Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 28 »

July 12, 2012

Questions about Snowdon as Congress CEO quits

 

 

 

Congress CEO Stephanie Bell (left) resigned yesterday as claims were being made that Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon (right), the Member for Lingiari, declined to fund another indigenous health service unless it operated under the control of Congress. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
FULL STORY »

Three arrested in town camp drug raid

About 30 police officers including drug squad detectives and a sniffer dog handler raided the Palmer’s Camp in Basso Road this morning.
They arrested three men in three separate houses and confiscated drugs as well as cash.
The Aboriginal town camp has been under police surveillance for some time and was known by users as “the Maccers Drivethrough”.
Police are expected to make a statement with further details soon. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. SEE UPDATES IN “FULL STORY”.
FULL STORY »

Brrrr!

 

 

 

 

A tree in Siberia? Iceland? No, Neil Ross snapped these pictures on his rural block in Alice Springs, helping nature a bit by keeping his sprinkler on over night on Friday.
The current cold snap started on July 1 with zero degrees, followed by -1.7, -4.9, -4.3, -4, -4.4 and yesterday, -5.2 at 6.41am.
This morning it was -0.7 – we’re on the way back up!
The coldest day ever in Alice Springs – so far as records show – was July 17, 1976 when the thermometer dropped to minus 7.5 degrees.
If you want to be technical, the “terrestrial temperature” yesterday, measured at ground level, was minus 7 degrees. FULL STORY »

Town council’s ‘regional’ landfill: cart before the horse?

Shift dump & sewage plant from iconic Gap, says Cr Brown 

 

The Town Council’s plans for a $5m upgrade of the tip, turning it into a “regional” landfill servicing the southern half of the Territory, is showing troubling signs of putting the cart before the horse.

Funds include grants from the Federal Government ($3.5m) and the NT Government ($775,000).

All centers which would be carting rubbish to Alice Springs would be in one of the two shires south of Tennant Creek.
MacDonnell Shire CEO Diane Hood says while there are talks about a regional waste management action plan “this has not yet been discussed in any detail” and “no budget has been assigned for this purpose as it will form part of future discussions”.
And Roydon Robertson, CEO of the Central Desert Shire, said when asked for a comment: “I don’t know anything about this story. I doubt its accuracy.”
Prominent councillor Steve Brown says the dump and the adjacent sewage treatment plant, run by the NT Government’s Power & Water, should be moved from their present location where they are a smelling eyesore in the iconic Gap, the entrance to the tourist Mecca Alice Springs wants to be. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. [This report brings together all previous reports and updates on this subject.]

 

Click FULL STORY for UPDATES on July 19 and 23.

 

IMAGES: Sketch of the entrance of the proposed upgraded landfill. • The dump (centre of the photo) is a blight on the beautiful Ilparpa Valley, says Cr Steve Brown. FULL STORY »

A heifer called Camel stars at the 53rd Alice Show as cattle sales bring good prices

Brooke Weir, 10, from Ammaroo Station north-east of Alice Springs stole the show when her heifer called Camel was judged the champion female.
She was one of hundreds of locals entering their exhibits in the 53rd Alice Springs Show.
Brooke (pictured at right) raised the Santa Getrudis heifer she found her as a poddy calf at one of the station’s watering points, abandoned by her mother.
Brook bottle-fed her for six weeks and now Camel spends her days in a paddock near the homestead.
Meanwhile Beef Central reports that the best pens of locally bred milk-tooth steers above 350kg nudged above $1.90 a kilogram liveweight at the annual Roe Creek store cattle sale near Alice Springs on Thursday. FULL STORY »

Council plays swings and roundabouts

The intersection of Undoolya Road and Wills Terrace, looking towards the causeway across Todd River. Photo by Alex Nelson.

Is there really a case for a roundabout at the Undoolya Road – Sturt Terrace intersection? And how much support is there for it from the residents of Eastside?

Mayor Damien Ryan is having his doubts.

Papers presented to councillors at last night’s meeting revealed that only four replies had been received in response to council’s 1500 invitations to comment.

Three of the four opposed this expenditure of $300,000 of taxpayers’ money.

Mayor Ryan’s thought that, together with views he had heard by callers to local radio, suggested that the people of Eastside did not seem to want this roundabout.

Council’s Director of Technical Services, Greg Buxton, countered that non-response indicated “acceptance”. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

What a week!

 

 

A massive crowd of 12,000, about 30% more than usual, was at the 53rd Alice Show on Friday, says Show president Brad Bellette. This makes it the town’s biggest social event of the year. And there were more stalls and commercial displays – 250, an increase of 20. Onya, Show Society! COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

What’s in a name?

The Town Council’s discussion of street name proposals for the new Mt Johns subdivision was a revealing little snapshot of inter-cultural dynamics in Alice Springs.

