November 28, 2001.


The liquor industry is "on notice that potentially they could be taken on in a civil action", says Attorney General Peter Toyne, commenting on decisions by courts in Australia and overseas holding licensees liable for harm to drinkers, or harm caused by drinkers, supplied by them. Dr Toyne says the liability depends on the facts of each case but the Queensland Supreme Court ordered a hotel to pay compensation to a patron who was struck by a car after drinking heavily. In the 1997 case Johns against Cosgrove and others, Judge Derrington said "knowing that an intoxicated person would place himself into a position of danger on leaving the hotel, a publican cannot continue to supply him with the means of greater intoxication without regard to the danger to which he is thereby contributing." The judge said while Mr Johns "deliberately drank intending to become heavily intoxicated, there is some substance to the argument that at a certain stage his judgment as to how far he should go would be impaired. "There are authorities in Australia, England and Canada supporting the principle that a publican must take reasonable care in such circumstances not to contribute to the danger in this way." The Judge Derrington also referred to a Canadian court which found a liquor seller liable for failing "to take any affirmative action to prevent the reasonably foreseeable risk" to a patron. (See interview with Canadian researcher Louis Gliksman, this issue.) Meanwhile, Dr Toyne says the government will make submissions to the Licensing Commission during the appeal by at least 15 liquor merchants against a trial of alcohol restrictions scheduled to start on January 1. Dr Toyne, who was accused last week of exercising improper influence over the commission, says: "We have the absolute right to take our own position in these processes. "By so doing we’re clearly indicating that we are dealing with the Liquor Commission as an independent body. "We are separate to them and we are submitting our position to them. "The government is not going to cop higher and higher expenditure levels" for health care, police, courts and prisons resulting from alcohol abuse. Meanwhile Robert Hill Smith, proprietor of S. Smith and Son, makers of Yalumba wine, says his company has not been approached to become a party to the appeal. He says: "If we were then we would read the rationale of the ban and also the challenge before deciding whether to participate. "We do not subscribe to prohibition being a long term solution to anything. "Education, research and investment toward safe and responsible outcomes in a responsible time frame seems the key to what we all want." Brian de Mamiel, the Australian trading manager for BRL Hardy, says his firm has not been approached, "and neither would we consider - now nor in the future - providing financial support for such an appeal. "This is a local issue and we will abide by whatever the decision is." The wine cask trade will be affected by the trial during which the sale of casks bigger than two litres will be banned. Meanwhile Liquor Commissioner Peter Allen says the barrister for the 15 licensees appealing has sought a single hearing, rather than a separate hearing for each licensee. The hearing is scheduled to start at 9am on December 4 and will be open to the public. Nine days have been set aside.


