ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
March 19, 2009. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
Centrecorp lid is off. By ERWIN
After two decades of secrecy a Federal Government report has
popped the lid off the Aboriginal investment company, Centrecorp, in
which the Central Land Council (CLC) has a three-fifths controlling
stake, and whose major ventures are the Yeperenye Shopping Centre,
Peter Kittle Motor Company and the King’s Canyon Resort.
The report, released last week from Federal Finance Minister Lindsay
Tanner’s office, raises the company’s dismal performance in creating
Aboriginal employment, issues of conflicts of interest, flawed
financial reporting, and it resolutely puts paid to Centrecorp’s stock
claim that as a Pty Ltd company it has no obligations to answer to the
public about its affairs.
Findings leave open the question of whether the CLC, through its
director David Ross, has misled Federal Parliament and breached the law
under which it operates.
The report says while “Centrecorp is a very successful private
organisation” greater openness is required because the company has
received more than $25m (including about $4m in loans) from the
Australian Government, and “because it was established for the benefit
of Aboriginal people in Central Australia.
“For this reason it is important that it take steps to significantly
improve the transparency of its operations.”
A similar case has been made by the Alice Springs News in its reports
on the affairs of Centrecorp over several years, only to have our
questions consistently stonewalled by Centrecorp and the CLC.
The report repeatedly mentions local and national news reports and
suggests measures that would “improve [Centrecorp’s] public profile and
reduce reputational risks.
“The absence of any form of public reporting by Centrecorp, which was
established for the benefit of Central Australian Aboriginal people,
demonstrates a lack of transparency.
“It also provides further weight to claims made in the media as the
beneficiaries of Centrecorp do not have access to any other
“Centrecorp should consider how it can provide more public knowledge
about its objectives and strategies for providing benefits to
Aboriginal people in Central Australia.”
Reports published by the Alice News have been drawn on by the national
Fairfax press, but no other local medium has paid significant attention
to the subject, except a puff piece in 2008 by the Centralian Advocate,
based on spin clearly fed to them by Centrecorp and devoid of
independent research and analysis.
Centrecorp, having for years abrogated its responsibility of public
accountability, with “no comment” as the routine answer to our
questions, claims in reply to the report that any reliance on media
would be “inept”.
The report, originally commissioned by the Howard Government, does not
seek to put a value on the worth of the Centrecorp holdings, widely
estimated at $100m, at least before the “great recession”.
It says some assets are “recorded at cost” of their initial
acquisition, plus dividend income.
For 2006-07 the consolidated net asset position for Centrecorp’s two
trusts was put at $10.9m.
But with the possible exception of King’s Canyon, these assets are
likely to have grown substantially in value, especially Peter Kittle
Motor Company, which under the management of local businessman Peter
Kittle has grown into a car empire with dealerships now in Alice
Springs, Adelaide, Tennant Creek, Port Lincoln and Whyalla.
Centrecorp has a 50% stake.
Says the report: “Given the profitability [of Peter Kittle Motor
Company] in the years since 1991, and the fact that the business is
classed as a ‘BRW top 500 company’, the current market value of the
business is likely to be considerably higher than that recorded in the
[trust] financial statements.
“Centrecorp do not produce ‘group accounts’.
“It is not therefore possible to identify the exact current value of
their various investments.”
Information in the report may indicate that the CLC is, or has been, in
breach of the legislation under which it operates, and that CLC
director David Ross may have misled Parliament in recent Senate
Shadow Attorney General George Brandis asked Mr Ross, who according to
the report gets $63,528 a year in director’s fees, on February 27
whether Centrecorp “does nothing else than act as a trustee of the two
trusts” Mr Ross had named.
Mr Ross replied: “It’s a trustee only.”
Brandis: “It’s a trustee only. The only thing it does is administer
those two trusts. Is that right?”
Ross: “That’s it.”
Yet the report shows that Centrecorp is holding shares “beneficially”
in four companies, including 60% of Yeperenye Nominees Pty Ltd.
The report says under the Land Rights Act, “Land Councils can not incur
financial liability or receive financial benefit in assisting
Aboriginal people with commercial activities”.
The Alice News has drawn attention to this clause repeatedly over the
years, in reports about Centrecorp and the CLC (see our online
The reports states the legal requirement but does not draw a
But it recommends that “Centrecorp review the share holding details
recorded on the ASIC company register to ensure that they accurately
reflect the nature of their share holding”.
Centrecorp’s clipped response: “Agree. Actioned.”
The Alice News wanted to ask the CLC and Centrecorp when and how this
may have been “actioned” but the company and its majority shareholder
are clearly unmoved by the government’s urging to become more
transparent: They didn’t respond to our emails.
