Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 44 »

November 8, 2012

Cr Melky stands by price gouging comments, TCA lobby disagrees

 

 

 

 

Cr Eli Melky is standing by comments he made at Monday’s town council meeting about price gouging by the accommodation industry during the Masters Games, but Tourism Central Australia (TCA) says it is common practice to vary rates according to demand. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

 

Cr Melky as a competitor on the Masters Games website: See you in 2014? Maybe not. FULL STORY »

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 »

Price gouging could threaten future of Masters Games, says Cr Melky

Councillor Eli Melky has criticised the local commercial accommodation industry for raising its tariffs to double and triple the normal rates during the Masters Games. Speaking at last night’s council meeting, he said such a practice threatens the sustainability of the games. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 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 »

Country Liberals: Resolve takes the place of frustration

The Alice Springs contingent at the Country Liberals’ annual general meeting on the weekend.

 

The mood was celebratory, to put it mildly, at the annual meeting of the Country Liberals (most people still call them CLP): Lots of smiles. Lots of banter in the Convention Center’s foyer where the 100 or so delegates and members from all over the NT mingled between sessions.

You could see it was the party that had just captured the Treasury benches, spending around five thousand million dollars a year, after a decade in the wilderness. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 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 »

Some expert answers to questions by ‘the real people’

 

The most recent expert study on alcohol and the various attempts over the years to reduce its harms in Central Australia again claims – based on statistical information –  that per capita consumption and hence alcohol-related harms are on their way down. Interestingly, consumption in The Centre, widely thought to be the nation’s basket-case when it comes to grog, is actually lower now than Greater Darwin’s.  Some might think that is cause for a modest celebration. KIERAN FINNANE looks at how the report deals with typical objections to the data and at what it has found.

 

Pictured: Police tipping out grog being consumed in a public place. The report found that declaration of Alice as a Dry Town did not have any significant effect on reducing consumption of alcohol. Photo from our archive, taken in early 2008. FULL STORY »

Mataranka station woman to take on Warren Snowdon

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The Country Liberals have picked their candidate to take on Warren Snowdon in the huge Federal seat of Lingiari – all of the Territory except Darwin.
Tina McFarlane describes herself as having a rural background, a small business owner, running a property in Mataranka.
The unsuccessful candidate was Lawson Broad, raised in Santa Teresa and educated in St Philip’s College, now working for the Chief Minister. The party has a new president, Braedon Earley, from Darwin, raised at Roper River, a former hotel owner now working as a “consultant and adviser”.
Alice CL branch president Daniel Davis is one of the party’s two vice-presidents, with Ross Connolly from Darwin the other.
STORY and VIDEO by ERWIN CHLANDA: Lawson Broad; Ms McFarlane after the announcement and in an emotional encounter with fellow Tory politician Bess Price (Member for Stuart); Mr Lewis applauding Mr Abbott and the Federal Opposition Leader in full flight.

 

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 »

Mills says secret ballots may be the best way for bush communities to decide on alcohol

Chief Minister Terry Mills is in Alice Springs for the Country Liberal Party annual meeting. ERWIN CHLANDA asked him to comment on three issues.

KILGARIFF: Given that the suburb is being built on land that is owned by the public, is there a good case for blocks – at least some – to be sold for the cost of developing them, around $70,000, although residential real estate currently costs up to five times as much?

ALCOHOL IN REMOTE COMMUNITIES: As the weaker people in bush communities may come under pressure from the more powerful, should there be secret ballots to decide whether alcohol should be allowed?
There is confusion about MANDATORY ALCOHOL REHABILITATION: Is it a criminal or medical measure?

