Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 33 »

August 23, 2012

Mills pledges $2.5m for Youth Centre “transformation,” gets attacked over drunkenness measures

Country Liberals leader Terry Mills pledged $2.5m “to transform the Anzac Hill youth centre into a Police and Citizens Youth Club”.
It will “have access to youth workers and other appropriate support networks as well as organised activities and sports infrastructure,” he said during a whistlestop visit to Alice Springs today.
“The existing centre will be re-developed in stages [no time frame is given] and the upgraded facility will include a cafe operated by the PCYC.”

Asked how many blocks at the new Kilgariff suburb will be sold and at what price, he said the market would set the prices.

Will there be an amalgamation of prison and alcohol rehabilitation farms?

Mr Mills said these facilities would be for people failing to seek help.
“But if that is not sought [that would be] a breach of a court order and then there would be the intervention.”

But Russell Goldflam, president of the Criminal Lawyers Association, says this is tantamount to re-criminalising drunkenness.
Mr Mills said there would be 20 extra police in Alice Springs permanently, “not just when some problem arises that causes embarrassment for the government.”

He could not answer what new infrastructure the tourism industry could expect because the proposed new tourist commission had not yet been set up.

PHOTOS: Country Liberals leader Terry Mills and MLA for Araluen Robyn Lambley this morning, with reporters. A sketch of what the refurbished centre would look like.

FOLLOW-UP
As there was no opportunity for asking Mr Mills further questions this morning the Alice Springs News Online has emailed him these:-
• Would a CL government provide two more lots of $5m to the Alice Springs Town Council, as it requested, for the revitalisation of town centre? (The Labor commitment is for just $2.5m).
• What plans, if any, does the CL have for the development of horticulture and agriculture in remote areas to soak up the massive number of unemployed there? FULL STORY »

Pollies and public disconnect: is there a bigger main game?

What a choice to have on Saturday!

On the one hand we have Labor which has removed any doubt about its disdain for Alice Springs by promising to spend as much on footy TV lights – to be used maybe once or twice a year – as it would on the town centre’s facelift.
And the Country Liberals are proposing to spend a corresponding amount – $2.5m – on the Youth Centre although locals say that’s nowhere near enough and doesn’t cover the facilities and services also badly needed. There is a lively debate about a facility costing 15 times as much.

Mayor Damien Ryan and Chamber of Commerce CEO Kay Eade have expressed their dissatisfaction with Labor’s effort, with the town’s third major lobby, Tourism Central Australia, notably absent from the debate.

Maybe we’re asking the wrong questions: I there a bigger main game?

Bruce Walker, who chairs remoteFOCUS, a project facilitated by Desert Knowledge Australia, is raising some interesting questions.

OK, we are those who are living “in the forgotten backyards of the capital cities, and they are not part of a national narrative which makes sense of the decisions made elsewhere which affect their lives”.

But the “we” here doesn’t mean Territorians, but the people inhabiting desert Australia – those of us living in the vast remote parts of all the states except Victoria and Tasmania.

Would that be the framework that could get us excited? COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Town centre facelift would grind to a halt under Labor funding, says Mayor Ryan

Country Liberals suggest Labor “stuff-up”: Traeger Park TV lights are already there.

 

Alice Springs will get only half as much as its Town Council asked for, and much later than expected.

This is the response by Mayor Damien Ryan to the campaign promises made by Chief Minister Paul Henderson last Friday.
Mayor Ryan says the council asked for $5m in 2012/13 to continue the town centre re-development, but will only get $2.5m, deferred and over two years, 2014 to 2016.
“It’s pretty disappointing that the CBD doesn’t rate before 2014-15 which is a long way away,” says Mayor Ryan.
“You wouldn’t be able to start stage two with that small a commitment. We need to have the money in place.” ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Market last Sunday in Todd Mall. Funding as announced by the Chief Minister would curtail further progress on the long planned town centre upgrade.
FULL STORY »

Convincing win for Country Liberals: ALP likely to lose its only seat in The Centre

The Country Liberals party has won a convincing victory in yesterday’s Territory elections, ending an 11 year rule by Labor.

