Bushfires a massive threat as warmer season looms

Lots of fires are burning in Central Australia but the danger will get much worse when the hot season starts, says the Bushfires NT’s Grant Allan.

The fires are about on par with the last season of high rainfall, in 2001/02. Again the summer will be volatile and land holders are encouraged to take immediate action to prepare, including undertaking management burns when conditions are appropriate and low temperatures still allow them to be done safely. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 

Colour code for today’s fire map, showing about a million square kilometres: Blue – fires in the past 7 days; red – 6 to 12 hours ago. Green and grey areas are “fire scars” from blazes earlier this year. The arrows show the wind speed and the percentages denote relative humidity. The readings are taken at TiTree, Kintore, Uluru, Alice Springs, Jervois, Rabbit Flat and Lajamanu. Map courtesy Bushfires NT. Up to date map here. FULL STORY »

Public meeting delivers report card on the Intervention and suggestions on where to go from here

“I’ve got 55 positions across MacDonnell Shire – I can’t fill all of them because I have to compete with Centrelink.”

It was one of the starker statements of the two and half hour public meeting held in Alice on Tuesday evening, about the second phase of the Federal Intervention.

The speaker was Tracey McNee, coordinator of Community Safety at the shire, making a point about the disincentive to work created by ease of access to the dole. She “took her hat off” to shire residents who had taken the work, but commented on the remaining vacancies: “[People] don’t necessarily have the same pressure and pushes to apply for those jobs.”

The jobs are with night patrol services: “No-one is saying night patrol is an easy job, but it is a job,” said Ms McNee.

Centrelink is potentially “a large part of the solution,” responded veteran community development worker Bob Durnan, suggesting that the organisation has the motivation and capacity as well as permanent staff in communities to help people into jobs (presumably with some forcefulness, if necessary). He said while government has poured a huge amount of money into job networks, they are not based in communities and don’t have local knowledge. Centrelink is in a good position to take over job network functions, he said. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photo: Youth worker George Peckham on the microphone at Tuesday night’s public meeting. FULL STORY »

Kalua, we’re not on the East Coast anymore


Sometimes I feel like Dorothy looking down at her little dog and saying, ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore’. Except I’m saying to my little black cat, ‘Kalua, we’re not on the East Coast anymore’. With this past week’s sunny days and warm dry winds I’ve several times thought myself to be near the beach. I don’t know what it is exactly, the smell of sunscreen, the fact that it’s miles away or the Buffle grass rustle like waves to the shore.  Either way as pleasant as this has been it has also induced a sort of panic at the thought of what am I going to do when summer really does hit? I realised it was deadly necessary to try and scope out swimming spots in Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Lhere Artepe: corporation is the main game




Lhere Artepe member Michael Liddle (at right) has spoken out about what he says is the urgent need to restore order in the Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC).

He says there is an unacceptable lack of transparency in Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd (LAE), a commercial offshoot, whose “heart and soul” is the Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation itself. He raises questions about Darryl Pearce (at left), LAAC’s administrative head. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


NGOs call on Town Council to revisit no camping by-laws


At a time when the massive government efforts are being made in Alice Springs and Central Australia towards the provision of housing, including temporary accommodation options, a number of non-government organisations (NGOs) this morning launched the Right to a Home coalition.

In their sights were, in particular, the Alice Springs Town Council and its public places by-laws, enacted last year. The coalition, through spokesperson David Havercroft of the advocacy body NT Shelter, called on the council to amend the by-laws where they are having “a negative impact” on the homeless, and to develop a “social inclusion” policy. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Car of holiday maker torched


A man who would give his name only as Sean arrived in Alice one night about 10 days ago. He says there was a hole in the sump of his 4WD and he could drive no further. He pulled up in an open area off the Stuart Highway, not far from the Colonel Rose Drive turn-off, and made camp.

The next day he says he began calling mechanics to get help to fix his car but they were all busy. He says he also called camping grounds but, as he was travelling with his puppy, Sharko, they didn’t want to take him.

He says he received a visit from the Australian Federal Police, stationed at the airrport. He explained to them that he was not camping but broken down. In the course of the week he started work on repairing the car himself. Some Alice locals also offered as helping hand.

After a further visit from the police, he was obliged to find accommodation and on Saturday night did find a camping ground that would accept him with Sharko.

When he returned to the car on Sunday, it was a burnt shell. He found the Stillson wrench that he had left under the car on the front passenger seat, indicating that it had been used to break the window to gain entry to the car.

The interior was so completely burned Sean could not tell whether anything had been stolen.

Theft would be one thing, he said, but he wanted to know why whoever was responsible decided to destroy the car. Good question. FULL STORY »


We welcome your comments: Email:   Will the good news outweigh the bad?   Sir – Do we focus on the good news or on the bad news? This is the question being asked by the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce and our tourist industry. Let’s look at some good news first. Part of… FULL STORY »