Meanwhile Federal Member Warren Snowdon, when asked about Centrecorp by
the Alice News last week, said: “I have no interest in pursuing this.”
He seemed oblivious to the fact that the government, in which he is a
Minister, was about to release a report, partly damning, about the most
significant Indigenous commercial venture on his own patch.
He also clearly ignored widespread outrage from his constituents about
Centrecorp’s policy of silence.
The author of the report, the Office of Evaluation and Audit –
Indigenous Programs (OEA), says Centrecorp is a private company,
registered in 1985.
Its objective is to “undertake and implement activities which further
the economic and social development of Aboriginals and which are
conducive to the advancement of Aboriginals.”
Following negotiations by the CLC of a corridor to accommodate the NT
Gas pipeline, Centrecorp was created to hold a 1.5% interest in NT Gas.
Says the report: “Over the years ... Centrecorp has established a
network of trusts and corporations to invest in a variety of business
“The Centrecorp entity does not operate as a trading organisation and
does not prepare financial statements.
“Rather, Centrecorp’s trading activity is recorded in the financial
statements of two charitable trusts, Central Australian Aboriginal
Charitable Trust (CAACT) and Central Aboriginal Charitable Trust
(CACT), of which Centrecorp is trustee.”
Centrecorp investments, with Centrecorp’s share in brackets, include
the real estate agency, L J Hooker (50%); Milner Road Food Town
supermarket (50% – Tangentyere Council holds the balance) and hardware
retailer, Mitre 10 (50%).
The report says: “It is important to note that the Peter Kittle Motor
Company, Kings Canyon Resort [33% – Voyages have 46%] and Yeperenye Pty
Ltd investments have been supported by Government funding.
“Accordingly, they are the main focus of this audit.”
The bulk of the Federal investment, $19.6m, was a share transfer in
2005 to Yeperenye Nominees Pty Ltd from Indigenous Business Australia.
Centrecorp has a 60% share in Yeperenye, and 40% is held by the Alice
Springs native title body, Lhere Artepe.
Federal grants for the acquisition of Centrecorp’s interest in Peter
Kittle Motor Company was $1.3m, including “consultant fees associated
with [the] purchase of shares”, amounting to a staggering $190,000.
A further $190,000 was paid as a loan.
The Feds paid $4.8m to Centrecorp for the purchase of shares in King’s
Canyon Resort, of which all but $200,000 was a loan, now repaid.
Lack of transparency isn’t the only bone the OEA has to pick with
The extremely poor record in Aboriginal employment is another.
Of Centrecorp’s 241 staff only 20 or 8.3% are Aboriginal.
None are employed by L J Hooker, nor – amazingly – by King’s Canyon
Resort, which has a staff of 72.
Says the report: “One of the original motivating factors for
Centrecorp’s involvement in the initiative was the prospect of
generating significant employment opportunities for residents of local
“There are two communities (Lila and Luypinyali) located within
reasonable proximity to the [King’s Canyon] Resort.
“These communities have no other significant employment opportunities
and as a result exhibit high levels of unemployment.”
Whilst the communities don’t see fit to provide any workers for the
resort, in which they have a one-third share, they see nothing wrong
with accepting a handout from the resort of $25,000 a year for aircraft
Says the report: “A range of employment initiatives have been trialled
over the 17 years since the resort was created [including] the
facilitation of guided nature tours of the local area by Indigenous
guides, Lila rock art tours, employment of Indigenous staff in a range
of gardening, laundry and site maintenance activities and the
assistance in the establishment of a local transport business (which
has since ceased trading).
“Unfortunately, none of these initiatives have, so far, been successful
in enabling the long-term employment of local Indigenous people.”
Dividend from King’s Canyon fell from $506,000 in 2001/02 to $157,000
in 2004/05, with nothing paid in the following two years. That’s a six
year average of just $187,000.
Says the report: “The profitability of the project has been mixed in
recent years and a series of significant capital expenditure
requirements have meant that shareholder disbursements to CAACT have
historically been relatively low in comparison with the ATSIC loan
repayments of $456,296 per year which was paid by the CAACT.
“This has meant that for the past five financial years the CAACT has
facilitated the ATSIC loan repayments by funds from other investments’
Dividend payments from Peter Kittle Motor Company fell sharply from
$787,000 in 2001/02 to $358,954 in 2006/07 with the average at $340,000.
Yeperenye paid no dividends.
Says the report: “Yeperenye Pty Ltd has been operating profitably for a
number of years.
“Historically the profits have been reinvested in the business in the
form of capital expenditure and purchasing new assets (commercial
In 2006/07 the Centrecorp trusts had a consolidated net profit of
$507,000 and its two trusts paid $235,000 in charitable donations.
