Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 40 »

October 11, 2012

Alice asked to adopt ‘community water rules’

 

 

“Community water rules” – does that sound like you’re going to be told you can only water the garden twice a week or only use a bucket to wash your car? Not in Alice, not yet anyway. Alice Water Smart, a $15m project funded by the Australian Government, wants the town to formulate its own rules for using water more efficiently. But this won’t force you to change your lifestyle and the rules will be voluntary, more a guide to maintain “what you’ve got” or get you “what you want to have”, says project officer Liz Locksley. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Long-time locals Murray and Barbara Neck reduced their water bill by 40% after putting their garden on drippers, installing a pool cover, repairing leaks and buying a water-efficient washing machine. Photo courtesy Alice Water Smart. FULL STORY »

NT needs someone to ‘call things honestly’ says Havnen …

 

 

… but she surely gets it wrong when she suggests that 60% of working age Aboriginal men in remote NT have no income

 

UPDATE, October 16, 3.30pm: Centrelink Outreach teams visit most “very remote communities” once a month and sometimes more to ensure that people know about their entitlements. Click on FULL STORY  for detail.   

 

 

Olga Havnen (pictured), whose position of Coordinator-General of Remote Services was terminated by Minister for Indigenous Advancement Alison Anderson last Monday, told an Alice Springs audience on Friday that she was not worried about losing her job. But she was “really worried” about the absence of an “ongoing arm’s length independent monitoring role”. Without scrutiny and someone out there to “call things honestly”, the big risk is getting to the end of the Stronger Futures decade and finding that not a whole lot has changed. “Guess who’s going to get the blame?” she asked.

Broadly, she may well have a point. However, in her presentation there was a glaring example of a mishandling of data. That was around the question of labour force participation, with her rolling into one those Aboriginal men not in the labour force (NILF) and those not having an income. This was more than a case of passing confusion as she returned to underline her point later in the session.

“In the NT the rates of NILF for Aboriginal men for the last 20 years have been in the order of 60%,” she said. ” So if you’ve got 60% of Aboriginal men of working age who have no income, think about it for one second, what impact do you reckon it has on a household or a family? And what connection do you think that might have to the level of violence or to crime?” KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Mall traders like the idea of an events coordinator

Having an events and promotions coordinator for the CBD is supported by 23 out 25 Todd Mall businesses surveyed by the Town Council. Fifteen of those businesses said they would sit on a reference group to provide input. Ten would be prepared to pay a levy to support the position, while another four said “maybe”. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: A humble food van attracting customers during a recent night markets in the mall. FULL STORY »

New chairman wants to regain credibility, respect for native title body

 

 

Lhere Artepe today announced the appointment of Michael Liddle Jnr (pictured) as chairman. He said the organisation will have to work hard to regain credibility and respect. 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 »

They’re getting hungry – or thirsty!

This is one of four dingoes Alan Stockwell saw at 7am today when he went for a walk in Kurrajong Drive, following, within 40 or 50 metres, a woman pushing a pram, with a dog on the leash. 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 »

Mood change in council on grog issues?

UPDATED, October 23, 2012, 6.00pm: see FULL STORY.

 

Is the mood changing within the Town Council on the issues of alcohol availability in Alice Springs? I’m not talking about radical change but in a show of hands last night only three councillors supported [ED – a recommendnation to not object to] an application  by The NT Rock Bar to extend its trading hours by one hour each night, to 2am. Those councillors were Chansey Paech, Brendan Heenan and Geoff Booth. Mayor Damien Ryan (at right)  said he simply did not see the need to extend the hours. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

  FULL STORY »

Centre on the outer in visitor trade with China, but commission head says Tourism NT ‘will make every effort’ to fix problem

UPDATE October 13:

“China will definitely be a key tourism destination for Australia and The Northern Territory for many years to come,” says Michael Bridge, named by Chief Minister Terry Mills as the chairman of the yet to be formed NT tourist commission. “Tourism NT will be ensuring that every effort is made to entice those tourists to the NT.”

 

Central Australia is on the outer in the quest for more tourists from China, according to Alice Springs businessman Steve Strike, who’s been running a promotional office in Guangzhou for nearly three years.

