ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
June 4, 2009. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
revolt. By KIERAN FINNANE.
“We’re not paying!” is the chorus of protest from local
quarrying businesses who’ve just been landed a rates bill from the
However, they won’t have a choice, according to MacDonnell Shire Acting
CEO Philippa Major, as, under the new Local Government Act, all land
within the new shires is rateable, with some exceptions that apparently
don’t apply to the quarrying leases.
The Alice Springs News spoke to North Concrete (NT), Alice Springs Sand
Supply and Alice Landscaping Supplies.
They all already pay a number of government fees and charges for their
various quarrying leases and object to this new charge which comes,
they say, with no service supplied.
“We already pay the DPIFM [now Department of Resources] rates on the
tenements [leases] and do mine management plans annually,” says
Michelle Lines, director with husband Andrew of North Concrete.
Apart from fees of $250 to $300 per lease, the company also has “open
bank security of $7000 sitting there with the department”.
North Concrete has received four rates notices, one from Central Desert
Shire, three from MacDonnell Shire, each amounting to $710, although
two of the notices from MacDonnell Shire refer to more than one lease.
“How are they working this out?” asks Mrs Lines.
“And what are we paying for?
“The shires do not supply bins, water, power, sewerage or maintain our
roads,” she says.
She also wonders whether the shire office knows where the leases are.
The notice from Central Desert Shire refers to a mineral lease in an
“unnamed street” in Tanami. Mrs Lines says the lease is on Ambalindum,
near Arltunga, nowhere near Tanami.
She says the roads used by the company – Undoolya Road and Ringwood
Road – are not shire roads, they are NT Government roads.
“There’s been no consultation or mention of any of this prior to these
bills arriving,” says Andrew Lines, who is also outraged by the 19%
daily interest that will be charged on overdue amounts and by the
“back-dating” of the rate.
The notice is for rates over 2008-09, with payment due on June 22.
“I already do a 14 hour day,” says Mr Lines.
“I won’t be doing a 15 hour day for these people!”
Sandra Morley from Alice Springs Sand Supply has a similar story.
“We make lease payments to Mines and Energy [Resources] for the
sandpit,” says Mrs Morley.
“And we pay for the maintenance of roads with our vehicle
registrations, just like everybody else.
“We have no power, no water, no curbing, no services of any kind at the
quarry and we don’t want any.
“So why are we paying?
“It’s hard enough to make a living without paying for nothing!”
The first Mrs Morley knew of the charge was when she received the
notice a week ago.
“What right has the shire to impose a charge?” she asks.
“We’ve had our business for 25 years and have never had to pay anything
like this before, so why now?”
She says the charge “will not help the community”.
“We endeavour to supply a reasonably priced product but this will add
to the cost and the consumer will have to pay in the end.
“I’m very upset.
“Something has got to be done about it.”
Mrs Morley says she will “certainly not” be paying the charge.
At Alice Landscaping Supplies Craig Cavanagh has six leases with
another two in the pipeline.
With a minimum charge of $710 per lease he’s expecting his costs to
shoot up by close to $6000.
“That’s $6000 to find from nowhere for nothing,” says Mr Cavanagh, who
has had the business since 2004.
The draft MacDonnell Shire Plan says ‘clustering’ – of a number of
leases in the same location held by a single lease owner – to avoid
multiple payment of the minimum rate has yet to be finalised, as with a
number of other guidelines.
The plan says total rates from this sector (Active Mining, Extractive
and Petroleum leases) in the shire are expected to be $14,000 in
“We receive no services whatsoever. We’ve got to maintain our own
roads, put roads in,” says Mr Cavanagh.
He says he has told the shire he’ll be happy to pay if they want to
grade his road four times a year.
He says in a phone call to the MacDonnell Shire head office on Monday,
none of his questions could be answered.
“In most shires if they charge a rate you get a service,” he says.
“I asked what service do you give me.
“I got no sense out of them.”
On Monday he had only received one notice for $710 relating to one
lease, but he has four in the immediate area.
He says he asked the shire office whether he was to expect other
notices for the other leases, and if not, why was only one lease
referred to in the notice.