Centrecorp’s charitable donations – $1.18m since Centrecorp’s inception
or $59,000 average per year – are the subject of extensive comment in
It says: “There are no common procedural guidelines in place across the
network of organisations to guide those responsible for making
donations on the types of activities to be supported, the reporting
arrangements to be employed and process to be followed where a
potential conflict of interest is found to exist.
“OEA recommends that Centrecorp review and revise its donation policy
to ensure that it provides clear guidance to the board, management and
potential applicants in the administration and payment of donations.”
A proposed charitable foundation “would provide a sole outlet for
charitable donations that are administered on an arms-length basis by
an independent foundation board, thus allowing Centrecorp management to
focus on commercial activities.”
OEA also recommends that “Centrecorp consider and develop clear rules
and procedures for the declaration and management of potential
conflicts of interest, possibly through a code of conduct.
“This may involve initiatives such as restrictions on voting rights
where a potential conflict exists; requiring a member to leave the
meeting while a subject involving a potential conflict is discussed;
and/or maintaining a register of members’ pecuniary and other interests
so that there is transparency over where potential conflicts may exist.”
Centrecorp’s reply: “No Centrecorp Directors have financial or
pecuniary interests in either Centrecorp, its related entities or any
other commercial entity.”
That’s a brave statement to make in a society with a most extensive web
of family, clan and tribal obligations.
While the report is wide-ranging, it notes that Centrecorp imposed
restrictions on the review: “OEA was not provided with access to the
Centrecorp, CAACT, CACT or Alice Car Centre Pty Ltd [Peter Kittle Motor
Company] board minutes and supporting papers as management indicated
that they are likely to include commercially sensitive papers that do
not relate to the commercial entity supported by Government funding.
“Certain commercial-in-confidence information is not contained in this
It is available at http://www.finance.gov.au/oea/docs/centercorp.pdf
Council turns one,
tackles big issues: law & order, litter. By KIERAN FINNANE.
One year into their term the Eleventh Alice Springs Town Council
is practising the art of the possible.
On law and order they forced the Territory Government’s hand with the
temporary recruitment before last Christmas of a security patrol for
It was a relatively expensive exercise – $20,000 – but it bought the
town a government response worth much more .
The Territory Government is footing the bill for security patrols in
the mall until a shopfront police substation opens there in July.
Now with litter control, council is at it again, even if the government
tried to wrest the initiative from them.
Since February Mayor Damien Ryan and officers have been communicating
with the government about council’s novel approach.
It involves using council’s ability to raise charges, provided for by
Section 157 of the Local Government Act, to exact a yet-to-be-specified
sum from those ratepayers owning property leased by takeaway liquor
The proposed charge responds to the fact that half of the tonnage of
picked up in public areas around the town consists of liquor
containers, with green VB cans the major culprit.
Council spends some $630,000 a year on removing away-from-home litter.
Add to this the effort of Correctional Services gangs – grog-related
litter accounts for most of their activity from Tuesdays to Fridays (on
Mondays they devote themselves to illegal dumping).
Council intends to raise around $350,000 from the new charge.
On Monday night aldermen debated, in the confidential part of their
meeting, just how the charge would be shared across the relevant group
If the charge were going to relate to volume of sales, the two
supermarket-associated liquor stores, Liquorland at Coles and Mac’s
Liquor at Woolworths, as well as the Todd Tavern and Gapview takeaways
stand to carry the greater part of the burden.
The Alice News understands from a reliable source that these four
account for 70% of sales.
Mr Ryan told the Alice News that council has not been able to access
figures on volume of sales.
The second prong of council’s attack on litter is to get a “Cash for
Container” scheme up and running – a container deposit scheme by
It can’t have been a coincidence that the Territory Government
announced their own plans for such a scheme, under the same name, just
one day before council convened a meeting to discuss their plans with
liquor licensees and relevant ratepayers last Thursday.
The government’s scheme however won’t get going until 2011 – if at all.
Their “in principle” commitment carries the rider, “provided it is
financially viable, legally sound and can deliver in both urban and
And in any case there’ll be a two year wait before implementation.
A reference group, to be chaired by Alison Anderson as Environment
Minister, will further explore the government’s criteria and report
back in July.
Council meanwhile remains resolute.
“We cannot sit and wait for two years for a CDL program,” said Mr Ryan
Council’s proposed charge, which will not be imposed until after this
year’s Business Plan is adopted, will hold both retailers and consumers
responsible for the disposal of containers, said Mr Ryan.
He thinks it likely that retailers will turn to their suppliers to
cover at least some of the cost.
