Story Archive » Volume 19 » Issue 8 »

February 23, 2012

Police seeking men after alleged indcent assault, invasion of dwelling

 

 

Alice Springs police are seeking a man after a woman was allegedly indecently assaulted on Undoolya Road. They say the 28 year-old was approached from behind while walking her bicycle up the stairs to her unit at about 4.30pm yesterday afternoon.

The offender (pictured in this police comfit) is described as being of Aboriginal appearance and about 15 to 18 years-old.

Police are also seeking information about a man who entered a unit in Holterman Court overnight.
Police say a resident woke to discover a male person in her unit at about 5am this morning. FULL STORY »

Democracy is complicated in the shires

 

The new rule prohibiting shire employees from standing for election to the shire council will have a big impact in MacDonnell Shire, with at least five of the 12 councillors opting to stay in their jobs and not run again in the March poll.

In the Rodinga Ward – covering the communities of Amoonguna, Santa Teresa, Titjikala and Finke – this is the case for all four councillors.

The rule seems like a ‘no brainer’ if you think about conflict of interest issues, but as ever, conditions in remote communities put a different slant on things.

Councillor Joe Rawson lives at Titjikala. He works as an essential services officer (ESO), and will not run again. The rule will “put a big hole in the Rodinga Ward”, he said. Does he think other candidates will come forward in the ward?

“It comes down to employment – 99% of employment comes through MacDonnell Shire. To try to get others to nominate who are not on the MacDonnell Shire payroll is very hard … if they don’t have motor vehicles, the shire won’t supply motor vehicles. You have to maintain your own vehicle to get to and from the meetings.

“We get an allowance – sitting fees, travel allowance every time we travel , but … if you do a diff, you might get $700 to come to a meeting but it’ll end up costing $1400 to fix the diff.” KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

 

Pictured, from top: Councillors Joe Rawson and Roxanne Kenny – he will not stand again but she will. FULL STORY »

After Darwin’s bombing, the Army made the desert bloom

Here’s another question to elevate the Can’t Do Brigade’s blood pressure: Why don’t we channel our unemployed into growing produce? The correct answer: “Ohhh, it’s going to take decades, mate.”

We did, you know, 70 years ago, when the Territory just about became self sufficient in locally grown produce.
The population was 100,000, which remained much the same until the late ’70s. True, we now have more than twice that population. Are we growing half the fruit ‘n veg we need? Nope.
Is that because governments now prefer handing out sit-down money to mobilizing human resources? The wartime farms grew water melons, lettuce, tomatoes: “They had a go at just about anything.”
By 1945 the annual production was 1.7 million kilograms a year, according to historian Peter Forrest, interviewed by the ABC on the anniversary of the bombing of Darwin. That’s 1700 tonnes.
“The army almost achieved its goal of making the Territory self sufficient in produce,” Mr Forrest recounts.
Cut to Central Australia of today. Almost all produce is imported from “down south”, and there are a string of failed ventures while a few enterprises show we could do much better, provided our present day army of unemployed could be recruited to work.

But while the dole is so easy to get, don’t hold your breath. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: This garden in 1944 was using water from the showers of the hospital. Alice Springs was self-sufficient in fruit ‘n veg. From the Joan Higgins Collection, courtesy Graham Ride. FULL STORY »

Hot toothpaste and moonlight dips

 

 

I don’t know about the rest of you but things like hot runny toothpaste squirting out, sizzling, characterized my week. Jumping on my bike only to bounce right back off of it – why didn’t I park in the shade? Sweat pimples – great! Stomach bloat from drinking way too much iced water. I should note here that I don’t have air con at home or at work. So after six consecutive days where the mercury boiled above 40 degrees (!) I thought I would do a little review on the town’s swimming venues and other tactical attempts to cool down.

I give my verdict on the best pool for a social swim and the best for an after-dark outing, and consider other favourite chilling spots – supermarkets (not!), the cinema, the library (my fave). FULL STORY »

LETTER: Attack on film crew – should we defer to criminals?

Sir,- In regard to the attack on the ABC film crew in the Todd River on February 8 there seem to be many in the community who are criticizing both the camera crew and the police.  These criticisms are unwarranted.

To begin with the film crew was not filming Aboriginal people, as some have suggested. They were filming Indian people as a part of a documentary.

However, had they been filming in the Todd River, it must be pointed out that the Todd River is one of the main tourist highlights of our town and it would be quite normal to take pictures of the Todd River, irrespective of whether there are people there or not, and irrespective of which race of people they might be. READ MORE AND FEEL WELCOME TO COMMENT. FULL STORY »

How the town has changed in my time

I’ve only been in Central Australia since 1990, came up from down south seeking adventure, like most people who come to the NT.

I didn’t realise that I would marry a local pastoralist and in doing so firmly entrench my future in this region.

This town was founded by business brought in from the pioneers of the countryside, the graziers who risked their life and their savings to venture forth into the unknown to start up a virtually unknown business in the middle of nowhere.