He is also expecting to receive another notice from Central Desert
Shire for his other lease.
But he won’t be paying: “There’s no way in the world I’ll give away
that sort of money for nothing.”
MacDonnell Shire Acting CEO Philippa Major says the shire council has
chosen to charge the minimum rate to those with active mining leases,
putting the amount at $736, although all of the businesses the News
spoke to had received notices for $710.
Ms Major says the shire council “recognises that as we reach the end of
our first year in operation there has been significant focus on
ensuring [that] our service delivery to our 14 remote towns is improved
to a standard expected in other parts of Australia”.
Mining operators, pastoralists and commercial business operators are
“an integral part of the MacDonnell Shire”, says Ms Major.
“As we move into our second year of operations MacDonnell Shire Council
wants to build effective partnerships and relationships with all
residents and ratepayers.
“It will take time for our council to build these relationships, but
council is committed to engaging with all residents.”
She says benefits of effective partnerships will include:
• improved advocacy and representation to all levels of government on
regional and economic issues;
• improved advocacy and representation to ensure roads are upgraded and
• improved services in remote towns;
• improved employment and training opportunities available in remote
The Alice News asked if the shire sees a case for negotiating with the
lease-holders and if not, what will the shire do about non-payment.
Ms Major did not respond to these questions.
The News also contacted Central Desert Shire CEO Rowan Foley but he was
unwell and unavailable to answer questions.
Papunya to New York: Have
painting, will travel. By KIERAN FINNANE.
Another Central Australian art business is defying the recession,
indeed heading straight for the eye of the storm: Papunya Tula Artists
are mounting a big selling show in New York, taking advantage of the
interest in Aboriginal art being created by a non-selling exhibition,
Icons of the Desert.
The company, whose gallery is in Todd Mall but whose painters – amongst
the most celebrated of all Aboriginal artists – mostly live in
the remote communities of Kintore and Kiwirrkurra, is sending 40
canvasses to New York in September.
The works are by their leading painters, including Makinti Napanangka,
winner of last year’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Art Award, and Patrick Tjungurrayi, winner of last year’s inaugural
West Australian Indigenous Art Wards, now the richest Aboriginal art
prize in the country.
Rising stars Doreen Reid Nakamarra and Yukultji Napangarti will travel
to New York for the show’s opening.
New York University has made an exhibition venue in the heart of
Greenwich Village available to Papunya Tula for two weeks – “at a very
reasonable rate”, says company manager, Paul Sweeney.
The word is out amongst collectors, galleries and supporters, and Mr
Sweeney is already aware of “lots of people from Australia” booking
flights and accommodation.
Publicity and promotion will be linked to Icons of the Desert, which is
showing some of the finest examples of early Papunya boards from the
private collection of John and Barbara Wilkerson.
It includes works by masters such as Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri,
Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula, and Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri.
The show opened at Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY, in January, is
currently at the Fowler Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles, before it moves
on to the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, opening on September
10, with Papunya Tula’s show following up across the road on September
Papunya Tula artists Bobby West Tjupurrula, Joseph Jurra Tjapaltjarri,
Ray James Tjangala were present for the Icons of the Desert opening at
Cornell and made a large ground design in the exhibition space over
“That created a lot of interest,” says Mr Sweeney, “and the idea for
doing a show grew from there.”
Usually a venture like this would take a year or more in the planning,
but in this case everything has fallen into place in a matter of months.
The tough times and the city at the heart of the global economic
downturn might not seem to be propitious but the opportunity was to
good to pass up.
“It’s a chance to expose our work to people who haven’t seen it before,
to generate a new market for the artists. It will surely pay off in the
long term,” says Mr Sweeney.
Finke: New rocket for Dave
Fellows & Andrew Kittle. Grabham switches to KTM. REPORTS edited by
4 wheels: The new
Peter Kittle Motorsport Jimco (pictured) which debuted at Hyden at
Easter has shaped up fine in testing, with the suspension performing
very well out of the box.
“We’re not going into the event with the thought of the unknown and we
can now take lots of confidence into the race,” says driver Dave
Fellows, who, with navigator Andrew Kittle, is the man most likely to
succeed this weekend.