The council is also under-taking a complete redraft of the Todd Mall
by-laws and the public places by-laws in an effort to more effectively
tackle littering and other anti-social behaviour.
At present an on-the-spot fine for littering can only be issued if the
person is observed dropping the item.
That is one point that will be examined in the re-drafting, says CEO
The fruit of council’s discussions with the native title holder body,
Lhere Artepe, will also be a focus in the redrafting.
Getting to know them.
“Street kids” don’t have to remain anonymous. Mayor Damien Ryan and
aldermen Samih Habib, Brendan Heenan and John Rawnsley on Saturday
night joined veteran Aboriginal youth worker Eddie Taylor and son James
on a mission to get to know young people out on the street late at
From about 9pm until after 11 they cooked up some sausages and had an
esky full of softdrinks and waited in the Anzaz Oval carpark for the
kids to come to them.
Mr Ryan and the two Taylors also walked through most of the CBD,
talking to the groups they came across.
The volunteers were joined by Ian McAdam (centre) from the Clontarf
Football Academy and Darrel Liddle (back, right), who invited a group
of lads to kick the footy with them on Anzac Oval. Will and Margot
McGregor, from the youth service Bush Mob, also came down.
It’s the third time Mr Ryan has been involved in such an exercise, but
Ald Habib and Mr Taylor (snr) are old hands at “trying to create
something for these kids”.
On Saturday Mr Taylor drove from Tennant Creek for the occasion, but
James Taylor will be taking the reins in future.
New lease of life for Pitchi
Rent from an existing cottage and from a “compatible” development
sub-lease will help fund the conservation of the Pitchi Richi
Sanctuary, now in the hands of Heritage Alice Springs Inc.
The conservation group recently took over the lease of the
heritage-listed sanctuary with the blessing of former lease-holder Elsa
Corbet and two weeks ago formed a sub-committee to manage the
Pitchi Richi is home to a treasure trove of ceramic sculptures by
William Ricketts and artifacts of pioneering history collected by Mrs
Corbet’s late husband, Leo.
Fortunately the heritage-listed portion of the property, actually an
agglomeration of five leases, covers only about 40% of the total area.
Compatible developments on the remaining 60% could raise significant
revenue, both in the short and longer term, says president of Heritage
Alice Springs (HAS), Domenico Pecorari.
Possible uses include horticulture and tourist accommodation.
Negotiations are also underway to have someone move into and restore a
two-storey house (pictured above) on the heritage-listed portion of
Known as the “Pearly Gates”, the house has been nominated for listing
in its own right for its connection with Charles Henry (”Pop”)
Chapman, founder of The Granites mine and The Advocate newspaper,
as well as builder of Alice’s first public swimming pool.
Having someone living on site would discourage potential trespassing
and vandalism, says Mr Pecorari.
Revenue raised from the various sources will go towards maintenance and
upgrades of the property as well as heritage conservation works,
including restoration of the Ricketts sculptures and the creation of an
HAS will also seek funding support through the NT Government’s Heritage
It is hoped to have the sanctuary open for visitors on at least one day
of the weekend in this year’s tourist season.
Sacred Sites block river
safety burns. By KIERAN FINNANE.
Systematic fire control for the Todd and Charles rivers cannot be
undertaken because there is, as yet, no formal agreement about a fire
management program for the rivers.
Despite concern over the threat to sacred trees arising from
infestations of buffel and couch grasses, the draft program has stalled
before the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, who are requesting
that the Town Council’s plans be re-submitted to them as five separate
Questioned on the cost to council by Alderman Sandy Taylor, Mr Buxton
said it would be paid for by the “long hours” worked by council staff.
Meanwhile, in other council news:
• The council is strongly objecting to the proposed installation of
overhead high voltage transmission lines from the Brewer Estate along
Ross Highway, Palm Circuit and Len Kittle Drive at the southern
entrance to the town.
They had heard from the Rural Areas Association on the matter and at
Monday’s committee meeting Peter Grigg, general manager of Tourism
Central Australia, also expressed his concern.
Technical Services director Greg Buxton said such an installation would
be against council policy as well as Power and Water Corporation
It would be visually “unsightly and polluting “, he said.
The Rural Areas Association is demanding that the lines be put
underground for the last three kilometres south of the Gap, just as it
is proposed they will be along Bradshaw Drive north of the Gap.
• The funding agreement required to release the federal millions
promised for the aquatic centre is threatening to look like “War and
Peace”, a frustrated CEO Rex Mooney told aldermen on Monday.
He questioned the necessity of the “minute detail” being asked for by
the bureaucrat in chrage, and suggested that the construction of an
aquatic center is after all fairly “fundamental” – “a hole in the
ground, water pumping, and a roof over the top”.
