Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 39 »

October 4, 2012

Advancement in the bush: no more ‘one size fits all’, says Minister

Alison Anderson has proved her political clout in her electorate, increasing her vote despite her switch of party and the negative campaign against her. Now she is setting out to prove it as a Minister in two important portfolios – Indigenous Advancement and Regional Development. She has showed her style early, suggesting that Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin is in “La La Land” if she thinks she’s “closing the gap”, but what will be the substance? The long-awaited report by NT Coordinator-General of Remote Services, Olga Havnen, has finally been released. Ms Anderson is not committing her government to implementing its recommendations as formulated because, although it has attracted a lot of publicity, she says the report is “nothing new”. She is also not sure if she will maintain the position of Coordinator-General, which she created as Labor Minister, and her comments suggest she is moving away from the Working Future policy and its associated Growth Towns, again her creations while she was with the Labor Government. KIERAN FINNANE speaks with Ms Anderson in the wake of the Havnen Report.

 

Pictured: Ms Anderson with Judy Brumby (right) and Esmeralda, both from Areyonga, during her election campaign.

  FULL STORY »

Hardware giant Bunnings set to start construction of Alice store

Bunnings is currently finalising the building contract for its new warehouse in Alice Springs, according to the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Peter Davis.

He says the firm “is looking forward to commencing construction within the next two months”.

The store, on the North Stuart Highway, represents an investment of over $23 million, says Mr Davis, and will provide employment for more than 100 local residents.

It is expected to open in mid 2013. FULL STORY »

Aboriginal job training scheme in the bush: Governments, bureaucrats, contractors, public money – who gains what? A case study.

We are returning this story to the home page because we have received further government responses – as distinct from answers.

Leaving your home town to learn a trade is a tough call for anyone, even more so if you’re an Aborigine living in a tight-knit remote community: while the bright lights may be alluring, the temptation of booze too often has catastrophic consequences.

Now a Cairns, Darwin and Adelaide based company has developed what may well be the answer: Don’t take the people to the training, take the training to the people. By ERWIN CHLANDA. Photo: Construction industry trainees in the APY lands. FULL STORY »

Public, new investigators to target arsonists

 

 

 

A burnt match, a footprint, a tyre tread will be the kind of forensic items arson investigators will be looking for, says Dave Letheby District Fire Officer Southern Region. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

PHOTO at right: Hazard abatement burning shown to Alice Springs media this week. FULL STORY »

Dry spell breaks, but not a deluge

It ended the longest dry spell in Alice Springs but it was hardly a deluge: 3.2 millimeters of rain fell at the airport, beginning just before midnight. Now the trough causing it has passed, at 11am this morning, clouds are clearing and three fine days are forecast. According to the Met Bureau there is still rain falling up high, but it’s not  reaching the ground.

Photo: Droplets glistening on the leaves of a witchetty bush on a rural block near the airport as the sun broke through this morning. FULL STORY »

Is there a line between art and craft?

 ‘If you drop a stitch, or forget the code, it all unravels – and so does your mind’

 

Artist Nicky Schonkala has had a big month: she was responsible with Ralf Haertel for the much admired knit graffiti on the Alice Springs Courthouse; she collaborated with Dave Nixon on an exciting video work, Dimension Elevator Mk2, shown as part of the Watch This Space exhibition, Shift, and now Common Threads has opened, again at Watch This Space. It’s not quite a solo show as she has chosen to collaborate with artists working in other disciplines to extend its scope but it is her textile art that is very much centre stage, purposefully treading (or blurring) a line between art and craft, asking the question of herself and viewers, what is art and what is craft? Is there a difference and how do you decide? Fellow artist PIP McMANUS addressed these questions when she opened the show last night.

Pictured: Dancer/choreographer Miriam Nicholls responding to the work at the opening last night. Photo courtesy DAVE NIXON. FULL STORY »

The answers to our grog problem will be a home brew, says Lambley

The new government’s alcohol strategies will be a home-brewed solution, driven by locals and not by Darwin.

While Minister for Central Australia Robyn Lambley (pictured), after today’s first “stakeholders” meeting on the issues, was surprisingly flexible about most issues, she’s adamant that any solutions will come from locals. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gapview knocked back a second time on extended hours for Masters Games grog trade

Licensing Commission cites Briscoe Inquest findings on excessive alcohol consumption in Alice Springs

 

Gapview Hotel has been knocked back for a second time on a request to  vary its take-away trading hours during the Masters Games. The reasons for decision cite the Coroner’s findings in the Briscoe Inquest that “a long term solution to excessive alcohol consumption in Alice Springs requires greater cooperation amongst stakeholders (including outlets that sell alcohol)”.

In another recent decision the Commission dismissed the objection of a Department of Health officer to an application to vary the licence of the Wuduluk Progress Aboriginal Corporation to sell alcohol at the Beswick Community Store. This decision has relevance to the issues of take-away versus on-premise drinking and to the idea of ‘wet canteens’ on Aboriginal communities. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Alcohol meeting in chaos and under heavy guard

The new government’s grappling with alcohol problems is off to a chaotic start.
Deputy Chief Minister Robyn Lambley called a meeting of “stakeholders” – excluding the media and the public. But uninvited guests – family and friends of Kwementyaye Briscoe who died in the Alice Springs watchhouse in January – turned the gathering into noisy chaos, with his aunt, Patricia Morton Thomas (pictured), noisily demanding that police be charged.