The venue for the Hyden Humps is “Smithy’s Place”, Hyden, Western
Australia, about 340km south east of Perth.
It’s a two day-long course off road race comprising a prologue and two
sections of five laps over a 27km circuit, the surface of which
is dirt, sand, gravel, clay and rocky outcrop.
The total competitive
distance is about 270 km – equal to a one-way trip in the Finke.
“At the Finke the track conditions are pretty consistent with previous
years and I expect the times to Finke will be under the one hour 55
minute mark,” says Fellows.
With a high quality field entering the race, Fellows’ goal of going two
from two won’t be an easy task, says Randall Kilner of the Australian
Offroad Racing Championships.
There’ll be stiff competition from the reigning Australian Champions,
Shannon and Ian Rentsch.
“Taking the first round win at the ARB Pinjarra Engineering Hyden 450,
the son and father team have flat shifted into 2009 and will be one of
the battalion of Proclass buggies and Extreme 2WD trucks primed for
battle,” says Kilner.
Offroad young guns such as the Robinson brothers, Pinto and Brown will
take aim at the experienced campaigners in a bid to be the first back
into Alice on Monday morning.
The Tattersall’s Finke Desert Race commences with scrutineering in
Alice Springs tomorrow (Blatherskite Park Showgrounds from 5pm).
Thousands are expected to flock to the evening which provides a great
opportunity to check out the race cars and bikes, before they are
unleashed on the desert.
Racing commences on Saturday morning, with the prologue that is used to
determine the starting order for Day One.
The race proper kicks off on Sunday June 8, with the cars blasting away
from the start line at 7.30am in Alice Springs and working their way
through the checkpoints at Deep Well, Rodinga, Bundooma and Mt Squires
on their way to Finke.
After a night under the stars, the cars are regrouped at Finke for
Monday’s return leg to Alice Springs, starting at 7.30am.
The winning car is expected into Alice shortly after 9am.
There are 78 buggies this years, down from the high of 104 but more
than last year.
Keen to convert two podium finishes in the last two years into an
elusive “King of the Desert” title, the Prout Offroad Racing Team say
they have pulled out all stops for their 2009 assault on the
“While we were very happy with our fourth place at the Hyden 450,
we knew the car’s handling needed to be improved before tackling
Finke,” says team owner and driver Brad Prout.
Not only has the team performed its normal race preparation
but they have also developed the suspension and drive line set up
of the single seat Jimco which debuted in the West.
Rejigging the buggy included extending the rear Jimco trailing arms.
The 2008 victory was Fellows’ fourth outright win at Finke from 14
starts and his first with co-driver Andrew Kittle.
Evolving from the team’s years of offroad racing experience, the new
Jimco draws on the same bullet proof drivetrain that has proven
The fire breathing twin turbo Toyota 2GR-FE WT-i 3.5 litre V6 engine
was built by Shane Wilson Competition Engines in Mt Gambier that
propelled Fellows and Kittle to the 2008 win.
Managed by Motec, the twin turbo intercooled Toyota engine puts the
horsepower to the ground through a six speed sequential Albins AGB
Gearbox and a 7.25 inch Sachs Rally Clutch.
Says Fellows: “The car has the potential to do an equally quick time in
2009, to last years sub 1 hour 50 min. However the heavy showers before
the race certainly helped to get the extra drive to track.“The
Tattersall’s Finke Desert Race is our favourite race of the year and we
are looking forward to getting down to business.”
2 wheels: Ben
Grabham won the last two Finkes on a Honda. This year he will be
astride a KTM 505, the Austrian brand that dominates off-road racing
throughout the world, including the Paris to Dakar.
Wayne “Woody” Woodberry, who sells KTMs in Alice, says Grabham’s choice
was clearly motivated by the Australian ace having his eye on a global
Grabham (at right) is more reserved: “I haven’t even thought about
stuff like that.
“I concentrate on one thing at the time.
“I worry about getting through this race first.”
And he’ll be looking over his shoulder at Ryan Branford (at left) who
caused a sensation when he won the 2006 Finke at the age of just 19,
and came second the last two years.
He is Honda’s best hope on a CR450, after Grabham’s defection to KTM.
