Santa Teresa school principal dies in triple fatality car crash


Two school principals from  Indigenous Catholic Community Schools were killed in yesterday morning in a triple fatality on Tiger Brennan Drive in Darwin.
One was Greg Crowe, principal of the Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School in Santa Teresa in Central Australia.  He was aged 72.

The other was the principal of Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Primary School in Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island, aged 50.  She had been principal for nearly 23 years. He name was not released for cultural reason.
Bishop Eugene Hurley (pictured) said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident where the lives of three people were taken.  Two were principals who we knew and loved well and the third was a taxi driver whose family I don’t know.

“The community of Wurrumiyanga has lost a school principal and a leader in her own community.
“Santa Teresa has lost a principal and a much-loved member of the community. He has worked as principal for the past five years.”

– Media Release from the Catholic Education Office.



LETTER: Quota back in Alice

Quota International is looking to re-establish the once vibrant Quota Club in Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Stepping over the edge


How to start? How to end?  And what’s in the middle? A jelly belly paunch, a rippling washboard or taut curves?

I used to be a beekeeper. Keeping bees was an interesting one amongst the many incarnations I’ve had in the employment world. I’ve been a wine-maker’s sidekick or ‘lab technician’ as my CV states.  I’ve cooked, cleaned, gardened, painted and bar wenched at a truck stop. Looked after baby birds in Ireland and fingered beautiful coats, hats ‘n’ scarves in smoky cloakrooms in Paris. And of course I’ve made countless coffees and waited thousands of tables.



Work starts on new Flying Doctor tourist centre








A $3m contract to redevelop the Royal Flying Doctor tourist centre in Alice Springs has been awarded to Probuild NT Pty Ltd.

The project includes a 70 seat theatre, interactive information portals, increased retail space and a full scale replica of the fuselage of an operational Pilatus PC 12 Aircraft.

Construction will start mid August and is expected to be completed by mid February 2012. FULL STORY »

The lighter side of law-making

If you think politics is dull and PC, here’s proof that in the Territory it’s not.

The live cattle export industry has a lower mortality rate on its ships than P&O cruises, says Shadow Business Minister, David Tollner.

Calling on the Chief Minister to push for a fighting fund promoting the industry “down south”, he says the live export and the pastoral industries “should be a source of national pride.

“Unfortunately, as a result of gutless Labor governments in Canberra and Darwin and manipulative animal welfare activists, the industry in northern Australia is on its knees.”

Mr Tollner says: “Cattle ships are sophisticated feed lots which keep animals healthy en-route to overseas markets, there are nutritionists on the ground in Indonesia and the industry supports the livelihoods of thousands of Australian businesses and families.

“Southern Australians need to understand the strengths of the industry to protect it from animal rights extremists.”

• Shadow Minister for Transport Adam Giles (pictured) yesterday re-stated the Country Liberals commitment to open speed limits.

He says they were removed in 2007 by the current Labor Government after undertaking a road safety review.

“That review found that tourists, young drivers and Indigenous Territorians were over represented in the Territory’s road toll.

“The review also identified drink driving and not wearing seat belts as the two main contributing factors.

“Speed was never isolated as the sole cause of the majority of accidents.

“Official road toll figures in 2006 were 44. Following the removal of open speed limits the toll increased to 57 and then 75.

“Last year it was 50, higher still than when speed limits were removed.”

• Shadow Treasurer John Elferink says under Labor, the Territory’s net debt has blown out to $6.7billion, including liabilities. A dollar coin weighs 9 grams, is 25mm in diameter and 3mm thick. There are 111 dollar coins in a kilo, 111,111 in a tonne.

He says the Territory’s debt takes on mind-boggling proportions when considering:

– It would take $2.2million to fill a 20 tonne road train trailer and $6.7million to fill a three trailer road train.

– It would take 1000 road trains – extending about 50km – to haul the Territory’s debt plus liabilities.

– A $1 coin covers an area of about 500mm square and it would take $2million to fill 1km square.

