Story Archive » Volume 21 » Issue 30 »

July 25, 2014

Adam Giles, not Aborigines, raised nuke dump near Alice



It was Chief Minister Adam Giles, not Aboriginal land holders, who raised the possibility of a nuclear dump near Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PICTURED (from left): Matthew Palmer, Benedict Stevens, Russell Bray and Lesley Tickner reveal details.

See update Wednesday 7:30am


When adults turn into kids who make the town famous


Once a year in Alice Springs, dozens of grown-ups turn into kids again and have a ball: they transform into Vikings, pirates, captains, commodores, midshipmen, petty officers, sailors and dozens of other fantastic characters. It’s the Henley on Todd, of course, one of those made-in-Alice events that have made the town famous the world over. ERWIN CHLANDA was there. For story, photos and video


Bess Price hits back on nuke dump

Bess Price 1


Bess Price (pictured) has rejected out of hand Labor suggestions that she may be involved in plans for a nuclear dump in her electorate of Stuart. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Bess Price must come clean on nuclear dump




Parks Minister and Member for Stuart, Bess Price, must come clean about her activities around the possible nomination of a nuclear waste dump site in her electorate of Stuart, writes Gerry McCarthy, Shadow Minister for Resources.


Desert Fest parade to climax in Anzac Oval




The parade which will start the Alice Desert Festival will finish up on Anzac Oval – contrary to earlier expectations. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Last year’s parade.


Melky accuses Brown of conflict of interest




Councillor Eli Melky (right) has accused Cr Steve Brown (left) of having had a conflict of interest at a recent Seniors Coordinating Committee meeting which he chaired. Cr Brown rejects the accusation as mere grandstanding. In other council news, an in-house tree farm for growing street trees is being considered, and councillors raised no objection to an application by the Alice Springs Cinema for a seven-day a week liquor licence. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

NT tour bus industry self-regulates on fatigue



The Territory and WA, unlike all other states, do not have fatigue management regulations for drivers of tour buses. But Wayne Thompson (pictured), who chairs the transport sector of the industry body Tourism Central Australia, says NT Work Safe requires operators to provide a safe work place for their staff. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Rock tour report stirs hornet’s nest


The magnificent West MacDonnells: Central Australia’s beauty spots, how do we get there and what should it cost?

We are right and our paying customer is wrong: is that, judging from the reaction to issues we raised last week relating to a tour company, the bizarre business model of our tourist industry? ERWIN CHLANDA follows up.


Thousands at Old Timers Fete




Thousands came to the Old Timers Fete today to yarn, watch, buy and eat as youngsters helped residents to celebrate their special day. ERWIN CHLANDA took his camera.


The only thing that was ‘way out’ was the price



What Alice Springs needs to resuscitate its tourism industry is people like Jeff Burden, an academic at an American university. He is a friend of local artist Rod Moss, has been repeatedly to The Centre and loves it. However, he says on a recent fourth visit he found a commercial camping tour was a fiasco. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

UPDATED to include a response from the tour company.


Another day for living



A smiling acquaintance passing in the street, mother of boy child, a presence in community meetings, occasionally on stage with others and her guitar – this was all I knew of Ruth Apelt until I made the connection one day between her and her partner, and the sad fact that he was dead, too young. Last month Apelt told something of his, her, their story in a moving one-woman show. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. FULL STORY »

Stuart is holding the wrong rifle





Just as you thought the row over the Stuart statue is all over, gun enthusiast Des Nelson has discovered the weapon the explorer is holding – the subject of so much criticism – is the wrong one.


NTG still looking to Cape York schools

p2131-Cape-York-frLETTER TO EDITOR


Minister for Education Peter Chandler will return to Cape York Peninsula to visit schools getting great results, joined by Minister for Community Services Bess Price and three Indigenous educators from Territory Schools. It is crucial that the views of these influential educators are canvassed while reforms for remote schools are being developed, writes MR CHANDLER. FULL STORY »

Winners announced at national Telstra art award



Queensland artist Tony Albert has been awarded the top prize at the 31st Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Straiit Islander Art Awards for his for his work We Can Be Heroes (detail left), which was inspired by events that took place in Sydney’s Kings Cross in April 2012 that involved a non-fatal police shooting of two Indigenous boys. Meanwhile a young Territory artist, Kieren Karritpul, from Daly River has taken out the inaugural Telstra youth award. FULL STORY »

The Telstra mobiles, web access mess (continued)


Information is seeping out on how Telstra can deliver to customers a fraction of what they are paying for, and get away with it: At the show, the Finke and other events, and for residents generally, mobile and internet services south of the range are grossly inferior because transmitters on the towers (yellow circle) are mostly pointing the wrong way. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Annual Collectors Fair

Depression glass, harps, Pat Elvin statuettes, Walkabout Magazines and old hand tools. These are some of the items on display at this year’s Collectors Fair at The Residency on Sunday, writes Tara Leckey, of Heritage Alice Springs Inc. FULL STORY »

Govt probe: Were they drinking seated or standing?




