ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
September 23, 2010. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
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Bush slum millionaires. By
The member of a Western
Desert based mining royalties association with more than $26m in assets
says she has no idea what is being done with the money, and nor do most
of the other 400 members.
Jane Blunden, from Katherine, says the royalties association, Kurra
Aboriginal Corporation, is run by staff of the Central Land Council
The CLC did not respond to requests for comment, and neither did Neil
MacAuslan, the CLC staffer acting as Kurra’s co-ordinator.
Ms Blunden says she’s been trying to find out whether Kurra money is
being invested in Centrecorp, which is three-fifths owned by the CLC,
or companies associated with it.
There is only one general meeting held every year, at which decisions
are made about investments worth millions of dollars, by people with a
grossly inadequate understanding of what’s going on, or no
understanding at all.
Ms Blunden says she believes much of the money has been sunk into
Centrecorp which has extensive investments in Alice Springs and now
also in South Australia, and is three-fifths owned by the CLC. She says
at the annual meetings CLC staff typically give brief verbal resumes of
the proposals, without displaying details on a whiteboard or on paper.
After that a show of hands is called.
She says the vote is sometimes influenced by members who are stooges,
getting a larger share of the moneys distributed to members, which make
up about half of the association’s annual income.
The individual payments range from $2000 to $63,340.
In fact there are two individuals with the same surname, and two
families, each getting $63,340.
In the 2009 financial year, Kurra, according to its general report
published by the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations
(ORIC), had a total income of $7,966,470; a total expenditure of
$3,880,398; current assets worth $7,583,019 and non-current (fixed)
assets worth $19,051,458.
Ms Blunden says the money comes mainly from gold mining in the Western
Centrecorp is not a company registered by ORIC, but is a Proprietary
Limited company, and as such not required to disclose financial details
to the same extent as ORIC registered companies are.
Last year Ms Blunden engaged a solicitor, Vincent Peters, of the Darwin
law firm Hunt & Hunt, to observe the Kurra annual general meeting
Mr Peters’ report stated in part:-
“I feel from the perspective of what the meeting achieved it was
“My concerns are the manner in which these meetings are conducted and I
think it is entirely inappropriate for such a meeting to be held out in
the open with members of the Corporation in effect divided according to
gender and spread right around the yard.
“In addition, I think it is inappropriate for advisers such as Neil
MacAuslan and James Nugent [a CLC lawyer] … standing there with the
microphone endeavouring to explain to people, without a whiteboard, the
nature of a proposal that they are being asked to vote on.
“I also found it entirely inappropriate that Neil MacAuslan spent
approximately two minutes only reading through financial statements and
a balance sheet, without any explanation to members of the nature and
implications of the information.
“I think it is appropriate that the directors take more control of the
corporation and that they do so by having regular meetings where they
are properly informed as to the financial position of the corporation
and the way in which those funds are being applied,” wrote Mr Peters.
“I cannot accept that any members of the corporation came away from
that meeting with any understanding of the financial situation of the
corporation and its subsidiaries and no appreciation whatsoever of the
business of the corporation.”
Following this report directors demanded that there be four meetings of
directors a year, and four financial reports, provided to the directors
ahead of each meeting, that suitable premises are provided for the
meetings and proper explanations are given.
Ms Blunden says these demands were not met.
Kurra committee meetings, of which also only one a year is being held,
appear to be lively affairs, replete with heated arguments and threats
In part they deal with issues relating to WETT, an organisation linked
to Kurra with a focus on education, and a recipient of direct payments,
tied to education purposes, from Newmont Mines.
The Alice Springs News has obtained a copy of the minutes of last
year’s meeting of the Kurra committee.
Excerpts (The News has withheld most names):-
“Talked about CLC’s involvement with Kurra Corporation and their lack
of fixture [sic] to the rules. Talked about how CLC need to take more
of an advisory stance and stop telling people what to do with their
“You may have heard about Warlpiri boarding college and how we have
made queries to WETT and we have not had any response. Goes on to ask
people in Warlpiri for money to support this school. Please don’t say
no, it is time we stood our ground together.”
Later in the meeting support for the proposed Warlpiri Independent
Secondary College was rejected.
This is how the decision was minuted: “Talks about the advisory
committee and the fact that they have investigated this idea (Request
for 1.4 million dollars, to conduct a study into the feasibility).”
All: Resolution not passed.
The Alice News reported on the project (September 9), quoting Andrew
White, executive director of Education Transformation (ET), which has
opened a college on the Tiwi Islands.
Mr White said the CLC “sank” a similar project at Yuendumu, while
administering “massive” royalties, declining an application for funds
from the Warlpiri Education Board.
Ms Blunden, when asked by the Alice Springs News, says the college
project was rejected because there was no opportunity of discussing it
More from the minutes:-“You never did answer me, you have a rude
attitude, you people were born with a rude attitude, now I have a
letter to leave with you, you can burn it, or you can kick me out the
“There are two laws, kartiya and yapa, and kartiya are giving our
babies their education. I’m proud to be a yapa man. If you want to be
kartiya, you are going to have to paint me white. (Is quite emotional
and continues in this strain.)”
There was an exchange between Mr MacAuslan and Ms Blunden about Kurra
providing loans for housing.
MacAuslan: I’ve been doing this job for 15 years and I’ve watched
(several corporations) kill themselves. I’m telling you now if you
start sticking your hand in your investment, you will not stop.
“Blunden explains how Yapa are, and have been struggling for years
because they only ever receive tiny royalties every year. Opening the
investment is the only way to get ahead.”
MacAuslan: I have to stop the meeting if you want to look at opening
your investment. I don’t know what’s available. I need to call the
office and it’s nearly five now so no one will be there. I suggest we
finish now and come back tomorrow morning.
The minutes record (quoted in part) the opening of the meeting the
MacAuslan starts by telling the Kurra Investment Committee that they
will not be able to open up their investment to use for personal use,
as it is against the corporations rules.
Blunden: Why do you keep blocking me? I just want to buy those houses.
Kurra is a company that can do whatever it wants with its money.
MacAuslan: Show me a company in the world that will lend one of its
directors 1.5 million dollars for an unlimited amount of time, interest
[Ms Blunden told the Alice News the money would have been for five
families in NT and Queensland, primary residences.]
Other members: We have rights Neil, why can’t you listen to us … You
need to listen to the directors … Why is it always us you don’t want to
listen to? … It’s all a lie, land council is taking all of our money.
MacAuslan: We cannot take any more than 5%.
Members: You are getting greedy … Arrente people get it all.
MacAuslan: Arrente people get nothing. Arrente people look at you guys
and think that [you’re] millionaires, goes on to explain exactly what
Arrente people get.
You own the NAB, you own Deloittes, and you’ve got shares in the APT.
All that money is working for you.
Correspondence was recorded, in part (name omitted): Member would like
to apply for a loan of 10,000 dollars and needs money to pay for the
treatment and associated costs … would like to ask the association to
help him with the cost of buying a headstone ($6000) for his
granddaughter … would like to ask Kurra for the amount of $37,000 to
assist the Baptist Church in buying a bigger bus … has been ill with
cancer for a while.