 

FULL STORY »

Price matters

The People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC) presented this graph to today’s meeting about alcohol in Alice Springs. It shows that as the wholesale price of alcohol increased (the solid red line)between July 2000 and December 2010, the volume of alcohol consumed per capita by individuals in Central Australia over 15 years of age decreased (the dotted red line). The vertical black lines are the points in time when various alcohol initiatives were introduced.

 

Source: The graph is from a longitudinal study of the influences on alcohol by the National Drug Research Institute (Curtin University), June 2012. FULL STORY »

Public in the dark about significant facts in the grog debate

At tomorrow’s meeting of stakeholders about alcohol issues in Alice Springs, we can expect that all the facts will be on the table. But the public will be in the dark about at least one of them: the number of protective custodies this year compared to last. That will become public knowledge later this month, when the NT Police Annual Report is tabled, but until then NT Police are declining to release the figures. The Alice Springs News Online has asked for them following a reader’s post which suggested that they had halved this winter compared to last, evidence that the Banned Drinkers Register (rolled out from July last year and with 2491 people registered as at June 30, 2012) was taking effect. However, we have been fobbed off. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Why don’t we do political satire in Alice?

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first reaction to The Little Prick was: why don’t we do political satire in Alice Springs? It’s a show of mock-up magazine covers, created in reaction to “lifestyle magazines” – ResideNT and the like (apparently there have been a number). It’s funny and provocative, quite crass at times,  and what seems significant – in thinking about the difference between Darwin and Alice – is that it targets ‘big ticket items’. These include our political leaders. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.

 

At left: Chayni Henry takes on a Territory Labor sacred cow with INPEX: We will all benefit. (The exhibition went on show in Darwin in July, before the Territory election.) FULL STORY »

LETTER: Frontline care for kids being cut

Critical service delivery for frontline care and protection of Territory children is being cut by the CLP Government, says Kay Densley of the Community and Public Sector Union. FULL STORY »

Public housing rents in remote areas

 

 

A recent Australian Bureau of Statistics presentation to the Alice Springs Town Council recently showed that the median weekly rent in MacDonnell Shire is $25, and in Central Desert Shire, $20. The Alice Springs News Online asked Territory Housing to confirm this, and asked about the maximum and minimum rents for public housing in the shires. Andrew Kirkman, Executive Director for Remote Housing NT explains. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Live exports vital in more ways than one

Australia is best placed to provide massive emergency food aid should catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions occur in Indonesia. A flourishing food export industry from north Australia, such as the live cattle trade, should be considered as a key component for insuring the long term food security of Indonesia and our other northern neighbours, writes Alex Nelson. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Shire attacked over children’s service, responds

The delivery of the Early Childhood education program by the MacDonnell Shire in the Ikuntji / Haasts Bluff community is appalling, says a former employee, Susannah Taylor. The shire responds that it delivers Early Childhood Education programs in nine communities “and due to the success of our programs has recently been awarded a tenth community”. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Mills should chill on grog in bush communities

New Chief Minister Terry Mills should cease making comments about licensed social clubs in remote communities for the time being, writes Dr John Boffa of the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC). FULL STORY »

LETTER: Traditional owners step up

Newly elected NT MLA Bess Price’s call for Traditional Owners to step up to the negotiation table is sound. In my opinion, too much government grant money is dispersed by people who have little idea of the inner workings of Indigenous cultural obligation and much of it builds a consultancy empire interstate, writes Russell Guy. FULL STORY »

An open LETTER to young Paddy Gibson, Sydney academic and saviour of blackfellas.

Well once again you’ve sneaked into our country young Paddy to tell us all, black and white, what we should be doing about the most difficult and sensitive issues that we all face, writes Dave Price. FULL STORY »

LETTER: The book called Alice Springs ignores its most appealing features

The new book, entitled Alice Springs, does not include the very wonderful things that make Alice Springs so special, such as the stunning landscape, its multicultural population nor its many excellent amenities. The book focuses only on the situation of our Aboriginal people  without including anything about the people and the opportunities that are available, writes Janice Heaslip. FULL STORY »

LETTER: All the things we don’t do for tourism promotion

We should be selling experiences, not products, writes Trevor Shiell, and stop being outright mean to our visitors. FULL STORY »

LETTER: That great Larapinta Trail!

 

 

The 223km long Larapinta Trail was worth fighting for and the moment the week began we all knew we were on top of the world, writes Kim Burdett
, Student Experience Coordinator, Faculty of the Professions
, University of Adelaide. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Looking for an old mate

I’m writing from Durban South Africa. My name is Danny (Daniel) Blignaut.  I’m looking for an old friend whom I last saw late 1968/69 in Durban. FULL STORY »