The developers, Lhere Artepe Enterprises, a business related to the native title holders’ Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation, proposed two Arrernte names, Irrampenye Street and Werlatye Court, both of them after traditional owners born in the mid-19th century near where the Old Telegraph Station came to be built.

Deputy Mayor Brendan Heenan objected in particular to Irrampenye as very difficult to pronounce and spell (thinking of having to spell it when calling police or for a taxi). There was “no way” he could support it. He suggested further that it is too close to another Arrernte name in the Stirling Heights subdivision (which also involved the native title holders). KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Our very own two speed economy

 

 

Mining vs the rest isn’t the only two-speed economy scenario in Australia: The Northern Territory has one, too.
Here it is Darwin vs the rest, and the numbers are alarming. Reviving the erstwhile expansive market gardens on Aboriginal communities, such as the Ali Curung watermelon plantation (pictured), could be one way of boosting productivity, says Member for MacDonnell Alison Anderson. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
FULL STORY »

Labor candidate in Braitling puts community harmony at top of agenda

In her first foray into politics, tourism operator Deborah Rock is standing for Labor in Braitling. Not previously a member of the party, she first came to Labor’s attention as a result of penning letters to the editor. Their theme was to reject the idea of widespread fear and insecurity in Alice, asserting that the town was a beautiful and mostly safe place to live. That remains a key message. The magnificent landscape drew her to Alice in 1998 but what has kept her here – and she thinks this is true for many people – is the sense of personal freedom and community.

“You can be yourself and still be successful,” she says, “and you can get to know a wide range of people. I love that small town thing of going to the shops and running into lots of people I know.”

Not surprisingly then, community harmony is at the top of her agenda: “We need to address our problems without creating division, without talking the town down.” KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Giles takes a regional perspective in his Braitling election campaign

Perhaps it’s because of his shadow portfolios – Indigenous Policy, Transport and Construction, Regional Development – that the Country Liberals’ Adam Giles takes a regional view of issues affecting his electorate. “I’m pro-development, we’ve got to grow the economy, create jobs for the future,” says the sitting Member for Braitling. But he links the old conservative mantra with a certain logic to the specific ills of the region.

He recognises the social issues that are the preoccupation of many – “especially our outrageous law and order issues” – but, beyond what is already being done in a raft of programs and measures, he believes they “won’t be fixed until the economy is fixed”.

“When we have more people in more jobs then we will see some of our social issues subside. With greater participation in the economy, more kids will go to school, people will be healthier, the imprisonment rates will drop, and social issues will have less relevance and impact,” he says.

KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Mr Giles door-knocking Braitling resident Alison Box. FULL STORY »

The Desert Knowledge upstairs-downstairs dilemma

Second story of two.

 

Discovering the “underlying drivers of problems to achieve long term systemic change”.

“Creating new ways for Aborigines and others to work together.”

“Building capacity and innovating new approaches.”

It’s all part of an impressive agenda, but will Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) get its hands dirty and apply its objectives on the ground, where they are most desperately needed, right on its doorstep, here in Alice Springs?

That would, of course, require naming names – elected people not doing their job, highly funded yet inadequate or corrupt NGOs, incompetent government departments. Will DKA have the bottle?

On the day this week when the Alice Springs News Online spoke to CEO John Huigen about DKA’s long-term plans we also visited Hidden Valley, one of Alice Springs’ notorious town camps: there have been two recent attacks on police, with rocks and sticks; there was a stabbing killing late last year; camp dogs were eating people in 2008. Alcohol abuse is rife although its use is prohibited.

As we were talking to prominent camp dwellers Mark Lockyer and Patrick Nandy (pictured) in one house about overcrowding and unwelcome visitors, next-door police were taking away in handcuffs a man suspected of sexual assault.

Yet in that same camp is a “cluster” – a concept of which DKA is very fond – of people whom most would consider to be leading normal lives. By ERWIN CHLANDA with additional reporting by KIERAN FINNANE.

PHOTO: Patrick Nandy outside his mother-in-law’s new house in Hidden Valley. FULL STORY »

Kilgariff: housing for the people or a motza for developers?

The Territory elections are six weeks away with the price of real estate and housing, although falling, still one of the main issues.

Yet the development of the new suburb of Kilgariff, up to 1200 blocks south of The Gap, except for the head works, is still little more than a sign by the side of the Stuart Highway. FULL STORY »

$20m gated community proposed for Pine Gap staff

UPDATE ON MONDAY 3.30pm TO THIS REPORT … click FULL STORY below.

