Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 42 »

October 25, 2012

Council wants to save water but doesn’t like the word ‘rules’

 

If the Town Council is a barometer of public opinion, Alice Water Smart may have some trouble with getting the community to warm to “water rules”. Council has been asked to nominate a representative to the Citizens’ Advisory Panel on the development of the rules. As previously reported here, the rules are not intended to be compulsory, more a set of guidelines drawn up through a community consultation process. But words matter and Councillor Steve Brown led the debate with his objection to the use of the term “water rules”. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 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 »

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 »

Palm Valley gas royalties will resume

Royalties have temporarily stopped flowing to the NT Government and Arrernte traditional owners for gas from the Palm Valley fields west of Alice Springs, in the wake of reduced production. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 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 »

Was Framptons real estate agent David Forrest considering a career change?

 

 

A decision on costs yesterday – awarded to the plaintiff as expected – brought to a conclusion the defamation case Framptons’ principal David Forrest (pictured) brought against me related to an article I published in September 2010. But the story’s not over. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Contest on two wheels or two … eyes

Sarah Fitzgerald, 21, (left) from Mildura, Victoria, wants to win in next year’s Tatts Finke Desert Race, one way or another: She will apply to be a grid girl, and if that doesn’t work, she’ll straddle her new 125cc pit bike – her first – and give the boys a run for their money.

Another early hopeful to join the glamor girls, sponsored by Inland Electrical, is born and bred local, Jade Hatt, who says she can’t wait to apply when entries open on November 1, “continuing her journey of growing up with the race”.

“Our race is a national event open to anyone and everyone wishing to compete,” says race committee member, Claire Ryan. “The same applies with our volunteers and Grid Girls.” 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 »

The Great Alcohol Debate: Police protective custodies headed south over the last six years

 

 UPDATED: November 1, 2012, 12.28pm. See graph at FULL STORY.

 

Protective custody statistics shown in the Police Annual Report, tabled in the Legislative Assembly yesterday, show a considerable drop in police protective custodies over the last six years, with a big hike in the middle period followed by a big drop in 2010-11.  This puts a different complexion on the recent mileage made by NT Attorney-General John Elferink of the small drop in police PCs between 2010-11 and 2011-12. A small drop building on a big drop is a better look for where alcohol policy was heading than just a small drop on its own. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

  FULL STORY »

How ‘independent’ will the revamped EPA be?

 

Chief Minister Terry Mills (at left) will front media in Darwin this afternoon to talk about the new Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority Bill introduced into Parliament today. But will the media get any further than Independent MLA Gerry Woods did in Question Time yesterday, when he asked Mr Mills how the existing EPA is not already independent and what the cost would be of setting up a new EPA agency? He got no answer on cost. As for independence, Mr Mills’ reply suggests “very, very slow decision-making”  is his main concern, but Jimmy Cocking, coordinator of the Arid lands Environment Centre says  “speeding up decisions is not an improvement” unless all the information is there. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

 

 

  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 »

The NT’s violent southern half

‘Serious assault causing injury’ is the standout crime in the Police Southern Command, according to the picture painted by Police Annual Report for 2011-12, tabled in the NT parliament yesterday. Police stats show a 246.7% increase in that category, compared to 12.3% in the Darwin Metropolitan Command and 131.4% in the Northern Command. The raw numbers for the Southern Command are 137 in 2010-11 jumping to 475 in 2011-12. That puts Southern Command in 2011-12 way ahead of Darwin Metropolitan with 229 such offences, and Northern Command with 162. By KIERAN FINNANE. FULL STORY »

Guides clean up world record

 

The Alice Springs Girl Guides yesterday took part in a nation wide bid to break the Guinness Books of Records count of most cars washed washed in an eight-hour period. 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 »

The Great Alcohol Debate: Council rangers work ‘more difficult’ since scrapping of BDR, says Mayor

Town Council rangers have had a “more difficult workload” since the removal of the Banned Drinkers Register, according to Mayor Damien Ryan. He told his fellow councillors last night that he had conveyed this message to the stakeholders’ meeting on alcohol issues convened by Deputy Chief Minister Robyn Lambley on October 5. Meanwhile, his opposition to the NT Rock Bar’s application to extend its trading hours had evaporated as had Cr Eli Melky’s. Council had received an extension of time to comment on the application and last night voted to “not object”. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Food store licensing expanded

The whole of the Northern Territory is now defined as a food security area, except for the major centres that are specifically excluded. The effect of the change –  part of the Stronger Futures package – is that all stores that are an important source of food, drink or grocery items for an Aboriginal community, whether or not they are in or close to the community, will have to be licensed. 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 »

The Great Alcohol Debate: Some MLAs making the link between drinking and not having to work

 

 

Freedom of choice for Aborigines is dominating the parliamentary debate on alcohol but the link between excessive drinking and lack of employment is also receiving attention. Member for Barkly Gerry McCarthy (Labour) told parliament about the “great fun” he had at Aboriginal social clubs in Kalkaringi and Nguiu but stressed that “the employment programs are running at less than 30%” in those communities. Member for Braitling Adam Giles (Country Liberals) said “paying people to do nothing” remains “the No 1 issue”, something that Independent Member for Nelson Gerry Wood strongly agreed with. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Source: MLAs’ comments as reported in Daily Hansard.

  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 »

The Great Alcohol Debate: Aboriginal Peak Organisations say ‘politicians are right, our people must decide’

The Territory Government is determined to let Aboriginal people decide on whether they want grog or stronger grog in their communities. Minister for Indigenous Advancement Alison Anderson backs this while also expressing her confidence that 99.9% will say no to grog.  Now Aboriginal Peak   Organisations have announced a summit to get a “firm overview of Aboriginal views”.

“Our politicians are right—the ultimate decision over managing alcohol on our communities must lie with our people—all of us,” said  alliance spokesperson Priscilla Collins.

 

Source: Daily Hansard, media release, transcript. 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 »

Back to the drawing board on pedestrian crossings in Alice CBD

 

Council will not be proceeding with wombat crossings between the Post Office, Yeperenye and Coles – nor any new crossings at all – pending further consideration of past reports and a new traffic study in the CBD. The issue had been discussed at length by the previous council, with the wombat crossings finally agreed to. At last night’s meeting the Technical Services department was seeking council’s permission to proceed. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

 

Above: Probably the CBD’s busiest crossing, on Hartley Street in front of the Yeperenye shopping centre. 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 »

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: NBN Co confirms fixing mobile phone blackspots not on Labor’s radar

The Labor Government has no plan to improve mobile coverage in regional Australia, writes Luke Hartsuyker,

Shadow Minister for Regional Communications. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Should we dam the Todd?

 

 

Something has to be done about flood mitigation. Burying your head in the sand will not make it go away. We live in a climate of extremes and some of our older residents will remember the terrible Easter flood in 1988 with massive property damage, writes Ted Skahill, of Alice Springs. Pictured is Junction Waterhole, the site proposed for a dam. FULL STORY »