Canadian case law holding liquor merchants liable for harm to or caused by their clients is a motivating factor in the cooperation of liquor merchants with harm reduction programs, says Canadian researcher, Louis Gliksman. In Alice last week with Australian colleague Dennis Gray from the National Drug Research Institute, Dr Gliksman told the Alice News: "Retail merchants are responsible for the patrons who are in their bar, so that if they drink excessively and get into a car and kill somebody or cause damage we have case law that basically holds the merchant responsible for that episode. "So there’s an incentive for the merchants to get involved and do something that will minimise their risk and the risk of their patrons." Dr Gliksman and his team at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto work with some 250 municipalities across the province of Ontario on alcohol harm reduction. "It's not an abstinence approach, it's designed to recognise that alcohol consumption will take place and to set up an environment that is less likely to lead to risky behaviours. "We work with the community itself, they identify what the issues are, allowing us to help them to tailor some of these interventions specifically to their needs." There's a strong emphasis on server training. "We teach staff how to monitor doors in terms of underage patrons; how to spot individuals who are drinking excessively, individuals on the verge of intoxication; how to deal with them when you want to cut them off from having any more alcohol, how to space drinks." To ensure long term impacts from a highly transient workforce, Dr Gliksman says the state can help by stipulating that everyone who wants to serve in a bar has to get this training and bring their certification with them to the job: "It's not a big deal, an afternoon of training but quite comprehensive. The effects get watered down if new staff come in and aren't behind it."Dr Gliksman's team also work with owners and management to make bars more pleasant places "where the use of alcohol is appropriate but the misuse of alcohol is inappropriate". "We are in the midst of testing a program that is designed to change the environment of the bar. "We know that things like noise, heat, crowding, bumping, competitive games, are all triggers to incidents of violence."We've had bar owners physically change the environment, to get rid of some of these triggers."We've trained bar staff in how to deal with clients who are beginning an aggressive episode, to diffuse it rather than escalate it. "We've found that major precipitators of violence are often the bouncers in the bars. "They get into a situation and the violence escalates because of the tone and nature of their behaviour." Dr Gliksman's work over the last 20 years has been done against the backdrop of increased liberalisation of licensing conditions and rising consumption as a result of increased availability: bars are open from 11am to 2am.The drive to implement effective harm reduction strategies has come from the municipalities themselves.Indeed, Dr Gliksman says the single most important factor in the success of any harm reduction program is the involvement of the community: "It's not just down to governments," he says."It's up to community to get behind the thing, to work with governments, getting behind them to produce the desired changes."The big concern for liquor merchants is, of course, that they will lose revenue. Says Dr Gliksman: "What we have tried to show them is that there are other ways of making money, that the loss of revenue can be offset by, for instance, increased food sales, which is part of the harm reduction program anyway. "The small studies that have been done indicate that the liquor merchants have been able to diversify and offset their income loss."


ATSIC knew some two years ago that Desart was in trouble but appears to have done little about it. The commission pays an annual subsidy of around a quarter of a million dollars to the organisation that represents 39 Aboriginal art centres in Central Australia. Desart has a key role in the development of the Indigenous population's major - and in many cases, only - source of revenue other than welfare payments. And ATSIC may have misled the public in a press release last week claiming that the advocacy body Desart Inc - funded by the commission - is distinct from the trading company Desart Enterprises whose Alice Springs gallery closed two weeks ago. ATSIC Alice Springs regional manager Kevin Kerrin said: "ATSIC does not provide any financial assistance to Desart Aboriginal Enterprises nor the gallery. "Desart consists of two organisational arms: Desart Incorporated and Desart Aboriginal Enterprises Pty Ltd. "The closure of Desart Aboriginal Enterprises does not mean the closure of the whole organisation. "Desart Incorporated continues to operate." But the Alice Springs News has learned that Desart Aboriginal Enterprises Pty Ltd is wholly owned by Desart Inc which may well be responsible for the liabilities of its failed trading arm. The News has also obtained a copy of a report into the operations of Desart, commissioned by ATSIC. The document carries no date but appears to have been written prior to the introduction of the GST on July 1, 2000. The report is highly critical of Desart's involvement in two Sydney Galleries and points up a series of other flaws.
• Desart takes on too many tasks and its staff is "overstretched".
• It is losing its focus and has "growing problems with communication".
• "Desart is now undertaking some commercial projects that are marginal and if they are to survive they will require extensive effort. But if Desart approaches these as part time tasks then the commercial operations [such as the Alice gallery] may fail and Desart lose money."
• There is an "endemic" tendency to "hope for the best even in the face of major risks".
• "The funding agencies can play a major role by clarifying what they want Desart to do. To date ATSIC has been part of the problem rather than ... the solution by calling on Desart to do more and more things."
• Desart should have advocacy of the industry, not trading, as its main focus.
The report counsels against the setting up of the now closed gallery in Alice Springs which opened its doors about two years ago. The report says: "ATSIC and Desart must avoid the situation that occurred with the Sydney gallery when "the events were driven by many motives, but the least influential was the aim of achieving a viable project. "Desart would probably say that it currently embodies most of the necessary approaches for a commercial organisation. "We do not accept this. "Desart operates in the commercial field but it does not operate with a commercial philosophy. "The danger may be that the resources and focus move further towards the commercial activities and away from the support role." The report recommends an "adequate" ATSIC seeding grant for developing the commercial operations - a suggestion not taken up by the commission. Neither ATSIC nor Desart responded to requests for comment from the Alice Springs News.


