Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 15 »

April 12, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Heenan elected Deputy Mayor

MONDAY 7:30pm

Councillor Brendan Heenan has just been elected Deputy Mayor with the support of Mayor Damien Ryan, and Councillors Liz Martin (who nominated Cr Heenan), Chansey Paech (the seconder) and Jade Kudrenko.

Cr  Eli Melky  nominated Steve Brown for the position to be held for one year, seconded by Cr Geoff Booth and also supported by Cr Dave Douglas. The five to four vote was as predicted by the Alice Springs News Online. FULL STORY »

Fireworks expected over Deputy Mayor position

The new town council’s first meeting on Monday is heading for the first factional fireworks.

New councillor Steve Brown (right), who scored the highest number of votes, is expecting to be appointed Deputy Mayor but he seems set to miss out.

Re-elected councillor Liz Martin, the Deputy Mayor for the last year of the 11th Council, says she will give her vote to Brendan Heenan (left).

Mayor Damien Ryan and new Councillors Jade Kudrenko and Chansey Paech are also tipped to be voting against Cr Brown, one of the Gang of Four conservative Councillors, three of whom also stood against the Mayor.

Cr Martin says Cr Brown is better suited to head up technical services: “He’s the ideal choice for that position,” she says.

“The Deputy Mayor needs to know procedure and it should be someone who’s served on the council before.

“We need to give the new members a chance to learn.”

The Deputy Mayor serves for one year of the four year term.

The position will be filled at the first meeting of the 12th Council to be held on Monday, as will be the other positions of heads of committees.

Monday’s meeting will be preceded by the swearing-in of the new council. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Winds to stoke the fire of who you are

 

An inter-cultural festival grows deep in the desert. Something like it is mooted for Alice Springs. What can we learn from our northern neighbours?  

 

“Fire is the glow of life. The four winds – from north, south, east, west – control the fire, control us. Milpirri is the story that will ignite the fire of who they are.”

‘They’ are the participants in the Milpirri Festival whose fourth manifestation will be staged at Lajamanu, in the northern reaches of the Tanami Desert, halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin, in October this year.

Speaking was the festival’s artistic director, Steve Patrick Jampijinpa, a son of the community and a former school teacher there, now a research fellow at the Australian National University. Mr Patrick gave the keynote address at this week’s forum on experimentation and innovation in desert arts.

The motto of the festival is “speak to the land, the land will speak back”, he said. The next image he invoked (that I caught from his softly spoken speech delivered as a string of beautiful metaphors) was of “hot air rising, cold air falling” – a metaphor for coming together, possibly in a  thunderhead – a “voluminous cloud full of fury”.

In coming together “there’ll always be a bit of a rough time” but out of the clouds comes “life-giving rain”.

That rain has grown the festival, a joint effort of the community and the Darwin-based Tracks Dance Company which has been working with the Warlpiri people of Lajamanu since 1988. So Milpirri is “an inter-cultural venture”. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Photo: Milpirri Festival, 2009 by Peter Eve. FULL STORY »

Minister’s planning decision flies in the face of Alice locals

Planning Minister Gerry McCarthy has rejected the submissions from the Alice Springs Rural Area Association (ASRAA), which represents about 70 members, and from an undisclosed number of individual objectors, by giving permission to a land owner in Petrick Road to develop blocks substantially smaller than is permitted in the town plan.
ASRAA chair Rod Cramer says he had not been contacted by Mr McCarthy, nor by Karl Hampton, the Minister for Central Australia over the issue.
The minimum block size in the area is two hectares but Mr McCarthy gave permission for three lots of 1.79 ha, 1.8 ha and 1.56 ha, respectively.
The town council commented only on the application’s technical aspects of roads, stormwater and other services, says Greg Buxton, Director Technical Services.
He says while the council was at liberty to comment on other issues it did not, because the NT Government authorities were unlikely to “pay attention” as the council has no role in questions of zoning.
This is a long shot from what the new Labor Government, through its Minister Peter Toyne, proclaimed in August 2001: “Labor [will] open up the town planning process, shrink the powers of the Minister to override the Development Authority, make it fully representative, give it a much greater autonomy from the Minister, and link it much more closely to local government.”

NOTE: There are 1512 lots in Alice Springs in zone SD (single dwelling) over 1,000sqm. These are proposed to qualify for a second dwelling.

[Declaration of interest: The author of this report is a rural resident, a long time member of the ASRAA and an objector to the application.]

PHOTO: Approximate outline of the block to be subdivided. Google Earth. FULL STORY »

Two killed in fiery car crash

Two people died in Alice Springs when a car hit a light pole and burst into flames on Saturday.
At about 11pm a police patrol observed a vehicle entering the Gregory Terrace and Bath Street roundabout in the wrong direction.
Police activated their emergency lights to stop the vehicle, and believed the driver was about to comply. However, the driver chose not to, evading the direction of police and continued to drive on.
At the Stott Terrace and Leichhardt Terrace roundabout, the driver fled the police vehicle at a dangerous speed at which point the police ceased to follow the vehicle. This decision was made in accordance with police policy in order to minimise further risk to the fleeing driver, their vehicles occupants, other road users and the police themselves.
About four minutes later, the Triple Zero call centre received a call regarding a serious motor vehicle crash on South Terrace with the vehicle was reported to be in flames.

