Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 47 »

November 29, 2012

Income management: a lot of pain for little gain?

UPDATED November 30, 9.21am.

 

“There appears to be a large number of people subject to Compulsory Income Management who are unlikely to benefit from this measure, and for whom the restrictions of income management can create unnecessary frustrations and challenges.” So conclude the authors of an independent evaluation of the controversial measure in their first report. A second report, not due until 2014, will include an economic evaluation, answering the question of whether the measure delivers value for money compared to other interventions. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Income management ‘improvements’ announced

The Australian Government today announced improvements to the delivery of income management in the Northern Territory, in response to findings from an interim evaluation report. The interim report by the Australian National University, Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales found that among Indigenous people on income management in the Northern Territory, there was a statistically significant perception of an improvement in their ability to afford food.

 

 Source: Media release by Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin FULL STORY »

‘What do you want to do with your life?’

 

 

A course offered by Batchelor Institute uses iPads, mobile phones, the Internet and Facebook for learning. But these are the tools. The critical thing is connecting with students’ aspirations and lives that are often very challenging – like Lena Campbell’s. She lost her oldest son to gang violence. She’s making digital photo stories on the iPad with strong messages to young men to think about the choices they are making. And in the process she’s getting over her grieving. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

LETTER: Blow-in Enviro Nazis – hands off our water!

I was disgusted by a recent presentation to Council on the Water Smart Program. It is supposed to be a forerunner to the setting up of a group to draw up water rules for our community, whether we want those rules or not, writes Steve Brown. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Power, water hikes will drive up council rates

Alice Springs Town Council will be compelled to pass on the recently announced Power and Water Corporation price increases, writes Mayor Damien Ryan. FULL STORY »

New General Manager for Tourism Central Australia announced

Tourism Central Australia has appointed Jaclyn Thorne to the position of General Manager from January 14. FULL STORY »

COMMENT: The Treasurer’s too hard basket

Tomorrow the new government will release its mini budget. Will the statement by Treasurer Robyn Lambley include the answer to the big question: why does governing the Territory, per head of population, cost five and a half times as much as the national average, asks ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Brown’s “blow-in Enviro-Nazi” blast draws formal complaint

A formal complaint has been lodged with the Town Council about the conduct of Councillor Steve Brown. The complaint comes from Jimmy Cocking, coordinator of the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) and it’s about the letter to the editor in which Cr Brown accuses Alice Water Smart of having a “blow-in Enviro-Nazi mentality”. Mr Cocking (pictured above during a protest against the nuclear waste dump) says the letter breaches clause 5.4 of council’s Code of Conduct for Members which requires of them that they “treat members of the public fairly and equitably and with respect, courtesy, compassion and sensitivity”. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Tourism lobby has big wish list for new government

A return of public sector investment in tourism to at least 2008/09 levels, marketing better suited to new realities, more money for parks and roads, a resolute push for a second airline, coordination of special events, an industry task force to drive a “whole of government” approach to its issues and a minister “who can devote significant time and energy” to these tasks: It’s all on a wish list presented to the new government by Tourism Central Australia. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Pictured are chairman Jeff Huyben with board member and acting general manager Laurelle Halford. FULL STORY »

Govt “vandalising” our source of water, claims councillor

The recharge of the Mereenie bore field, from which Alice Springs is getting most of its water, is moving into sharp focus again as Alice Water Smart is looking for ideas about saving the precious fluid.
Councillor Steve Brown, who heads up the council’s environment committee, says the NT Government owned Power Water Corporation (PWC) is “vandalising” the bore field by sustained pumping of too much water.
He says there should be an independent study of how the resource is used, and he is certain that a significant recharge can taking place. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Image: NT Government.
FULL STORY »

More than 30 lose jobs as company closes its doors

Business sources say the local firm EXECTech which had more than 30 employees has closed its doors.

Its principal, Brendan Peterkin, did not respond to several requests for comment, but an employee told the News he’d received a phone call last week stating the firm had been put into liquidation and he was to return the company vehicle.

