the buy-back of licenses.
• A takeaway grog-free day is on the cards. This will be discussed by
the alcohol reference group today.
Given that “80% of police time is spent on dealing with alcohol-related
issues” the government should “seriously consider” one grog-free day,
said Ms Martin, now Police Minister after a Cabinet reshuffle.
Ms Martin floated Monday as a possibility, but John Boffa of the
People’s Alcohol Action Coalition was adamant it should be a Thursday.
(A majority of town council aldermen have meanwhile opposed any
• Reduced trading hours are also “back on the table” for the reference
group, although Ms Martin is “mindful of what tourism industry people
The government wants to avoid “unnecessary impact” but tourists
obviously want to visit “a safe and viable community”, which means that
government can’t “back off” addressing the alcohol issues.
Ms Martin also tried to put to bed community frustration over delayed
funding support for CCTV in Todd Mall.
Following talks with the mayor that morning, she committed her
government to “recurrent” funding for the project for “12
months”. (A question about how a 12 month commitment can be recurrent
has gone unanswered.)
After the first 12 months “we’ll talk to the business community about
their investment” in the system.
Youth issues at the three-hour summit were dealt with in just 15
minutes, despite heightened community concern over the anti-social
behaviour of young people.
It was outrage over juvenile delinquency that triggered the clamour
over the last 12 months for CCTV, youth curfews and the “citizens’
patrols” of the CBD.
The summit was told that there is “capacity” in the town’s youth
services, meaning that they are not fully utilised.
The services, particularly those offering safe accommodation for
homeless youth, need to let the community know that they are there.
The demand for recreation programs appeared to be met when Ms Martin
announced a $200,000 to $300,000 commitment to the Gap Youth Centre to
extend their after hours and weekend programs.
However, the call for a recreation program for the whole youth
population, bringing all young people together – a preventative
approach – was brushed aside.
The Department of Family and Community’s Services’ Penny Fielding said
the target of her agency would continue to be “youth at risk”.
Ms Martin said the government will “firm up” over the next two months
the detail, including costs, of what would be involved in providing a
youth camp, potentially at Hamilton Downs or Owen Springs.
Ms Martin’s concluding remarks were about the need for Indigenous
leadership to talk about “a shared vision” for Alice Springs.
And finally, in a statement at odds with public perception, especially
in the wake of the government’s token campaign during the Greatorex
by-election, she said she looked forward to being “regularly involved”
in planning the future of Alice Springs and Central Australia “as I
have been particularly over the last 18 months”.
Justice delayed is justice
denied. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
If justice needs to be swift to be credible we’re in trouble.
In early May two children aged 12 and one aged 11 went on a night time
rampage of break-ins, theft including $2000 worth of clothing and
jewelry, and smashing windows in six CBD business.
They were arrested at 5.15pm on Sunday, May 6.
Later that day they were back on the streets again. Police had no
choice in the matter.
The Territory’s Youth Justice Act requires that children are referred
for “diversion”, designed to keep children out of the criminal
system, unless they have committed crimes such as homicide,
certain types of assaults, robbery, home invasion, certain types of
criminal damage to property, certain drug offences.
Today, more than three months later, that diversion process is only
just beginning for the three young offenders.
Sergeant Mal Guerin provided this account to the Alice Springs News,
which is monitoring how they are being dealt with.
“Whilst the diversion process can be lengthy, the actual investigation
of the offence needs to be conducted and finalised prior to the matter
going to either diversion or prosecutions.
“The full investigation of this matter took considerable time due to
the variety of locations [at which] the offenders were located.
“The last of the youth offenders has just now been assessed – he was
eventually located in hospital.
“It has taken longer that we envisaged to find them all, with enquiries
being conducted as to their whereabouts at Tennant Creek, Mt
Allen, Yuendumu, Harts Range and every location we had for them on
PROMIS (the police database).
“In considering the time taken to locate and assess them,
the alternative would have been to place the matters before the
“This would entail the youth being summonsed to court and the
same problem would have been encountered locating them
“Then, when they eventually appeared in court, the probable outcome
would have been that they would be sent back to YDU [to be] re-assessed
“This would have taken longer again.
“Now that we have all the assessments the Youth Justice Conference
(YJC) process can begin.
“The victims have been contacted by Senior Constable Dixon, who has
explained the process and asked them what outcomes they would like
achieved from the YJC.