• The public toilet and ablution block in the Civic Centre grounds will
be opened on the weekend in a three-month trial.
Mayor Damien Ryan described their closure on weekends as the “most
embarrassing thing” he has to face as mayor.
The cost is not slight, as the ablution block has to be manned.
Alderman Murray Stewart said there was really no option but to find the
money – public toilets are a core service, especially in a tourist
And Mr Ryan agreed: “We have to find a way to pay for it.”
• Aldermen gave their support to a letter from council’s Environment
Advisory Committee requesting that the Territory Government adopt
Minimum Energy Performance Requirements to achieve more sustainable
Alderman Jane Clark, who chairs the committee, said the government
needs to answer to the community for their lagging action on the issue,
especially when they are embarking on a major housing upgrade program
in remote communities.
The committee believes significant improvements in energy and water
efficiency can be achieved without adding to cost, by requiring “five
star” rating for things like the building envelope, water heating, air
conditioning, lighting, toilets, taps.
Final tests for sewage reuse.
Power and Water (P&W) and CSIRO are fine-tuning the water
reuse scheme which aims to recycle some of the effluent from the sewage
Scientists are experimenting with the frequency of flooding and drying
of four basins, to maximize the rate
of recharge to the underlying aquifer.
Peter Dillon, from the CSIRO Land and Water Division, says a review of
the first period of operation has been undertaken and the
results are “very positive” at this early stage of commissioning.
The re-use scheme consists of a dissolved air flotation plant at
the aeration ponds near The Gap where effluent undergoes partial
It is then piped to the basins at the Arid Zone Research
Institute, just south of the Desert Knowledge complex.
These are operated intermittently with a wet and dry cycle.
Some ponds need to have shorter wet periods to maximise recharge.
As the effluent seeps into the ground, it is cleaned further as it
passes through sand, and recharges the aquifer some 20 metres
below the surface.
From there it can be pumped up again.
Dr Dillon says that when the commissioning period is completed and
all basins are operating, the target of 600 million litres a
year recharge – the approved upper limit – is likely to be
This is 20% of the three billion litres of sewage that is treated by
the ponds each year.
Water from the treatment plant is also used for irrigation of
Blatherskite Park, but the principal method of disposal continues to be
The recycled water was initially intended for use in a market garden or
horticultural enterprise but end-users have not yet been found.
Says P&W: “There is no urgency for this to occur as sufficient
water needs to be ‘banked’ prior to any long term arrangement being
The site has also been proposed for a residential subdivision where the
recycled water could be used for non-drinking purposes.
“This pilot project is the first of its kind in Australia and is thus
of intense interest to CSIRO and the industry nationally,” says
“It is an innovative project that combines high technology wastewater
treatment within an award winning plant, and natural infiltration and
purification systems within local groundwater systems.”
$1 million Emily set to be a
hit for Alice. By KIERAN FINNANE.
Even in the best of times, the “return home” of “Earth’s Creation” by
the late, great Emily Kame Kngwarreye would always have been occasion
The painting unites within one vast canvas the artist’s vision of the
“whole lot” – the world around her, its meaning. Nothing less was her
It has become famous as a painting which broke the then record for
Indigenous art at auction, and still holds the price record ($1.05m)
for a work by an Australian woman, Indigenous or not.
It will certainly be the largest work on canvas on show in Alice
Springs and, more important than these matters of price and size, among
the very best the town, as a hub for world-famous Aboriginal art from
the central deserts, has to offer.
Given the “worrying” times, the painting’s arrival last Friday, after
its part in an international Kngwarreye retrospective and a spell
hanging in the Territory Parliament, was doubly welcome.
Tim Jennings, owner and general manager of Mbantua Gallery, who bought
the painting two years ago, says having it on display should help “get
us through 2009”. And perhaps the town will benefit too, as he expects
that art-lovers will make the journey especially to see the work – a
It will be displayed as the key work in the gallery’s cultural museum,
so viewing will come at a small fee.
For an appreciation of the painting by art historian Sally Butler see www.alicespringsnews.com.au/1419.html
Pop Vulture: Deadly duel of
Previous television triumph Underbelly is in a duel with its highly
anticipated sequel (actually a prequel), Underbelly 2, “A tail of two
Pop vulture is a fly on the wall, overlooking the two gunslingers as
they prepare for their duel.
Underbelly: I have all six bullets, in a gun thats aim is true. I don’t
need luck with this duel.
My opponent would not have even existed if it were not for my own
I on the other hand, arrived on the wings of my own originality, and no
eagle soars higher than that which soars on its own wings.