 

FULL STORY »

Enquiring eye and discerning hand

 

 

In her drawings showing at Araluen, Neridah Stockley allows her enquiring eye to alight on what is around her – in the studio, the shed, the kitchen –  and to lead the pencil in her discerning hand towards the essential line, form, pattern to be found there. The same approach is used in her landscape drawings and drypoints. Just how far does the mark-making have to go to get to its ‘destination’?  KIERAN FINNANE reviews and speaks to the artist. 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 »

Santa Teresa school principal dies in triple fatality car crash

 

Two school principals from  Indigenous Catholic Community Schools were killed in yesterday morning in a triple fatality on Tiger Brennan Drive in Darwin.
One was Greg Crowe, principal of the Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School in Santa Teresa in Central Australia.  He was aged 72.

The other was the principal of Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Primary School in Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island, aged 50.  She had been principal for nearly 23 years. He name was not released for cultural reason.
Bishop Eugene Hurley (pictured) said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident where the lives of three people were taken.  Two were principals who we knew and loved well and the third was a taxi driver whose family I don’t know.

“The community of Wurrumiyanga has lost a school principal and a leader in her own community.
“Santa Teresa has lost a principal and a much-loved member of the community. He has worked as principal for the past five years.”

– Media Release from the Catholic Education Office.

 

  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 »

The Great Alcohol Debate: Still waiting for the detail

Action on alcohol by the new Territory Government is still lacking detail, despite all the attention the issue got in the Legislative Assembly.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice John Elferink, making a Ministerial Statement on Alcohol and Crime on October 31, lauded former Chief Minister Marshall Perron’s  Living with Alcohol program:  “Risks were taken, innovation given a chance and home-made programs were promoted.” Not all of them flourished though because “clear analysis of the outcome allowed for a rigorous assessment and many programs were stopped on these criteria”. Reading Hansard you can’t see whether he blushed when he went on to criticise the former government for not taking “a leaf from this book”. KIERAN FINNANE comments. 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 »

The Great Alcohol Debate: Macklin’s minimum standards

Proposed minimum standards for Alcohol Management Plans in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities have been released for comment by Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin. Under Stronger Futures legislation Ms Macklin has the power to sign off on the plans, a power that will be relevant to any move to introduce alcohol or stronger strength alcohol on communities, as has been mooted by the new Territory Government. 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 »

A remote Australian century ‘at a glance’

 

With one photograph or more on almost every one of its 250 plus pages, At The Very Heart – 100 Years in Remote Australia is a book to dip into for the stories or themes that catch your eye. Mine searched for the Alice Springs context and delighted in this band of assertive children. They don’t seem to be very happy with the prospect of moving to St Philip’s boarding facility – “a bigger jail”!

The book celebrates the centenary of  Frontier Services, the organisation which grew out of John Flynn’s Australian Inland Mission. Organised around the broad themes of Flynn’s project and, in keeping with its focus on the photographic record, it offers ‘snapshots’ of information about that work rather than a narrative. Luckily the photographs are sufficiently rewarding, conveying a sense of the vastness of the country and its inherent challenges to which Flynn and all who worked in his spirit responded so well. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. 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 »

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 »

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 »

LETTER: Mandatory sentencing causes gross injustice

The Northern Territory Government’s proposal to radically expand mandatory sentencing is unfair, unprincipled, unworkable, unnecessary and unaffordable, writes Russell Goldflam, president of the Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Scrapping of educational facility

How can a government make a unilateral decision to scrap an educational facility which is in partnership with a world renowned scientific organisation asks Ian Jamieson, of Cairns, a former Territorian of thirty six years and educator. 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: Flying Cattle Class

In the early hours of Sunday morning 199 high quality heifers from Bunda Station in the NT took to the air in a 747, on route to a new life in Indonesia, writes Luke Bowen from the NT Cattlemen’s Association. 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: 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 »

COMMENT: Does Tourism Central Australia still have a pulse?

The local tourism industry is in a prolonged crisis but it has no voice. Two members of the Town Council are making damaging allegations of price gouging by hotels, threatening the future of the Masters Games, but Tourism Central Australia (TCA) is mum. No answer to our request for comment 24 hours ago. FULL STORY »