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Yuendumu alleged murder: ICAC commissioner steps aside


The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Ken Fleming QC (pictured in the Alice Springs News video of Friday’s rally) will step aside from the Office of the ICAC’s continuing involvement in the investigation into the circumstances surrounding a Death in Custody in Yuendumu, according to an ICAC statement released this afternoon.


UPDATE November 20, 3am: Decision to step down “entirely appropriate,” says Police Association. FULL STORY »

High Court case may affect deals in Aboriginal land

Can decisions about Aboriginal land be “delegated,” or do they need to be made by the “representative bodies” –  76 elected people in the case of the Northern Land Council, 90 for the Central Land Council. The Federal Court has said they cannot be delegated, and that decision is being appealed. If upheld, could the decision be relevant to Centrecorp which for decades has been dealing with Aboriginal wealth derived from requirements of land rights legislation? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Desert Knowledge: 20 years later a new start

New CEO  Dan Tyson regards it as a “business, first and foremost, capable of demonstrating its worth to the government, and to the commercial sector”. He is eyeing off corporate retreats and immersion in The Centre’s lifestyle for senior private and public sector people to turn a dollar, and heads up a solar power initiative while encouraging Michael Liddle’s successful Codes 4 Life to expand. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Oz burns, NT Government dithers


As Australia is reeling under its worst fire season, NT Government departments responsible for preventing bushfires in the West MacDonnell National Park, about half of which was destroyed in a 17 day blaze in January, are “conducting a review [which] will inform ongoing fire action plans”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Burned tree at Ellery Bighole. FULL STORY »

Mass rally shows fury, distrust for police, government

What must be the biggest demonstration the town has ever seen was mostly a chilling manifestation of the fury and distrust harboured by Aboriginal people – not only Warlpiri –  for the police, the justice system and white governments generally, in the wake of the alleged murder by a police officer of 19-year-old Kumunjayi Walker in Yuendumu. Text and video by ERWIN CHLANDA. Image at left by ROD MOSS. FULL STORY »

Seeking equality as Indigenous distrust of government peaks


The Uluru Statement from the Heart will end Australia’s “cult of forgetfulness … the great Australian silence” when it comes to Aboriginal sovereignty, says film maker Rachel Perkins in her Boyer Lectures. MARK J SMITH reviews. Photo: Ms Perkins with an image of her father, Charlie Perkins. FULL STORY »

Govt should run ambulance service: Braedon Earley


The public would get more bang for buck for the $400m it spends with St John now, writes Braedon Earley (pictured), president of the Ban Fracking Fix Crime Protect Water Party. FULL STORY »

Police in ‘serious custody incident’

Man in hospital with head injuries after “collision” with police car. FULL STORY »

Proposed planning changes likely to hurt you

In the proposed changes, where are the clauses referring to amenity which the Development Consent Authority (DCA) must consider currently: Those things which can affect our lifestyle and the value of your property. How our streetscapes look, and how they support everyday community life and wellbeing, writes Nick Kirlew from the Planning Action Network Inc. FULL STORY »

Bush police station broken into, damaged

In Alice Springs windows of six of businesses were broken and a parked vehicle had its windows smashed. FULL STORY »

Yuendumu murder charge update

A 28–year old male Northern Territory police officer has been granted bail in an out-of-session Local Court hearing to appear in Alice Springs on the December 19, according to a media release from the police headed “Police Officer charged – Yuendumu shooting”.


UPDATE: The Police Association says it “is continuing to support our member who has been charged with murder.


FURTHER UPDATES, 14 November 2019, 5.03pm: “The police officer “will vigorously contest the charge”. 


Government fails bush on health, police: McConnell



Armed police in Alice Springs are making sure that the wrong person doesn’t buy a sixpack while health staff are fleeing remote areas where they don’t feel safe. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Meanwhile Independent MLA Scott McConnell is calling for an investigation “at the highest level”.


UPDATE, 13 November 2019, 8.27pm: A 28-year-old male Northern Territory police officer has been charged with one count of murder in relation to the Yuendumu shooting. 