Direction, production, casting, soundtrack, plot and, above all, the
way I was received by the critics, are six chambers that I have driven
And my own confidence in winning this duel brims brightly with the
knowledge that my adversary, Underbelly 2 “A tail of two cities”, is a
blatant cash-in on my own achievements.
Underbelly 2: I’m sweating, sweating bullets, sweating buckets, my
sweating bullets are sweating buckets.
On a visual and plotline stance, I have little on my predecessor.
God I wish I was my predecessor.
I have arrived too early, hyped up to the point where it has become a
fashion to criticise me.
But I do have one floating light amidst this sea of criticism, my
Not only have my directors and editors used my track selection and
placement to goosebump-inducing accuracy, I have delivered a selection
of material that highlights and captures the era that the series is set
Rusty chord rock and roll is what was big in Australia during the 1970s.
Disco hadn’t quite set sail across the Pacific, and the lack of African
immigration meant that traditional blues and soul were not something
that was home-grown. Aside from the melting pot of a tune choice,
the remaining five chambers in my six shooter are left hollow and
I’m doomed, doomed to fail. To tread the devastatingly cool path carved
by my predecessor is a goal that should never have been rushed.
The duel: Having only one bullet in its respective arsenal, in a world
where emptying entire clips into an opponent is the norm Underbelly 2
is no match for the original.
He is found dead on stage, victim of the first hit ever warranted for
the sake of a review.
Bald and beautiful for a good
cause. By BEVERLEY JOHNSON.
Students are no longer given homework or detention at school –
nowadays the principal gets out his rusty razor and shaves off your
This looked to be the case last Thursday when 13-year-old Dustin Earl
Hunter had his long locks buzzed off in order to raise money for
Dustin’s 11-year-old brother, Baylee, decided to join him, at the last
“Dustin is very generous for shaving his head for leukaemia, I’m very
proud of him,” said Baylee.
The boys’ great-uncle Earl died of leukaemia several years ago. Dustin
still has fond memories of holidays spent on the east coast with his
great-uncle before he got really sick.
Tony Healey, the Head of the Traeger campus at Our Lady of the Sacred
Heart, agreed to shave Dustin’s head: “I was a shearer many years ago
before I was a teacher so hopefully it will all come back to me!”
Mr Healey was assisted by charity queen, Karen Jones, who also shaved
The boys were joined by teacher Jarrad Kilsby, donating his hair and
his precious beard to the cause, while singing the theme tune to the
Students were in fits of giggles watching the action.
Dustin felt a little “weird” after the shave and wondered whether it
might affect his chances with the girls, although Baylee disagreed.
Raising money for the World’s Greatest Shave was tough this year,
especially when people had already been digging deep to support
victims of the recent Victorian bush fires.
But Dustin, the eldest of four, was persistent, visiting local
businesses, and persuading his aunt to join in his efforts.
He hopes next year other people his age will get involved.
All of the money raised will go towards helping leukaemia patients from
the Centre with the cost of travel to capital cities such as Adelaide
where they can receive the blood transfers they need.
It will also go towards other assistance, such as paying for
accommodation for the patients and their families.
ADAM'S APPLE: Should we be
As a born New South Welshman I have never really developed an
admiration for Queensland. It’s not that I have any actual reason to
dislike Queensland or Queenslanders.
But in the same way Victorians and South Australians have a go at each
other or we here in the Alice love to have a dig at Darwin, so I was
born to look down my nose at those from Queensland.
Not that they are helping the situation at the moment.
I now call Alice Springs home and it could not be more different to the
city in which I was raised. I am a two and a half day drive from my
family home and still Queenslanders are pissing me off.
Why in heavens do we have to endure the Queensland election
commercials? As if having to watch their news isn’t bad enough. To be
perfectly honest I couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about Lawrence
Springborg and Anna Bligh.
Queenslanders are quite insular people. That statement isn’t
necessarily negative, it’s just that Queenslanders love to gab on about
This point makes watching the Queensland election about as redundant as
an Australian textile worker.
Except to say that the Labor commercial showing respected world leaders
telling us we are about to head into a global recession juxtaposed with
Lawrence Springborg denying such a crisis exists is a very good
If you aren’t concerned about the Global Financial Crisis or GFC as
it’s now known, it appears as though you should be.
The lack of money in the global economy is being felt in almost every
industry in every nation.
But even in a financial meltdown there are those people out there that
see the world as a glass half filled.
I have heard some people talk of this crisis as some sort of global
wake up call. A dire warning against global greed and a red flag for
the complexity of the modern world.
