Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 9 »

May 1, 2013

Why don’t police come clean on drunks taken to hospital?

 

The slamming – his word – by Chief Minister Adam Giles of Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her “loosely veiled threat to cut funding to the Territory if the Government doesn’t reinstate the failed Banned Drinkers Register” would have a great deal more credibility if the NT police, for which he has responsibility, provided information that would make the BDR debate much better informed. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. PICTURED: The leaked document. It seems to show a 50%, not nearly a 100%, increase in hospital admissions. FULL STORY »

Magistrate fails Transport Hall of Fame: Liz Martin

The failure of a magistrate to order restitution following a burglary at the Road Transport Hall of Fame will spark a protest by her and supporters outside the Alice Springs courthouse, says the hall’s CEO, Liz Martin.

She is also a town councillor.

The heist netted three burglars more than $23,000 in cash. Of that $8500 was given to a man who later spent it on a car.
The man, Michael Foster, appeared before Magistrate David Bamber on April 15 charged with receiving the amount  and with several other offences. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Damage caused by the alleged burglars. FULL STORY »

No risk from uranium, thorium at mine near Alice: chairman

 

 

Radioactive uranium and thorium to be stored near the proposed Nolans Bore rare earth mine (pictured), 135 kms north of Alice Springs, will present no danger to the public, says Arafura Resources chairman, Ian Kowalick. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The site of the proposed mine. FULL STORY »

Opposite poles: candidates for Lingiari

While pollies across the nation mostly look, talk and walk like one another, the candidates for the two major parties in Lingiari couldn’t be more different. ERWIN CHLANDA spoke with the Country Liberals’ Tina MacFarlane at drinks and nibbles when she (at left in the photo) received encouragement from Nationals Leader Warren Truss (at the microphone). So synonymous is the sitting Member with the sprawling seat after 25 years in Canberra, that branch president Daniel Davis (next to Mr Truss) wound up the evening by saying: “I’d like to thank Warren Snowdon very much for being here tonight.” It brought the house down.

(Jenny Lillis is at the far right of the photo.) FULL STORY »

Budget: Public service to work harder, debt not for daily costs

The NT Budget next week won’t cut many more jobs from the public service, but public servants will need to work harder, running unfunded projects left behind by the Labor government, and bringing to reality new ones promised by the CLP.

Borrowed money isn’t a bad thing so long it’s not used for the day to day administration, but rather for assets cranking up employment and the economy.

Some of the flood of Canberra money will continue to be used to subsidise the ailing Power Water Corporation (PWC), but the corporation will be required to massively improve its efficiency. But we will continue to have some of the nation’s lowest electricity tariffs.

So says NT Treasurer Dave Tollner, partly in response to a comment published here on Monday. He spoke to Alice Springs News Online editor ERWIN CHLANDA. PHOTO: Mr Tollner talking to anti-uranium protesters during the Legislative Assembly sittings in Alice Springs in November, 2009. FULL STORY »

Tourism Central Australia gears up to tackle slump

DISPUTE OVER ROCK TOUR GUIDES MAY HARM INDUSTRY

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A dispute over tour guiding at Ayers Rock may develop into a brawl impacting on the tourism industry nation-wide.

Federal Parks Australia, which runs the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, requires tour guides to be accredited: they have to show a badge at the gate proving that they are.
Some international companies bring their own guides who have obtained accreditation – it only takes a two day course to get it.
However, this requirement of the parks service has put the spotlight on the fact that while the overseas guides may be complying with park regulations, they may be in breach of immigration requirements, because they may not have work visas for Australia. Jaclyn Thorne (pictured), General Manager of Tourism Central Australia (TCA), says the issues were raised at a meeting at Yulara this week. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Water find may aid rare earth processing north of Alice

 

 

Arafura Resources is looking at relocating more of its processing for the Nolans Bore Rare Earths Project close to the mine site (pictured) near Aileron, 135 km north of Alice Springs. (Photo courtesy Arafura Resources.) FULL STORY »

Builder Randal Carey willing to assist police

Randal Carey, the builder in the failed Frampton New Homes scheme, has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with further police investigation of another matter, Justice Jenny Blokland heard in the Supreme Court this morning. Crown Prosecutor Stephen Robson said Mr Carey is expected to enter a plea.  KIERAN FINNANE 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

The Territory Budget miracle: achieving so little with so much

JOHN ELFERINK: “How are we to deal with the $5.5 billion projected debt left to us by Labor?”

 

It’s time again for a treasurer to perform the Northern Territory’s annual miracle: achieving so little with so much.

Prepped by all the hand wringing about black holes, the public is fearing the worst. Savage Power Water Corporation (PWC) hikes have already given a taste of what may be ahead.
Yet the NT, with less than 1% of Australia’s population, gets 5.4% of the nation’s GST. More than half the NT Budget, $2.7b, is from the GST. The Feds are also kicking in $3.4 billion over 10 years through Stronger Futures.
Add to that the millions in Federal welfare payments, and massive funding to NGOs performing – some poorly – state and local government-like functions, and we have an administration awash in public money. ERWIN CHLANDA comments. “How are we to deal with the $5.5 billion projected debt left to us by Labor?” asks government frontbencher John Elferink in reply.

PHOTO: Part of the new Alice Springs power station at Brewer Estate – an expenditure of the “black hole” Power Water Corporation. FULL STORY »

Budget way Alice to Melbourne, on Tiger and treadly

UPDATE May 15, 10am: Tiger announced today that Alice Springs once again topped the airline’s voting poll and that both Alice Springs routes will go on sale this week from about midday today.