The ABC says the party is likely to have 15 seats, with nine for Labor and one in dependent.

The change was mostly in the bush – previously supporting Labor.

In the huge electorate electorate of Stuart, the CL’s Bess Price (1004) is likely to unseat Karl Hampton (892) with First Nations Political Party candidate Maurie Ryan on 394 votes. Preferences will decide.

Ms Price said this morning that Mr Ryan had directed his preferences in Stuart to her, although elsewhere First Nations preferenced Labor.

She is confident to have won the seat and is overjoyed about the result: “It hasn’t really hit me yet that I will be part of the team that governs the Territory.

“Today I’ll be with my family, rejoicing, relaxing and preparing myself.”

In Central Australia’s other huge bush seat, Namatjira, the indomitable Alison Anderson was re-elected as a conservative candidate in the electorate which she had first won for the Labor Party.
By this morning’s figures she had 1690 primary votes, more than double her Labor opponent’s Des Rogers (740).
The CL’s Robyn Lambley, Adam Giles and Matt Conlan comfortably retained the three urban seats in Alice Springs.

Voter turnout in both rural seats was poor – just over 50% on current figures, with absent, early, postal and declaration votes yet to be counted.
PHOTO: Party supporters for the CL (left in the picture), the ALP and Greens at the racecourse polling place in Alice Springs.

 

  FULL STORY »

Fund Solar City and Water Smart, not footy lights: Alice environmentalists

… and has civic duty ever been mentioned in the nuke dump debate?

 

“Investments such as the CBD revitalisation that have been decided a long time ago, now they actually have to get that happening,” says Arid Lands Environment Centre CEO Jimmy Cocking in a comment on Labor’s election commitments.
“It’s been talked about since I’ve been here, four and a half years, and still we haven’t seen a whole lot coming out of it.

“There have been some consultations, some draft plans, but what we need is a financial commitment from the Territory Government.

“I think it would be much better to spend money on this than on lights for Traeger Park.

“I’d like to see some more commitment to existing programs such as Alice Solar Cities and Alice Water Smart.

“I saw nothing in the policy commitments for that. That’s really important for us for that momentum to keep going.”

Mr Cocking was speaking this morning at a protest (pictured) against uranium mining and the proposed nuclear waste repository at Muckaty Station near Tennant Creek.
Meanwhile the current New York Review of Books raises a notion so far absent from the local uranium debate: Civic duty. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Polling day: Backing family, dad Warren H and aunty Alison

UPDATE, August 25, 10.41pm: With 95% of the ballot counted, Alison Anderson (Country Liberals) has been returned in Namatjira with  64.5% of the vote. Des Rogers (Labor) has 28.3% and Warren H. Williams (FNPP), 7.2%. Ms Anderson’s win is part of a historic swing to the CLP in the bush, which has given them government.

 

Nicholas Williams (at left) was in Hermannsburg this morning, handing out how-to-vote cards for his father, Warren H. Williams, while stationed in front of Alison Anderson’s campaign vehicle.

“I’m campaigning for both,” he said, “Warren is my father, Alison is my aunty.  I’m doing it for family.”

In practical terms that meant telling prospective voters to put his dad at number one but to give their second preference to Ms Anderson. This went against his father’s how-to-vote, where Ms Anderson was in the last spot, with second preference going to Labor’s Des Rogers. Nicholas said he didn’t mind who won the seat, out of his two relatives.

And the most important issue in his home community? Families have to change and become “role models” for kids, he said. KIERAN FINNANE reports from Hermannsburg. FULL STORY »

Labor would spend as much on a third set of footy oval lights as it would on the rest of Alice

 

The Territory Government, if re-elected next week, will spend as much on a third set of lights for Traeger Park as it will for the rest of the town.

