Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 35 »

September 6, 2012

Selling parks again on the agenda

 

UPDATE, September 16, 2012, 2.20pm: With next to no discussion of the parks issue taking place in the open session of council meetings, it is not surprising that confusion has arisen. The draft report referred to in this article, identifying certain park assets for possible disposal and others for possible improvement, was included in the September committee meeting business papers but actually dates from 2004 … Read more in FULL STORY.

 

An issue which has previously generated a lot of heated debate, is quietly making its way through council’s Technical Services committee system, with a number of parks in the municipality now identified for possible disposal.

In an initiative driven by Cr Geoff Booth, council has for its consideration a draft list identifying six parks for disposal plus a further four for partial disposal, with an estimated return of $1.65m to council coffers. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Local residents rally to save Finlayson Park in June, 2001. FULL STORY »

Palm Valley, Gosse Bluff to the rescue of our tourist industry?

 

ABOVE: 4WD tourists arrive at Palm Valley. RIGHT: Magnificent thick vegetation dominated by the unique Red Cabbage Palms.

 

With major changes in tourist promotion imminent under the new government, will places like Gosse Bluff and Palm Valley (above) finally get their place in the sun and become drivers of Alice Springs’ flagging tourism industry? ERWIN CHLANDA went for a trip into a paradise created millions of years ago. FULL STORY »

More events, more people = more business, safer streets

An on-going program of events – weekly or fortnightly – would attract more people into the CBD, supporting local business and creating a safer environment. The Town Council should be the instigator of such a program, employing a full-time events coordinator for the CBD, Councillor Eli Melky proposes. He won initial support for the move from his colleagues at last night’s meeting.  KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: A section of Parsons Street transformed by ‘video architecture’, as part of the Alice Desert Festival (see separate story this issue). The activities of an events coordinator could involve more than performance.

  FULL STORY »

Community work orders for council’s fine defaulters?

 

 

If people who breach certain public places by-laws don’t pay their fines, the Town Council should seek the imposition of community work orders. So says Councillor Geoff Booth who wants stiffer penalties to back up enforcement of the by-laws. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Councillor Geoff Booth at his swearing-in earlier this year.

  FULL STORY »

Centre pollies on the front bench

 

 

 

 

 

The Centre did well in the allocation of ministries in the new Mills government.
All except newcomer Bess Price, who has the huge Stuart electorate to look after, are on the front bench.
Deputy Chief Minister, Robyn Lambley (pictured with Mr Mills during electioneering in Alice Springs), is Treasurer and will also assume responsibility for Education, Families and Children, Corporate and Information Services and Central Australia. FULL STORY »

Young dancers make their mark

 

Instead of skating or biking dare-devils on the edge of the half-pipe, it’s a crowd of parents and friends. They’ve come down to the Alice Springs Skate Park to watch Sprung, a new youth dance group. As the sun goes down, there’s a familiar rattling sound. The first dancers emerge, shaking out a rhythm: the rattle is from the all but empty spraycans in their  hands. They brandish them almost like a weapon, they inscribe bold flourishes in the air. The image is clear: this is about making your mark, as is spelled out in the overall title for the piece, Graffiti. KIERAN FINNANE went to last Friday’s performance. Click on FULL STORY for video.
FULL STORY »

Cr Brown adapts Port Augusta solution to Alice Springs, calls for closer look at youth centre proposal

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

A councillor has described the new government’s plans of spending $2.5m on refurbishing the youth centre, announced in the dying days of the election campaign, as “another short term token gesture,” suggesting the project should be deferred pending a closer look.
Cr Steve Brown renewed his call to spend up to $40m for a new centre, possibly on the Memo Club or the Melanka sites, and featuring a string of facilities and services for young people and the general public.
In a discussion paper he will present at tonight’s town council meeting, he is also making a call for regular questioning by the town council of local departmental heads about the activities of their instrumentalities, such as it is carried out at Port Augusta. Cr Brown also wants, for young people who are neglected, homeless or in trouble with the law, a bush camp with cattle and horses, modeled on initiatives by long-time youth worker Graham Ross, possibly at the government owned Owen Springs reserve.
Photo: Mr Ross (left) and Cr Brown inspecting a possible site for a youth camp west of Alice Springs, five years ago. FULL STORY »

Festive on the outside, same old on the inside

Jurrah arraignment adjourned

 

What was expected to be an arraignment, at which the Supreme Court would hear Liam Jurrah enter a plea, ended up being an adjournment. The wigged barristers laughed at the media present from four outlets. But at least our false expectations had exposed us to the excellent street art (pictured) by Nicky Schonkala and Ralf Haertel, as part of the Alice Desert Festival.