He says there is clearly a confidential agreement, which is reciprocal, between Australia and China to ensure visitors return and are not given asylum if applied for. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Mr Strike as the guest on a TV program about photography in Qinghai, North-Western China. Mr Strike was showing photographs of Central Australia. 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 »

More must be done to restrict the flow of alcohol to those who abuse it, says Chief Justice

The Supreme Court in Alice Springs sees a ‘seemingly never-ending stream of violence’

Chief Justice of the Northern Territory Trevor Riley (pictured) today added his voice to the recent calls for more to be done to “restrict the flow of alcohol to those who abuse it”. He made his comments when sentencing 41 year old Errol Nelson for a violent assault on his wife in March this year. The couple had been together for about a year, were living at Areyonga but had come in to Alice Springs. Both had been drinking. Ever harsher sentences would do nothing to stem the “seemingly never-ending stream of violence” coming before the Supreme Court in Alice Springs, said the Chief Justice – “other measures must be taken”. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

  FULL STORY »

Changes to how child protection will be run in NT

No frontline jobs will be lost and there will be no forced redundancies, says Minister

 

UPDATED October 11, 9.14pm

 

Children and Families Minister, Robyn Lambley is putting her stamp on the portfolio with changes announced today to how those responsibilities will sit within government.  The Department of Children and Families will integrate with the Department of Education and Department of Health.  The Office of Children and Families will be established within the newly named Department of Education and Children’s Services. However, Ms Lambley is ignoring expert advice with its announced changes, according to the NT Opposition.  Shadow Minister for Children and Families Natasha Fyles says a key recommendation of the Bath Inquiry’s 2010 Growing them strong, together report  was to establish a stand-alone agency, the Department of Children and Families, to oversee and implement the reforms.

 

Sources: NTG and Opposition media releases. 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 »

Unsuspected literacies in the bush

What happens if we stop looking at Indigenous literacy in terms of deficit – of what is not happening –  and instead look at what is happening? An educator with 20 years’ experience in Indigenous education and also a linguistic anthropologist, Inge Kral, has written a book that does just that, focussing on the Ngaanyatjarra community of Blackstone in Western Australia. It’s called Talk, Text and Technology and was launched this week at Red Kangaroo Books in Alice Springs. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured, from left: Maimie Butler, Inge Kral, Jennifer Green. 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 »

Chief Justice condemns ongoing revenge attacks at Yuendumu

 

 

Chief Justice Trevor Riley (at left) condemned the ongoing revenge attacks at Yuendumu as he sentenced yesterday a 25 year old man from the community for offences in July. He described the numerous incidents since 2010 as “tit for tat violence” without “any traditional aspect to it”.

The offender, Elton Granites, had expressed no remorse nor any intention to change his ways. He had pleaded guilty to causing damage to a motor vehicle using fire and going armed in public with an axe and a steel bar in such a manner as to cause fear to people. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Desert Mob sales down but still 10 days to go

The much talked about decline in the art market seems to be reflected in sales from Desert Mob, the flagship annual exhibition from Aboriginal art centres across the central deserts, presented by the Araluen Arts Centre and Desart. Opening weekend sales were down by more than $125,000 from last year – $206,435 compared with $332,175. However the gap has closed somewhat with sales continuing steadily. 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 »

Unknown photographer’s 1918 journey into the Centre unearthed

 

A photograph album close to 100 years old recording a journey from Oodnadatta into the mining country north-east of Alice has made its way into the hands of Alice Springs historian Dick Kimber.  The photographer thus far is not identified but Mr Kimber believes he may be related to one of the men featuring in the photos. He says they appear to be an official party of some sort, certainly with an interest in minerals, and the clothing suggests that it was winter-time. Hand-writing on the front of the album says the year was 1918. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: The caption identifies these men as Bromley, Williams and Stokes. Mr Kimber knows of no other photo of Stokes, a major prospector of the era. FULL STORY »

Feeding the fed with ‘rescued’ food

 

 

 

A new scheme to make good use of slightly blemished supermarket food usually dumped will benefit more than 200 employees of the Aboriginal Tangentyere Council but not – it seems – the unemployed or destitute in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PICTURED are Coles Alice Springs manager Sarah Vivian and deputy manager, Glenn Harvey, with the kind of food provided for the program. 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: CLP must listen to the vulnerable on alcohol

The CLP should listen to the experts and the vulnerable before making a decision on introducing alcohol into dry communities.  If children aren’t allowed to vote, how is that fair considering they are likely to be the ones most affected by this decision, writes Michael Gunner, Shadow Minister for Alcohol Policy.

  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: Central Australian group tops Indigenous Governance Awards

The NPY Women’s Council topped the Indigenous Incorporated category at the 2012 Indigenous Governance Awards for its strong leadership in promoting the health, safety and culture of women in the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara lands, writes Jenny Maklin MP, Minister for Indigenous Affairs. 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 »