Announcing election promises for Central Australia, Chief Minister Paul Henderson said in Alice Springs today it will cost $2.5m to upgrade the lights to broadcasting standard, so that AFL games such as the Indigenous All Stars can be broadcast nation-wide.

The same amount will be paid to the Town Council for the enhancement of the CBD and community parks.

PHOTO: Mr Henderson (centre) during the announcement today. He is flanked (from left) by ALP candidates Adam Findlay (Araluen), Rowan Foley (Greatorex) and Deb Rock (Braitling). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Chamber slams Labor promises: football instead of stimulating business

Labor’s election promises for Central Australia lack incentives for economic development in remote towns, give no thought to stimulating private enterprise in those areas, and by failing to allocate sufficient money to Alice Springs itself, fall short in returning the town to the tourist destination is used to be.

This is the view of Kay Eade, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce in Alice Springs, pictured at the Greatorex election forum she moderated, with (from left) ALP candidate Rowan Foley and Independent Phil Walcott.

She says money promised for football fields in bush communities would be better spent on stimulating business: “Why do electricians drive in and out from Alice Springs to service these communities?” she says. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Police seek man believed responsible for three assaults

UPDATE Tuesday, August 28, 5.30pm: Detective Senior Sergeant Travis Wurst of the Southern Investigations Division said the 25-year-old handed himself in to police this afternoon.

 

Police are calling for public assistance to locate Gregory Abbott (pictured), believed to be responsible for three assaults in the Northern Territory this year.
Detectives believe the man is currently residing in or around the Alice Springs region.
It is alleged the offender assaulted a visitor at a Darwin residence in March 2010 and seriously assaulted two visitors at two separate residences in Alice Springs in June 2012.
Police advise the public to not approach him and phone 000 immediately.

“If you have any information on the whereabouts of Gregory Abbott, contact Police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000,” police say.
More information is on the Territory’s Wanted page. FULL STORY »

Sun, smoke and dust all part of the bush flavour

Crocodile meat and bush tomato were the “mystery” ingredients. Sun, smoke and dust went without saying.

The third annual Bushfoods “iron chef” competition was held last Sunday, at the Quandong Farm in Ilparpa Valley, where picnickers were welcomed by the Scales family. It was a somewhat challenging induction into cooking on an open fire for UK chef Chris Messenger, who’d never done it before. Suren Perera had, but often looked like he was longing for the cool stainless steel of his kitchen at the Barra on Todd.

They were both commended by judge Bec Gooderham, a former organiser of the competition, for doing “an amazing job” in the conditions. Her fellow judges Lisa Perry (Reality Bites) and Raelene Brown (Kungkas Can Cook), both experienced chefs,  commented on the difficulties of cooking with crocodile meat as well as cooking over a fire or in a camp oven. “Regulating the heat is a challenge,” said Brown, “it depends on the wood you use.” KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Chris Messenger (foreground) and Suren Perera sweat it out in the Bushfoods “iron chef” competition. Event coordinator Clare Woods lends a hand with the fire. FULL STORY »

Alice singled out in German Foreign Office travel warning

 

 

 

The website of the German Foreign Office singles out Alice Springs as Australia’s only location mentioned in the chapter dealing with crime (Kriminalitaet) in its general travel advice (Allgemeine Reiseinformationen). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Bread & circuses in Darwin, crumbs in the bush: do the numbers

How ‘worthy’ is Hendo’s Big Nite In?

 

Today, August 16, Territory Labor committed $10 million over four years to support local developments and initiatives in the Territory Growth Towns. It was billed by Chief Minister Paul Henderson (pictured on the ‘Team Henderson’ website with Minister for Central Australia Karl Hampton, in sunglasses) as a commitment to “build a better future for all Territorians, no matter where they live”.