Yipirinya School and Yirara College may form a partnership. There have been exploratory discussions between the two school councils but "it's still very early days", says Yirara College principal, Reverend Mark Doecke. He says both councils are still consulting with their parent bodies. It would be too soon for arrangements of any kind to be in place at the start of the next school year. Rev Doecke says the discussion has been around two possibilities: a loose arrangement allowing the sharing of resources; or, a move to bring the till now independent Yipirinya school (pictured above right) under the umbrella of the Finke River Mission. "We knew Yipirinya was looking to develop secondary schooling, we have a lot of facilities here, so we suggested that maybe we could explore what we could do together. "The discussions started with a lot of enthusiasm but now they've slowed down. Both sides are still talking and thinking."DIFFERENT AREAS Although both schools cater for Aboriginal students, they are drawn from different areas: Yirara's come from "out bush", Yipirinya's from in and around Alice. Yirara is a Lutheran Christian boarding facility for secondary-age students; Yipirinya is an independent Aboriginal-controlled primary school. The discussions come at a time when Yipirinya is at a low ebb: attendance is "dramatically though not drastically down", admits principal Allan Kelly. Mr Kelly, who has attended the joint discussions, does not think the partnership likely. When asked what the school is doing about poor attendance, he said "we're doing all the things that in the past have worked, talking to the people in the town camps, making sure the program is interesting". In the face of a number of staff resignations, the school is recruiting for next year. "Stability is always an issue," says Mr Kelly. He places great hope in a group of Indigenous teachers, graduating with their Diploma in Teaching from Latrobe University this year. Six of the seven have done their placements at Yipirinya and are interested in working there next year. At the time of going to press, the Alice News had not been able to speak to chair of the Yipirinya School Council, Pastor Davey Inkamala. However, a senior member of the school community, who did not wish to be named, told the News he did not want to see Yipirinya go into partnership with Yirara: The member says: "That would be 23 years washed down the drain, all that hard work for nothing. "I've got nothing against the Lutheran Church but I want to stand for the independence of the school. "It's good to get a hand from others but that's different from talking about merging. "If there are problems, the school needs to fix them internally. "At the next AGM we need to get good people on the council who are there for the school and the students." This person also suggested that while there are some Lutheran families at Yipirinya, the majority are Central Arrernte families with allegiance to the Catholic Church. Rev Doecke says the Yipirinya council has indicated that they would like a Christian component in the school's program. Yirara would offer broad-based Christian education, not specifically Lutheran. Rev Doecke says Yirara respects the community-based structure of Yipirinya and they would wish to see it retained in some form.