Grabham, from Bathurst, NSW, started “serious racing” around age 11,
has won Australian Safaris as well as enduros, as well as the last two
Finkes, on a Honda.
Why did he change to a KTM 505?
“I rode the bike before, when I was testing for magazines.
“It was fantastic and I wanted to race one.”
What does it take to win a Finke?
“It’s a long race. It’s a matter of being consistent, and also being
fast,” says Grabham.
What’s the most difficult part of the Finke?
“Fitness is one of the most important parts.
“We pretty much race every weekend. Other races keep you fit throughout
Is he hoping for rain or dry weather?
“Rain’s good because it means if you’re fast and if you don’t prologue
well for some reason it doesn’t matter, you can pass other riders.
“There are no excuses if there is no dust.”
Why does Branford stick with Honda?
“It’s probably the fastest bike for that race and the easiest to ride,
the most competitive bike,” he says.
Branford hasn’t been resting on his laurels.
Since his Finke triumph he won the King of the Desert Series last year
and same second in the Deep Well 2009.
Bikes are his passion but not his profession: “I am a qualified
electrician. I just ride for fun.”
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t take seriously his preparation for the
He is part of the Honda team of four who engage in structured fitness
training, in weekend camps, following a recipe from the Australian
Institute of Sport, including weight sessions.
“The more you do in the gym the easier the race is.
“You’ve got to put in two hours of 100% energy into the race.
“It’s not just sitting on a bike.
“You’ve got two hours of standing on your feet, hitting obstacles at
high speeds,” says Branford.
“Your body has to be able to handle the knocks and bumps.”
Darren Griffiths (pictured on the next page) is a classic example of
the rider who finds being in the Finke every bit as great a buzz as
He isn’t quite sure how many Finkes he’s raced in – it’s either 22 or
He won his class in 2003, and has had a couple of second places, and
has mostly finished in the top 20 outright.
He’s a regular with a big smile who loves the desert – or deserts
plural: he’s just raced in the Baja in California last November, 1600
kms non-stop except for fuelling, “much like the Finke but three times
longer, 23 hours and 14 minutes on the bike”.
“I rode by myself in the Ironman Class.”
He came 4th in the class and 72nd overall.
Why does he keep coming back to the Finke?
“I love the people, love the town.
“I guess I’m a slow learner. I want to master the whoops.
“They’ve opened a new class for me.
“It’s a senior citizens’ class which is 40 to 44”, splitting the old
Masters’ Class which was 35 to 44.
Riding a KTM 530, the same bike he rode in the Baja, he wants to win
the new class because next year “I’ll be in the veterans”.
• Brad Williscroft who came third outright last year.
• Jared Ewin moved to Alice Springs 18 months ago to win the Finke. He
lost his radiator cap last year, had to get one from a tourist, but had
the 7th fastest time coming home. The 26 year-old is leading the
Motocross Series, won Deep Well in January in 50 degree heat, and is
leading the Enduro Series.
• Ex-local Craig Carmichael. Last year he hit the bump that took out
five riders. He arrived in Finke “spewing blood” – and still came fifth
Bush ready for change: Beadman. By
Bob Beadman, appointed by the Territory
Government to coordinate its overhaul of Indigenous affairs in remote
communities, is already at work, convincing people – both public
servants and Aboriginal people – “to put their shoulder to the wheel”.
He says he is finding widespread belief that things in remote
communities “have bottomed” and so the opportunity to do
something new is being “welcomed with open arms”.
Around the bush, where he travels in his role as Chairman of the NT
Grants Commission, for some time the message has been, “Things were
better in the old days”.
“That’s a cry for help,” says Mr Beadman, “people are ready for
In Alice Springs on Tuesday he spent time briefing the regional
government agencies and talking to the elected members of the Central
He says their reaction to the announced changes seemed to be “positive”.
“The pitfalls of welfare dependencey are obvious to them.
“They realise things can’t stay as they have been, that dramatic change
“And the creation of regional townships with all the trappings of a
town – schools, training, employment, a range of government services,
proper town planning, parks – that will attract private investment and
build a real economy seems to be appealing to them.”