But it’s worth doing the math to make sense of just how much of a “better future” the Chief Minister envisages for those Territorians who don’t live in Darwin and do live in the so-called Growth Towns. These are all mainly Aboriginal communities off the Stuart Highway. There are 21 of them. KIERAN FINNANE comments. FULL STORY »

After pork barrelling and scandalous waste of money, business as usual after the election? Afraid so.

This week the media reported that the NT government was going to spend over $400,000 to subsidise a ferry service between Darwin and the Tiwi Islands – to the tune of over $10,000 per trip. A scandalous waste of money. The Labor Government must be worried about holding the seat of Arafura and so applied some last minute grease to its campaign. We have seen several commitments of that type from both major parties during this election campaign. All this is par for the course.

More serious is that the election campaign has revealed that the real scandal in the NT – the diversion of general purpose (GST) monies from Aboriginal purposes to propping up the lifestyle of Darwin residents – is not only alive and well, but unchallenged by either major party. Whoever is elected this weekend will continue this deeply unethical practice. COMMENT by Rolf Gerritsen, Charles Darwin University. PHOTO: Prof Gerritsen. FULL STORY »

Spend big on a youth centre, says councillor

UPDATE Aug 21: Comprehensive comment below by Councillor Steve Brown.

 

A massive complex welcoming young people of all races, those on the edge of the law and those who are not, in the centre of the town, possibly the defunct Memo Club or on the still vacant Melanka site, is a proposal Councillor Steve Brown will be putting before the town council.

“We need to reduce the us and them thing,” he says.
The project would cost $30m to $40m and require funding from the Federal and NT Governments.

Image: Regional youth centres are common in Australia, such as the Coomera / Oxenford Youth Centre on the Gold Coast. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Alleged assaults at youth rehab facility: Barry Abbott pleads ‘not guilty’

For the first time this week some detail emerged about what allegedly happened at Ilpurla Outstation last year that led to Barry Abbott (pictured), former Senior Territorian of the Year, facing charges of aggravated assault and deprivation of liberty.

Mr Abbott and his four co-accused, all members of his family, pleaded not guilty to all charges in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court on Monday. Their hearing is set down for December but defence lawyer Russell Goldflam had asked for a hearing to deal with legal argument.

How could this happen without some factual context, Magistrate John Neill wanted to know. So the briefest outline of agreed facts was presented on Tuesday afternoon. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Missed the Henley battle of the big boats? Watch it here!

Henley on Thames, move over, you don’t need water to have a regatta!

Henley on Todd has been proving that since 1962 with an annual race of bottomless boats and rowers who are more fleet of foot than arm.

And to wrap it all up the big boats are launched for a spectacular sea battle in which locals – including captains of industry – come head to head to head as pirates and Vikings. And all that at least 1500 kms from a decent body of water. If you missed it watch it here!

Henley on Todd is run entirely on a volunteer basis by the three Rotary Clubs based in the Alice. The entire proceeds – well over a million dollars over the years – are allocated to local, national and international humanitarian projects. Images by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Buying our 500 year old giants some time

 

Local Landcarers vying for top honours

 

Many Landcare groups around Australia focus on tree planting but in Alice Springs the chief concern of this small band of volunteers is tree protecting, by controlling weeds and preventing wildfires. Leading their David versus Goliath efforts has won a nomination to the National Landcare Awards for Tim Collins, chair of Alice Springs Landcare. He is one of 88 finalists.

Alice Springs Landcare came together because they could see the local landscape changing ‘before our very eyes”, says Mr Collins. You drive or walk around town and “you see the gaps”, he says: where once there was a magnificent river red gum, now there’s a blackened stump or an old giant lying there, shattered on the ground. And few young trees are growing to take their place.