(Police release.) FULL STORY »

Those in a hurry and those who are not

OPINION by ERWIN CHLANDA

 

I’m going to borrow for this opinion piece from the comments – around 100 – which our readers posted on occasion of the town council election.
The Alice Springs News Online is proud to host an increasingly lively forum for readers’ views, many of them also contributing a wealth of relevant facts. The forum provides an interesting window onto the community  for the nine elected members of the 12th Alice Springs Town Council.
Among our most responded-to stories relating to the election was the interview with Port Augusta Mayor Joy Baluch, explaining her success in fixing problems in her town to which Alice Springs still doesn’t have an answer.
Douglas Pearce wrote: “Please, please, please can we have her?”
The report prompted retired Alderman Jane Clark to comment that she didn’t agree with Ms Baluch’s public drinking ban, and saying: “I also wonder which of her initiatives has not been implemented here?”
And that leaves only this question: If they have all been implemented here as well, how come they work in Port Augusta but not here?

That was only just one of the disagreements of spirited election campaign …

PHOTOS: Port Augusta Mayor Joy Baluch (above left) was a shining example – for some – of how to tackle problems. But she and retiring alderman Jane Clark (above right) were not on the same page. FULL STORY »

‘Good men, like the good eagles, bring the meat home’

 

What really got the weavers going was thinking about the nature of eagles, how they care for their families. They were camped not far from Amata, the home community for several of them, in the APY Lands of South Australia’s far north and were working on a commission from Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide.

Nyurpaya Kaika-Burton’s husband would come along to the camp every day and bring the women meat, including the favoured bush turkey. They ate the flesh and used the feathers in their weaving.  Nyurpaya would think her husband was just like an eagle that goes out hunting meat for his whole family.

Hunting is what the eagle does best, he is an expert hunter and great provider – that’s what the women like about eagles, what they admire in them.

“Our good men are just like the good eagles, they bring the meat home.”

Several of the Tjanpi weavers travelled into Alice Springs, to speak at a forum on Monday about experimentation and innovation in desert arts. The presence of a skilled translator, Linda Rive, and the stimulus of a slide show that documented their artists’ camp and the development of the work, allowed them to relate in rich detail their experience of this commission, with the final work currently  showing at Tandanya.

What was particularly compelling was to hear about the thinking behind the work: their woven birds are much more than objects to delight the eye. They draw on the strength of their ancient culture and its lessons for everyday living, perhaps never so poignantly relevant as now.

KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

 

Pictured, top: Tjanpi weavers from Amata with their finished ‘big birds’, from left Nyurpaya Kaika, Yaritji Young, Paniny Mick (obscured), Ilawanti Ken and Naomi Kantjuriny. • At right: An eagle brings home the meat for its young. Painting by Ilawanti Ken. Photos courtesy Tjanpi Desert Weavers. FULL STORY »

Protecting our points of difference

As a gateway, doesn’t Alice Springs have more going for it than a Voyages resort village?

 

“It’s so bright and colourful!” and this was just at Alice Springs airport! My mum couldn’t help but snap a few pictures on the drive into town and I soaked up her fresh gaze on this place and I too marveled at the light and colours and shapes of the ranges and country.  Then what more perfect introduction on her first night than the opening of Beyond Conversation, a joint show of paintings by Pamela Lofts and Jenny Taylor and poetry by Sue Fielding.

And the desert put on a fine show, climbing the mercury, enveloping us in its swelter during long evenings talking on the verandah. A couple of these were sound-tracked by people fighting and screaming and conversations quickly turned to the complexities and nuances of living in Alice.

Mum’s ‘outback’ experience was almost completed by a stranding on the side of the road with an over heated land cruiser; luckily it did not come to that. We had an amazing time where even though it was hot, the weather accommodated our walks around Uluru and through Kata Tjuta with big rain clouds blocking out the intensity of the sun.

Out the window on the drive back the sky was full and bursting with lightning and rumbling cloud shows. We seemed to be chasing storms  that seemed to be showering on the road just up ahead. We were always just a second or two too late I’m sure.  The steamy smell of grasses and red dirt country. It was truly stunning and amazing stuff.