They say that the GFC is a chance for a fresh start, a chance to rid
our lives of all the unnecessary junk in society, a chance to return to
a more sustainable lifestyle, to treat our planet and ourselves better.
It is quite a noble thought. Perhaps there is some merit in having a
look at why we are in this big fiscal fissure and ensure that the
factors associated with creating the GFC don’t have to happen again.
The problem is, we have no money. The other problem ironically is that
to simplify our lives, to make them more sustainable we have to spend
Take transport for instance. Australia is such a massive country that
in order to get goods to cities and towns like Alice Springs they need
to be transported over large distances at a fairly decent clip.
At the moment that means rail or road trains. Both of which eat up
fossil fuel faster than a fat kid eats a Big Mac. The Toyota
Prius and environmentally sustainable vehicles can store the weekly
shopping but try and transport more than a couple of reusable shopping
bags and the system starts to come apart at the edges.
So we need to start thinking about how to make big trucks as
environmentally sound as the humble Prius. That’s going to take a lot
of investment in research and development.
Guess who doesn’t have the money for research and development at the
moment? That’s right, your old pals the auto industry.
Want to eat better, more natural food?
Even the most basic of ideas requires a substantial investment in
farming techniques, quality control and as we know, organic food costs
We are talking about recession-proofing Alice Springs. Strangely
enough, a small town in the middle of the desert has quite a bit going
for it in times of GFC.
When all is said and done and all the experts have their say and
propose their Massive Stimulus Packages, all we need to do is get all
those people from the Eastern States to come here instead of going to
So tell your mum, tell your Aunty, and tell your mates to come to
Central Australia this winter. Having said that if your friends are
Queenslanders, speak a little slower.
LETTERS: Grog wasted in more
ways than one.
Sir,- Regarding Robin Henry’s letter, ‘Grog down the drain is a waste’
(www.alicespringsnews.com.au/1603.html): It is a waste to tip
thousands of litres of alcohol down the drain!
I refer not to the alcohol itself, but to the energies and resources
that have gone into these products throughout their production,
packaging, distribution and sale. It is these that have been wasted.
Wasted energies come in the form of human effort that could have been
used in other beneficial ways, and fossil fuel energy that costs far
more (concerning the environment and the global energy crisis) than is
factored into the price.
Production and packaging bring together a diverse range of ingredients
and resources, and liquids are heavy to transport over long distances,
representing a further drain on fuel and financial resources. Then
there are costs to promote, refrigerate and sell the final products.
It also costs consumers to go to outlets to get the alcohol — they pay
a price that covers all of the costs plus profits up to that
point. In the case of the confiscated alcohol, these are likely
consumers who can scarcely afford to waste any money.
Police resources have also been wasted. Surely these could be better
applied than in the investigation, confiscation and disposal of what is
essentially an over-supply of alcohol.
So what is the solution? Any thought of averting the waste by
re-selling or drinking these products is pot-holed with ethical
traps. Does the confiscated alcohol represent a quantity of
alcoholic products that should not have been sold in the first place?
The 14% drop in the sale/consumption of alcohol in Alice Springs since
the alcohol management plan was put in place strongly suggests that the
plan is working. Revelations about thousands of litres of
confiscated alcohol suggest that more needs to be done to reduce the
supply in a strategic and targeted manner.
As the community of Alice Springs, we will pay the price for having
alcohol here. Alcohol is a choice, not a right; alcohol
restrictions are not an infringement on anyone’s rights, rather they
are a way for this community to accept responsibility for the choice of
having alcohol available here.
Worn out shoes
Sir,– It looks as if you must have given Beverly Johnson a new pen and
new shoes and told her to wear them out. She wrote several
articles in quite diverse topics in last week’s issue. Please
give her a “well done”.
I hesitate in writing this as it seems in the past, when I write to
make note of your staff, they disappeared (Fiona, Andrew). I don’t
mean to have this effect so I don’t even mention out loud the name of
the one who’s been with you from the beginning.
Beverly seems to be a fellow redhead and I’ve been trying to
spread the word for years as to what great people redheads are.
Nth Carolina, USA
ED – Beverley’s great but not
actually a redhead. And the one who’s been here from the beginning has
her foot nailed to the ground!
Sir,– With respect, I think your focus on David Ross and Centrecorp is
misplaced. What one corporation does with its money, and how much of
that information it chooses to make public, is not the main
In my opinion, the main issue is the legal standing of corporations
themselves and the corrupting pressure their privileged position places
on our democratic system of government.
Every three or four years we elect a new government, and in every
election the competing candidates try to outdo each other swearing to
govern with ‘openness’ and ‘transparency’.
What a joke!