We are asking Kurra to support the family by providing $60,000 for a
very long stay in Alice Springs … requests $35,000 to “pay for my bills
and other things” … would like assistance in the form of $12-$13,000 to
pay for a heart operation he requires in Adelaide … is asking for
$16,000 to help with her son’s check-up during a period of around 2-3
About the discussions how the payments to the clans ($800,000 for one
and $756,000 for the other) should be divvied up, the minutes record
“general aggravated discussion whereupon several methods of division
were written up on the whiteboard and subsequently rubbed out due to
“(Name deleted) informed Neil that he was going to snap his back and
made advances toward him, punching the whiteboard instead.
“Everybody left the room and (name deleted) called the police at 1420.
“Distribution [of money] Commenced 1500.”
FOOTNOTE: This week a group of
100 people fled Yuendumu after people were injured in fights and a
house and six cars were set alight. They sought refuge at the Seven
Mile, a guest house at the old Alice Springs airport. On Tuesday they
left on two buses, headed for Adelaide, where they are said to be
staying for some time, enroling their children in schools.
Listen first, talk later. By
Labor’s candidate for the Araluen by-election on October 9, Adam
Findlay, has safety in the streets as his main objective.
He says “real things” need to be done to deal with the town’s alcohol
related problems, there needs to be more affordable housing and rents
must not rise any further.
Having been in the region during the 1988 floods he says he will
“consider anything that can protect Alice Springs and its people,”
including a dam in the Todd.
But the first-time candidate makes it clear he wants to find out what
the electorate wants, through doorknocking, and then push for it if
elected, rather than advocating policies.
A professional chef Mr Findlay first moved to The Centre in 1986 for
four stints in mining projects and now works as a chef for the Pine Gap
He and his wife Racquel have two young children.
From 1993 and 1996 he ran his own business in the Hunter Valley in NSW.
He spoke with Alice Springs News editor ERWIN CHLANDA.
NEWS: In Western Australia, the fee for extinguishing native title is
about 5% of the freehold value. In Alice Springs it is 50%. This helps
driving the price of land through the roof and creates absurd projects
such as cramming 80 dwellings into the drive-in site, and developing
the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI) block, which some say is not
suitable [for housing], just because these are not encumbered by native
title. Should the NT Government revise its policy about [compensating
for] the extinguishment of native title?
FINDLAY: I’ll have to look into this and answer your question later.
It’s not something people are raising in my doorknocking.
NEWS: Do you get many comments about the cost and scarcity of
FINDLAY: There have been a couple. It’s certainly an issue. I would say
it’s not one of the high ranking ones – so far. I’m still out there
doorknocking and I’ve got a lot more to do. It’s certainly not on top
of the list.
NEWS: We recently asked the government for how much the AZRI blocks –
which are on land owned by the public – will be sold. The answer was
market value. That is currently around $250,000 to $300,000. It costs
$50,000 to $60,000 to develop blocks – roads, water, sewerage, power
and so on – a windfall to the developer of $200,000 to $250,000. Should
land be sold at the cost of development, to bring an end to our ongoing
FINDLAY: I’m sure in due course there will be some sort of decision
made about how that will all operate, including grants for first home
NEWS: My question is, what will you be pushing for as the
representative for Araluen?
FINDLAY: I want affordable housing for the people of Alice Springs,
there is no question about that. We’ve just gone through the process of
buying a home here, and it’s a very daunting task with the prices here
in the last four or five years. Definitely I’ll be looking for a good
result for the first home buyers.
NEWS: Is there a case for selling the AZRI blocks for or near the cost
of their development?
FINDLAY: In due course everything has got to be looked at. I’m not sure
about the mechanics of it. You should probably ask the minister about
NEWS: The voters will wish to know what your intentions are, what your
platform is and what you’re pushing for.
FINDLAY: I will definitely be pushing for a good deal for first home
buyers and for affordable housing. I’ll endeavour to get some more
details out in the course of this campaign.
NEWS: A report has just come to light that recommends five storey
developments in several locations of the centre of Alice Springs. The
government has apparently received that report close to a year ago, and
so did an advisory committee headed by the Mayor Damien Ryan and
Minister for Central Australia Karl Hampton. The real estate industry
is represented on that committee. Earlier this year the government gave
the green light to the five story Melanka development, yet the public
was invited to comment only a few days ago.
FINDLAY: This is a really important question but you should ask the
NEWS: We’ve put in a question. [This was on September 10 and the News
has still not received an answer.]
FINDLAY: I’ve started asking businesses around the mall and in the CBD
what their feelings are about going to five storeys and I’ll be
continuing to do that to form an opinion.
NEWS: What are the answers you’re getting so far?
FINDLAY: A lot of people really don’t want it and people with vested
interests do want it. It’s a fairly hot topic.
NEWS: Is it about half-half at the moment?
FINDLAY: Very close to half-half, yes, possibly favouring slightly
NEWS: As we speak we’re on a flood alert. The question for many years
has been whether we should build a flood mitigation dam – not a lake –
which experts consider to be the only measure which would save the town
from major loss of life and catastrophic damage in a one-in-100
year flood. What is your view?
FINDLAY: I was here in the late ‘80s when [Federal Aboriginal Affairs
Minister] Robert Tickner stopped the dam from being built. I was in the
region during the 1988 floods in Alice Springs, when the centre of town
was flooded. And I had my own home affected by floods in NSW. I
consider there to be a risk. I will consider anything that can protect
Alice Springs and its people.
NEWS: Would that include a dam, given what the experts say,
irrespective of the arguments against it?
FINDLAY: What I have to do as a candidate is to sound people out, how
people feel about that, and then pursue vigorously what the people of
Araluen want me to do.
NEWS: Yuendumu has just had a few days of unrest which had its roots in
the death of a man in Alice Springs. From what we can make out, there
were suspicions of sorcery, a man was ‘paid back’ by stabbing him and
he, too, died. Is it not time for the government to pass clear
legislation banning payback and the excesses of tribal punishment?
FINDLAY: That’s a sensitive and complicated area. I’m not a government
spokesman yet. I want the streets to be safe in all communities and in
Alice Springs. Questions regarding something that is so sensitive is
probably not something a candidate should answer [but should be
directed to] a government minister.
NEWS: We put a question to Karl Hampton in June on that very issue but
we haven’t had an answer yet. The purpose of the conversation you and
the News are having right now is to describe you as a candidate, what
your views are, what you stand for.
FINDLAY: This is day four of the election campaign. I am not a
government spokesperson but I want our streets to be safe and for us to
have law and order. There are a number of alcohol reforms and programs
NEWS: There has been a lot of tinkering with the problem of alcohol.
Your opponent, Robyn Lambley, has suggested that habitual drunks should
be dealt with by mandatory custodial rehabilitation, in other words,
they should be locked up.