Booze kills one out of 10 people dying in the Northern Territory. Meanwhile the NT government’s body controlling the alcohol trade is conducting an enquiry into, in part, whether patrons at Monte’s were drinking sitting down or standing up. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Sad passing of former CLC Chairman


We pay tribute to the former Chairman of the Central Land Council Mr Bookie who passed away on his country this weekend. He was a proud Alywarra- Eastern Arrente man who worked hard to improve his people’s lives. He won respect through his knowledge of traditional law and culture, and fought to keep both alive. His leadership and strength will be sorely missed, write Chief Minister Adam Giles and Community Services Minister Bess Price. FULL STORY »

Stuart statue competes against a light pole



It’s up – but not quite. There’s still a bit of work to be done. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Alice Desert Festival: big league on the agenda


“I want to get the festival up to a national level where it is considered on par with the Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane festivals, not in terms of scale but of content and programming.” That is the mission, as she describes it, of Mary-Jane Reynolds, the manager of the Alice Desert Festival. For the moment, bigger funding and closer ties with Aboriginal artists are still works in progress. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Katlend Griffin and Robbie Hoad.


Fracking key to immense NT resource wealth: Santos


Fracking can play a critical role in making the Northern Territory one of the world’s largest natural gas exporters, unlocking an estimated 240 trillion cubic feet of gas, 10 times more than the Ichthys project and Mereenie combined. This much cleaner energy source would replace the need for 30 million tonnes of coal, says mining giant Santos. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Protest at last night’s council meeting.


Put town planning into the hands of the people




Public comment on the latest White Gums land development proposal close tomorrow. Similar projects have stalled, including Ron Sterry’s in Ragonesi Road (at left). Have we learned? FULL STORY »

Alice Plaza mural completed




The mural in the Alice Plaza shopping mall was completed today by artists including Lenie Namatjira and Peter Taylor (pictured).


Interim board for Desert Knowledge Australia?




The NT Government is in the process of appointing an interim board for the troubled Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA), according to a source asking not to be named. One member is said to be Ken Johnson (pictured).


Racial vilification law change: Council adopts policy




A stance on proposed changes to racial vilification laws, approving $25,000 for a master plan for public arts such as the Gathering Garden (pictured) and Cr Melky being coy about a motion of confidence in the Mayor – all in a night’s work for the town council. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Are there a better ways to spend $24m?




The construction of a $24m railway overpass 12 kilometres south of Alice Springs will start next month, replacing an existing level crossing with a new 40 metre bridge over the rail line. Is this money well spent, we are asking our readers. FULL STORY »

Enigmatic, present in the moment, with grunt on Thursday nights



It’s a Thursday evening and as Todd Mall prepares to close for trading, Anthony ‘Tilla” McIlwain and local musician Darcy “D-Day” Davis (at right), set up for a new venture, Thursday’s Late Night Shopping. RACHEL McFADDEN reports.


Territory growth – it is mostly the Top End’s Inpex




Today’s CommSec State of the States report showed worrying signs on the horizon for the Territory economy, writes Gerry McCarthy, Shadow Treasurer (pictured). FULL STORY »

Fracking company says it has deals with Central Land Council



The Norwegian oil company StatOil says agreements it has with the Central Land Council disprove claims by the Arid Lands Environment Centre that the firm has “no fracking social license in the NT”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: StatOil facility in North Africa.


For heaven’s sake, it’s Rock’n Roll





Your guess: He’s a man of the cloth. He writes Rock’n Roll. He’s a high energy live music performer. He has The Centre in his DNA. Who is he?
ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Go to FULL STORY and watch the video.


Gas is coming, for better or worse

Hal Duell Vision



Gas rules. Just look around the world. I suspect that our Governments have already been swayed. Alice’s future may well lie in gas mining. That this industry may use most of our water and contaminate what’s left – well, prove it, is what they’ll say.


How delicious is Spam?



