Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 43 »

November 1, 2012

Indigenous adults must ‘grow up’ so that Indigenous children can depend on them, says Alison Anderson

Minister for Indigenous Advancement Alison Anderson has challenged the “culture of entitlement and welfare dependency” in the Territory’s remote communities, calling on Indigenous adults to “grow up”, to become real adults “so that children, real children can depend on you”. She said she sometimes despairs at “the reluctance of some Indigenous people to take the jobs that are already there”, for instance in the “long-running mining boom”. Work is “not just about the money although the money is good”, it is “about status and respect, about responsibility and dignity”. The Minister was speaking in the NT Parliament on November 1, the last day of the first sittings since her party, the Country Liberals, came to power. Her unsparing analysis was made during a Ministerial Statement on “The Status of Aboriginal Communities in the Northern Territory”. KIERAN FINNANE reports. At left: Ms Anderson during her election campaign. FULL STORY »

Aircraft graveyard construction starts

Work has started on construction of the aircraft “boneyard” at the Alice Springs airport.

Earth moving machines are working south of the main runway.

It is understood the facility will be used to store aircraft from all over the world at the end of their working life.

Tom Vincent, managing director of Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage, would not give details about the work but said the firm will be “releasing and publishing photographs on our website in the coming weeks”. – Erwin Chlanda. FULL STORY »

Government will listen to communities’ wishes on schools, says Lambley

‘Particular social and cultural needs’ will be supported

 

How will the Country Liberal Government create change in the bush? After the unsparing picture painted by Minister for Indigenous Advancement Alison Anderson, Deputy Chief Minister Robyn Lambley got to her feet in the Legislative Assembly, focussing her remarks on her Education and Children’s Services portfolio. There is not much detail yet but she did indicate that there won’t be ‘a one size fits all’ approach. Government will listen, she said, an oft-repeated theme of the first sittings, before making this commitment: “If the community believes a unique and peculiar model of education needs to be established within their communities to meet their particular social and cultural needs, we will support that in any way we can. Of course, they will be required to go through a rigorous requirement regime. It is never easy to set up a school, but we will support and assist them to set up the types of school they think their children and their families need.” KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

  FULL STORY »

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 »

Iconic Aboriginal art for an iconic 21st Century object

In a first for Papunya Tula Artists, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, one of the company’s most famous living painters, has agreed to license some of his art to be used in a commercial product. Two of his existing paintings, Rain Making At Malparingya and Echidna Dreaming At Tjungaringya, have been adapted for use on iPhone covers by a Melbourne-based company called Cygnett. Others artists being used for the covers include the Tats Cru, “legends” in the New York City street art scene and Nathan Jurevicius, an Australian US-based graphic novelist, illustrator and now animator. So Tjampitjinpa is in very trendy company. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  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 »

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 »

Our children at the bottom of the barrel

 

 

 

UPDATED 8.10am November 7: The Minister comments

 

Some 200 Central Australian children bound up in the child welfare system are victims of policies that are arguably based on race politics and implemented often by inexperienced and overworked staff of the NT Department  of Children and Families (DFC), according to sources with long and intimate connections with the system. Robyn Lambley, the Minister for Families & Children Services of the new NT government, says: “Our aim is to identify and support kinship carers on communities to care for Aboriginal children rather than bringing kids into town and placing them routinely with non-Aboriginal families.” ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Leaders trade blows over Territory’s financial position

The Government claims the Renewal Management Board’s progress report released today paints a dire picture of massive debt, while the Opposition says Chief Minister Terry Mills “has put this document together as part of their plan to sack public servants and slash services to Territorians”. 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 »

Is Fred our most faithful visitor?

 

 

 

 

When it comes to repeat business, Viennese optometrist Alfred Pruckner must be a dream come true for the local tourist industry. Since 1995 he has toured Central Australia 16 times, every time staying for a few weeks, cruising around the bush in big hired 4WDs, taking in the well known attractions, and many not so well known. His experiences over nearly two decades make him more qualified than most to judge the region, from the standpoint of a paying tourist. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PICTURED: Alfred and his partner, Erika, at Chambers Pillar and this week. 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 »

Whatever happened to the Port Augusta model?

 

Whatever happened to the Port Augusta model? Since Councillor Steve Brown (at right) produced a report to council on what he has drawn from that southern city’s approach to “community harmony”, the public has heard not another peep. Back in May, when his and like-minded councillors were focussed on having a council body monitor the effective delivery of government services in Alice Springs, there was sense of urgency in the discussion. Now, says Cr Brown, council is waiting for the right moment to talk to the new  Territory Government about what is on its mind. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

 

Above: The Country Liberals’ major promise of their election campaign was $2.5m to upgrade the Alice Springs Youth Centre, a long way behind Cr Brown’s proposals for Alice’s Port Augusta-inspired responses to social problems, which include a new youth centre. Then prospective Chief Minister Terry Mills talks to the Youth Centre’s Marie Petery and June Noble. With them are Braitling MLA Adam Giles and Araluen MLA Robyn Lambley, now Minister for Central Australia. 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Taking poetry to the people


What happens when you set up in a popular cafe, with books of poetry scattered around and a little sign that says ‘Cafe Poet’?

Wonderful things. Like catching a man’s keen glance at the books as he passed with his wife. “Do you like poetry?” Sue Fielding asked. He soon let her know how much by reciting in Welsh many stanzas from the work of Dafydd ap Gwilym – “the Shakespeare of Wales”.

On another occasion residents of Flynn Lodge, an aged care home, had been for a walk in the cafe gardens with their carer. Sue asked if they’d like to hear a poem. “Yes, yes,” they said. She chose “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

  

Pictured: Benitta Robertson (left) shares a poem with Cafe Poet Sue Fielding at the Bean Tree cafe in the Olive Pink Botanic Garden. 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 »

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 »

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 »

LETTER: Removing sand from the Todd makes no sense as a flood mitigation measure

The removal of sand from the Todd as a flood mitigation measure is based on no scientific evidence whatsoever, and in fact is contrary to the best advice, writes Charlie Carter, of Alice Springs. 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: Live export is vital for cattle welfare in North Australia

Stopping live export will result in the biggest man-made animal welfare disaster in Australia’s history, writes research vet Gehan Jayawardhana, of Leanyer. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Great shot, Shane!

Sir – Not sure how common this is but I’ve attached an image I took at Uluru last weekend. We’re here for 3 months, love it in Alice!
Shane Ocean 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 »

LETTER: Online campaign against ‘nosey’ federal Attorney-General

Thousands of Australians are set to save Attorney-General Nicola Roxon’s parliamentary email address as ‘Nosey Nicola’, and cc her on the day-to-day emails they believe the government shouldn’t be monitoring and retaining, writes Generation Alpha spokesperson Ben Pennings. He underscored his appeal with a brief and humorous video. And the Minister replied with her own video.

 

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it’s missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe. This error may appear if the URL path to the embedded object is broken or you have connectivity issue to the embedded object. Powered BY XVE Various Embed.

 

 

The Minister replied:

 

 

 

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it’s missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe. This error may appear if the URL path to the embedded object is broken or you have connectivity issue to the embedded object. Powered BY XVE Various Embed. FULL STORY »