EXECTech described itself in recent advertising as “an established and successful commercial electrical services organisation”. Photo: The firm’s premises in Whittaker Street. FULL STORY »

Police not waiting to be called to enforce DV orders

 

 

Alice Springs police are not waiting to be called before acting on domestic violence, Detective Superintendent Brent Warren told the Alice Springs Town Council last night. He said domestic violence assaults make up “a huge component of our violent assaults work” and that detectives are working on “a more proactive approach in dealing with victims and offenders”: “We’re monitoring people who’ve got domestic violence orders, going out and doing checks without being called. We’re checking on a person: if they’re a high risk victim we’re making sure the offender is not around at the time or otherwise breaking the conditions of that order.” KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

 

Pictured: Police make an arrest in a town camp. Photo from our archive. FULL STORY »

Protecting unborn children from grog damage

There is only one cause of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and that is prenatal alcohol exposure, in other words a pregnant mother’s drinking. This can cause brain damage in the unborn child. A report released yesterday by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs looks at the “hidden harm” of FASD and sets out a national strategy to deal with it. Most of its recommendations concern the Commonwealth but two involve engaging with the states and territories. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: A diagram from the report shows how, when a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol is passed directly to the fetus through the placenta.

  FULL STORY »

Council takes step towards better management of the Todd and Charles Rivers

The Town Council has taken the first step towards getting stakeholders in the Todd and Charles Rivers around the table to consider the rivers’ management issues. It recently appeared reluctant to respond to a call by Arid Lands Environment Centre coordinator Jimmy Cocking to take “leadership” in the management of the rivers. CEO Rex Mooney and Mayor Damien Ryan have since revisited the minutes of the Environment Advisory Committee, where Mr Cocking put his motion, and it was clear that the committee wanted council to consider a meeting of stakeholders, says Mr Mooney. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: The normally dry bed of the Todd River cuts a green swathe through through the middle of Alice Springs, as seen clearly from the top the range at Heavitree Gap. FULL STORY »

Giant shed to enhance heritage-listed railway cottage?

There are two very different views of  a development proposal that will come before the Development Consent Authority on December 12. The applicant sees a “new, modern and fresh looking building within the CBD, adding to the sought after ‘vibrancy'”; a heritage conservationist sees “a HUGE industrial shed” degrading the heritage values of the listed Railway Terrace cottages. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Above: Architect’s drawing of the shed as seen from the Stuart Highway. The heritage-listed outdoor dunny will still peak  over the fence. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Water debate 21 years ago – similar in substance, but not in tone

There was a warning of impending water restrictions (never implemented) 21 years ago when the town was supplied by water from the Mereenie aquifer and the population was less than 10,000, writes Alex Nelson. While the substance of the ensuing debate was similar to today’s, the tone was vastly different.
FULL STORY »

Big beautiful monoculture

 

 

From a distance, it looks like a row of softdrink dispensing machines, but up close it is revealed in all its glory as a heavy-handed piece of signage. Taking its cue from the Big Banana and the like, it’s a row of Big Books, there to hit you over the head with the fact that this is a public library. KIERAN FINNANE comments. 

  FULL STORY »

LETTER: A town council media policy is wrong on every count

During my time as an alderman of the Alice Springs Town Council I fought the introduction of a media policy for years. It came before council twice. It was defeated twice.
The core reason was that elected members are not bureaucrats, not staff members. They do not represent the council but the ratepayers and the people of Alice Springs, writes Murray Stewart. FULL STORY »

Alice professor on Desert Knowledge CRC blacklist?

UPDATE Fri 1.30pm: Blackballed professor raises more issues: was student’s livelihood threatened by Desert Knowledge CRC? Still no comment from the CRC.

 

The proposed co-operation between the Desert Knowledge movement and Charles Darwin University (CDU) is off to a rocky start with the apparent boycott of Professor Rolf Gerritsen.

He is the university’s senior and most prominent member in Alice Springs, a frequent public commentator on a range of issues, as the Professorial Research Fellow in the region for the The Northern Institute. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Outlook for the Alice: a mixed bag

Visitors who have boned up on Central Australia are likely to be expecting workers with black faces at the airport. They did – but none of these four were indigenous: Taxi drivers Harpreet Singh (from India) and Bruce Mahiangu (Zimbabwe), and security guards Gladys (from South Sudan but now – when asked where she’s from – proudly saying “Australia”) and Sam (Liberia). The town’s cosmopolitan character has been enhanced by an injection of nearly 2,000 overseas migrants who had arrived in Australia during 2006 to 2011. They found The Alice to be a great place to find a job, a forum was told this week.

 

The population of Alice Springs, after a slow growth between 2001 and 2009, is now declining.

