Story Archive » Volume 21 » Issue 7 »

February 14, 2014

Neglect of Alice to be on Country Liberals’ agenda?

When the Central Council of the Territory’s ruling party meets in Alice Springs tomorrow and Sunday it can expect an ear bashing for its politicians’ neglect of the town, while they are hyperventilating over Darwin’s new draft master plan signaling the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: While Alice Springs languishes, Darwin is setting itself up to become “the jewel at the top of Australia’s crown,” as Chief Minister Adam Giles puts it. Model of potential redevelopment of Frances Bay and its relationship to the Darwin City Centre. FULL STORY »

Cover-up: Australia’s or Pilger’s?

UPDATED February 12, 6.55pm. See postscript in FULL STORY. 

Tomorrow is a day of remembering. It is the anniversary date of the apology by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to the Stolen Generations. Marking the occasion in Alice Springs is another screening of Pilger’s Utopia. The organisers no doubt believe that Pilger’s film is a model document of remembering, but brief examination of a section of the film specifically about remembering history shows just how misleading his approach to this important process can be, writes KIERAN FINNANE. Pictured: Aboriginal prisoners on Rottnest Island in 1893 (crop).

  FULL STORY »

Council: Town plan, youth buckpassing, statue, waffling

 

 

It came as a surprise to the town council that the government has started work on a new town plan. A swing (pictured) for disabled children will be installed in a park, the Freemasons are mum on the John McDouall Stuart statue but it will be installed anyway, and Cr Kudrenko fired a broadside at last night’s meeting at the government over passing the buck on youth services. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Offices? Court house? Either way no say for public.

UPDATE Wednesday 2:10 pm by ERWIN CHLANDA

Attorney General John Elferink says 14 Parsons Street would be a suitable location for new Supreme Court rooms and he has discussed the possibility with Michael Sitzler, of Sitzler Brothers, who owns the building. However, Mr Elferink says he had made it clear that the firm would need to seek any deal through the normal tender process, “like anyone else”.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Is there going to be an office building or a courthouse in 14 Parsons Street? Same thing, so far as the NT planning legislation is concerned. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Pressure building on the grease trap issue

… but solution may be in sight

Council has come under new pressure over the grease trap issue with the Alice Plaza and it seems that there may be some progress. CEO Rex Mooney told councillors last night that Minister for Central Australia Matt Conlan raised the matter with Mayor Damien Ryan at the NRL match last Saturday. In consequence Mayor Ryan had requested that councillors be given a briefing. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

  FULL STORY »

Stuart statue: should council give it back?

UPDATED February 12, 9.45am

 

It’s a gift that has come to haunt them and at least the executive seem to have had enough:  last night it recommended to town councillors that they give the John McDouall Stuart statue back to the Freemasons. KIERAN FINNANE reports on the latest in the four year long saga. Pictured: The statue being lowered into place for its temporary unveiling in 2010.

  FULL STORY »

Big private projects, new town plan for Alice – Giles

Work has started on a new town plan for Alice Springs and there are several “substantial” private projects in the pipeline which he is looking forward to usher through the administrative process, says Chief Minister Adam Giles. He would not give details nor an estimate of their total value but added: “I look forward to be able to jointly announce with [Tourism Minister] Matt Conlan the redevelopment of the Melanka site in the near future.” He remains adamant that crime in Alice is down, and calls for a 130 km/h speed limit south of the border. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Mr Giles at a media conference this morning. FULL STORY »

Council applying a gag or streamlining?

New meeting procedure to avoid what is deemed unnecessary discussion had Councillor Eli Melky losing his cool at last night’s committee meetings. The procedure looks neutral enough but Cr Melky, whose comments are quite often verbose and pedantic, obviously feels targeted by it. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Alice Supreme Court matters up by 40% in 2013/14

 

 

Crime in Alice decreasing? Not at the serious end of the spectrum it would seem. Chief Justice Trevor Riley said today that criminal lodgements (formal accusations) in the Alice Springs registry of the Supreme Court are expected to be up by 40% in 2013/2014 compared to the previous reporting year. FULL STORY »

Most violent year in the NT’s history

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Yesterday’s crime statistics prove what Territorians already know – violent crime is on the rise in the Territory. 2013 was the highest year in crime against the person in the history of the Territory, writes Michael Gunner, Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Minister for Justice (pictured). FULL STORY »

Indigenous education review: no more ‘biliteracy’; boarding for secondary students

 

The draft review of Indigenous education in the Territory by consultant Bruce Wilson, released today, does not support “continued efforts to use biliteracy approaches”, and says secondary education for bush students should be delivered in the Territory’s major towns with appropriate residential support.

Pictured: Clontarf graduation barbecue in Alice Springs last year. The review recommends expanding the program and introducing one for girls.
FULL STORY »

Let’s say sorry to Mark Egan

 

It is possible to feel a bit of sympathy for Mark Egan. He was asked to create a statue of John McDouall Stuart for the Freemasons, who in turn gifted his work to the Alice Springs Town Council. Then Mark became involved in a tawdry political affair. FULL STORY »

More police work, not offending, drives up crime rates

 

 

A bit of a hoo-hah this week over a so called blow out in law and order issues needs to be seen for what it is, a hypocritical bleat from the Opposition. It should be too embarrassed to comment, given that during their last term they presided over a devastating blow-out in law and order break-down. FULL STORY »

A drunk costs the Territory 4.5 times the national average

Drunks costs the NT $642 million a year, or $4000 per person and four and a half times the national average. And wine growers in many regions are still paid pathetically low grape prices, and struggling corporate wineries keep posting ‘catastrophic’ earnings downgrades. ALCOHOL WATCH # 10 by Russell Guy. PHOTO: A graffiti with the Ku Klux Klan acronym at a drinking camp in Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

New northern Todd Mall: it’s just not working

 

The Alice Plaza (pictured) is struggling for customers and tenants. It’s just not working: That pretty well sums up the views of traders in the northern Todd Mall following its refurbishment at the cost of $5m provided by the NT Government. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Will bureaucracy kill community parades?