"What happened to positive thinking?" I was asked after last week's effort. Absolutely nothing! "Growing Pains" was the result of looking critically at living in Alice, and trying to be a bit realistic about what's happening in our town. David's daughter, Sally, and husband Colin arrived from Sydney last week - a little interlude in the Alice. I asked what their first impressions were as we drove through Heavitree Gap: they haven't touched the Centre since David's BIG birthday in July 2000. "Everything looks so fresh and green," they said in unison. We lunched in the mall, and wandered down Reg Harris Lane: Sylvester and Colleen were chatting together. "We need an Alice attraction," Colleen said in passing, "the Nullarbor has its nymph... what do we have?" (Besides our natural wonders?) On Tuesday we headed out to the Red Centre Resort to watch the odd solar car glide in - a wonderful spectacle. The pit crews, falling over each other to grab tools, undo nuts, bolts and screws, hose down and service their bat-like vehicles, didn't seem to be paying much attention to the colour of the rocks against the deep blue sky. Some entrants from the University of NSW were competing in this, the 6th World Solar Challenge, for the second time, and loving the experience. On day two, Sally commented on how accessible everything is after city living, on the peaceful and relaxed atmosphere of the town. John, Jane, Max and Debra joined us for dinner under the stars. We talked of anything and everything, and I mentioned tsunami (early, whilst I could still pronounce it!!) predictions. According to scientist Edward Bryant (the Weekend Oz, October, and School of Geosciences website) it's only a matter of time before a tsunami hits Australian shores. (Then again, given sufficient time, ANYTHING is likely to happen!!). This killer wave could be more destructive than the one that engulfed northern PNG. John, a long-time sailor, said there are so many tsunami stories, and Jane added that when she lived on the coast, walls of water featured in her nightmares. Friday night, the Deloitte Christmas party. We took a camel to dinner: actually we took two camel trains of ten, along the Todd River, and up to Nick and Michelle's. David and I were on Ozark, Sally and Colin rode Alice. The light playing on the Ranges was simply stunning, a Centralian sunset, and a great evening capped by a huge rainstorm. There are four major causes of tsunami: earthquake, volcanic eruption, submarine landslides or meteorite impact with the ocean... Alice Springs has experienced its own eruptions and upheavals of late. Friend Lori believes that the planets have been out of sync, which could explain the angry gremlins out there. Hopefully all is, again, in alignment: planets, sun, moons and moods. Maybe people will lift their awareness, weigh up coastal crowds, commuting, the threat of killer waves and decide to come inland? The many attractions and contradictions of Alice on show again...


Alice Springs has the only Palliative Care Volunteer Service in the Northern Territory, run by the Australian Red Cross. Since its inception in March 1999, 20 volunteers have given their time to the service and currently eight volunteers are available to provide assistance. During the first nine months of 2001, 14 people in Alice Springs had received 175 hours of support from volunteers. "The philosophy of Palliative Care is to maximise the quality of life for a person living with a life threatening illness and that of their family and carers," Alice Springs Palliative Care Volunteer Co-ordinator Krish Seewraj said. "This philosophy also believes in respecting the right of the person to make choices in the management of their illness. "The role of a Palliative Care Volunteer is to supply social, emotional and simple practical support free of charge and at any time of the day to the person as well as to the person's family, carers and professionals involved." Services include companionship, assisting with daily errands, transport, and creating opportunities for time out for carers. More volunteers are needed so a recruitment program, including a special two-day training course, is planned for early 2002. Krish has been co-ordinator of the service for about a year. He was born in Holland, brought up in England, trained as a civil engineer at university, and went to work in Africa with Volunteer Services Overseas. In Ghana he worked as a water engineer and was involved in "community mobilisation". "The community was aware of what they needed, " Krish said, "and I worked with them in developing things which would improve the quality of life for the whole community." Krish came to Australia to take up a business opportunity. When it didn't work out as expected, he applied for his present part-time position. Krish said it takes a special type of person to be a palliative care volunteer. "They have to be emotionally strong and have tremendous strength of character," Krish said. "I could not do it on a regular basis because I would get too involved. "The recruitment process and the training course give people the opportunity to assess the situation, to look at the reasons why they are volunteering. "There is role playing and interacting with others so people can see how they might react to a particular situation."The training course also provides procedures to follow in case of an emergency." The would-be-volunteer learns about volunteer rights and responsibilities, and must agree to a Police Record Check and signs forms concerned with confidentiality, use of one's own motor vehicle and a declaration of commitment. Once they are on board, Krish sets about matching the volunteer with a person seeking their service. "The process is spread out so people have time to think about it," Krish said. "Being a Palliative Care Volunteer involves a strong commitment." As for people in need of palliative care services, Krish said that people need not be in the final stages of their life to receive palliative care. "Palliative care has the central aim of affirming life and death for what they are and helping people come to terms with death as a natural and normal process," Krish said. "Palliative care can help people who discover that they have a terminal illness to find that opportunities exist throughout their lives and assist them in continuing to make the most of the opportunities as they arise. "Many people relate palliative care to elderly and frail citizens, however, people of any age can find themselves needing to come to terms with having a terminal illness." Krish said another misconception is that someone who has been diagnosed as being terminal ill has not got long to live. There may in fact be many happy and eventful years of life left. "And what many people also do not realise is that people can receive palliative care without having to be referred by a medical practitioner," Krish said. "People who know of anyone who is in a palliative situation and could use a little more companionship and/or support are welcome to contact me." Krish can be reached on 8952 8979.