 

Tyranny of distance is a matter of pocket as well as mind: you feel helpless if your mum, or your kid at uni “down south” gets sick and it would cost you more than a thousand dollars to give them a hug. Or if your tourism business is running at half steam because people won’t pay through the nose to a carrier that has a monopoly. So when Tiger returned with four flights a week to and from Sydney and Melbourne, Alice became a better place, reports ERWIN CHLANDA. PHOTO at top: The Finke, the oldest river in the world. A majestic view on the flight to Melbourne. RIGHT: Mark Griffiths took his kids Jaidyn and Shanese to Melbourne “to pay our respects” at the Anzac parade and watch the Essendon game.

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 »

Town council to manage swimming pool

The Alice Springs Town Council will take over the management of the Alice Springs Aquatic and Leisure Centre as of July 1,  Mayor Damien Ryan announced today. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Zero confidence follows cattle trade suspension, Gillard told

In a meeting with the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) today, Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard received a frank and detailed brief on the state of the northern cattle industry, a stark picture of an industry fighting combined forces of record low prices and volume into the Indonesian market, record low prices on the domestic market and a high Australian dollar, writes Luke Bowen, Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Executive Director. FULL STORY »

2013 Bangtail Muster VIDEO: Are you in it?

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 »

Bush funding: what does the one hand know about the other?

The Remote Jobs and Communities Program was announced by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Julie Collins (pictured left) in Alice Springs. It makes no mention of the initiative by her Northern Territory counterpart, Alison Anderson (pictured right), aiming to subject regional development to “integration and coordination across business, industry, the community and all levels of government”. Both initiatives were announced yesterday and have roughly the same objectives in the same region and are trying to help the same people: But it appears that when it comes to spending public money, one hand, once again, cares little about what the other is doing. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Mandatory rehabilitation bill must be released for public consultation

The NT Government to release its mandatory rehabilitation legislation for public consultation prior to the next Parliamentary sittings in mid-May, writes Priscilla Collins, CEO of the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT. FULL STORY »

Debate is on again: A cable car, a restaurant for Mt Gillen?

 

A restaurant on top of Mount Gillen and a cable car to take people up there are being discussed informally, as part of a wish list, by members of the town council, the Alice Springs News Online has learned. The idea has been raised many times in the past 40 years. This time the suggestion has been made to have the starting point at the Desert Park, reliable sources are saying. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The visitors’ centre, with photoshopped gondola, at the Desert Park, suggested to be the lower terminal for the cable car.

UPDATE Monday, May 6, 2pm: Cr Geoffrey Booth says it was he who raised the idea and explains why. FULL STORY »

The long and the short of an accountable council

In a new move towards accountability, councillors at last night’s meeting were asked to provide a verbal report of their activities over the last month. This may be voluntary but it wasn’t a good look for Cr Geoff Booth, attending the meeting by phone, to have taken no notes of his activities and to make no report. Cr Chansey Paech also declined the opportunity. Cr Eli Melky provided a list as long as your arm … KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Pictured: Cr Booth could have said, as others did, that he attended the recent Waste Management Facility media event. There he is, second from the right. From left, Deputy Mayor Liz Martin, Mayor Damien Ryan, NT Minister Alison Anderson, MHR Warren Snowdon, Cr Brendan Heenan, and at far right, Cr Steve Brown.

  FULL STORY »

LETTER: Too much or not enough debt?

Are conservative politicians right when they blame economic woes on too much debt, asks Richard Bentley of Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Marching to the top of the hill and down again

 

 

 

 

Two news items today are reminiscent of two much earlier events, equally related to each other.

The first is that a new speed limit of 70 km/h will commence today (April 29, 2013) from the Tom Brown Roundabout south through Heavitree Gap to just beyond the turnoff to the Commonage Road on the south Stuart Highway. The second story concerns the NT Government’s protestations against the federal Labor government’s apparent threat to withdraw or hold up funding for the NT unless the Banned Drinkers’ Register is re-instated. COMMENT by ALEX NELSON. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Bid for Outback Highway money

The Outback Highway Development Council Inc. completed its $14.9m funding application for Round 4 Regional Development Australia – Regional Development Infrastructure Fund, to upgrade and seal priority sections of the Outback Way, 2800km between Laverton WA and Winton in Qld, linking Perth to Qld as a trans-national link, writes Patrick Hill, chairman, of the Outback Highway Development Council. FULL STORY »

Pedestrians ignore new $300,000 crossing at The Gap

The Federal Government has spent $300,000 on a bid to remove a fatal “black spot” on the Stuart Highway just south of the The Gap. Yet some nearby residents ignore the facility, and cross the highway just a stone’s throw to the south, where they have no protection. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Solar eclipse on Friday, March 10

 

 

 

Sir – Get set for a rare and amazing sky event next week for the Annular Eclipse of the sun on Friday morning, May 10.  A fiery solar ring will remain around the moon’s silhouette. Weather permitting, everyone in Australia, except for the western third of Western Australia, will be able to see a partial or full eclipse, writes Dave Reneke, of Astro Space News. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Development co-ordinator to include all players

 

 

The new Regional Development Framework will have an open and transparent link with a cross-agency senior officers group who will ensure that government policies are aligned, that resources are shared, and that regional perspectives are taken into account in government planning and decision making, writes Alison Anderson (pictured), Minister for Regional Development. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Free WiFi in Todd Mall

Visitors to the Todd Mall could now access a total of three hours free WiFi over a 24 hour period, with a maximum of 200MB download available from any Wi-Fi enabled web browsing device, writes Matt Conlan, Minister for Tourism. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Smoke free prisons move a step closer

The NT Government has taken the next step in the implementation of smoke free correctional institutions throughout the Territory, writes Phil Brown, of the Department of Correctional Services. FULL STORY »