Gallery and library: political game vs solutions

The doors have opened a crack on the ongoing machinations about the possible location of the proposed national Aboriginal art gallery and are set to open wider with Town Councillors pushing for  all correspondence between council and the NT Government on the issue to be brought out of confidential. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

See UPDATES: Further comment from Minister Wakefield; response from former council CEO Mooney.


Wakefield, Ryan star in the Phantom of the Art Gallery


The art gallery, public money, dealings behind closed doors, a historic pub – the curtain goes up on the next act of the town’s comic opera. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gunner needs to be impartial about investigation of police



The Chief Minister (at right) is encouraging to the public to pre-empt the outcome of the coroner’s investigation of the Yuendumu shooting, writes Paul McCue, President of the NT Police Association (at left). FULL STORY »

‘Cop will be labelled for the rest of his life as a blackfeller killer’

UPDATE:  Police say the officer was “stabbed with an edged weapon”.


Otto Jungarrayi Sims (at left) a prominent senior man in Yuendumu, describes the reaction of the community to the fatal shooting by police of a 19-year-old. Meanwhile the police association says “our brave officers … have encountered what was evidently a very volatile and unpredictable situation”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. At right: An angry crowd outside the Yuendumu police station last night.


OTHER UPDATES: The Central Land Council is calling for “an inquiry without delay that is independent of the NT police” and wants to see to see the body camera evidence • Reports that the dead man was on parole were in error. FULL STORY »

Questions of scale and artful answers

Towards the end of her three-year odyssey to bring The Visitors series to its current state of realisation,  artist Franca Barraclough embarked on a fund-raising drive to allow her to print two of her photographs at billboard-size scale. So I walked into this show alert to what that scale delivers beyond immediate visual impact. In both cases, it is significant, writes KIERAN FINNANE. FULL STORY »

Blackout witch hunt


Workers crucial to restoring electricity during the system black event of October 13 are being victimised by Territory Generation, claims the Electrical Trades Union. PHOTO Ron Goodin power station.


UPDATE: TGen replied that it is unable to comment on matters that are under investigation. FULL STORY »

Yuendumu shooting: ICAC starts independent investigation



The ICAC has powers to investigate improper conduct, including corruption, misconduct and unsatisfactory conduct by public officers, including NT Police, says the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Ken Fleming QC (pictured). FULL STORY »

Thor finds more tungsten, copper



Thor says the key driver for drilling at Bonya is to expand the Molyhil area mining inventory with an objective of a minimum of 10 years total open pit mining and processing. FULL STORY »

Government grant for Todd Tavern, Alice Plaza development

UPDATE 11.50am November 8: Owners of Todd Tavern land, building not consulted by the government nor the lessees about any development.


Plans were apparently delayed or scrapped following the town council’s rejection of Anzac Oval as a site for the national Aboriginal art gallery. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 6am November 8: The general manager of the Todd Tavern says its plans are confidential.


UPDATE 5.15pm November 8: The Master Plan for Alice Springs Plaza and Todd Tavern has been shared with the Northern Territory Government and was completed as per the funding grant agreement. The contents of the Master Plan are commercial in confidence and cannot be shared at this time. Department of the Chief Minister.


UPDATE 7.10 pm November 8: Statement by Councillor Eli Melky. FULL STORY »

Top secret ‘master plan’



There are apparently multi million dollar plans for the top end of the Mall but the public is getting the mushroom treatment. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Town Council: New dawn for transparency



Robert Jennings (centre), the Town Council’s new broom, is sweeping  up behind the closed doors where the heavy stuff has been routinely dealt with “in confidential” and away from public scrutiny. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Vast electorates, poor participation in our democracy



While the NT accounts for less than 1% of the national roll we account for over 5% of the electors not enrolled, says the NT Electoral Commission. That and the sheer size of remote electorates raise questions about the functioning of our political system. FULL STORY »

Cattlemen ask: Where’s our drought aid?

Working group needed to “refine priorities.” FULL STORY »

Australia’s medical researchers in Centre for rural health



This is the birthing of a new health research ecosystem in regional Australia writes Professor Brigid Heywood (pictured), University of New England Vice-Chancellor. FULL STORY »

Now that the Rock can’t be climbed, visiting it will cost more




While you can’t climb The Rock any more, the fees to enter the national park will climb – a lot. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Most money for mining, military


Half a billion dollars earmarked for US forces to play war in the Top End, mining pushing ahead and some roads are getting built: But where is private investment in the Territory’s economic development? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

The Territory: It’s a gas!