– Darwin’s area is 112km square. Placing all our dollar coins within Darwin’s footprint would make a stack 90cm high.

– Stacked on the Parliament House footprint, which is 12,900 metres square, the Territory’s debt with liabilities would make a stack 7.8km high.

– Joined end to end, the $6.8billion debt with liabilities in dollar coins would stretch 167,500km – over four times around the world.

– Under Labor, the Territory has accumulated a mountain of debt – approximately $29,000 for every man woman and child and $56,000 per taxpayer.

Says Mr Elferink: “The Labor Government is addicted to spending – and Territory taxpayers are paying.” FULL STORY »

Hampton mum on Kilgariff suburb

ABOVE: The $10m headworks for the Kilgariff suburb well under way but no word yet on the development deal.


The NT Government is spending $10m on headworks for the new suburb of Kilgariff, but still hasn’t made up its mind – or won’t tell – how the 1200 block project will be developed.

The usual process for opening up public land for private housing is for the government to call tenders. The winner then puts in the internal services – roads, water, power, sewage, and so on, in accordance with government specifications.

The best guess for this development cost per block is $60,000.

The developer then gets to sell the blocks for whatever he likes – the going rate till recently has been $300,000.

A nice little earner, but no great help for the – at least then – drastic land shortage and the skyrocketing prices.

Robyn Lambley, when successfully campaigning for the seat of Araluen last September, was asked in an interview with the Alice Springs News whether the Kilgariff land should be sold for the development cost.

Ms Lambley said: “That could be an option. Perhaps somewhere in the middle, between market value and the cost of development, is a good place to negotiate.”

The News asked: If it’s somewhere in the middle, who would get the profit which would still be around $100,000 a block?

Ms Lambley said: “It would go into the government coffers. You could argue that the profit could be used for interest free loans to people breaking into the first home owners’ market. That would be a neat little package, really.”

No matter how vital this debate is for the community, it’s not an issue that Karl Hampton, the Minister for Central Australia, will engage in.

The News has been seeking an interview with Mr Hampton since May – no luck.

We caught up with him at the Alice Festival launch last week …


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… and with that Mr Hampton, the only Labor MLA and Minister in Central Australia, blended into the crowd. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Anderson blames ganja for youth suicides

With the funeral of a nephew who took his own life fresh in her mind, MLA Alison Anderson in last night’s Legislative Assembly debates asked for a breakdown of statistics on suicide in the Northern Territory. She wants to see what the picture is in urban, rural and remote settings, suspecting that, from her experience, young people in remote communities are more vulnerable.

The nephew buried last week in Mutitjulu was the second in Ms Anderson’s family to suicide this winter. The second young man took his life in a suburban street of  Alice Springs. He was buried in Hermannsburg on the same day as his father, who Ms Anderson says died from alcoholism. PICTURE ABOVE: MLA Alison Anderson at a rally this year outside Parliament during its sittings in Alice Springs. By her side is Councillor Mildred Inkamala (pink shirt) of the MacDonnell Shire Council. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Beyond Blue –

Reach Out – FULL STORY »

Threatening sign at Nyirripi unauthorised and removed

An aggresively worded sign about dog control, posted by a Central Desert Shire officer at the store in the western desert settlement of Nyirripi, has been removed.  The sign included a threat that dogs hidden from the visiting vet would be shot.

Nyirripi has a population of some 320 and is roughly 440 km north-west of Alice Springs, or 150 kms west-southwest of Yuendumu.

CEO of Central Desert Shire, Roydon Roberston, said he became aware of the notice yesterday (Sunday) and “ordered that it be removed”.

He said the notice was placed by the shire officer “in conjunction with senior community members”.

“No authority was given or would have been given by Executive Management as the sign is not in keeping with Council Policy. Further discussions will be held with the staff member involved,” said Mr Robertson.

A vet is in the community today – as advised by the sign – and is expected to attend to 15 dogs today and a total of 30 before leaving tomorrow.