The work, which required a cherry-picker to install,  has given the dour Alice Springs courthouse a transforming friendly face, but inside, its serious business goes on unchanged. In the Jurrah matter all that happened, however, was that his bail conditions were altered, allowing him to reside also at an address in South Australia, given that his employer, the Melbourne Football Club, will be going into recess. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Feeding the chooks: slim pickings from a rushed doorstop with Terry Mills, his slip of the tongue and who heads the new advisory body?

 

New Chief Minister Terry Mills spoke about big changes in the government’s tourism promotion arm and gave details of the legislative foundation for obligatory alcohol rehabilitation during a rushed doorstop news conference in Alice Springs this morning.

Photo: Mr Mills (right) at the Desert Mob exhibition with Desart CEO Philip Watkins this morning.

 

Updates: Why did someone from the Top End, not Central Australia, get the top tourism advisory position? And Terry’s slip of the tongue. FULL STORY »

Remote Oz: neglect is just the beginning

The camp at the Granites goldmine north-west of Alice Springs. Workers fly in and out from all over Australia. Photo courtesy Newmont Mines.

 

A recurring theme during the election campaign was the question, why bother voting? And from that quite frequently flows: Let’s break away. But how?

Answers to that seem to be taking shape in several quarters. Desert Knowledge chairman Fred Chaney suggested getting rid of the states and running the country from Canberra and through local governments on steroids.

And the election has suddenly shifted the political centre of gravity from Darwin’s northern suburbs to the bush, through candidates and even a new party.Now Bruce Walker (pictured), the director of remoteFOCUS, Desert Knowledge Australia in Alice Springs, has argued in a submission to the Senate enquiry into Fly-In, Fly-Out that there are broad issues in remote Australia that need to be fixed.

By ERWIN CHLANDA. Photo:
FULL STORY »

Chairman of new tourist commission on hunt for experts to fix industry

 

UPDATE on Saturday’s report: Interview with tourism supremo.

 

SATURDAY’S REPORT:

Both new tourism supremos announced so far by Minister Matt Conlan are Darwin-based although portions of Tourism NT, including new CEO Tony Mayell, will be moved to Alice Springs – where the organisation was located for many years.

Tourism Central Australia (TCA) chairman Jeff Huyben has not returned calls from the Alice Springs News Online but a local tourism figure, Deborah Rock, a former member of the TCA board and an unsuccessful Labor candidate in the August 25 NT elections, says it is still premature to criticise key people.
It will be interesting to see who else is appointed to the Tourism Commission to be set up, she says.
Mr Conlan yesterday nominated Michael Bridge (pictured) as its chairman. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
FULL STORY »

We need more than a new government

It’s about the size of Central Europe. Less than 48,000 people live there, half of them in the major centre. Six governments look after it. They do not usefully coordinate their services. Yet each year, measured per-capita, they spend an obscene fortune. They rule from capitals thousands of kilometers away. The two main racial groups are at loggerheads. More than a third of the people are on welfare. Public service is the biggest employer. Of the 1800-odd businesses, 79% are micro or small, and of these, 83% rely on government spending and a transient population. There is no coherent plan for that country’s future. What is its name? You guessed it – Central Australia.
But wait, there is hope and no better time than now to develop a vision for how this might be different.
Dr Bruce Walker (pictured) heads up Desert Knowledge Australia remoteFOCUS in Alice Springs which will release a major report on these issues next week. Here is a snapshot. PHOTO AT TOP: Aborigines were a key to the change of government. This is mobile polling station in the Karnte town camp in Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Black power: voices from the bush have made themselves heard

Ken Lechleitner on polling day, campaigning for Warren H. Williams (back to the camera) in Hermannsburg. 