A gas bonanza expected following the lifting of the fracking moratorium, says NT Resources Minister Paul Kirby in a duet with his Federal counterpart, Matt Canavan.


UPDATE 10.35am: Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyers says the NT should follow the UK’s lead placing an unlimited moratorium on fracking “after the latest in a series of fracking-linked earthquakes”. FULL STORY »

Areyonga students graduate from Year 12 at Unity College


Four students from Areyonga have graduated from Year 12 at the Unity College at Murray Bridge, South Australia. Pictured from left are Tarna Andrews (Areyonga Teacher), students Jimmy (Mick) Doolan, Selinda Hopkins, Claudia Coulthard, Christopher Doolan and Jonty Fernando (Areyonga School Principal). FULL STORY »

Is government fumbling our solar future?

Moves towards solar must go beyond being an opportunity for making money: Communities, the broad population must be involved, says the Arid Lands Environment Centre, willing to lead the development “but we will not accept that shale gas fracking has a role in this future”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Another nail in the Anzac High coffin


For the second time NTCAT has knocked back an injunction halting demolition works at the former Anzac Hill High School. Although the walls and roofs are still intact, they are set to come down from next Tuesday, 5 November, the tribunal was told. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Camps leader Shirleen Campbell, Local Hero


Proud Warlpiri and Arrernte woman, she is a third-generation resident of Alice Springs Town Camp, Lhenpe Artnwe – or Hoppy’s Camp. The 38-year-old is also the co-ordinator of The Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group (TWFSG), which gives women in the camps a voice in family and domestic violence and leads action against it. FULL STORY »

Council: no interest in heritage; tiny leak from confidential

Not one councillor put up their hand last night for nomination to the Heritage Council. Meanwhile, an inadvertent question made it clear that council’s rejection of the government’s offer for the Civic Centre site was not unanimous. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Anzac High: No plans yet for what will replace it


“Clearly, we think the Anzac Oval site is the best site for the national indigenous art gallery project,” says Minister Dale Wakefield. She was speaking at the launch of a youth action plan at the St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre this morning. Students cooked lunch for the function. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Have a look at what’s being demolished



“Even by today’s standards, opening a place of this magnitude would be a major ribbon cutting ceremony. Demolition is the height of ignorance and stupidity, a shocking, staggering waste of money and resources,” writes MIKE GILLAM. FULL STORY »

What they were going to say when he’s no longer there



When in doubt, have a party: Last Saturday Alice Springs was at its best, with one of its best at the centre. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Salt mines and tourism: bread and circuses


“I cannot believe that [Tellus] can gain a genuine social license or consent to dump toxic waste in country, out of sight and out of mind. Beyond the questions around type, volume, source and security of the proposed waste, the project raises bigger questions about extractive industries and their consequences,” writes Jennifer Taylor. FULL STORY »

Tourism, salt and toxic waste, 780 metres below


Plans to get Alice Springs and Titjikala involved in a giant mining project 110 km south of town. Some express doubts. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE October 29: Town Council CEO Robert Jennings, when asked to comment, said he is waiting for more information on the Chandler mine before expressing any view or comment. FULL STORY »

I climbed Ayers Rock



Millions of T-shirts with that inscription are now relegated to history. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Blackout: ALP backs call to keep old power station on standby



Next time there could be deaths from heatstroke or disease. The risk is too great. Resource and maintain Ron Goodin Power Station now or face the consequences, writes Dave “Strawbs” Hayes, Electrical Trades Union Territory organiser, after the Labor Party NT Conference unanimously back the union’s stance. FULL STORY »

Council cemetery: Seven years of planning, no conclusive result


The Memorial Drive Cemetery could tell a spellbinding story about The Centre but the Town Council is unable to put a coherent plan for its development, says Dave Mortimer, a long time member of the council’s cemetery committee. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE Oct 28: Town Council CEO Robert Jennings looks forward to public comment on the issues. FULL STORY »