FINDLAY: Most of the crime in this town is related to alcohol. The
government is very clear: it’s about cutting grog and the opposition is
about putting more grog on the streets. There is some measured success,
some good programs, a lot of people are putting in hard work. I want to
work with the key stakeholders, [including] the police. They are the
experts in this field. It’s not about tinkering but about doing real
things to improve the safety in our streets.
NEWS: What initiative in the last nine years, the period Labor has been
in power, has worked, and how has it worked?
FINDLAY: The restrictions have reduced consumption by 18%. There are
now 195 police on the beat. There’s a whole range of things that have
had an impact. Tougher sentences. But more needs to happen and I want
to be a part of making our streets safer.
NEWS: Looking into the future, which measures should be implemented and
how will they make a difference?
FINDLAY: I’m getting some interesting feedback during doorknocking.
Everybody has a different perception of how people think in this town.
I will gather as much knowledge as I can, and as we go forward in this
campaign I will put together my own views in line with what they want
to see happen.
NEWS: The handover of national parks to Aboriginal interests has been
in progress for some time now. Recently the legal opinion on which this
process is based was leaked to the Alice Springs News. According to
commentators, the opinion does not say, as the government claims, that
the surrender of park ownership to a minority is the only way of
dealing with inadequacies in the declaration of some parks. In your
view, should the handover be delayed of the remaining parks – the West
MacDonnells, Finke Gorge and King’s Canyon, which underpin our tourist
industry – pending an independent examination of the opinion?
FINDLAY: I’ll take this question on notice. I am aware of the issues
but I don’t have enough details at present. I’ll do some research and
get back to you.
NEWS: Before the by-election?
NEWS: Your CV mentions you were a union representative.
FINDLAY: At Mereenie Gas and Oil I was a site representative for the
AWU, South Australia branch. Most of my role was negotiating enterprise
bargaining agreements. There was a series of redundancies in 2005. We
had high level negotiations with Santos. The talks broke down and we
did have an Industrial Commission hearing in Adelaide.
NEWS: What would you like to achieve as the Member for Araluen?
FINDLAY: I would like to achieve safe streets, and a big improvement in
law and order in Alice Springs. I would like to see the Alice Springs
business community and tourism to grow, more affordable housing for
young people coming in, and rentals to stop climbing. I’ve got two
young children, so education issues are high on my agenda.
Schools here are fantastic, and they need continued support to maintain
the excellent facilities we have here. And our hospital has been just
about rebuilt from the inside out, and let’s maintain it.
Alice is a fantastic town now, a fantastic region, let’s make it even
planning: Do as I say, not as I do. COMMENT by KIERAN FINNANE.
Planning Minister Gerry McCarthy has failed to answer questions from
the Alice Springs News, put to him on September 10 (11 days ago as we
went to press), about two reports on the future of the town centre
currently out for public comment.
In contrast to the treatment of any meeting, competition or plan
concerning land, housing and development in and around Darwin, there
has been no media release nor press conference to draw attention to the
reports and their main ideas.
Manager of Planning and Development, Peter Somerville, however, did
write to Alice News editor last week, by snail mail, to let him know
that the reports are available, almost a week after a detailed front
page article in our newspaper about them.
These are but further examples that undermine confidence that the
government and the department are acting in good faith when they ask
the public to comment on the plans.
Meanwhile, works impacting significantly and lastingly on the town
centre, and development applications that could if they are approved,
proceed although they are in conflict with recommendations of the
The reports say we should bring more people to live in the town centre,
making it a more vibrant, safer place.
There are at present at least three development applications for the
provision of office space with no mention of residential capacity – the
one for the old Commonwealth Bank building, the one for the vacant lot
in Bath Street and another on Railway Terrace in the former Bob Jane
A further application, for the vacant lot next to KFC, is for a car
hire business – another car yard fronting the street would be in direct
conflict with the recommendations of the reports.
The reports say that buildings in the town centre should come right up
to the boundary, have active frontages (opening onto the street, with
two-way visibility) and that blank walls in the town centre should be
limited to a maximum of three metres.
The Westpoint building on the corner of Stott Terrace and Railway
Terrace is currently being renovated – several windows and doors have
been sealed and rendered over.
There are two stretches of blank wall facing Stott Terrace and
Billygoat Hill that are around 10 metres long.
An artist’s impression of the Bath Street building shows large expanses
of blank wall, and the reported intention to accommodate cars at ground
level is in direct conflict with the recommendations of the report.
Antecedent to the reports, an Urban Design Audit (prepared by the same
interstate company and released in August last year and reported on by
the Alice News, www.alicespringsnews.com.au/1630.html) described
roundabouts as “quite inappropriate” for use in the town centre:
they’re efficient for traffic flow but “reduce crossing safety for
pedestrians and cyclists”.
The current reports emphasise that walking should be the main mode of
travel for the town centre, yet earlier this year the Town Council put
new roundabouts into the area.
The reports make the usual recommendations about street trees that
appear to fall endlessly on deaf ears, and also mention plantings on
median strips while the council has allowed concrete median strips to
The Coles Complex seem to have taken their cue from council’s
concreting fervour, concreting over the garden beds surrounding their
allotment, fronting Gregory Terrace and Bath Street, increasing the
ugliness, harshness and heat retention of this end of town.
Questions Minister McCarthy is not
• The thrust of the Built Form Guidelines and the Residential Capacity
Report is to provide a context for relaxing the height limits in Alice
Springs. They don’t provide any discussion of the merit or rationale
for going to a maximum five storeys other than the request of
landowners to consider it. Future redevelopment, especially of
residential capacity in the CAD, in both reports is predicated upon
going to five storeys at most of the identified sites. The benefits,
such as getting rid of carparks along the river, are presented as a
These reports are dated November 2009 and January 2010 respectively.
In light of this, was the Minister’s decision to grant a conditional
exceptional development permit to the owners of the Melankas site
prejudiced by a policy direction that the government had already
committed to as there is no exploration of the alternative in the
reports it commissioned?
• The former Planning Minister, Delia Lawrie, said “the wishes of the
community will be respected” in relation to going to five storeys.
To what extent did the Minister take into account the “wishes of the
community” in granting the exceptional development permit?
How exactly will the “wishes of the community” be respected in relation
to the responses to these two reports?
• Can the community expect that the request to comment is made in good
faith when, by government directive to the consultants, there has been
no exploration of the alternatives?
• If the invitation to comment is made in good faith, how come the
Melanka decision was made before the release of the reports and before
the invitation was issued?
• When did the Alice Springs steering committee get the reports?
• I note that a member of the real estate industry is on that
committee. This could give rise to speculation that the real estate
industry has had advance warning of the recommendations. Is that
• What are the formal restrictions and sanctions in relation to what
members of the committee can communicate to people outside the
• The process seems to short-change the public which has been paying
around $300,000 for a vacant house block, unaware of the potentially
cheaper housing that could come in some high rise buildings. Please
murder accused say they can’t get fair trial.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
The trial of the men accused of the murder in April 2009 of Ed
Hargrave, which was to have started on September 14, has been delayed.