Nowadays the town seems to rely on mining, indigenous organisations and government staff and contracts to keep businesses afloat, with a bit of tourism thrown in for good measure.

Pastoralism seems to be forgotten at times, oh, except when the fires hit last year. LIZ BIRD, from Indiana Station, is pondering, from a little distance, the question of how The Alice has changed, in this week’s Food for Thought. FULL STORY »

Fuel rip-off: Town Council challenged to put their hands to the pump

The Town Council has been challenged to go into the fuel retail business, possibly as a joint venturer. Failing that they should form a collective bargaining group with other regional councils to negotiate a better deal on petrol prices for the community.

So urged Frank Zumbo, Associate Professor of Business Law at the University of New South Wales (pictured at left), for whom a fairer price at the pump around Australia, and especially in the regions, is an enduring research interest.

Invited to speak to council at their committee meeting last night, Prof Zumbo said motorists in Alice, as elsewhere in the regions, are getting “ripped off” by major oil company and retailer price gouging.

“When margins get close to 30 cents a litre at the retail end, you start to think there’s something wrong in the whole process.”

He based his estimation of the rip-off on a comparison of the average notional wholesale price of petrol around the country – 137.7 cents/litre – with the average retail prices in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs: these are 154.2, 146.1 and 165.5 respectively.

He surmised that the consistently lower price in Katherine is because the market has effective competition, while the consistently higher prices in Darwin and Alice are due to a lack of competition, with the major oil companies and retailers forming “a cozy club” with a “collective interest” in having their prices and profit margins as high as possible. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Eli Melky standing for mayor and councillor

 

Alderman Eli Melky has announced that he will be standing for mayor and councillor in the March 24 local government elections.

He is in his first term (having been elected in a by-election last March) and part of a minority faction – frequently voting with Aldermen Samih Habib Bitar and Murray Stewart – who are finding it difficult to get support for their motions.

Ald Melky has also had some memorable run-ins with Mayor Damien Ryan.

In his media release he paints a bleak picture of the state of Alice Springs, besieged by “out of control youth”, with businesses “closing at an alarming rate”.

He says a bedtime curfew for youth under 16 is needed now more than ever.

His other policies include council taking “a proactive approach to the Melanka site” and open slather on liquor trade. FULL STORY »

Graffiti by-law to stay

The graffiti removal by-law, requiring property-owners to remove graffiti or else face a possible fine, will stay. In a five to three show of hands at last Monday’s Town Council committee meeting his colleagues rejected Alderman Eli Melky’s motion to remove the by-law.

For his pains Ald Melky earned something of a dressing-down from CEO Rex Mooney, a rare intervention by the executive in aldermanic debate in my time of observing council meetings.

Mr Mooney objected strongly to Ald Melky’s challenge that the by-law offended against the Local Government Act. As the Solicitor-General of the Northern Territory had approved the by-laws, this could not possibly be so, said Mr Mooney and Ald Melky’s arguments were sending “the wrong message” to the community. KIERAN FINNANE reports. PHOTO: Graffiti aren’t new to town – this one was on a wall in the industrial area in 2009. FULL STORY »

Unseating an incumbent: not easy but not impossible

 

 

Mayor of Alice Springs Damien Ryan has only served one term and has time on his side for a return to office in the March elections. Only once in the 41 year history of the Alice Springs Town Council has an incumbent mayor been defeated. That was in 1992 when the former Assistant Commissioner of the NT Police Andy McNeill unseated Mayor Leslie Oldfield, who had campaigned on her impressive track record but offered no new policies. This unique event is analysed for the lessons it may have for the current mayoral contest by long-time observer of Alice Springs and NT politics, ALEX NELSON. FULL STORY »

Immerse yourself in this watery world

 

A darkened room behind a heavy black curtain in a gallery adds something of the anticipation  you feel at the cinema or in a theatre as the lights go down, heightening  the usual anticipation of an art show. And typically the artist working in this space strives for immersion – the viewer’s in the artist’s work. How apt this context for Suzi Lyon’s work, Looking for Turtles. And how refreshing, invigorating – like a plunge into a deep pool –  to experience work of this nature in Alice Springs where digital media and installation continue to be relatively rare.

You don’t need Lyon’s evocative artist’s statement (but do read it, at least afterwards) to understand, immediately, that this is a work about longing for transformative, transporting experience, to be taken out of the everyday.

All but one of her images – taken with a disposable camera – show the human figure or figures underwater, mostly not in conventional diving or swimming actions, but fully engaged nonetheless in moving through water. The freezing of this movement inscribes the images with a passionate expressiveness and intense physicality – arms and legs outstretched, hands and feet extended, backs arched, muscles clenched. You only normally see the human body as expressive as this in dance or sport or sex or dreams. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. FULL STORY »

Bottoms up: A sign of the times

For those who think they’ve seen all the absurdity of liquor restrictions, we bring you this sign. The photo is from former Alice identity Col Saunders. The Liquor Commission says the sign is apparently  near Daly River. There are no drinking paddocks in the southern half of the NT. FULL STORY »