The Darwin-focussed politics of successive Territory governments has finally got the challenge it deserved and it came from the black vote in the bush. Credit has to go to the Country Liberals’ significant work in communicating with bush electorates and fielding credible candidates with strong local roots – this transformation of the Country Liberals is one of the major changes wrought by Labor’s 11 years in power. But the performance of the First Nations Political Party, particularly in the electorate of Stuart, suggests a broader politicisation of Aboriginal people, no longer happy to have other voices speaking for them.

The challenge for the Country Liberals government will now be to respond to their new support base, honouring their campaign promises. The challenge for the First Nations Political Party is to remain active, develop its thinking beyond the broad brush, and identify future credible candidates. On polling day at Hermannsburg KIERAN FINNANE spoke to Ken Lechleitner about the party’s future. FULL STORY »

The way it’s always been and the ways of the future

The old men from Amata stole the show. It wasn’t just their charisma but their focus – the young people of their community –  and their enquiring and imaginative outlook. Frank Young, Hector Burton and Ray Ken spoke to their ideas and work at the Desert Mob symposium on Friday. Willy Kaika and Barney Wangin were present in the auditorium and the men were joined on stage by a collaborator, the much younger installation artist Jonathan Jones, a Wiradjuri man from NSW.

The men are still painting – all of them except Young have work in the Desert Mob exhibition – but they have also turned their attention to teaching their young men to make their traditional weapons, kulata (spears) and spear-throwers.  As they worked they saw “how strong and powerful” the weapons would look in their art work, said Young, director of Tjala Arts and chairman of the community, who translated for the other men. They began to imagine a room in a gallery “full of spears, thousands of spears”.

KIERAN FINNANE reports from Desert Mob, the symposium and the exhibition. 

 

Pictured, from left: Jonathan Jones, Ray Ken, Hector Burton and Frank Young. In the photograph behind them, Willy Kaika (left) with Burton. FULL STORY »

It pays to read the fine print: were First Nations fear-mongering?

“They will take your vote, and take away your freedom! Lock you up, and give your children away! Make you pay for living on your land! Make you pay rent forever! Kick you out of town after taking your money! Control your Governance and say they now what’s best for you!”

That was the fine print on the back of the First Nations Political Party how-to-vote cards, a lot more dramatic and threatening than the spoken statements of Ken Lechleitner, co-founder of the party with Maurie Ryan, whom we have quoted in recent articles.

The Alice Springs News Online asked Mr Lechleitner if these messages to voters could be substantiated. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Ken Lechleitner, left, at the August 7 meet-the-candidates forum in Alice Springs. First Nations candidate Edan Baxter has the microphone. He has since resigned from the party. FULL STORY »

Murdoch’s Centralian Advocate probes Alice Springs News Online – and engages in selective quoting

UPDATE Fri Aug 31, 2pm: The Centralian Advocate today has printed only part of the story – a clear attempt to make me and this publication look bad.
Citing public interest as its motive, the Murdoch paper invited me to respond to questions and to comment. I did – but the Advocate left out the most salient detail. My statement to reporter Brooks was: “I have no debts other than to Forrest …”
Just in case she didn’t get it: I don’t owe a cent to anyone except David Forrest. – ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The Murdoch-owned Centralian Advocate is making enquiries about the Alice Springs News Online and its editor, Erwin Chlanda. FULL STORY »

A canvas of stone and concrete

The stone walls and simple geometry of the Old Stuart Town Gaol last night became the canvas for a different kind of street art, known as “video architecture”. Aptly named, it doesn’t just look for a flat surface to mark or adorn, but actually responds to the form of the building, inviting you, creator or viewer, to re-imagine it.

 

Words by KIERAN FINNANE, pictures by ERWIN CHLANDA.

  FULL STORY »

Street names story turns to saga

The wish of Lhere Artepe Enterprises (LAE) to honour traditional owners by naming streets after them in the Mt Johns subdivision has back-fired, or at least stalled. The commercial arm of the native title holders body, LAE, proposed the names “Werlatye” and “Irrampenye” for two new streets, which the Alice Springs Town Council, after some resistance, approved. Since publicity on the matter, council has received a number of phone calls, suggesting that the names are “offensive” to traditional owners, says CEO Rex Mooney. Council has now written to the Territory’s Place Names Committee, pointing to the concerns.