He says the outstations didn’t get the attention in the discussion that
they’ve been getting in the media.
“I was able to talk to them about the benefits that could come from a
regional transport network.
“From first hand knowledge I could tell them about old Louis Schraber
whose outstation is 22 kilometres from Atitjere [Harts Range] but
because he hasn’t got transport he and his family live in Atitjere.
“If there was a reliable transport link they would be able to occupy
“That’s one example where the reverse of what is predicted [in some
media reports] could happen: where an outstation that is curently empty
could be reoccupied.”
Mr Beadman says investment in a reliable regional transport network
could be seen as an investment in outstations, linking outstation
residents to hub towns where they’ll be able to access a wide range of
government and ultimately commercial services.
He has been amazed by the focus on outstations in the majority of media
coverage, which he says has “missed the point”.
“The big news, the revolutionary thinking is in the creation of the 20
Territory Growth Towns.”
He is still in the throes of “trying to connect all the dots in what is
a big picture” and resources ($160m) for the planning of the towns over
the next five years will not flow until July 1.
Leasing arrangements over the townships are pivotal for the reform
package – that’s in the Commonwealth’s court.
The Territory, however, can get on with regional transport.
Responsibility for roads is split between several jurisdictions and
needs to be rationalised.
“We need to collect data,” says Mr Beadman, “identify who lives where,
identify the gaps in service provision.”
There are some transport services already being provided, for example
by outstation resource centres.
Transport contracts offer an opportunity to build enterprise in the
bush and government should be mindful to not necessarily go with the
lowest cost tenders if they don’t come from the bush.
In the long run that approach could be more costly to the public purse
by depriving people in the bush of employment opportunities and
prolonging welfare dependency, argues Mr Beadman.
It will be a while before we see discernible change and there won’t be
any progress without the engagement of local people, he warns, while
also promising to be vigilant about reporting “warts and all”.
He won’t allow the “cherry picking of indicators that show programs in
a favourable light”.
Mr Beadman’s role, with the support of a unit in Darwin, is both
reporting and coordinating the reforms.
“I can’t direct, I can persuade, cajole, threaten but I can’t supplant
the CEO of a department. That’s proper,” he says.
Going the extra mile. By ALEX
In the third part
of his series on the McEllister Method for establishing shrubs and
trees in the Centre ALEX NELSON looks at its long-term advantages. The
first instalment (May 14) gave an overview of the life of Frank
McEllister whom Mr Nelson credits as having made the single most
important contribution to horticulture in this region. The second (May
28) concluded the overview and went on to describe the careful
preparation and backfilling of large deep holes for each plant.
The preparation of the ground at the position of each new shrub or tree
involves a lot of effort and time, much more than would be necessary
elsewhere. If backfilling is rushed and the plants put into the ground
too soon, they are liable to sink down and will have to be removed,
risking damage to them. Alternatively, if left in position, they will
be susceptible to diseases causing the roots or main stem to rot.
But the most important point is that the method works! Very few plants
put in at the Horticulture Research Block at AZRI were lost after going
to all this trouble for them at the start.
This is the “The McEllister Method” and I was keen to try it out or
myself. I had much of the substantial yard at the CSIRO residence where
my family lived available to work in; and I commenced growing fruit
trees, and a variety of native plants, too.
For establishing native plants, there was no perceived need to employ
the McEllister Method. The soil at the CSIRO is amongst the best in the
region and it was fairly easy to establish most native plants with a
minimum of effort.
However, there was one corner of the yard that was more problematic.
The soil there had been greatly disturbed during earthworks for the
nearby entrance road, and much of it was comprised of deep subsoil that
had been spread over the original surface. It was exposed, hard and
dry; and by 1983 there was still no success in getting anything to grow
As it happened to be adjacent to a row of citrus (which were growing
well), I chose this location to establish more fruit trees – a mulberry
and a Black Genoa fig, and later a Jujube (Zizyphus species), using the
The only variation to the method was that I had access to plentiful
quantities of chook manure so substantial quantities of this material
as well as sticks, leaf litter, dry grass and feathers all went into
the plant site holes as they were backfilled.
