Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 7 »

April 7, 2013

Booze battle NGO: Talks about our role haven’t even started yet

Its role in mandatory rehabilitation of drunks is still “very early in the discussion” with the NT Government, according to acting CEO of the Central Australian Aboriginal Alcohol Programmes Unit (CAAAPU, pictured), Cameron McGill.

“To be up front about it, we haven’t even had those discussions as yet with the NT Government,” he said this morning. “We’re not even at that stage of consultation.”
The NT Government has announced it will not be building its own mandatory rehabilitation facilities, which was a key promise ahead of the elections on August last year, but will shift the task mostly to non-government organisations.

A media release put out this afternoon by Alcohol Rehabilitation Minister Robyn Lambley quotes CAAAPU chief executive, Philip Allnutt, as saying an initial 25 bed pilot program should be conducted “with comprehensive evaluation before expanding to further beds.” ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Bid to lighten load on local courts

 

 

 

A measure to lighten the load on the courts of summary jurisdiction will be proposed to the NT Cabinet by Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, John Elferink (pictured).

He says if the measure becomes law, in the event of a not guilty plea both parties will be obliged to have a pre-trial conference in a bid “to sort it out”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Man on arrest warrant 6 months outstanding commits crimes

A man with an arrest warrant outstanding for six months committed three aggravated assaults in the public places in the middle of Alice Springs, including the Araluen Park (pictured) where children play and locals picnic, seemingly making a mockery of our justice system. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

 

Please note: This story deals with issues reported in a post on April 8 which was withdrawn to allow further research. FULL STORY »

Eviction cruel or a necessity in a desperate housing market?

A family is facing eviction from the home it occupied since 1994 because the partner, father and grandfather, who has held the lease, has died. A cruel act – or a necessity in a desperate public housing market? And what lies behind the circumstances in which a battler family is finding itself? ERWIN CHLANDA spoke with Bronwyn Ferguson pictured (from left) with her daughter Tiarah Ferguson, son Dennis Novak and two-year-old granddaughter Naryiah. FULL STORY »

Million dollar dispute between native title holders

The Alice Springs native title body may seek the return of nearly $700,000 in cash, and of shares in the Yeperenye shopping centre worth $400,000 in annual interest, which were transferred to other entities apparently without proper agreement.
This is revealed in a document obtained by the Alice Springs News Online. It was prepared for a meeting between the native title body, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC), and what has become known as the “Enterprise Group” earlier this year, in particular some directors and the Public Officer of Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd (LAE).
A spokeswoman for the Enterprise Group, Sally McMartin, responding to our request for comment, says: “There appeared to be monies owing to LAAC – the LAE Directors were not however aware of the past arrangements nor for what purpose the monies were used nor any past arrangements around repayment.
“The LAE Board sought from LAAC some advice and documentation of the ‘Loans’ and the amounts of each loan because these numbers were also not firm.”

Part of the disputed amounts were used for the purchase of the three IGA supermarkets in Alice Springs while Darryl Pearce (at left) was a key figure in Lhere Artepe affairs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

From Little Pricks Big Pricks Grow exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been a hectic nine months since the inaugural LittlePricks exhibition – a change of government and some of the worst political infighting the Territory has ever seen. The CLP government is keen to move on and have us forget their antics.

But people won’t forget thanks to the keen, and perhaps cynical, eye caste over proceedings by Territory artists. While the pollies have been slugging it out our local artists have also let rip. DAVID HANCOCK reports. FULL STORY »

$60m church, town council deal may make Alice buzz

The town centre is turned into a place where locals mingle and visitors are welcomed. Concerts are held for 3000 people. Beautiful spaces take the place of ugly car parks. The Mall no longer turns into a sinister ghost town when the sun sets, and where tourists are warned not to go.

Anti-social behaviour no longer flourishes in this void.
The place is buzzing with people living right there, in 60 or 70 apartments in the heart of The Alice, marketed through pre-sales and built to order, from one to three bedrooms. Pie in the sky? It’s closer than you think. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Flynn Church during a night market and with “video architecture” projection during last year’s Alice Desert Festival. FULL STORY »

Riding the Tiger to a boisterous welcome in Alice

Pirates, buxom maidens and daunting Vikings gave passengers of a full Tiger Airways flight from Sydney a boisterous welcome to Alice Springs at 9.30am today.
A flight from Melbourne was next, also a few minutes early.
The new direct services are selling at just under $60 one way, and will provide an additional 2880 seats a week – a major shot in the arm for the local tourist industry.
Tourism NT chief Tony Mayell says the NT Government is providing no subsidy for the services, but is spending $30,000 on promotions this financial year.