The problem can be sheeted home to lack of adequate fire management and the rise of buffel grass which fuels wildfires, says Mr Collins. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Alice Springs Landcare chair Tim Collins removing slashed Buffel Grass in the Todd River as part of Green Corps training in 2011. Unemployed youth were trained in the use of machinery to create firebreaks, and the protection of trees from inadvertent damage. Photo by Tanya Howard. FULL STORY »

Car fuel: nice work if you can get it

Further details are coming to light about the high cost of automotive fuel in Alice Springs although the industry is still refusing to answer questions.

The informant mentioned in our report posted last week bought diesel on August 3 for about $1.53 a litre from an Alice Springs wholesaler.
According to FUELtrac the Terminal Gate Price (TPG) on that day in Adelaide was an average (across all companies) of $1.34.

The TPG is usually for full tanker loads (of at least 35,000 litres) for product paid cash on delivery (COD).
Transport to Alice Springs is believed to be 7 to 9 cents a litre. Assuming it’s 8 cents, that gives the wholesaler a margin of 11 cents a litre – three cents more than the retailer is getting. That’s a mark-up of $3850 for the 35,000 litres, of course delivered in bulk.
The Alice Springs News Online has asked the wholesaler for a comment. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

  FULL STORY »

Criminal Lawyers oppose One Punch Homicide law

The One Punch Homicide law was proposed by the Country Liberals following community concern arising from the tragic and violent death of Sgt Brett Meredith in Katherine. However, the trial of Michael Martyn, the man who caused Sgt Meredith’s death, resulted in a conviction for manslaughter. As a result, Mr Martyn is now serving a lengthy prison sentence. If that case illustrates anything, it is that the current law works. If Mr Martyn had been sentenced under the law now proposed by the Country Liberals, he would have been convicted of a much less serious offence, and in all likelihood would have received a lesser sentence. See Letter to the Editor from Russell Goldflam, president of the Criminal Lawyers Association NT. FULL STORY »

From Papunya to Paris: the interest in Western Desert art just keeps going

Papunya Tula artists at the National Gallery of Victoria last year with curator Judith Ryan. From left, they are Bobby West Tjupurrula, Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa and Mike Tjakamarra. They are standing in front of a 1991 work by Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Wartunuma.

A major exhibition on the origins of Western Desert art is set to open at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris in October. Curated by Judith Ryan and Philipp Batty for the National Gallery of Victoria, Tjukurrtjanu opened in Melbourne last year, examining “a watershed moment in the history of art when a painting practice emerged at Papunya”. More than 160 of the first paintings produced there during 1971 and 1972 will be shown in Paris, together with almost 100 objects and photographs from the period.

The Paris exhibition is just one of the events occurring in the second half of this year that gives Papunya Tula Artists – the desert’s oldest painting company and still the benchmark of independence and achievement – reason to be optimistic. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Alice youngsters ponder becoming high fliers

If anyone in the audience had ambitions to become a corporate high flier they may well have changed their minds.

Bernard Salt, who addressed about 80 young people on the subject at St Philip’s College on Tuesday, sometimes gets up a 3am to write his column for the Australian newspaper, goes to work when his staff clocks on at 9am, puts in a 9 hour day and never parts from his iPhone, 24/7 and 365 days, in case a journalist wants to get a quote from him at 2am about the stock market heading north or south. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
PHOTO: Mr Salt speaking with Year 12 student, Rachel McCulloch. He was brought to Alice Springs by the Central Australian Education Foundation. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Sports tourism is money in the hand!

Sir,- Alice Springs has a wonderful sporting culture, excellent sports venues and great sporting organisations. Let’s bring all those elements together and create “Sports Tourism”.

We have everything we need in the town for a sports tourism venture, there are great organisers who run local sports clubs. If the visiting sports have a nice experience, then they will tell all their friends back home and word of mouth will start us back on the right track.
Councillor Eli Melky

0427 012 699

eli.melky@goldenhome.com.au FULL STORY »

Trucking … you gotta love it!