 

Massive costs for traffic control during parades organised by community clubs, and the refusal by both the Town Council and the government to provide substantial relief, were key issues at a small meeting of service club members today. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Councillors to have greater role in town planning

The town council has formed a committee that will deal with planning issues before submissions are made to the Development Consent Authority (DCA). FULL STORY »

Festival broadens ambitions of Alice Cinema

There wasn’t  great deal of money for the Alice Springs Cinema in the Sydney Travelling Film Festival, but a fortune in good experiences, says owner Paul Darvodelsky. Through hosting the festival the cinema has become much more widely known to have a fare beyond “crashes and explosions” – and he’s determined to build on that new reputation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: A debrief in the Mall after one of the films.

  FULL STORY »

Alice grog source for huge region

 

Alice Springs will continue as the alcohol supply centre for an enormous region, assisted by the Coober Pedy ID requirements and to a smaller extent by the Tennant Creek Licensees Accord. ALCOHOL WATCH # 11 by Russell Guy. PHOTO: Confiscated grog, some decanted into soft drink bottles.
FULL STORY »

Family home an asset while half the NT’s land is not?

A debate is raging over whether your family home should be regarded as an asset when the state decides if you get the pension or not. Writing in the Australian Financial Review, union boss Paul Howes (pictured) claimed this week it is no longer feasible or fair to ask taxpayers to pay pensions while the value of the recipient’s home is not taken into account. At the same time, the possession of more than half a million square kilometres is not taken into account in the allocation of welfare payments to thousands of people in Central Australia. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Guess who’s making things moving on Closing the Gap?

 

 

Immediately upon being elected Leader of the then Opposition, the underestimation of Tony Abbott began. He was dismissed as an unelectable Mad Monk, a misogynist and, in all likelihood, a closet racist. Have look at his record now.

  FULL STORY »

Minister has no plans for replacing youth service

 

 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

The lack of plans by NT Children and Families Minister John Elferink following the decision to defund the YSOS is a major concern for all people living in Alice Springs, writes Donna Ah Chee, CEO, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (pictured).

  FULL STORY »

Cruising The Alice like the Queen

 

 

 

Single Female Bike Rider 7. Slow fun

. On a bike one experiences the world very differently from in a car, especially in Larapinta Drive. FULL STORY »

Disconnecting Alice

When people say there was no consultation on the revitalisation of the mall, when they miss the point of the Rainwater Reflection Pan (describing it as a “puddle”), there used to be a website where they could better inform themselves. I tried to log on recently, only to be told: “This website is offline indefinitely”. It was called www.connectingalice.com.au and I try to find out why it was pulled, writes KIERAN FINNANE. FULL STORY »

Alice Springs airport expands solar power station

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

The Alice airport is rolling out the second stage of its solar power station. Construction on the new 325kw photovoltaic system commenced this month, writes Katie Cooper, Airport General Manager.

  FULL STORY »

Opening for more private electricity suppliers

 

 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR. UPDATED Friday February 14:

Today’s reform of the Territory electricity market is based on two key pillars, including making it more attractive for the private sector to enter the market and provide competitive electricity services to Territorians, writes Dave Tollner (pictured), NT Treasurer.

  FULL STORY »

Centre operators win gold tourism awards

 

 

Alice Springs tourism operator Laurelle Halford (pictured) has taken out a Gold Award at the prestigious Qantas Australian Tourism Awards for her innovative audio guides. FULL STORY »

Elkedra jackaroo: blackfella, whitefella business

 

DES NELSON OAM arrived on Elkedra Station, some 500 kms north-east of Alice Springs, as an 18 year old in 1953. He continues his series of recollections, starting with a droving trip in the autumn of 1954, and detailing his many interesting and at times hilarious experiences with the local Alyawarra stockmen. FULL STORY »

Noted film maker owed money by Mbantua Festival

 

 

Noted film maker Rachel Perkins (pictured) says she is not a director nor office holder of the company that ran the Mbantua Festival last year which still has substantial debts to artists and suppliers including her.

See also UPDATE 1:40pm Feb 6 & 7:30am Feb 7.
FULL STORY »

Pilger review: Greens strike back

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

In “Pilger’s polemic fails Australia and Aborigines” Kieran Finnane enters into a polemic herself to discredit Pilger, but what exactly is it about Utopia that the writer disputes? The facts?  Is she saying it is all too complex and nuanced for anyone to understand or analyse, let alone criticise, writes Sarah Thorne, of the Alice Springs Greens Working Group. FULL STORY »

Study of development needs to report by November

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

The Northern Territory Government has this week awarded a $1.19 million contract to GHD Pty Ltd to undertake a regional infrastructure study supporting economic development across regional and remote parts of the Northern Territory over the next 30 years, writes Peter Styles, Minister for Infrastructure (pictured). FULL STORY »

60 Alice NGOs invited to meet with government

About 60 non-government organisations (NGOs) in Alice Springs have been invited to a meeting on February 25 with the Department of the Chief Minister. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Closing the Gap working, needs long term commitment

 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

We welcome the latest Closing the Gap report card, saying the NT is the only jurisdiction currently on track to close the gap by 2031. This achievement is in large part the result of governments working in genuine partnership with Aboriginal community-controlled health services and investing new funds where they are most needed, writes Donna Ah Chee, CEO of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.

  FULL STORY »