Locals scooped the pool in the inaugural Women's Advisory Council Media Awards, announced last Friday. Alice Springs News journalist Kieran Finnane won the award, which carries $2000 in prize money, for her article titled Blue Eyes, Fair Skin and Still a Warlpiri, published on February 21 this year. The awards aim to to encourage fair and intelligent reporting on women's issues in the Territory. The judges were unanimously agreed that this article was "brave, thought provoking and engaging". "It dealt with sensitive cross-cultural issues with integrity and sensitivity and even a touch of humour. "It was concerned with a daily part of real life in Alice Springs in a way rarely discussed. "Such an article should be published in the national media and the Alice Springs News is to be commended for printing this article," said the judges. Lesley Branagan, broadcaster with 8CCC, was highly commended for her report on the Desert Mob art exhibition. Meg Kelham and Maria, also with 8CCC, were highly commended for a documentary style report on homebirth in Alice Springs. The judges were Jane Munday, marketing manager with the Australasia Railway Corporation; author and journalist Barbara James; Carole Miller, former manager of 8 Top FM; and WAC convenor, Dr Robyn Thompson. Chief Minister, and Minister for Women's Policy, Clare Martin, commended Ms Finnane on her efforts "in the pursuit of excellence". Minister for Central Australia Peter Toyne, who presented the awards, said he was impressed that all three finalists were from Alice Springs: "They should feel proud of their achievement." Ms Finnane, who writes for pleasure as well as work, will present three short stories at this Thursday's writers' event at the Bluegrass Restaurant. See details in the Red Hot Arts calendar, centre pages.

LETTERS: Where has the media racism gone after the elections?

Sir, - On November 10 I walked out of the voting booth and signed a petition regarding the treatment of people seeking refuge in Australia. I am embarrassed by the racism that seems to no longer be part of the media scare mongering in today's news. Amazing to think Tampa etc is no longer a problem for Mr Reith or Hon Mr Ruddock MP and other paranoid Australians. I am also ironically amused to have stood next to Mr Warren Snowdon MP the next morning, Remembrance Day, as he sang in tune and knew the words to the second verse of the national anthem where it refers to us Australians having come across the "seas" and having "boundless plains to share".
Matthew Fowler,
Alice Springs

Sir,- Is it worse to be stolen from or lied to? I had the opportunity to consider this question during my recent stay at Melanka Lodge. I was watching TV in my room one evening when a person climbed over the low wall surrounding the motel and tried to break into my window. When I contacted reception, I was told that nothing like this had happened in the hotel: several staff members professed astonishment. When I contacted the local police that night they said no such activity was associated with the motel. The motel offered to let me change rooms, which I did. Eleven days later, I happened to be on the scene when police officers arrived looking for my old room. I told them that I had made a report 10 days before about an attempted break-in. They were not interested in that, despite the fact that the room had been successfully burgled moments before. I was the only witness to an attempt, and the police did not bother to solicit a description of the man. If anything, they were scornful of the offer. I ask you, is it not reasonable to give visitors the truth about possible dangers rather than sweeping them under the carpet? If I were the victim of the completed burglary, I would be plenty angry at this point. Ten days later, it appears to me no serious attempt was made to make the room safe by the motel; and apparently not much effort to investigate the crime. As for me, I believe that I was misled deliberately by both motel and the authorities into an illusion of safety that did not exist. Is this any way to treat visitors?
Ramona Pearson
California, USA
[ED - Alice Police Superintendent Gary Moseley says he has checked police records as far back as September but has found no record of Ms Pearson. He says: "I have also checked all jobs at Melanka and there is nothing that fits."]