A central metaphor for My Desert is Delicious, a performance in development by the Dusty Feet Dance Collective, is tinned Spam and tinned food more generally. It seemed to be a way of acknowledging that the perspectives being presented on this place – Alice Springs, the central desert – were imported. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. See also video at FULL STORY. FULL STORY »

Telstra service horrendous, says Alice farm area resident




Telstra’s service in the southern part of Alice Springs is clearly close to collapse as internet browsing, increasingly, is mostly slow or not available at all. PHOTO: Using Tourism NT’s free WiFi in Todd Mall as Telstra service in the farm areas is letting locals down. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Work starts on 250 affordable housing dwellings


A program is under way to create 250 “affordable housing” dwellings in Alice Springs, within about three years. Construction has started on the first project, 11 units in Gillen, obtained from a private developer. The first 50 are scheduled to come on stream next year. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Bring in open and fair planning appeal rights

Here is an outline of what we’re proposing to Planning Minister, Peter Chandler, in a bid to to have planning regulations changed in favour of open and fair planning appeal rights. He answered quickly and reassuringly that he was looking into the matter, write Diana Rickard and Greg Chapman.


Why do we not think BIG about tourism?

Steve Brown comment



I attended another token forum recently which had the publicised intention of gathering local ideas on future development, facilitating infrastructure for the Central Australian Region. I was once again disheartened not only by the tokenistic pretense at listening to local ideas, but most of all I was struck by the lack of imagination, adventure, forward thinking or just plain guts that was on display in that thinking. FULL STORY »

Central Land Council retreats deeper into its bunker


The Central Land Council (CLC) is dealing with the bitter conflict between chairman Maurie Japarta Ryan and director David Ross by retreating deeper into its bunker. According to a document (partly shown above) leaked to the Alice Springs News Online people making statements to media on the issues face expulsion. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 


Thunder in The Alice




Alice Springs was treated to a revhead’s dream this weekend at the Drag Strip where competitors of all ages battled it out in front of some very impressive crowds. CHRIS CORDERO reports. FULL STORY »

Canberra, Darwin – hand in hand getting it wrong



The railway overpass outside Alice Springs and the Arlparra (Utopia) police station (pictured) have three things in common: They are useless (given far more pressing needs), are paid for by Canberra yet are touted by the Giles spin doctors as something which the NT Government is doing for the local economy. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.


Mantle of mental health care withdrawn


p2129-Craig-San-Roquep2034SnowdonTWO LETTERS TO EDITOR

The Abbott Government has cut the funding for an essential mental health program that is delivered by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, writes WARREN SNOWDON, MHR for Lingiari. Responding to the news DR CRAIG SAN ROQUE, psychologist, says the move – dismantling a primary mental health care service that was working – is unforgivable, but that NT Medicare Local has also had a role to play. FULL STORY »

Government cuts to curtail family daycare



Families in Alice Springs could feel the impact of funding cuts to family day care, as the far-reaching consequences are realised around the country, writes Erica Johansson of Alice Springs Family Day Care.


Electricity prices coming down: Tollner





Territorians will pay less for their power with today’s axing of Labor’s Carbon Tax, writes Treasurer Dave Tollner (pictured).


A big trek for a big cause




As the world capital of swags Alice Springs is a fitting place for three people to embark on an epic journey – and so is their mode of transport. They are setting out to raise money for swags to be donated to homeless people around Australia, and they’re doing it in a camel wagon. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Artists bring landscape into Alice Plaza



A mural in the Namatjira tradition will soon grace a wall inside the Alice Plaza and is bound to become a drawcard for art lovers and tourists. Work began yesterday with Ngurratjuta Many Hands artists Peter Taylor and Mervyn Rubuntja outlining the scaled-up forms of a landscape painted by Taylor. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Global travellers meet at the crossroads of the world



Where does a man walking around the world meet another one doing the same thing on a bicycle? In Todd Mall, Alice Springs, of course. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PICTURED: Pushkar Shah (left) and Nicolas Queune in Todd Mall yesterday.


Necks tucked in on Racial Discrimination Act

p2128-Race-post-frThe culture divide on the Town Council was clear last night when the majority voted down Councillor Chansey Paech’s motion on the Federal Government’s mooted changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Culture, people appealed to event organiser

p2128 Vanessa Fleming-Baillie


The range of activities available and “the diversity of cultures and people” were what Vanessa Fleming-Baillie (pictured) found very appealing in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


30,000 Territorians not on the electoral roll


According to ABS estimated population figures there are about 30,000 Territorians who are not on the electoral roll, writes Iain Loganathan, NT Electoral Commissioner.


Medicare: We can’t spend money we don’t have

The letter from Dr Craig San Roque (18/7/2014) in relation to mental health services to the Western Desert requires a response. It is inaccurate in relation to circumstances and fact, writes Dr Andrew Bell, Chair, Northern Territory Medicare Local. FULL STORY »