Lawyers for the accused contend that their clients cannot receive a
fair trial given the way juries are selected in Alice Springs.
The two, Graham Woods and Julian Williams, are Aboriginal, while the
deceased was non-Aboriginal.
Aboriginal people make up around 21% of the local population but never
constitute a similar proportion on jury panels.
The Full Court in Darwin began considering submissions from defence and
prosecution counsel regarding this issue on Tuesday as the Alice News
went to press.
The trial start date had been put back to September 27 (next Monday)
but, depending on the Full Court’s decision, could be further delayed
as the court is being asked to consider whether the jury panel that has
been summoned should be discharged and the trial adjourned in order to
secure the men’s right to a fair trial.
If this were to happen it would also impact on other jury trials.
Justice John Reeves, hearing the accused men’s application in Alice
Springs last week, lifted a suppression order put in place earlier by
Justice Jenny Blokland.
She had heard in July applications on behalf of the accused to move the
trial from Alice Springs to Darwin on the grounds that there was a risk
that they would not receive a fair trial if the jury were drawn from
Justice Blokland declined to change the venue of the trial (see
separate article for her reasons).
Both Mr Woods and Mr Williams have pleaded not guilty to murder.
The application heard last week raised in part questions of “abuse of
process” in relation to the selection of juries, although there was no
suggestion that the Sheriff, who conducts the selection, had acted for
an improper motive.
Issues included the order in which the selection is made, and the
procedure of sending the list of potential jurors to the police who
strike out disqualified people (see separate article for detail on the
The court did not hear evidence regarding these questions but did hear
that a meeting of judges in Darwin on September 14 had given the
Sheriff various directions in relation to how he would conduct the jury
array in the future.
The application also raised questions of law in relation to the Juries
Act and its consistency with the Australian Constitution and the Racial
The Crown summarised the basis of the defence’s concerns as to do with:
• the Alice Springs jury list being drawn only from the municipality of
Alice Springs and not from the broader southern region of the NT;
• the broad disqualification provisions regarding those who have
committed criminal offences;
• the disqualification of people who cannot read, write and speak
English with proficiency.
“All these matters together preclude an appropriate proportional
representation of Aboriginal people on jury panels” which deprives the
accused of a fair trial, according to the Crown’s summary of the
Under the Juries Act, people who have committed a criminal offence and
been sentenced to a term of imprisonment have to have completed their
entire sentence, including any part of it served in the community, more
than seven years ago before they can qualify as jurors.
The Full Court, with Acting Chief Justice Mildren and Justices Reeves
and Blokland presiding, is now being asked to consider whether the
Juries Act is invalid because of its inconsistency with the Racial
Discrimination Act 1975, in that in its operation it infringes the
right in Article 5(a) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Racial Discrimination and infringes s80 of the Constitution (which
concerns the right to trial by jury).
What both sides agreed on
Here in summary is how the jury selection for the current sittings in
Alice Springs worked, based on the agreed facts before the Full Court
• The Sheriff estimated that 150 jurors would be needed for the
• 350 people were randomly selected from the annual jury list drawn
from the electoral roll for the Alice Springs municipality.
• SAFE NT, a division of Police, Fire and Emergency Services, cross
referenced the selection in order to disqualify persons by virtue of a
relevant term of imprisonment or exempt them (for example, lawyers,
pastors and police officers are exempt). This eliminated 91 people.
• The Sheriff added 34 people who had previously deferred their jury
service, which took the list to 291 persons, who were summonsed by
• In all of these procedures there is no specific information about
whether or not people are Aboriginal.
• When they came to court a Deputy Sheriff assisted those deemed to not
adequately speak, read and write English to be excused, although it is
contended that the Deputy Sheriffs are not expressly authorised to do
• Of the list of 291, only 14 people had addresses in town camps.
• In the Sheriff’s experience it is not unusual for only half of people
summonsed to present themselves to the court.
• Aboriginal people make up some 21% of Alice’s population of 27,481,
but 45% of the 48,000 people who live in the area for which jury trials
are conducted in Alice Springs (76% if the township is excluded).
• In 2008 83% of the NT prison population was Aboriginal.
• The electoral roll does not record specific house numbers for
addresses in town camps.
• Mail is not delivered directly to town camps but is held at
Tangentyere Council for up to six weeks for collection. Only a small
proportion of it is collected.
Justice Blokland: Trial judge can
Justice Blokland, in giving her reasons for refusing to change the
venue of the trial, summarised the arguments put on behalf of the
Among these were that:
• Mr Hargrave was a prominent person, possibly regarded as "a local
hero or loved son of Alice Springs";
• public grief had been evidenced by, for instance, a statement from
the mayor, a well-supported public appeal to raise money for Mr
Hargrave's family, a memorial procession through the town, and a
significant volume of expressions of regret and notices in the local
• racial issues had been highlighted in media reporting of the case,
"including a juxtaposition of this case with a previous unrelated case
where racial elements were acknowledged", as well as instances of
inaccurate or misleading reporting;
• specific prejudice to both accused and to Mr Woods' family had lead
to both men being moved for a period to custody in Darwin;
• the composition of juries in Alice Springs historically has been
Justice Blokland said that it is in the interests of the community that
ordinarily an offence be tried in the locality in which it is
alleged to have been committed and that the jury be selected from the
Changing the venue would also result in increased costs and
inconvenience to the Crown, witnesses and others from the local
community interested in the trial as well as the accused.
The applicants argued that the trial needs to not only be fair but be
perceived to be fair, but Justice Blokland said perceptions need to be
appropriately and reasonably informed.
She recognised some issues of concern but saw "nothing that could not
be overcome by direction and instruction of the trial judge once
brought to their attention".
She cited the High Court on the proper direction of jurors:
“What ... is vital to the criminal justice system is the capacity of
jurors, when properly directed by trial judges, to decide cases in
accordance with the law, that is, by reference only to admissible
evidence led in court and relevant submissions, uninfluenced by
"That capacity is critical to ensuring that criminal proceedings are
fair to an accused.”
The applicants had presented her with a number of extracts from local
print media and web pages, some of which "impliedly" referred to
Aboriginal people in a negative or accusatory way.
The applicants also felt that a headline for a report about the
committal, which read “DNA found on knife”, gave a wrong impression,
when it was in fact the deceased's DNA on the knife.
However, Justice Blokland felt that the media coverage was not
comparable to the mischievous or inflammatory coverage of a 1981 case
(The Queen v Peperill) when Justice Muirhead moved the trial of five
men from Alice Springs.
The applicant Graham Woods reported in an affidavit threats and abuse
by prison officers towards himself and the co-accused.
After two weeks in custody both men were moved to the Darwin
Mr Woods stated he was told by prison officers that he and Williams
were transferred for their own safety because there was so much feeling
against them in Alice Springs after the death of Mr Hargrave.