I was mindful that with so much non-composted organic matter
incorporated in the soil beneath them there was a risk of nitrogen
drawdown as this material decayed.
Somebody forgot to tell the young fruit trees about nitrogen drawdown;
instead, they grew rapidly without the slightest hint of nitrogen
deficiency showing up.
Less than two years after being planted both the mulberry and fig trees
were producing fruit (the jujube, or zizyphus, was slower to grow).
By 1987 the fig tree was the same size as most of the nearby citrus
trees (which had been established more than 10 years earlier); the
mulberry towered over its neighbours. It was a most gratifying
response; the McEllister Method had worked a treat.
In 1988 we left our residence at the CSIRO, and our garden gradually
declined from lack of attention. By 1998, 10 years after leaving, it
was a shadow of its former self. Most of the citrus had perished, and
the two survivors were barely alive.
But the mulberry, fig and jujube were still thriving, getting by on
NEXT: Working with hard clay, saline
Warren H: His Inspiration is
best in country. By POP VULTURE.
“Is this the best country?” asked Warren H Williams twice during his
show at Araluen last Saturday evening and he clearly thinks it is.
His heated throat warmed the heart during what has become a brutal
Performing a repertoire of new and old songs, he was accompanied by
local musicians complementing his unique style of musicianship and song.
A key attribute of any musical performance is to keep up a flow of time
and tempo changes, to prevent sound and feeling from stagnating.
Warren H appears to be an old hand at this, with Saturday’s show was a
new plateau for the seasoned singer/songwriter.
Accustomed to seeing the Hermannsburg-born performer at home behind an
acoustic guitar, the audience was given a more diverse view of the
He spent the greater part of the show tied to a set of piano keys,
singing and crooning his way through his library of country music about
his native Central Australia, often inspired, he says, when he
frequents large cities.
The show was at once intimate and lively. His recollection of life as a
member of the stolen generation was moving and hauntingly ambient.
Many of his family members seated in the theatre were in tears, and
Warren himself became emotional at times.
Although the newly grouped accompanying musicians often had difficulty
keeping pace, “returned to town” muso Stephanie Harrison, aficionado of
instruments including the flute, tin whistle and ukulele, added a
soothing Celtic touch to the evening.
The percussion work threw in some quirky beats to what can sometimes
become a blueprint to clapping in time, a common reflex with this
This reflex was kept vibrantly alive by someone seated near me who
found it just and fine to clap and stomp violently out of time, but
this act of “accidental percussion” was merely an indicator of how
enjoyable this feast for young and old turned out to be.
Warren was recently awarded the prestigious “Golden Guitar” award for
country music, and is currently signed to ABC records, a deal that will
ensure that his unique voice will be heard by a larger audience.
apparent irregularities in home construction. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
A builder in the North Edge development has quoted a builder’s
registration number which has expired in a contract to build a home.
The builder, Randal Carey, is also an undischarged bankrupt.
Mr Carey had told the Alice News that he was operating under another
builder’s registration number, but would not disclose the identity of
that builder (Alice News, May 14).
Graham Kemp, the general manager of the Territory Construction
Association (TCA), when asked for a comment, said the contract – which
the Alice Springs News has seen – should carry the registration number
of the builder under whose authority the work is being carried out.
Builders’ registrations were introduced three years ago “to safeguard
consumers” with the “continuing support from the TCA,” says Mr Kemp.
“At that time a couple of substantial NT builders had gone belly-up,
leaving some 30 homes uncompleted.
“Although licencing cannot guarantee a perfectly constructed dwelling,
or that the builder won’t go broke, it should provide an accountability
which did not exist in the past,” says Mr Kemp.
“TCA has rigorous safeguards and checks members’ credentials vigorously
to see that they meet the TCA code of conduct.
“Randal Carey is not a member of the TCA, so we are no in a position to
comment on him personally.”
Mr Kemp says about half of the 500 licensed builders in the NT are
members of the TCA.
Not all licensed builders are active in the industry.
Fabio Finocchiaro of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure,
says: “When DPI receives complaints regarding operations that
contravene the Building Act, they are thoroughly investigated and due
process is followed.”
