Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 41 »

October 18, 20012

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 »

Friendliness of games big hit, volunteers excel, numbers down

Meeting new people and catching up with old friends was what the Masters Games were all about for the Whyalla Steelers. The proudest statistic for the 2012 “Friendly Games” is the 700 volunteers who made the event possible, but numbers of competitors were down a little and there’s competition from other games. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Pictured above: The Whyalla Steelers (from left) Steve Dunn, Darren Quinn, Michael Rees, Chris Hanarakis, Scott Leverington and Rob Muir. Below: Locals settling in for the closing ceremony last night.

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 »

Housing prices rollercoaster

Housing prices in The Alice, especially units, have fluctuated wildly recently. Click on FULL STORY below and leave your comment in the box. Data courtesy Alliance Darwin.

FULL STORY »

Namatjira descendants look to their future

 

Many Hands Art Centre going through a restructure after royalties cease

 

It was a gratifying moment: a Helpmann Award trophy, won by the production Namatjira which told the story of their illustrious ancestor, was put into the hands of Kevin Namatjira and family yesterday. Namatjira won the Best Regional Touring Production category, against competition from the likes of Bell Shakespeare. But there was something further on the artists’ minds yesterday: what will be the future of Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra, also known as the Many Hands Art Centre? KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Anderson says she is not in conflict with Chief Minister on bilingual schooling

Minister for Indigenous Advancement Alison Anderson says there is no conflict between her vision of schooling in the bush and the Chief Minister’s. In a long speech to parliament on Tuesday she said that teaching traditional culture and language “should not be done in schools”. This has been reported as in conflict with County Liberals policy, with Chief Minister Terry Mills stating yesterday that, while the objective is to teach English,  “you have to use the language that they bring into the school in those first two or three years”.

Ms Anderson told the Alice Springs News Online this morning that this of course is the “pragmatic” way to go: “You can’t start teaching bush children in a language they can’t understand. You use the traditional language to get to English, which is what schools do now. It’s called ‘scaffolding’.” KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Alison Anderson at Hermannsburg on polling day. Her own Indigenous language skills are legendary but she wants bush children to become fluent in English and this must be the primary focus in schools, she says. FULL STORY »

Do-it-yourself community development, ‘funded’ by faith

 

Last Saturday people of the Ba’hai faith were celebrating the birth of their prophet, known as the Bab (meaning ‘gate’). In Alice Springs local Ba’hai chose to share their holy day with children, any children. They set up at a neighbourhood park in Larapinta and offered a morning of activities and companionship.

KIERAN FINNANE went along.  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 »

‘Proof that the BDR did not work’ – Attorney-General releases protective custody stats

 

 

 

Four people on the BDR had 376 PCs between them 

 

Department of Justice figures released by NT Attorney-General John Elferink show that there was only a drop of 366 protective custodies (PCs) between 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, the period of roll-out for the Banned Drinker Register (BDR). Mr Elferink claims this is “further evidence that the previous Government’s approach to dealing with problem drinkers simply didn’t work”.

 

Source: NT Government media release.

 

 

UPDATE October 19, 2012, 10.40am: See FULL STORY. FULL STORY »

Interest costs a ‘dead weight’ on NT budget, says economist

UPDATED October 25, 2012, 11.55 am. See FULL STORY. 

 

Reducing debt means reducing the size of the public service 

 

Economist Rolf Gerritsen welcomes the Country Liberals Government’s “fiscal rectitude”: “Let us hope that [it] lasts longer than the Government’s first budget (which is as long as it lasted when the Martin Government was elected).” He describes the Government’s intentions to return the NT budget to surplus by the end of its first term and then to begin repaying debt as “laudable” as interest costs “are a dead weight on the budget”. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  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 »

Consumer watchdog warning to fuel price fixers

Fuel prices are not regulated by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), but it says if it had evidence of prices resulting from anti-competitive conduct in breach of the law, the watchdog may take offenders to court. 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 »

Tourism NT move to Alice ‘bound to be beneficial’ – industry lobby

 

 

The coming summer will be a busy time for tourism managers in Alice Springs, says Tourism Central Australia (TCA) chairman Jeff Huyben.

Visitor numbers – as usual at that time – will be small but the government’s Tourism NT (TNT), the statutory body promoting the industry with a budget of more than $40m, will be setting up its headquarters here, moving from Darwin, and Tony Mayell will take over from CEO John Fitzgerald (at left). ERWIN CHLANDA 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 »

Trying to get the numbers right: rents in remote areas

 

Do statistical averages give a fair picture of rents paid for housing in remote areas? Recently a presentation by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to the Alice Springs Town Council showed that the median weekly rent in MacDonnell and Central Desert Shires was $25 and $20. Territory Housing suggested that “the amounts quoted by ABS reflect an individual’s payment of rent under the “poll tax” method rather than a cumulative total of household rent received in line with the Remote Rent Framework”. KIERAN FINNANE seeks further information.

 

  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 »

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 »

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 »

Indecent assault on seven-year-old girl

Detectives from the Southern Investigations Unit are investigating the alleged indecent assault of a seven-year-old girl that occurred in Alice Springs yesterday (Sunday) morning. FULL STORY »

LETTER: 50+1 old scholars’ reunion – Port Pirie High School

A reunion is being organised for students who finished year 11 at Port Pirie High School about 50 years ago, writes Richard Smith at margrich@senet.com.au FULL STORY »

Caught on private security camera

 

Detectives are requesting public assistance to identify the person in the CCTV image at right.
The alleged offender entered a property in Gillen on the night of October 20 and stole items from a fridge at the rear of the dwelling.
A resident of the house disturbed the offender and he ran away.
And police have arrested a 14 year-old youth who they will allege is responsible for three separate unlawful entries in the town. People with information were asked to ring Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or police on 131 444. – Police media release. 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: 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 »