He reported other abuse and taunting on the way to Darwin, but said he
had not been treated badly since his return to Alice Springs
Correctional Centre shortly before the committal hearing in October
Justice Blokland said the previous treatment of the applicants, if
true, was serious but as it had changed, she concluded that there was
no longer the same "intensity of feeling".
The father of Mr Woods also reported in an affidavit that for the first
time ever he had had difficulty obtaining work in Alice Springs.
He believed that was a result of his family being blamed for the death
of Mr Hargrave.
He also reported certain incidents of threatening or offensive remarks
and behaviour to members of his family. For a time, the family
moved out of Alice Springs, but since then had returned and he had
obtained a small amount of casual work.
Justice Blokland founds the incidents "concerning" but again concluded
that the initial antagonism had lessened significantly.
She also noted the submissions from The Crown that no antagonism had
been evident in and around the court at the committal.
A lot of civilians had been in the court room however "there were more
family for the accused than the victim’s family", according to the
court's Officer in Charge.
The applicants' concerns around the prominence of Mr Hargrave and the
expressions of grief, loss and regret over his death did not mean "the
trial will be unfair if conducted in Alice Springs", said Justice
"Over a year after the critical events, in my view these are all
matters that if the trial judge deems appropriate, may be raised with
jurors concerning whether they can bring an open mind to proceedings or
whether they believe there is some reason why they would not bring an
open and impartial mind or be perceived not to bring the same.
"It is open to the applicants to draw any of these matters to the trial
judge’s attention for formulation of any instruction to potential
She quoted counsel for Mr Woods, Russell Goldflam, on the racially
skewed composition of juries in Alice Springs and noted that the Crown
did "not appear to disagree that Alice Springs jury panels often do not
include Aboriginal persons".
Said Justice Blokland: "Mr Noble for the Crown referred to his
observation that many Aboriginal persons excuse themselves from jury
"The ultimate jury selected and drawn from the array will be subject to
the directions of the trial judge.
"There is no reasons to conclude that whatever the racial make up of
the panel, they will not comply with the trial judge’s directions.
"I am not satisfied good cause exists to change the venue of the trial
at this time."
Will multi million project go interstate? By
Rumours that a $35m contract for extensions and refurbishments of
Lasseters Casino has been let to an interstate company have been denied
by Lasseter’s manager, Brad Morgan.
He says no decision has been made as yet, but a Sydney firm, Metrovic
Constructions, is advertising on the internet for a “production manager
– Alice Springs”.
Mr Morgan confirmed that Metrovic is one of three tenderers for the
work due to start in January, competing against two local firms.
Mr Morgan says the casino’s Malaysian owners are likely to make a
decision within two weeks.
In the first year the project will include 70 more rooms and suites,
relocating the swimming pool, a new reception, a day spa with a
commercial gymn and creche.
In the second year there will be extensive works to the casino, a new
restaurant, bar and gaming facilities.
The advertisement by Metrovic says: “The successful applicant will be
required to work for Hotel project in Alice Springs.
“This role will suit an ambitious, driven site manager who has already
completed at least two or three projects over $20m in value on a
variety of sectors.”
The applicant needs to have “experience on hotel construction [and] on
fitout and refurb”.
was a top trainer for more than 50 years, now she’s demoted to a
On the wall of the Members’ Lounge at Pioneer park is a row of photos
of local racing identities.
One of them shows Emmie Wehr, now 72 years old, who has spent most of
her adult life training race horses, has many wins to her name, and is
held in high esteem by aficionados of the Sport of Kings in The Centre.
This admiration is not shared by the Territory racing bureaucracy: it
has awarded Mrs Wehr (pictured) a Certificate III in Racing (Advanced
In the new bureaucratic arrangement she clearly should have received
the Certificate IV in Racing (Thoroughbred Owner Trainer) but she
That means Mrs Wehr lost the authority to race her horses, in her own
right, in the NT and, it seems, anywhere else.
All this results from new rules introduced a couple of years ago.
NT racing authorities commissioned instructors all the way from the
TAFE in Orange, NSW, to get the Territory racing fraternity into line.
After a career as a trainer spanning more than half a century Mrs Wehr
was demoted to strapper: “The advanced stable hand works to the
delegated instructions of a trainer who has overall responsibility
for the enterprise,” say the new rules, whereas “a Thoroughbred Owner
Trainer is a person who is licensed to operate a business that
trains horses that are owned by the trainer or the trainer’s
family for the purpose of competing in industry-regulated events.”
How come Thoroughbred Racing NT allowed that to happen?
Darwin Turf Club Business Manager Andrew O’Toole’s answer to the
question is, “there is no problem”.
He suggested the Alice Springs News should be “very careful” about what
it published on the subject (we assured Mr O’Toole we always are).
And this is the best Lindsay Lane, Chairman of Stewards of Darwin
Racing could do: “The RPL project which was conducted in the NT some
years ago accredited those persons who were licensed at that time, some
persons completed Cert III and some Cert IV, unfortunately I can’t
recall the reasons why each individual completed the project at the
level they did but there were some of our owner trainers who completed
Cert III which was deemed appropriate by the Board and the accreditors
for owner trainers.
“Hope that helps.”
Well, no, it doesn’t.
Cert III does not bestow the privileges of an Owner Trainer. What kind
of arrangement, if any, has the board made for Mrs Wehr?
We wrote to Mr Lane: “On the face of it, Emmie does now not have the
formal right to race her own horses here nor interstate.
“If she does have that formal right, please advise in what document,
published ruling or whatever that right is enshrined.
“There are suggestions that there may be some ‘nudge, nudge, wink,
wink, she’ll be right’ arrangement in place.
“From what you are telling me about the necessity these days of
following the rules, surely that wouldn’t be acceptable.”
We’ve not heard back from Mr Lane.
Bushfood judge ‘blown away’.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
A trail mix featuring Australian bushfoods was judged the overall
winner of the WildBushfoods recipe competition in a round marked by
high level food concepts and some stunning food artistry.
The brilliantly simple Larapinta Trail Mix was yet another creation
from Miranda Sage who developed it to her exacting standards – lots of
bushfoods, delicious flavours, nutritional value and elegant
presentation in a shoulder bag.
There was a packet of nibbles including bush tomatoes, macadamia nuts,
crisped saltbush leaves and wattleseed and cheese crackers; there
were camel and kangaroo jerky strips; a sweet chewy energy bar
featuring quandongs, bush lime and dates; and a refreshing quandong and
ruby saltbush cordial.
Guest judge of the round, chef Andrew Fielke, known for his
decades-long involvement in the bushfoods industry, immediately noted
the potential for the concept being developed by local small business
or a community enterprise.
And Robert Taylor of RT Tours, also a competition judge, asked Mrs Sage
straight up for her permission to borrow from the idea in his business.
She welcomed the enthusiasm – the idea is there for anyone to take up.