On the big ticket items such as mining proposals, or anything to do
with privatized out-sourced government services, or even small ticket
items like the number of times they fly, agreements between the
relevant corporations and the government of the day are kept from
public gaze by using the shroud of ‘commercial in confidence’.
But what elected politicians and their unelected corporate opposites
know full well, and always fail to mention, is that once the money
trail has been obscured, public scrutiny becomes a game of trivial
Witness your own and the Senate’s pursuit of Centrecorp.
I wonder how far either of you would get if you pursued, for instance,
Cameco for the fine print in the arrangements it has made with the NT
The corporate world has taken the real world to the brink of financial
collapse and environmental ruin.
We may all pump the air and shout “Yes!” when this or that scoundrel is
flushed from cover, but if the underlying structure remains intact, the
battle for accountable, transparent government remains to be won.
By all means expose individual corporations for being anti-democratic
impediments to open government if you can.
But at the same time expose the government-enabled immunity and
anonymity they shelter behind.
It’s in this latter exposure that I feel we will come to the true nub
of the problem.
ED – I’m sure Mr Duell will be interested to read this week’s front
$$ for containers
Sir,– Total Environment Centre congratulates the Northern Territory
Government for taking the initiative to leap frog other states and
adopt a ‘cash for containers’ scheme to address litter and boost
recycling of packaging waste.
This decision will be good for the environment because it will
create a green infrastructure for resource recovery.
It will create jobs, and reduce waste management costs of councils.
South Australia has had Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) in place
since 1977. CDL in South Australia requires beverage companies to place
a refundable deposit on containers.
South Australia has an 80% greater beverage container recovery rate,
and the noticeable lack of litter on highways, parks and beaches shows
that container deposit systems are highly effective in addressing away
from home litter.
It’s been a long time since another state embraced CDL and the decision
by the Northern Territory should encourage other states to
We agree with the government that national progress has been too
A decision should be made at the May meeting of federal and state
environment ministers for all states to go for container deposits.
TEC Executive Director
Grass grows quicker
Sir,– The Territory Opposition can’t fathom why the Henderson
Government will wait until 2011 until deciding whether introducing
container deposit legislation into the Territory.
South Australia has had a CDL operating for 30 years but for reasons
known only to itself the Henderson Government needs a further two years
to assess the feasibility of introducing such a scheme into the
I fully agree with the Chief Minister that the scheme should be
financially viable, legally sound and can deliver in both urban and
I just don’t believe it should take two years to work out whether
that’s the case.
The grass grows quicker than this Government makes decisions.
I’ve got a suggestion for the Chief Minister – throw caution to the
wind and place a 12 month time-frame on this project.
Shadow Minister for the Environment
Sir,– Punitive approaches to managing truancy in the Northern Territory
will not solve the problem because they fail to address underlying
It’s time the NT government stop trying to shift the blame and got
serious about addressing the problems in schools in the NT, especially
in remote Aboriginal communities.
The NT commissioned a comprehensive report into education ten
years ago which put forward practical measures to improve attendance
and outcomes – ten years later they have failed to act on its
recommendations and put in place the resources needed.
Instead, the strategy is to demand schools develop their own individual
attendance strategies – without providing the resources and the
structural change they need to make it work.
Student / teacher ratios remain unworkably high compared to other
states. Aboriginal students across the border in South Australia have
twice as many teachers.
The NT Government is also planning to restrict bilingual education –
requiring half of the lessons across the school year to be taught in
English – totally ignoring the need for quality bilingual learning
programs to help children transition from their first language to
A number of options are available to increase educational engagement,
such as tackling the high levels of hearing problems by using sound
loop speakers and teacher microphones to ensure that all students in
the class can hear and understand what the teacher is saying.
Sen. Rachel Siewert
Sir,– Professor Robert Newton, Exercise Physiologist and Director of
the Vario Health Institute at Edith Cowan Uni, WA , will be visiting
Alice Springs from March 26 to 28, to give a series of workshops and
presentations to GPs, health professionals and the general public.
Prof Newton has extensive teaching and research experience in the
application of exercise in prevention and management of chronic
disease, cancer and other health related issues.
A free Community Forum will be held at the Andy McNeill Room on Friday,
March 27, 5-7pm.
This will be an invaluable opportunity for people, whether fit and
well, or whether affected by forms of chronic disease, cancer and
its treatments, or other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, fatigue,
muscle weakness, depression, osteoporosis, etc to learn about
maintaining / improving quality of life.
All are welcome.
We hope to see you there!
For enquiries about the workshops with multidisciplinary groups /
professionals contact Jo Black, YMCA, and ring us on 0417 820 750
or GPNNT 89504800
Bosom Buddies NT
PO Box 9099
Alice Springs NT