The shire’s Dog Management Policy, adopted in October 2008, stipulates a maximum of two dogs per household.

Mr Robertson says compliance with the policy has been “mixed” across the shire, while reported dog problems have “escalated” at Nyirrpi, becoming “worse than other communities”.

He says the shire council has received numerous complaints from government agencies and council staff concerning dogs, including packs of roaming dogs.

He says the Local Board at Nyirrpi, has been very keen for the vet to again visit. (Local Boards are appointed to advise council on local issues and aspirations.) FULL STORY »

Amnesty’s Utopia report full of omissions and misrepresentations




The human rights organisation Amnesty International has released what
it calls a research report, focussed on the changes in government
policy, particularly since the Intervention, that have affected the
Utopia homelands in the Northern Territory.

The report argues that through leasing and inadequate
funding governments are actually taking land away its traditional

Nowhere in the report is there an acknowledgement that leasing only
applies to a tiny fraction of Aboriginal lands, that is the land on
which government is building and maintaining infrastructure.
A “group of Aboriginal elders” is quoted as saying in part:
“Through harsh changes we have had removed from us all control over our
communities and our lives. Our lands have been compulsorily taken from
us. We have been left with nothing.” There is no explanation nor
qualification of this dramatic claim.

The only named contributor to the report is senior Aboriginal woman
and activist Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, of Jedda acting fame, who provides
the Foreword for the paper which lambasts the new shire system without
mentioning that she is the president of her shire.

And the report advances mixed evidence of the benefit of living on
homelands, including that they are a “central” component of the Northern
Territory’s $775.78m tourism industry, with no scrutiny of the
realities, including welfare dependency. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photo at top: Jeffrey
Pepperill Kemarr and family at Camel Camp on the Utopia homelands,
about 30 kms from Arlparra. Source: Amnesty International, Lucas Jordan.
Above: Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, with daughter Ngarla and granddaughter Ruby, in 2006. From the Alice News archive.


Alice Springs Festival: let the fun begin

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Mayor Damien Ryan and Minister for Central Australia Karl Hampton, with two young helpers, took the launch of the Alice Springs Festival literally, with a flotilla of paper boats in the Chifley Resort pool. A zany poolside performance by the Dusty Feet Dance Collective provided light relief after the obligatory speeches.

Our film clip also has chair of Red Hot Arts, Kalikamurti Suich, and festival and events manager Scott Large, explain why they are heart and soul immersed in the annual spectacle.

The first event is as soon as next weekend – the hugely popular Wearable Art Awards, where the arts of bodily adornment are taken in ever more unexpected directions.

The festival proper kicks off on September 9 with the sunset street parade leading into a weekend of music, performance, workshops, a children’s carnival, all at the POD Space at Anzac Oval.

Imported drawcard for the Friday night is urban roots act Blue King Brown, fronted by Natalie Pa’apa’a, supported by local bands Dr Strangeways and Tjupi Band.

The Bush Bands Bash takes to the stage on the Saturday night, while Desert Divas – women vocalists from around the region – will perform at lunchtime.

The Darwin Symphony Orchestra are the Sunday night attraction, combining with singers Warren H Williams, Catherine Satour and Jacinta Price for an event called Big Sky Country. The orchestra will also perform at the Desert Park on the Tuesday (Sept 13), with NT Administrator Tom Pauling reciting Shakespearian sonnets to a composition by Cathy Applegate.

A play about the extraordinary Olive Pink, called The First Garden, will have its premiere the following weekend. The play has been written by Chris and Natasha Raja and will be presented at  Olive Pink Botanic Garden.

Desert Mob at Araluen  is the premier visual arts event of the festival, but there will also be some interesting shows around town: Souvenir, a reinterpretation of the “red centre” at Watch This Space; work from the dynamic Tjungu Palya Art Centre at RAFT Artspace; a first solo show for Kay Rubuntja Naparrula at Muk Muk; and an intriguing artists “lock in” at the empty shopfront next to Monte’s.