“A YJC is a very powerful tool when conducted by an experienced
“To have a YJC that results in restorative justice principals being
achieved and the desired impact upon the youth, it is critical that as
many of the victims and youths attend the conference.
“To break the YJC down into smaller conferences would lose the
impact and could result in the revictimisation of the victims or
the youth involved.
“S/Const Dixon will be conducting the YJC with support from this
“He is currently conducting conference facilitator training in Darwin
and will be returning to Alice on August 22.
“In his absence we will continue to work on the logistics of the YJC
and keep the victims and youth offenders notified of proceedings.”
A joker who has a black
background. By DARCY DAVIS.
If you missed Sean Choolburra’s performance last Saturday at Araluen,
you might have been one of those lucky kids from Centralian College to
get a very special private performance of ‘Live and Deadly’.
Sean began with an introduction to his culture and ethnic background:
“I’m part Celtic and part Aboriginal. I’ve got a bit of Asian too.
Where are all my Asian brothers out there?
Lots of blackfellas got some Asian in them, that’s why we like our
“But I grew up with a black background… rather than a black curtain
background,” he said, gesturing towards his backdrop.
“I’ve travelled around Australia, performing at all different schools.
Trouble is, I hated school, so look out kids, you might end up like me,
I was having no luck at snapping a decent photo from my seat, his dark
skin, dark clothes and black curtain behind him made it difficult.
I descended the stairs and flashed a few shots from the side of the
Sean turned and faced me, then the audience.
“How’s my hair?” he asked.
“I forgot my photographer was coming along today – how about my
eyebrow? My eyebrow might be a little crooked!”
“That was bloody hilarious,” said Jane Walsh loudly at the end of the
It had gone down well with the crowd.
But Sean had some genuine messages and a message with humour is a sure
way to get across to kids.
“We all gotta look at the bigger picture,” he explained “and the bigger
picture is that we’re all from the one race. The Human Race.
But despite all being from the human race, we all do things a little
differently, and that’s what makes us deadly!”
“I thought it would be like regular stand up,” said Philip Ballard,
“but I got a different perspective on things at the same time.”
“It was just deadly,” said Mitch Murray.
Sean expanded on the significance of the word ‘Deadly’ which he
brandished in capital white letters on the front of his shirt.
“You know our family made up the word deadly. In ‘73 me and my siblings
heard on the radio that our hero, Bruce Lee, had just passed away.
“We mourned and mourned for Bruce. Grandma came out and asked what was
We told her ‘It’s Bruce Lee – he died!’ ‘He’s Dead Li now,’ she
Sean Choolburra is now on his way to Melbourne where he will take part
in the popular TV series ‘Thank God You’re Here’, episode 12.
LETTERS: Time for flood
control is now.
Sir,- I’m writing about your article on flood mitigation for Alice
Springs (Alice News, August 9).
My home at White Gums is on the banks of the Roe Creek.
We experienced a large flood in 1988 when massive overnight rains
caused enormous flows in all the rivers west of Alice.
These huge flows saw Hermannsburg, Glen Helen, Owen Springs and many
homesteads severely flooded.
The Todd also flowed in a very large stream.
Its smaller sister river, the Roe, to the west of town, in places
flowed high velocity water at more than a kilometer wide.
It was quite obvious that the Todd had not received the kind of
rainfall that all the rivers west of town had.
Even though the Todd spilled into the streets of Alice Springs, the
town was spared the massive high velocity flows experienced just a few
kilometers to the west.
Had the Todd been fed as much water as the Roe, the result would have
been disastrous for Alice Springs, with many areas of the town
affected, and not just by still backwash.
There would have been flood waters moving at speeds up to 80km per hour
with catastrophic effect.
Many lives would have been lost.
So, what are the chances that our town will be effected by such an
Given a long enough period of time it is a certainty.
Our experts tell us that it may be a one-in-100 year event. All the
rivers west of town appear to have had their one-in-100 event.
Does that make the Todd’s event imminent?
The answer, of course, is who knows?
And that, it seems, gives our pollies and bureaucracy reason not to
Our bureaucracy sees flood mitigation works for the town as a low
priority, deliberately casting doubt on the ability of a dam to work,
citing such things as silting up as reasons against the viability of
Never mind that these same works are carried out all over the world and
all over our own country. It’s just normal engineering. It’s enough to
make you cringe.
Advance Alice ran a survey during the recent show, questioning people’s
interest in a recreation dam on the Hugh River.