 

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 »

Council wants more time to respond to water plan

Responding to a call from Councillor Steve Brown, the Town Council last night voted to write to the Minister for Land Resource Management and request an extension of time in order to respond to the draft Water Allocation Plan for the town. Deadline for comment is currently April 29. Cr Brown warned that the plan will have “an extremely limiting effect” on the town’s growth, contrary to the council’s strategic goals. He wanted council to call on the Minister to “set the plan aside”, but his colleagues preferred to come to their own conclusions, once having read the plan. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Alleged safe crackers got big haul from Transport Hall of Fame

 

 

 

Police have arrested a man interstate after safe crackers made off with “a large amount of cash” from the National Road Transport Hall of Fame. Several other suspects are still at large, police say. The manager of the hall, Liz Martin, says the offices had also been heavily vandalised and it had taken her and volunteers many days to clean up. FULL STORY »

Santos sponsorship, unpaid fines, survey consternation

Oil and gas company Santos will be spending money on sponsorship of sports in town, if their new drilling program meets with success, the Town Council heard last night. • Police did a blitz on enforcing public places by-laws in January, but what were the rangers been doing? And when will council see the revenue from all those fines? • Community survey offers confusing guidance on what council should be doing. KIERAN FINNANE reports in brief on Town Council news. FULL STORY »

Disclose reports on Agent Orange at Kilgariff, oil in Alice water

 

 

 

The Alice Springs News Online is supporting calls on Facebook for full disclosure of all NT Government reports dealing with the apparent use in the past, on the land where the Kilgariff suburb is now being built, of a chemical best known as Agent Orange, notorious as the defoliant widely used in the Vietnam war. It caused widespread birth defects.

And we requested two days ago, from the Department of Mines, and the Mines Minister Willem Westra van Holthe, all reports about oil spills into the Alice Springs water supply, mostly compiled during the Labor administrations between 2001 and 2012, which kept them under wraps. We’ve not yet heard back from either. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Picture of man with massive birth defects as displayed in the Ho Chi Minh City war museum. Alice Springs News Online photo. FULL STORY »

70% income management, tough with absconders: rehab ‘lite’

Mandatory confinement for alcohol rehabilitation will soon start for at least some problem drunks at the moment they are taken into protective custody for the third time in two months.
They will be under constant supervision while they are being assessed, and possibly spend three months locked up in a special facility.
If they abscond the police will be chasing them, and – a matter still under consideration – they may finish up in gaol.
Once they complete the rehab, 70% of their income from welfare payments is likely to be managed, for at least a year.
So much for the stick. On the carrot side, they will get after-care, helping them to find and adjust to work, and assistance to cope with temptations “outside” to get back on the booze.
It’s a ‘lite’ version of the touted programs that got the CLP into power in August last year, which promised expensive prison farms where people would spend a great deal more time than just three months.
Alice Springs News Online editor ERWIN CHLANDA spoke with Health Minister Robyn Lambley (pictured) who has carriage of mandatory alcohol rehabilitation. PHOTO at top: The grounds of the Central Australian Aboriginal Alcohol Programs Unit. FULL STORY »

Iconic Mack to be top attraction

 

 

Is there such a thing as a “pure” Mack? Yes. You’re looking at it. It’s a Mack Superliner Mark I, 1985 vintage. It will be the jewel in the crown of the Mack pavilion under construction at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs. It was driven to Alice Springs from Perth by Dave Matthews (at right in the photo) and his son, James. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Questions about Mereenie oil polluting Alice water still linger

Corroded well pipes in the Mereenie oil field leaked oil below ground into the Amadeus aquifer which provides the water for Alice Springs, so did a leaking pipeline, and highly saline water was kept in an unlined evaporation pond. These were issues raised by an NT Government water expert, John Childs, from about 2001 and still lack credible answers. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Google earth picture of the Mereenie oil field.
FULL STORY »

Liam Jurrah abandons bail application

 

 

 

Former AFL football star Liam Jurrah today abandoned his bail application and has been remanded in custody to appear in the Alice Springs Local Court, by video link, on May 29. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Palm Valley gas flowing, but less of it

 

Natural gas production will continue in the Palm Valley field 145 kilometres west of Alice Springs under an agreement between Magellan and Santos.