The trail mix was entered in the Wildcard category which also saw
another entry ripe for commercialisation, Lisa Reiner’s Territory High
Served on an old-fashioned tiered cakestand it featured smoked emu and
kangaroo sandwiches, lemon myrtle tartlets, chocolate and wattleseed
macaroons, topped off by butter and orange zest cupcakes with macadamia
toffee shards, accompanied by a delicious tea, in china cups of course,
made from riverland mint, native to eastern Australia.
In the Dessert category the win went to Ange Vincent for her Passion
Brulee, a creme brulee flavoured by native passionfruit, which has a
delectable light pumpkin-like flavour. Ms Vincent can deliver on the
requirements of classic recipes but allows her bushfoods to speak
strongly through them, in taste, texture and presentation.
The beautiful orange of the passionfruit, which she’d harvested herself
and painstakingly pulped to remove the bitter seeds, could be fully
appreciated in the glass coffee cups she used to serve.
The wild passionfruit was new taste to Mr Fielke.
A noteworthy new taste for me was the mulga apple used by Carol Turner
to make a jelly, with a wonderfully light, refreshing taste and a
slightly nutty texture (her only additives were a small amount of sugar
and gelatin leaf).
In the Wildcard category Ms Vincent presented an Assiette de lapin, a
mixed plate of rabbit, using the whole carcass to make variously a
terrine, a confit and cured meat. A memorable taste sensation was the
cured meat topped with a bush orange jelly.
Runners up in the Dessert category were acclaimed particularly for the
aesthetic of their creations. Raeleen Beale served a quandong icrecream
in a bowl made from ice in which she’d trapped mint leaves and quandong
These touches of green and red in the transparent ice had the delicacy
of an exquisite piece of china (it sat inside a glass bowl, of course,
and on a warm day would prevent the icecream from melting too quickly).
Suzante Kelly was inspired by the West MacDonnells landscape, building
towering forms from wattleseed brownies, and boulder-like mounds from
burnt orange-coloured macaroons.
Mr Fielke told guests at Sunday’s gala bushfoods dinner that he had
been “blown away” by some of the competition entries; they were
“outstanding”, exhibiting “such creativity”.
This assessment comes from a man who has seen over many years, as he
said, “a lot of dishes made from native foods”.
He spoke of the possibility of a community kitchen being established,
perhaps using the facilities at CDU, in which people could make foods
to a commercial standard when ingredients come into season. This could
be the basis of a small industry.
“It’s smarter to value add here,” he said, urging organisations
like Desert Knowledge, the council and the government to get
An important step nationally has been the creation in 2006 of
Australian Native Food Industry Limited as a peak body to lobby for
research and industry development.
Mr Fielke also spoke about recent victories for the industry in getting
some bushfoods, such as lemon myrtle, recognised as “traditional”
rather than “novel”, which makes a difference to the way they can be
This represents a “huge turning point for the industry”, he says: it
will help with the future recognition of further foods from the
“incredible array” native to Australia.
Last Saturday’s Melting Moments Masquerade Ball at Monte’s served up a
layer cake of music.
Local ensemble Los Bandeleros Perdidos have reached a new maturity not
only their instrumental bonding, but the very stage presence bouncing
off this Alice-born rhythmic octopus is more than worthy of ‘out of
towners’ getting a taste.
The cluster of musicians summarise desert festival spirit, with the
organic percussion of their sound, and the balance of emotion on stage
(the stone-faced musicians in the background combining with the facial
animation of the front man).
It was good to hear this group again. The fact that they have spaced
their last few shows further apart seems to have heightened their sense
for live performance. Sound check between sets gave ball-goers
opportunity for their own type of theatrics. Extroversions, small
suppressed quirks, and any other undercurrent of mannerisms people
stash away, are turned loose when someone dons a mask.
The entire evening had this warm blunt edge of happiness snaking its
way in and out of the gathering punters. With the barrage of events
recently gifted to the town coming to an end, there was the desire to
hang on to the after-glow of the past 10 days.
With a collective local force that constantly has people from
interstate challenging their preconceived ideas of Alice nightlife, the
ever-reliable Alice event regulars produced a unique brand of
The newly-formed Iron Maidens embraced the scattering audience with a
rusty but rife operatic sword of vocal talent. The set cut through a
collection of metal songs with parody of stylings and fashion in full
swing. This will be an act to watch if it is developed over the coming
Then the jewel of the evening’s bill, the Woohoo Revue! This band of
accomplished musicians seemed to perform out of place, even though
timing, tempo and musicianship was at a level of near flawlessness, and
the duel between trumpet and violin was a cool note-for-note boxing
But they lacked presence and energy, with their stage predecessors
having claimed far more of ownership of the night.
I began to think that this ever evolving gypsy music movement has
started churning out polished products, bands that possess a line up of
classically trained, technically brilliant, private school educated
musicians, that become a performing compact disc rather than a dweller
of the grit-filled trenches that gave birth to the genre.
The music kept the dance floor full and people seemed to like it.
And when it comes to the festival in many cases this can be all that
Post midnight rolled around and masks and face paint started turning up
in odd places.
biker tough vintage. By
Derek Poolier currently owns four vintage bikes and three dirt bikes –
he says he’s had “a bit of a clean out”.
“The more bikes you have, the more time you need to fix them.”
He is a member of the local Royal Enfield Club, the Secretary of MECCA,
a member of the Australian Motorcycle Trail Riders Association and a
member of the Adelaide Velocette Club.
Derek grew up in Enfield, in Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs, and at
the age of 13 took a part-time job at the Cross Keys Service Station.
It was 1957 and the service station was one of the first to sell Honda
motorbikes. The owner would have lunch at the pub every day, leaving
young Derek in charge – a golden opportunity for him to teach himself
to ride, using the stock Hondas up and down the forecourt.
At age 16, he’d saved enough money to buy his first motorbike – an
Ariel 500 Red Hunter with a sidecar.
At the time he weighed “about 25 kilos wringing wet” and couldn’t kick
start it, so the owner got it started.
Derek took it down the road and promptly side-swiped a car.
The owner suggested that he would ride it home for him.
Derek’s parents were not very impressed when it turned up. His father
told him, “Whatever you do, don’t take the sidecar off”.
Naturally, the very next day he removed the sidecar and never looked
back! He rode this bike to school for the next three years.
After leaving school, he bought a Matchless G80, followed by a Norton
500 and then aged 20, joined the Army and served in Vietnam.
While he was away, to his horror, his mother sold the Norton to a
neighbour for five quid “just to get it out of the way”!
Derek built his first dirt bike in 1970 and took it up to Derby. Later,
he moved to Mount Gambier and bought a silver tanked XL250 Honda.
He stayed for four years and was president of the Mount Gambier
Motorbike Club, running lots of enduros.
When he moved to Alice over 20 years ago, he became heavily involved
with the local motorcycle club for about 10 years, organising and
finding lots of venues for about 20 or 30 enduros.
“They used to just have a shot gun start. I’ll never forget going up to
Aileron and being astounded at the mayhem. “A shot gun was fired and
they all took off.