If people suspect someone is operating without being registered or
operating in contravention of the Building Act, they should lodge a
formal complaint to Building Advisory Services on 8999 8985.
“DPI does not comment on matters under investigation.”
Barry Chambers, chairman of the Builders’ Practitioners Board, said he
was aware that the department was taking action but would not comment
LETTERS: Too hard for whom?
Sir,– Regarding your reports on Desert
Knowledge (May 28): We thought it would have been fantastic to have our
[post-ballooning] breakfast there [in the DK precinct]! Solar powered
kitchen / toilets / solar panels to feed us with power, under some
beautiful trees, tourist would have loved it! Simple stuff!
All too hard for those guys.
We gave up!
ED – We offered Desert Knowledge Australia, who manage the Desert
Knowledge Precinct, right of reply. CEO John Huigen responded as
Mr Sanby’s letter places an interesting interpretation on what we
thought were quite friendly exploratory discussions.
The Precinct is being developed into a national centre for desert
education, learning, business development, innovation and
Mr Sanby approached us some time ago proposing that we provide tourist
facilities to enable him to service his clients.
We indicated that it was not in our remit or capacity to develop
tourist facilities that benefitted only one operator and that we would
always aim to maximize the value of any development in terms of
training, or building wider opportunity.
We discussed with him a number of approaches, indicating that he would
need to put his proposal in writing so that it could be properly
considered. We have yet to receive this proposal.
Mr Sanby is right on one point. The opportunity to use the Desert
Knowledge Australia Solar Centre as a tourism destination is
We are presently working with Tourism NT and other stakeholders to
develop a sustainable, commercial and equitable approach to develop
these tourism opportunities.
Our aim would be to benefit the wider industry and community, promote
Alice Springs as a centre for green tourism and to add value to the
overall Desert Knowledge approach of building training, commercial and
other opportunities. We would not provide a facility to suit just
Camps: less exception, more inclusion
Sir,– In one month the municipality of Alice Springs will get a chance
to stop pulling against itself. Tangentyere Council will either
sign up to a future or become part of history, and Alice Springs
will continue to integrate.
If Tangentyere signs the leasing agreement offered by Minister
Macklin, I imagine that on some future date the lease will expire
and ownership will revert to today’s owners.
If they don’t, compulsory acquisition is promised and there goes
forever whatever form of ownership they now have.
Tomorrow’s generation will not thank today’s leaders if they don’t
sign, although the lawyers would love it.
But whether they sign or not, what seems to be beyond question is that
a massive change is coming to Alice. This can only be a good thing.
We have to start pulling together, and that means the town camp
population has to be brought on board and the camps themselves have to
become part of the municipality.
Less exception, more inclusion, and then we can all pay rates and
demand equal service. What’s wrong with that?
Sir,– Your article ‘How galleries survive the recession’ (May 21)
states that a selection of art by Halcyon Lucas [at Peta Appleyard
Gallery] marks a first. It goes on to say that there has not previously
been a solo show for a non-indigenous local artist in a commercial
gallery in Alice Springs.
No so! In July 1983 I had a successful one man exhibition in the newly
opened El Cerrito gallery. This was followed soon after by a solo
sculpture exhibition by Virginia Crippen.
George Scott Brown
Sir,- I refer to the letter to you by Peter Madden printed in last
week’s News. Your correspondent appears to object to the concept of my
book, God, Man and The Universe. It is hard to ascertain what his
objection is, for he has never read the book.
He seems to suggest that a person can live for 84 years and know
nothing of the history of science, that is, its good points, and its
The good and the bad can only be determined by the application of
Or, Peter, have you determined that the experience of historical
science is all good?
In God, Man and The Universe I draw attention to major mistakes that
have been made in historical science, that has resulted in the
stalemate in the exploration of the distant space.
The future of mankind lies in space, in other planets, in other solar
To reach this future, science needs to wake up to its errors that have
been made in the past, and correct them.
Win for IAD
Sir,– In response to the calling of a Special General Meeting of IAD
Members on May 28, some 32 members convened in Alice Springs, with one
member in Tennant Creek.