Meanwhile, in other council news, Mr Mooney and Mayor Damien Ryan have attended the AGM of the Outback Highway Development Committee, held this week in Boulia, Queensland. Council will be lobbying for a finacial commitment to the project when it meets with the new Country Liberals government . KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

APY lands get income management

The Australian Government will introduce income management in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the Top End of South Australia to help families ensure their welfare payments are spent in the best interests of children, according to a media release from Jenny Macklin, Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

A similar system operates in the Northern Territory under the Federal Intervention.
“Income management ensures that money is available for life essentials, and provides a tool to stabilise people’s circumstances and ease immediate financial stress,” says the release.
“Consultations in May this year with APY Lands communities clearly showed strong support for income management on the Lands.”

Picture: Minister Macklin in Alice Springs in 2008. FULL STORY »

Mind shifting

The Teenager and the Shark, installation by Drew Moynihan, partial view. In the background, a partial view of Kelly-Lee Hickey’s Detritus Theory. Photo by Leonardo Ortega.

 

Two ways of drawing you in, as if from different worlds: with one you can imagine yourself on a windswept shore, seeking protection within the flimsy shelter you find there; with the other, there’s the seduction of the curtained space you are invited to enter. Once inside, both engage you by the moving image. In one, it is you, the viewer, who moves as you take in the unfolding story, frame by frame. In the other, you remain still while video image and sound sweep you away.

Art is always experiential but very often viewers do not give themselves over to it. At Watch This Space in an exhibition called Shift two works excitingly create their own commanding space in which to be received. No question of a glance and moving on – come inside! KIERAN FINNANE reviews. 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 »

Asserting themselves through music

 

 

 

 

“Yuendumu has seen its troubles / We don’t need no more fighting / how about we, Warlpiri, start uniting?”

Three young hip-hop artists from Yuendumu went to the heart of the matter when they took to the stage on Saturday, as part of the line-up at The Hub, the “heart” of the Alice Desert Festival’s program.

The music was mostly of a different flavour but the Desert Divas, who followed Red Sand in the program, were equally proud and hopeful: “We know where we come from / we know where we stand … we’re making our future / creating a change” went the lyrics of their group song. – KIERAN FINNANE

 

Pictured: Tyrone “T-bone” Spencer, from Yuendumu. 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 »

Bleak tunnel vision in new book on Alice Springs

 

 

 

UPDATED, 4 November, 2012, 3.37pm: RUSSELL GOLDFLAM offers a different assessment of the book. see FULL STORY.

 

With her book Alice Springs, author Eleanor Hogan sets out to write an account that moves beyond “the polarities of political debate and media perceptions of Alice Springs”. This is stated at page 38, when I was already beginning to have my doubts. At the end of reading the further 261 pages, in a handsomely produced small format hardcover, these are confirmed. She has focused almost entirely on one pole, the bleak one, of a town all but overwhelmed by Aboriginal tragedy and dysfunction, and deeply divided along race lines. Tell me if I’m wrong, but that is the dominant media perception of Alice Springs, and for all her efforts, Hogan has just added to it, in spades. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.

 

At left: The book cover – Alice Springs? No, it’s Roma Gorge in the West MacDonnells (photo by Ryan Tews.) FULL STORY »

LETTER: 150 Indigenous students in Batchelor Institute Central Australian graduation

More than 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from some 50 communities in all states and territories were honoured with awards at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education graduation ceremony held at the Desert Peoples Centre last Thursday.
It was another milestone for the institute in its continuous commitment and development of adult learning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Pictured from left are Fiona Kitson, Coordinator Yvette Holt, Director of Batchelor Institute Adrian Mitchell and Paul Haines. 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: Charles Darwin University climbs to middle range

Charles Darwin University has markedly improved its standing in the Good Universities Guide, an annual rating system that compares Australia’s universities.
For the first time, CDU has gained three stars in the key categories of teaching quality and graduate satisfaction. This positions CDU in the middle of Australia’s 39 universities; an impressive achievement for the country’s youngest university, writes Martin Carroll (pictured), Academic Associate Professor and CDU Pro Vice-Chancellor. FULL STORY »