 

The Department of Defence is making an application for a gated community with 40 three-bedroom “multiple dwellings” worth $20m, not counting the cost of the land off Stephens Road. If approved the complex, to house Pine Gap staff, will be built in several stages (see plan above).  ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Thanks for more ‘us and them’, Ms Macklin and Mr Snowdon

 

 

 

 

The West MacDonnell Ranges national park, which belonged to all of us, which for many of us underpin our livelihood, and for quite a few of us are the very reason why we’re here, will today pass into the ownership of a minority. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Pamela Lofts, 1949 – 2012

For every bird there is this last migration;

Once more the cooling year kindles her heart;

With a warm passage to the summer station

Love pricks the course in lights across the chart.

– A. D. Hope

 

Pamela Lofts, well-loved Alice Springs artist and children’s book illustrator, died yesterday. She leaves behind important legacies in both fields.

The desert has been at the heart of her life and art since 1980. She loved its beauty as much as anyone, as evidenced in her work, but more importantly,  she saw the desert as “a storied place” and its stories were the matter she worked with. They told not only of what can be found there, but also what cannot; they were full of the haunting presence of lost possibilities  – the lost way of life of the original inhabitants, the lost opportunity of another kind of settlement too.

This kind of awareness may have equipped her all too well to address the matter of her own dying in an exhibition held at Watch This Space in Alice Springs in July last year. In a series of drawings of migratory birds who have breathed their last, fully expended at the end of life’s long journey, she expressed the sorrow of death at the same time as a profound acceptance of it as a state intimately connected to life, one shared by all living things. The series was remarkable for its meditative beauty (achieved in a sublime display of the artist’s drawing skill) as well as for its unflinching courage.

Much more is to be said about Pamela Lofts’ contribution to art, to children’s literature, to the community – and we will bring a more complete obituary to our readers. Today the Alice Springs News salutes a fine talent and an exemplary spirit who has left this life too soon. FULL STORY »

Can Bess Price wrest Stuart from Labor?

Bess Price on the campaign trail, talking with Laramba resident Ronnie McNamara and Napperby pastoralist Janet Chisholm.

 

Is a swing on in the vast Northern Territory electorate of Stuart? It’s been held by Labor since 1983. Can well-regarded and outspoken senior Warlpiri woman Bess Nungarrayi Price wrest it from Labor for the Country Liberals? One voter doesn’t make up the 15% needed but Ronnie McNamara in Laramba is eloquent: “We tried Karl Hampton and before him Peter Toyne. Nothing happened. We need someone who can help us … We might vote for that Country party.” KIERAN FINNANE accompanies Bess Price on the campaign trail. FULL STORY »

Desert Knowledge heading for desert wisdom?

First story of two.

 

Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) is five years old. Its precinct is now the place of work for up to 180 people in six organisations, all with a national profile, including CSIRO, which had been shutting down regional labs elsewhere but now has a staff of about 15 in The Alice, and the home-grown Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), the winner of Australia’s highest engineering prize, the 2011 Sir William Hudson Award.
The movement spawned Desert Knowledge CRC which morphed into Ninti One which, amongst other things, is getting millions of Federal dollars for shooting camels from helicopters. But that’s another story.
What has DKA been up to? Should we expect from it Desert Wisdom?  ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

PHOTO: Leadership course participants, front row left to right: Jade Kudrenko, Kellie Tranter, Barbara Shaw, Benedict Stevens, Lynda Lechleitner. Back row left to right: James Nolan, Lyndon Frearson, Mark Lockyer, Kristy Bloomfield, Nichole Kerslake, Donna Lemon, Tom Newsome, Skye Thompson, David Quan, Fionn Muster, Georgina Davison. FULL STORY »

Hell or high water

Updated July 18, 2012

In the wake of the Victorian Auditor-General’s report into that state’s drinking culture and its range of damning observations that point to its $4.3b p.a. and growing alcohol-abuse problem, there have been a number of other reports this past week, echoing concern about Australia’s dependence on alcohol. For example, in Western Australia, evidence given to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, revealed that one in five students at a Kimberley high school (20%) is believed to suffer from Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, where the mother’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy causes brain damage and other birth defects, similar to autism. Teachers are having to deal with this in the classroom. COMMENT by RUSSELL GUY. Photo: A traffic jam at the “Thirsty Camel” last Sunday afternoon in Alice Springs.
FULL STORY »

What a Week! Comment by Erwin Chlanda.

 

 

 

Labor’s land management doesn’t give a hoot about The People; is south of The Gap reserved for trash; on’ya, cops, for cracking down on alleged dope dealers; and a farewell to Pam Lofts. What a Week by Erwin Chlanda. FULL STORY »

Man sought after alleged sexual assault

 

 

 

 

Alice Springs detectives have released a comfit image of the man they would like to speak with following an alleged sexual assault in Alice Springs.
Detective Senior Sergeant Travis Wurst said a 21 year-old woman was attacked at about 11.30pm on Friday, July 6 near the Bloomfield drain way. FULL STORY »