About 80% responded enthusiastically, yes please.
When questioning those against, the most common reason given was it
won’t work, we are in a desert.
The fact is there are massive dams all around the world in similar
Many pastoralists use dams to water their cattle.
There are dams just to the north, in Tennant Creek, and only a few
hundred kilometres to the east, at Jervois.
This same level of blind parochial thinking seems to apply to the
powers that be when it comes to thinking about flood mitigation for
Alice. The tragedy of it all!
Unless locals get off their backsides and fill up the organisations and
committees that supposedly make a difference in this town, nothing will
be done, or not before it’s too late.
Propaganda by governments all around the country relating to global
warming water supply have duped the general population into believing
we are facing a shortage of water.
And indeed we are but not because of global warming, but because of the
failure of governments to put appropriate funding into water supply
The true horror of global warming is not lack of water but too much
water, which will make its presence felt by flooding as sea levels
rise, and from extreme weather events occurring more often.
If we are to believe the global warming theory, as apparently most of
the world does, then now is the time to act.
Sir,- For the last few weeks, there has not been a murmer in the
Bloomfield Estate and I have slept peacefully on weekends.
Normally there is yelling, screaming and screaching tyres all weekend.
Credit where credit is due.
I suspect it goes to a combination of police patrols and previous
hard work apprehending and removing vandals, muggers and ring leaders
from mobs plus the new alchohol restrictions.
Now the problem is confined to the town camps or ghettos
that haven’t been cleaned up yet.
Tangentyre Council don’t get their act together and, by the look of it,
never will be.
So all those academic cynics and knockers and intellectual bleeding
hearts and do-gooders who refuse to accept the opportunity that the
State of Emergency is providing for these poor selfless and helpless
children that have lived in squalor and threat of constant abuse since
the day they were born, should also get their act together and put up
or shut up.
One such “expert” was quoted saying on a national news program that 98%
of all aboriginal communities are already declared alcohol-free areas
so bans won’t make any difference.
She must be in fantasyland and apparently blissfully unaware
that only a few communities actually enforce the bans.
On removal of permits, take Hermannsburg as a classic example of
it working successfully where each day, hundreds of tourists are
free to and do drive through the town and / or to the historic
Private streets are placarded as such and that No Entry is permitted,
in exactly the same way as many private streets and condominiums in
Melbourne or Sydney are similarly off-limits and even barricaded.
I have absolutely no problem with that.
If you don’t believe it, get out there and see for yourself.
But there is one other problem in the town camps and smaller
communities that is not being addressed and is continuing unchecked -
Where Law and Order has broken down, the elders have lost power and
Mob rule and the law of the fist and stick prevails over the weak and
Adults are threatened with a bashing if they don’t hand over money
or their social security cards on pay day so these juvenile delinquents
can extort them.
They will buy grog, drugs, fancy new clothes, cars, sound
systems and mobile phones while their older relatives starve and
get bashed up if they complain.
Hopefully, some of this will be uncovered and reported on as part of
the Emergency response.
Or perhaps some of those protestors could expend some of their
misguided energy into complaining about the adult abuse problem and do
something constructive for a change.
After 200 years in Australia and 100 years in Central
Australia, we whities obviously still don’t understand the
They are expecting far too much and after wasting billions of dollars,
have little improvement in quality of life to show for it.
So let’s give this initiative a chance to work.
Let’s get behind it and get on with it - for the sake of the children
Gillen, Alice Springs
Sir,- Yes Brendan, (Alice News, August 9) a new plan for drinkers is
Thirsty Thursdays, two km limits, restricted hours, restricted
purchases, ID cards: We have to ask, what has worked in any way at all?
The drunks are still drunk and will continue to be drunk giving
everyone a hard time.
Alcoholism is a disease, which like all serious health problems needs
acute and direct actions to remedy.
A fully self-supporting dry out centre as you propose would be of major
benefit to all.
Get rid of the ineffectual Liquor Commission to fund it.
It would get drunks off the street, dry them out and hopefully direct
them toward a purpose in life. They may even get to enjoy their
sojourn away from the daily drunken roundabout.
It would be a work camp, not a holiday camp. There are times in life
when it is necessary to be cruel to be kind.
Unfortunately your “wise people” making the rules are in many cases
sucking on the nipple of Government and I have doubts that it is really
in their interests to solve the problem.
Having meetings and driving a computer writing numerous reports would
appear in many cases to be their solution to the troubles.