Several members only stayed a matter of minutes before leaving, so that
when it was time to open the meeting, IAD was just short of a quorum of
This means, according to the IAD Constitution, that all items on the
agenda of the meeting ‘lapsed’.
This is another win for the current IAD Management Committee and
Proceedings were witnessed by the Licensing and Regulation Division of
Business Affairs and the Department of Justice.
The meeting was to be the second called by a small group of members,
interested to overthrow the current Management Committee.
NOT one person who signed the call for the Special General Meeting,
attended. Two of the prime movers of the requesting group were reported
to have entered the IAD car park but left immediately afterwards.
A strong committed loyal group of members attended, including respected
Aboriginal Elders M K Turner, Rayleen Smith, Beatrice Davis and Rex
Japanangka. Membership representation also came from Santa Teresa in
person and Tennant Creek by teleconference.
Genuine membership loyalty was clearly evident.
IAD Management Committee
ADAM'S APPLE: Battle horror
... for a clown.
Before a battle, the warrior’s routine is mostly the same.
Shower, dress in their uniform, and apply the war paint.
Then they gather their ammunition and all their weapons and board the
They know that what lies ahead could be so terrifying that words cannot
describe the scene, the devastation.
If war is hell, so is being a clown.
Sure my uniform wasn’t khaki and my war paint wouldn’t exactly help me
blend into my surroundings, but for a decade, I was a clown in a fierce
battle for laughs. Armed with nothing but balloons, a rubber chicken
and my wits, I would bravely venture into the wild, savage reaches of
suburbia in search of mirth.
For 10 years I turned up to various fields of war. Clubs, community
halls, big city offices, parks and festivals and people’s living rooms
were just a few of the places I visited in about 4000 shows.
Apart from teaching me how to juggle, how to make people laugh and how
to get around a big city in the shortest time possible, the job taught
me how to effectively communicate with almost every culture and
sub-culture you can imagine.
From bikie gangs to baby groups, from medievalists to Silicon Valley
corporations, all of them want you to make them laugh.
It is during this process that you realise that big, leather clad,
bearded motorcycle riders and very pale, bookish, computer programmers
tend to find very different things funny.
But regardless of the demographic, there was always a thread of
commonality that I could use to get the audience on side. If people
were my age I might refer to the pop culture of my youth. If the group
lived in a similar neighbourhood then there would be another
understanding, another path to take the audience down.
Now I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I was fairly successful and
I put much of that success down to the ability to relate to so many
The toughest battles were not fought with Japanese tourists who come
from a truly foreign culture and speak no English. Neither was it the
school-attending teens with whom I share so few values. The hardest
nuts to crack, my Dardenelles to continue the metaphor, were the super
Now I’m not talking about the well off or even the well to do. I am
talking about the filthy rich. Those people of privilege for whom money
is not counted from a wallet but from a vault in a bank. A bank they
For the mega wealthy, I was nothing but a necessary curio, something
that was on the list of things that make up any celebration. In the
same way you or I might think of party pies or adequate seating, the
uber wealthy consider the $200 an hour clown simply as something you
Ironically these were the hardest jobs. These were the people to whom I
could least relate. Generations of privilege had removed the incredibly
wealthy from the world I knew.
Given the opportunity, I would probably act like them. I’m not judging
these people, just stating the fact that their world and my world are
not the same worlds.
It is food for thought when you read that the BRW rich list values
Malcolm Turnbull at $178 million. It makes me wonder how the man could
possible relate to the everyday Australian when he could lose 90% of
his income and still be worth close to $18 million. What could the
Opposition Leader possibly know about my wants and troubles and issues?
The Prime Minister only fares slightly worse in the comfortable living
stakes. Besides the perks of the job, his wife’s business has been
valued at close to $60 million.
I can’t imagine that they could really, personally care if the price of
meat goes up a dollar a kilo. It makes a difference to me. I find it
hard to imagine that an under resourced child care facility really hits
them in the heart.
Those who represent us here in Alice Springs don’t seem to have these
problems. I worked with one, grew up near one and a third lives a
We complain about our elected officials here in Alice Springs but at
least they know what it’s like to live here. Unlike mega rich Malcolm,
they know and care that it’s not pronounced “Tangent Error” Council.