“Within half a kilometre there was a gigantic crash and broken legs.”
So Derek started a system where the riders start in twos, minute by
minute, and then their times are corrected accordingly. This system is
still being used today and is a lot safer.
“The young lads riding Finke are used to going in top gear flat out, so
I laid out a lot of courses that needed to use first and second gear.
“I incorporated rocky climbs as well as declines through creek
The riders didn’t like the courses much at the time but have adapted
“If you can ride that sort of course, you can ride fast but if you can
ride fast, you can’t necessarily ride that sort of course.”
Derek and others have organised the courses for the Masters Games
enduros out at Undoolya Station.
After writing to every motorcycle club in Australia, they got about 40
entries for their first round of Masters Games and about 70 or 80
people from interstate for the second.
At their third Masters Games, it was about 44 degrees at 9am and
although the locals weren’t bothered, the interstate competitors were
not very impressed.
Derek has raced in the veterans’ class at the Masters Games as well as
out at the local motocross track and taken home a few trophies. The
last time he actually competed was about five years ago.
He attended a Motorcycling Australia course in Sydney a few years ago
and is qualified to run courses for stewards, flag marshals, starters,
He has raced in the Finke Desert Race three times: finishing in 2000,
winning a trophy in 2001 and breaking a leg in 2002.
He hates the Finke track now and considers parts of it to be dangerous.
“It’s always been a very fast race but at 66 years of age, I don’t
think I’ll be riding in it again.”
Derek still goes dirt bike riding regularly with a few mates. He would
have liked to do the Masters Games enduro this year but will be in
Adelaide for the annual “Bay to Birdwood” rally.
He will also take part in other events with a couple of vintage clubs
from Adelaide, including visits to a number of private motorcycle
museums around the city.
Earlier in the year 20 members of the Australian Motorcycle Trail
Riders Association came up from Adelaide and he accompanied them on a
trail ride around Alice Springs, including to Chambers Pillar and from
Bundooma across to the Maryvale Road.
He was amazed to see them set up their camp and then produce gourmet
meals – pineapple cakes and things like that – in the campfire at night!
Next year Derek will ride with them from Coober Pedy to Ceduna via the
Anne Beadell Track and way out through Cook along the railway line of
the Nullabor Plain.
He spends a lot of his spare time restoring and renovating old bikes.
He’s done about 50 or 60 to date.
He also buys old dirt bikes to renovate and sell.
It began when he found a BSA B33-500 wreck here. He spent ages totally
restoring it before riding it and discovering that he didn’t like it –
so he sold it.
“You can’t count the time you put in otherwise you’d never make a
Twenty years ago it was very difficult to restore a motorbike in
Alice because of the problems with getting parts.
Now the internet allows him to shop for any part he wants, anywhere.
His favourite bike is his Velocette, which he and his wife Sharon found
in a shed up in the Adelaide Hills.
And of course just restoring and building the bikes is not the thing –
it’s riding them.
We live in a visually spectacular place, that is undeniable.
The view from our back porch is of the MacDonnell ranges (once you get
past all the trees and things in the way), and on a winter’s morning
they glow a deep, primordial red that is quite stunning.
I love to ride my mountain bike along tracks that twist and turn over
ridges and along valleys. I delight in strolling along shady pathways
and climbing mountains. I embrace my surroundings with passion and joy
– as long as I have a proper bed to sleep in afterwards, a hot shower
and television to watch (good but not necessary).
So I think it’s fair to say that camping out is not my forte. Which is
unfortunate as it is something that Kirsty (leaving wife) likes to do a
lot and as she is going soon I kind of had to go along for the guilt
induced ride, agreeing to an overnight night trip to Trephina Gorge
I’m not a total sook about where I sleep. For the first few years in
the music industry I was a stage technician and guitar tech for a
variety of Australian pub bands, working stupid hours and travelling
almost every day.
And believe me, the lifestyle ain’t that glamorous for the bands and
even less so for the roadies. You make enough money to get by, drink
too much and sleep too little, usually in the rooms the publican can’t
rent out to the public as they are so dire.
I had my first experience of inter-species war at a Holiday Inn in Dee
Why, a battle for supremacy between the spiders and the cockroaches in
a room I had just been given the key for. That was soon settled by my
ability to grasp things and hit, thus demonstrating evolution at work –
go the opposable thumb and victory for the humans!
This was short lived, however. What Los Roachos lacked in thumbs they
made up for in sheer numbers and Sydney roaches are SO big compared to
their more southern kin. Scuttle scuttle on the floor was
followed by multi-legged tap dancing on my face.
I just brushed them off, rolled over and went back to sleep – we had
driven to Sydney from Melbourne and I was trashed. But I had four walls
and a roof (of sorts) so I was OK.
Back at Trephina, we found a beautiful spot that was surprisingly not
occupied and walked down to the gorge, which is stunning at sunset and
made even more so by the water running through. This is the bit I like,
wandering about without a care in the world and enjoying the birdlife
that water in the desert attracts.
That done we wandered back to the campground and prepared for the
night, cooking steaks and drinking cocktails that were a little
stronger than one might expect from a pub. This is my preferred method
of getting ready for a swag, which let’s face it is a canvas bag on the
ground – getting drunk enough to drift off to sleep without getting so
totalled that you wake up with a disgusting hangover to cap off a night
sleeping in the dirt.
Just as the pleasant glow of my second drink kicked in I looked around
at our secluded spot and wondered why no one else had set up shop in
such a sweet place. Then it became obvious – even though I’m not a
camper by nature I did live out in the country for a while and I’ve
seen enough water courses to recognise one if I look a bit more
carefully. Still, we would be OK if it didn’t rain. It wouldn’t rain,
would it? Surely not.
This is why, at 4am as the first drops hit my face, I was reminded of
why I HATE CAMPING! I’m rubbish at it, pure and simple.
LETTERS: Boy stripped of medals wins them
Sir – My son recently traveled from Alice Springs to Darwin to compete
in the 2010 NT Track and Field Championships.
I am very proud to say that my son won gold in his age group for the
800m, 1500m and not only won the 5000m but he also set a new Northern
Territory record. He raced in the Open Men’s
division and placed second in every race he entered.
Athletics NT however stripped him of his placings, refused to award him
his medals and was not recognising the new NT record that he ran,
saying that he ran as an “invitational runner” – this was not mentioned
in [a pre-event] email from them.
To cap it all off even though he won his age group he was not to be
considered for selection to represent the Northern Territory at the
Australian All Schools Championships and also, the National Junior
Championships in 2011.
This was obviously discrimination at its worst. On the Athletics NT
website it says, “Athletics NT welcomes everyone for 2010”. Obviously
if you live south of the Berrimah Line it does not count.
ED – The Alice News contacted Athletics NT, offering a right of reply,
and while we did not hear back from them directly it appears that it
prompted them to go some way towards resolving these issues.
Ms Brooke-Anderson writes:–
I have heard back from Athletics NT and as per their constitution
because the boys are minors they are not allowed to comment to the
press about what happened.