This was to be a holiday edition of Itchy Feet, detailing all the pleasure I got from scratching that itch to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta but on my return to Alice I couldn’t help but think about Yulara as a gateway to the World Heritage listed Uluru and surrounds. What has Yulara got that Alice does not? And as a town doesn’t Alice Springs have more going for it than a Voyages resort village? Sure there are pools and it has proximity and an easy resort atmosphere, but really what’s another 450 kms when you’re already so far away from wherever you’ve come from?  Perhaps competition between the two airlines that service Yulara is a point of difference. FULL STORY »

Burns shoots blanks at Anderson

NT Minister Chris Burns, who will not be contesting the NT election in August, is spending a great deal of time hounding MacDonnell MLA Alison Anderson.
Last week he tabled in Parliament an undated hand-written memo on Papunya Community Council Inc letterhead, advising its accountant, Peter Vroom, that a “Toyota Landcruiser Reg No 4528 254 was exchanged for three cars from A Anderson and S Hanley. This was agreed to at a council meeting 28-6-94. The three cars were donated to Dickie Brown, Sammy Butcher and Tobias Raggett.”
The note is signed by Ms Anderson and the reported recipient of one of the cars, Mr Butcher.
What Dr Burns is seeking to make of this event 18 years ago is this: Ms Anderson was lying when she claimed earlier that she had “never benefited from any transactions at Papunya involving motor vehicles” as Dr Burns quoted her, because she had asserted never to have owned the three cars in question. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. IMAGE: The memo. FULL STORY »

We’ve seen tough mayoral battles before!

Mayor Damien Ryan’s triumph over four rivals who had run a concerted effort to unseat him is a considerable achievement, especially in light of the fact that he is the only local government leader of all the NT’s major population centres to have been returned to office following the recent council elections.
Ryan’s victory maintains the pattern of every Alice Springs mayor since 1977 winning at least two successive elections; but it’s also the fourth occasion where the result has been determined by preference distribution.
The earlier occasions were George Smith in 1977, Fran Kilgariff in 2000, and Ryan in 2008. Thus Ryan’s recent victory is unique as this marks the first time an incumbent mayor has had to rely on preferences to cross the line.
Setting aside this distinction, there are marked similarities between Ryan and former Mayor George Smith. Both were small businessmen and both were elected mayors without prior involvement on the town council. Neither had stood for alderman, too. ALEX NELSON reminisces.

PHOTO: Mayor George Smith with photographer Di Calder posing for her calendar featuring prominent locals in the nude – well, almost. Photo by CARMEL SEARS. FULL STORY »

Paintings and poems take you by the hand into this country

 Three friends – two visual artists, one poet – open themselves to the country around them and to one another. What happens there, like life, is partly elusive, but also partly traced in the work on show at Watch This Space, under the title Beyond Conversation.

Through the work, they take us into the country with them.

Here are Pamela Lofts’ small windows (in oil pastel) onto, mostly, great big spaces, evoking their grand rhythms, their many moods under changing skies, the multiplicity of form and colour that gives the lie to the un-nuanced branding of this place as the Red Centre or the Outback, or even those friendlier common namings – the desert, the bush.

Here are Jenny Taylor’s penetrating studies (in oil on board) that build an architecture between land and sky, where sky and cloud give shape to the land beneath, where hills lose their mass and hang like veils one in front of the other, receding into light-filled space, where smoke fills the air and makes us see another country – poignant in its dimness like a remembered place (or perhaps a remembered way of seeing a place).

And here are Sue Fielding’s affecting poems (as wall texts and in a beautifully produced chapbook). While Lofts and Taylor are well-known, for most this is a first encounter with Fielding as poet.  She finds with seeming ease the word-pictures that situate us on a quartz hill, on the edge of a chasm, in a car driving back in from the west to town.

 

Pictured, top: Undoolya, looking west by Jenny Taylor. • Above right, Oil pastel by Pamela Lofts.

 

This is a version of the talk by KIERAN FINNANE given at the show’s opening on March 30. FULL STORY »

Elders back in charge at Lhere Artepe: Re-confirmed chairman

The town’s native title organisation has brought back “the decision making and administration to a focus on our elders, our language and our culture,” says Lhere Artepe’s Ian McAdam (pictured).

A recent meeting re-confirmed him as the chairperson of the corporation made up of “three Native Title groups who are custodians of the lands in and around Alice Springs”.

Putting an end to years of turmoil Mr McAdam says: “Many of our elders were present and we are confident that we can return the Corporation to a respectable arrangement for the future operation and planning of the Corporation.

“We also have a backlog of requests for discussions with the Board by Government and members of the public and I thank those who have been patient with us.

“I am making this statement to the media to convey that we will move forward steadily and with a commitment to be the Corporation which gives respect and priority to our elders and the native title members who are today standing proud now that they have regained control of an organisation that was hard won by many of our elders who are no longer with us.

“They taught us that we have responsibilities to all of our people including our youth.”

The board members, from the three estate groups, are:-

Antulye: Ian McAdam, Willy Satour, Felicity Hayes and Janice Harris (who is also the new director).
Irlpme: Noel Kruger (Deputy Chair), Kathy Martin, Bonita  Kopp and Raymond Peters.
Mparntwe: Michael Liddle, Tessa Campbell, Carolyn Liddle and Ian Conway. FULL STORY »