Old people are leaving. The proportion of working age people is on the way up.
There are gains in education. Many people from overseas are now working here.
Small bush towns seem doomed and the uncertain prognosis for our region is to have a non-indigenous population of just under 30,000 and an indigenous one of 20,000 by 2025. It’s a mixed bag, reports ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Mini Budget courtesy the Toe Cutter and others resurrected

In the NT Government’s mini-budget is a strong element of deja vu: Three of the panel of experts appointed by the Mills Government for the current exercise (paid for at great cost to long-suffering taxpayers) were also prominent at the time of the Expenditure Review Committee process of 1990/91 writes Alex Nelson, of Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Ngurratjuta artists are the new owners of the Desert Park gift shop

 

A shot in the arm for the watercolour movement … and chance for visitors to have contact with Aboriginal people

 

It’s an opportunity that will surely be the envy of many: the Ngurratjuta art centre has bought the gift shop at the Alice Springs Desert Park. It will be used to exhibit and promote the work of its artists, and provide an income to their enterprise from its trade in the full line of gifts and souvenirs. The Desert Park is also keen to have the artists painting on site and this looks set to happen from late March next year, as the cooler weather arrives. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Coordinator Iris Bendor installing the watercolour display at the Desert Park shop.

  FULL STORY »

Is the Town Council getting ready to relinquish its role as trustee of the Todd River?

 

 

There are signs of council wanting to relinquish its role as trustee of the Todd River. In the last meeting of the Environment Advisory Committee, council was asked to take “leadership in the management of the Todd River”. Jimmy Cocking, coordinator of the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) and a member of the advisory committee, says this wording is a “watered down” version of what he was seeking, which was that council take the lead in forming a working group of all relevant decision-makers with a view to better management of the river. However, when the issue was raised at the Town Council’s subsequent meeting, Councillor Steve Brown, who chairs the Environment Advisory Committee, said council does not want to take a lead role in forming such a body; the river as Crown land is NT Government-owned and this should be their role. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: The river lapping the Wills Terrace footbridge: at all times it’s a challenge to manage. Photo from our archive. FULL STORY »

Aboriginal peak organisations warn governments against allowing more grog on remote communities

The Great Alcohol Debate: bring back BDR or similar, they say 

 

Aboriginal peak organisations of the Northern Territory have called on governments to “base alcohol policy on evidence not politics” and to “bring back a system (such as the Banned Drinkers Register [BDR]) to restrict the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers without resorting to criminalisation”. They have pleaded with governments “to heed our warnings about the risks of allowing more alcohol to flow into remote communities”.

 

Source: APO communique. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Scales of justice tipped in favour of Native Title claimants

In a decision that turns the 16-year-old native title dispute resolution system on its head, landowners will soon be left high and dry – forced to fund their own representation in native title disputes, while claimants will continue to be funded by taxpayers, writes Warren Truss, of

The Nationals. FULL STORY »

“Shout it, Indigenous, Australian, dancing, creative!”

 

Centralian College rappers win top prize

 

It’s fun, moving, full of optimism and high energy: a video clip made by Year 11 Indigenous students at Centralian College has won a national competition, earning $15,000 for their school. As with all the high schools in the CREATivE CHANGE competition, they based their entry on the Warumpi Band’s Blackfella/Whitefella, developing an original rap and using Garage Band to create their own backing track. The lyrics are simple but meaningful: “We’re singing together / we’re making life better  … We are all one mob / we all need an education / we all need a job / across this great nation … ” KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Among the students involved in the clip are (from front) Ashley, Lavina, Lemona and Shania. FULL STORY »

Finke grid girls race towards record

 

 

 

 

 

Ex Alice Springs girl Puddy Gardner would like the opportunity to return to her roots and represent the race that means a lot to her: “Being an Alice girl at heart, it would be a great privilege to be able to represent my hometown and support all the participants – including my sister who races!”

 

The search for the 2013 Tatts Finke Desert Race Inland Electrical Grid Girls is only three weeks in and the record of applicants looks to be broken very soon.

 

They are the official ambassadors of the race which sees over 650 compete in an off road race on a motorcycle, quad bike, buggy or car from Alice Springs to Finke and back again over the Queen’s Birthday Weekend in June each year.
This year 59 beautiful applicants from across Australia applied in the three month search period. The 2013 search looks to smash this with already 55 girls applying in the first three weeks.

 

  FULL STORY »

LETTER: Huge power savings

Alice Springs residents who entered a challenge to save 10 to 20% on their household energy use in one year have saved over $3000 in the first six months of the competition, says Sam Latz, Alice Solar City General Manager. FULL STORY »