Amidst the crusty truckies at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame reunion in Alice Springs last week was one quite unlike the rest: she is a petite blonde driving the rig of the year, a 50 tonne Drake low loader pulled by a 550 horsepower Western Star – total value more than half a million dollars.
Perhaps the only hint there may be a woman driver behind the wheel is the prime mover’s colour: pink.
Julie Gavin transports earthmoving and mining equipment all around Australia.

Does she know what the future will hold for the industry she loves? “Good question. What’s next week’s lotto numbers, Erwin?” ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Adorned and adored

Though the veteran designers of the Alice Desert Festival’s Wearable Arts Awards have all but bowed out, the arts and the show live on. Certain names are now establishing themselves as ones to watch out for  – such as Simone Kilian and Tina Tilhard – while names associated with different roles – such as Jen Standish-White and Mary Menotti – have emerged to reveal unsuspected talent. Edginess, provocation and humour were not to the fore this year, but refined skills were – in design, execution and performance. Many models did much more than strut – some expressed moments of intense drama and emotion, others revelled in the sensual experience of the adorned body and pulsating music. WORDS by KIERAN FINNANE, PICTURES by ERWIN CHLANDA.

 

Photo: Deliberately Lit by Clare Whitcombe (designer and model), inspired by last year’s bushfires, winner of the Fantasia Award.

 

Video, in order: It’s in the Bag by Alex Stephens; Tealirious Sirena by Tina Tilhard, performed by Sally Balfour; The Upside Down Tree by Kate Yoffa; Aquila Marirosa by Mary Menotti and Henry Smith; Coffee Anyone? by Simone Kilian, performed by Hamish McGauchie; Hot Head by Philomena Hali, performed by Melissa Zahoruijko; Top End Coast Line by Carol Phayer, modelled by Jaimee Eaton; Beneath the Surface by Leonie Oakes, performed by Courtney Summers; Angled by Simone Kilian, performed by Jasmine Ahwah; Duprada Dance Company; final parade of award winners.

 

Click on FULL STORY for more pictures and video. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Truckies should get danger money

Sir,- I’m currently running THE TRUCKIES DANGER MONEY PETITON to have danger money incorporated in our award system as we have the highest rates of death for any occupation in Australia. My phone number is 0409619838 and my email address is steven_tonilea@yahoo.com.au
Steven Corcoran FULL STORY »

Home at last?

 

 

 

Two years after the debacle over the erection of a giant statue depicting explorer John McDouall Stuart, the Alice Springs Town Council and McDouall-Stuart Lodge no.219 announced this morning that they have agreed to locate the statue “which was gifted to Council by the Lodge” at the western end of Stuart Park on Stuart Terrace. Further, council has made an an application to the Heritage Committee for approval of the placement, required because Stuart Park is part of the town’s Heritage Precinct. That committee will next meet in October. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Tennant Creek radar shut-down puts lives at risk

Sir,- We, the  Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, have questioned the Federal Government over its decision to shut down the Bureau of Meteorology in Tennant Creek and along with it, the weather radar. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Change necessary to secure bright future for solar project in Alice

Sir,- A Charles Darwin University review into the Alice Solar City project has found that while the project has been highly successful, it must adapt if it is to continue and survive into the future. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Time for a third sealed national route

Sir,- The Outback Highway Development Council Inc (OHDC) in the last two months has updated the WA, Qld and the federal governments and the federal opposition about the Outback Way project, which returns $4.70 into the economy for every dollar spent.
The meetings have been advantageous, with welcome support  from all levels of government. However the appropriate funding avenue needs further work, by us, the states and the Commonwealth.
Patrick Hill

Chairman OHDC Inc. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Get value for money from the pollies

Sir,- Well how the tables have turned after the election. The Berrimah Line is still in place make no mistake it’s a numbers thing but the power is now on the other side because of the numbers .
This would have to be the best chance for the revitalisation of the NT since self government.
Peter Johns
Mackay QLD, formerly Alice Springs FULL STORY »