Sir,- News that a grog free day could soon become a reality just adds
further stupidity to the simplistic Labor party approach to addressing
systemic social problems in the NT.
We must put more investment into addressing the causes of excessive
alcohol consumption rather than punishing the whole community because
of the actions of a few.
There are about 200 to 300 chronic alcoholics in Alice Springs who
produce the multitude of antisocial behaviour we all loathe.
We should be targeting intensive support programmes for these people
and promoting welfare reform initiatives rather than hindering them.
Paying people to sit down encourages alcohol consumption.
Instead the NT Labor Party just wants to target the remaining 29,800
local residents through over regulation and once again attack our
CLP candidate for Lingiari
WHY ONLY ALICE?
Sir,- So, after much consultation the Chief Minister is considering a
grog free day for Alice Springs.
Why just Alice Springs? Why not for all the Territory? Alcohol abuse is
not just restricted to the regional centres.
The alcohol fuelled anti social behaviour in Darwin’s CBD is an example
of a culture of heavy drinking in our capital city.
I note the new Minister for Alcohol Policy said, for example, that he
would consider extending the need for photo ID throughout the Territory
with the exception of Darwin.
“Darwin is a different kettle of fish,” unquote.
Perhaps the Minister meant to say: “Darwin is a different kettle of
It might just make sense to have no takeaway grog on Sundays throughout
the Territory, not just Alice Springs.
Member for Braitling
Sir,- The Federal politicians and bureaucrats never cease to amaze me.
Their well thought out intervention in the National Crisis is
“Quarantine” half welfare payments (for school lunches etc).
Introduce “commercial” rate rents with rental agreements, presumably
including a “damages deposit” to further soak up excess wealth on these
Encourage home ownership i.e. encourage locals to take on mortgages at
the current historically low rates and to apply more of their surplus
ready cash as home buyer deposits.
This leaves absolutely nothing, which is good: It’ll stop anyone on
these communities from buying grog and gunja and baby clothes and prams
and tyres and batteries and fuel and television sets and tickets to
entertainment in Alice Springs and trips in the Bush Bus and books and
magazines and CDs and
DVDs and Telstra phone cards and household furniture and white
goods and (once they own their houses) repairs (such as plumbers,
electricians etc. that will no longer be able to be kept out by the
The thorough process of consultations and involvement of the local
communities preceding the implementation of these “emergency” measures
was a wonder to behold and is also to be highly commended.
Anyone who thinks this is all a poll driven political stunt is being
too cynical by half.
I trust everyone realises that Mal in Mal Brough is short for
I’m sure he will heed any good advice to improve the measures even more.
Yes, bring Aboriginal Australia into the economic mainstream.
Start with bringing household debt to the same levels enjoyed by other
True genius, why wasn’t it thought of before during the last decade?
Here is a suggestion: install parking meters in Aboriginal towns; that
will surely help to protect the little children!
Sir,- Wow, www.alicespringsnews.com.au is an awesome site.
I used to live in Alice Springs back in the days.
I also attended school and my mom also worked as a teacher.
It’s nice to have updates and see what has changed over the years.
Sir,- Me old mate John Winston Howard continues to excel himself!
The efficiency of his parliament (he owns it, we do not) almost beggars
belief - 480 pages of enabling legislation, in one day to be read,
comprehended, and accepted gladly by the once more humbled
Couldn’t have it ready before acting, because, you know, how SLOW those
fussy parliamentary draftsmen are!
Let’s not suggest anything be irregular, or absurd, about such
Federal Parliament has long been authorized, by popular vote,
Constitution Part V, Section 51(26), as altered in 1967 (remember) “...
the people of any race of whom it is deemed necessary to make special
What, you may ask, was altered? Actually, deleted, the words “excepts
Was it not Malcolm Fraser who once protested that certain people are
born to rule?
Did anyone notice the little sign I put on the rear of my van, early
2003, “Howard replaces democracy with autocracy”?
Notice the piece, my JWH, in the opinion pages of this Weekend
Australian, justifying his commitment of our military to take part in
the USA invasion of Iraq?
Where-in JWH used “belief” 13 or 14 times; implied “knowing” only once?
Does such a word choice warn of Divine Right overruling participatory
Certainly JWH, supported by his silly sycophants, is determined to
restrict OUR right to know!
But, isn’t blissful ignorance so much easier?
Robert (Droge) Drogemuller
Back to front page of the the Alice Springs News.