The boys are receiving medals in the mail and Nick’s record will be
noted but as run on an unratified track.
As he is still at school we will support his travel to SA at the end of
October so that he can qualify for the All Schools comp. We are
negotiating on selection for the Nationals.
There are a few things that I need to follow up locally so while I’m
not overjoyed, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Thanks for requesting feedback from the board as I believe this
assisted in them contacting me.
Alice gets hundreds
Sir – The Chief Minister Paul Henderson has resorted to outright
deceptions to justify the differences between alcohol restrictions in
Darwin and Alice Springs.
When asked on ABC radio [on September 9] whether his government would
ban alcohol sales before 2pm in Darwin as well as Alice Springs, the
Chief Minister peddled the ridiculous line it wouldn’t because: “Well I
think Darwin is a bit different in as much as we are a capital city and
a capital city that caters for thousands of tourists, not hundreds of
tourists.” (ABC Darwin breakfast program).
In effect the Chief Minister was claiming the tourism industry in Alice
Springs is of limited importance to the local economy.
Fact 1 – 386,000 tourists visited Alice Springs in 2009.
Fact 2 – Tourism is worth $300 million to the Alice Springs economy
Fact 3 – In 2009 visitors in Alice Springs spent $1225 per visit
compared to $1149 in Darwin.
Fact 4 – Many tourists are annoyed to discover they can’t buy takeaway
alcohol before 2pm and business is lost as a consequence of those
Fact 5 – Paul Henderson will never impose the Alice Springs
restrictions on Darwin because he fears a political backlash in Darwin.
The Chief Minister’s comments have again demonstrated just how far out
of touch he is with life south of the Berrimah line.
Shadow Minister for Central Australia
CLP must support
Alice alcohol reforms
Sir – Terry Mills must stand up and overturn the County Liberal Party’s
plan to extend bottle shop trading hours in Alice Springs that will
re-open the rivers of grog.
The Henderson Government has announced the most comprehensive reforms
in the Territory’s history to curb alcohol-fuelled violence and crime,
including in Alice Springs.
A range of actions in Alice Springs has seen serious assaults
drop by 21% and sales of pure alcohol reduce by 18%.
However in Alice Springs alcohol continues to be consumed at twice the
level than Darwin and Palmerston, is involved in two thirds of all
violent crimes and contributes to 70% of policing costs.
Alice Springs also has three times the rate of protective custody
incidents than Darwin and Palmerston.
That’s why the Henderson Government has said enough is enough and is
taking tough action to turn off the tap to problem drinkers who
continually commit alcohol fuelled violence and crime.
Minister for Alcohol Policy
Where is affordable
housing in The Alice
Sir – NT Shelter asks why Alice Springs is missing out on the
types of new affordable housing that is now beginning in Darwin.
Through the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), Ethan
Affordable Housing has been allocated 1200 subsidies for new affordable
housing dwellings in Darwin and Palmerston.
The subsidies equate to $9,000 per dwelling, per year, for 10 years yet
none are approved for Alice Springs where the housing crisis is worse
than in Darwin.
NT Shelter is hosting an Affordable Housing Forum in Alice Springs
tomorrow to highlight these and other issues in the Alice Springs
Dr Louise Crabtree will be talking on another topic aimed at producing
long term affordable housing through Community Land Trusts.
According to NT Shelter’s Executive Officer, Toni Vine Bromley, both
our interstate speakers offer exciting and valuable insights for
developers and others in Alice.
We believe the gap in the current housing system between public housing
and the private rental market is failing to deliver the housing
opportunities which would assist the whole economy of Alice
Affordable housing is housing that is specifically targeted for
low to moderate income households such as people in lower paid or part
time jobs, young people and key workers in the community such as in
health and community services.
The NT Government is establishing an Affordable housing Rental Company
but even this home grown initiative is targeted at the Top End rather
For more information please contact Toni Vine Bromley on 0428 802 240.
Safety first on park
Sir – Visitors heading out on the longer hiking or bushwalking trails
in Territory parks and reserves are urged to use satellite phones,
Personal Locater Beacons (PLBs), Emergency Position Indicating Radio
Beacons (EPIRBs) or a Spot Messenger to help ensure both personal
safety and a speedy and efficient rescue if needed.
The Overnight Walker Registration Scheme will no longer be used by
Parks and Wildlife as it is no longer the best system to ensure visitor
The scheme was not compulsory and many searches arose due to people
failing to de-register when they completed the trail.
The Overnight Walker Registration Scheme also wasn’t suitable for
multi-day walks or 4WD drives as something could go wrong on the first
day but the alarm isn’t raised until the party are due to complete
their activity, which in the case of the Larapinta Trail could be
another 19 days.
Today there are a number of better options available to provide real
safety benefits to the user at a reasonable cost and will help ensure
rangers are able to respond to emergency situations promptly and more
Chief District Ranger
Hello Folks – Even though I haven’t been back to Alice Springs since
2001 I still read and enjoy your newspaper every week. Our visit to
your city, and the train ride to get there, was the high point of
In your September 9 issue you had a story about Bek and Chris Axe and
the problems they were having getting into their new home. Sounds a lot
like the same situations we face here in the USA.
My best to them and hope everything works out.
He was wearing a purple and gold University of Washington Husky shirt.
The school is located right here in Seattle. I have a shirt
just like it.
I was wondering if there was any way to find out where he got the
I didn’t expect to see it half way around the world.
Thanks so much for your assistance.
And again, I truly enjoy your paper.
I don’t always understand the root of your many problems but I sure
enjoy the good times you write about.
Seattle, Washington USA
Looking for Uptons
Sir – I’m hoping to find the wife and children of Jonathan Upton.
Mr Upton is believed to have lived in or near Alice Springs.
He emigrated from either Bristol or Bournemouth, England, year unknown
and died about 15 years ago in Alice Springs. Any information
about the whereabouts of his descendants would be appreciated.
Sir – What a shame that Prime Minister Gillard missed the opportunity
to move Martin Ferguson out of the resources and energy portfolio.
Academic Clive Hamilton describes Mr Ferguson as the fossil fuel
industries’ “point-man in the cabinet” and includes him in a ‘dirty
dozen’ list of people who have done most to block effective action to
reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Ferguson’s plan to impose a national radiaoctive waste dump on
Aboriginal land in the NT has also been highly controversial and is now
subject to a legal challenge initiated by Traditional Owners.
Mr Ferguson has repeatedly refused requests to meet with affected
Traditional Owners and his draft legislation overrides the Aboriginal
Heritage Act and the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.
The Prime Minister ought to have paid more attention to the election
results − a large swing against Mr Ferguson in his suburban Melbourne
electorate of Batman (previously the safest Labor seat in the country,
now within reach of the Greens), and a 24% swing against the ALP in
Tennant Creek, the town closest to the proposed radioactive waste dump
in the NT.
Dr Jim Green
Friends of the Earth