Magellan has a contract with Santos for the supply of 22 Bcf (billion cubic feet) over 15 years.
This follows a swap last year which saw Santos becoming sole owner of the Mereenie oil and gas field west of Palm Valley, and Magellan of the Palm Valley field. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The Palm Valley gas field. Hermannsburg is at top right of the picture, the Finke River at right and the Palm Valley at the bottom.
FULL STORY »

LETTER: The politics of caterpillars

 

 

 

Reader Andrea Hewett sent in this photo of hairy procession caterpillars. She says they remind her of our current political situation: They are going around in circles for hours, very slowly, no-one knows who the real leader is, and if you get too close to them they cause a major reaction. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Chief Minister summarises initiatives

Chief Minister Adam Giles writes about a string of initiatives by his government. FULL STORY »

LETTER: The unfinished business of the NBN

 

 

 

The Broadband for the Bush Alliance is calling for a greater focus on remote Australians – the very people who could benefit the most from digital communications and the NBN, overcoming distance and isolation, writes John Huigen (pictured), Chair of the alliance, and CEO of Desert Knowledge Australia, who facilitate the Alliance. FULL STORY »

LETTER: ‘Labor’s cruellest blow’ to regional uni students

The Labor Federal Government’s latest $2.3 billion cuts to tertiary education are both cruel and foolish, and will have a particularly harsh impact on regional students and universities, writes Senator Fiona Nash, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Education. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Coalition NBN sooner, cheaper

The Coalition will deliver NBN to the regions cheaper and residents and businesses in the Territory will be better off under the Coalition’s NBN policy.

Our plan will see real improvements in the broadband speeds of regional areas which have suffered under Labor’s neglect and we’ll do it in a way that’s more affordable for local families and businesses, writes Tina MacFarlane, Candidate for Lingiari. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Could a cultural centre ameliorate Alice’s problems?

Could this be an idea for Alice Springs? The Ngemba people of Brewarrina, known for their heritage listed fish traps in the Barwon River, endured a massacre at nearby Hospital Creek in 1887, but recent years have seen them “recovering their heritage and developing their cultural life [and] that led to the establishment of the Brewarrina Aboriginal Cultural Museum,” Russell Guy, of Alyuen, quoting a brochure for the museum.
FULL STORY »

LETTER: Alice nursing lecturer in top-10

 

Alice Springs nursing lecturer Robin Cross (pictured in a training laboratory at the Alice Springs CDU campus) has made the top 10 in a list of Australian university lecturers for the second year in a row.
Mrs Cross, who specialises in the online delivery of Bachelor of Nursing, came ninth among more than 4000 Australian lecturers, and was the top-ranked Charles Darwin University lecturer, writes Patrick Nelson, of CDU Public Relations. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Don’t frack up the great Central Australia!

Sir – Reading the Alice News every week, I am constantly disappointed in reading how the social fabric is far from improving.
Week after week, the main article is the good old alcohol abuse, followed by the known outcome of such abuse.

So, you have to ask yourself what next. Well, after reading the article by Bob Taylor dated March 21, I now Fracking know, writes Jim Cleary, from Colorado. FULL STORY »

Water – who is advising whom on what?

If the government limits Alice for a further five years to its present water consumption, will they be saying they’re acting in line with the town’s wishes? The task of the Water Advisory Committee includes giving advice on the Water Allocation Plan which, controversially, mandates a cap for Alice Springs of 10.7 gigalitres a year. But what advice, if any, was given? PHOTO: Community breakfast at which the controversial plan was made public. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Canberra should foot all of renal services bill

Warren Snowdon and the Gillard government should stop playing politics with Indigenous renal services. They should pick up the full cost now and not expect the NT taxpayer to bear the burden, writes Tina MacFarlane, CLP candidate for Lingiari. FULL STORY »

Water: ‘Alice staring stagnation in the face’

Alice Springs will be consigned to stagnation at its present size and scope of commercial activity if the town’s Water Allocation Plan is adopted in its current draft form.

That’s the view of Steve Brown, the Town Council appointed member of the local group advising the Minister.
That group wants to continue for another five years the strategy formulated in 2007 of making currently known reserves last for 400 years, and keeps in place a cap of 10.7 gigalitres (GL) a year, which has been almost reached now. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Steve (right) and Jim Brown. FULL STORY »