Heritage campaigner Mike Gillam is providing the "found object" atmosphere; sculptor Dan Murphy, the objects transformed into "12 great gift ideas". The collaboration will launch the Silver Bullet Gallery at 4 Hele Crescent, a town block owned by Gillam and Maria Giacon, full of historic and environmental interest, from its Word War II officers' mess to its burgeoning native vegetation on what was, just a few years ago, a dusty industrial yard. And then there's Gillam's collection of stuff, much of it sourced from the Alice Springs landfill, and his collection of Murphy's stuff (good art stuff), added to from time to time by an in situ Murphy show. This show sees Murphy mostly laid back and playful, after his massive efforts earlier this year on the Yeperenye caterpillar sculpture in the Araluen grounds. He's made a pack of his stock-in-trade small rugged dogs, cut from a fence formerly on Renner Lane. Murphy says he spotted the fence - crackled yellow paint and magnificently rusty - when he first came to town, some 12 years ago. When the owners went to get rid of it recently, they rang him first to see if he was interested. Some of it has gone into creating one of his large 2D landscapes: a long low piece, uniting in the one image a few distinct landscape features, seen from the Stuart Highway on those all too familiar Alice-Adelaide hauls. This landscape differs from previous works in that Murphy has used blanket stitching in wire not just to join the different sections, but to work on the whole surface: it adds depth to the image, evoking a salty crust on rust-coloured earth, or perhaps the tiny dry herbage of the desert plains. Smaller landscapes, including "postcards", complete with captions and space for name, address etc, will also be on offer.And toys, the kind designed to entice babies' chuckles: a school of fish that swim when you turn the wire handle; a kangaroo that hops. Murphy's career began when he wanted to earn some quick money to get out of Melbourne. Someone had made him a silhouette of a fish cut from corrugated iron. He thought, "I can do that", and he hasn't really looked back. He lives from his art - "only just". He's never had any art training. What did he do before? "I was just a dole bludger really," he laughs. After his first pack of dogs sold out in a gallery in Fitzroy, he was working seven days a week just to keep up with the demand. "I'd get the tin in the morning and start cutting. Then one day, while I was working, I had a big flashback, like a memory from childhood, and that's when I began to think that I might be an artist. "I got a part-time job so I could stop making the small stuff and concentrate on interesting, more challenging things, that I could do for myself rather than for the money." These days, he doesn't mind making the small stuff. I'm so used to it, especially the echidnas, that it's like a meditation and I sometimes get good ideas for my other work." 12 Great Gift Ideas and Some Other Stuff will show for one day only on December 9 (see calendar for details).


The development of Aboriginal pastoral enterprise has been dominated by government and other publicly funded bureaucracies and the record, in terms of commercial success, is not glorious. Long-time worker in the field, Stuart Phillpot, a former public servant in Alice Springs with the Department of Primary Production and now employed by the Indigenous Land Corporation, has written a doctoral thesis at the Australian National University, looking at the experience of Aboriginal owned pastoral enterprises in the Northern Territory from 1972 to 1996. The study is especially topical in light of efforts by the Central Land Council (CLC) to convert the successful Alcoota cattle station - Aboriginal owned and run as a normal pastoral lease - to Aboriginal land under the Land Rights Act. The CLC is said to be acting largely against the wishes of the current owners (Alice News, Oct 17). The thesis explores "the confusion, contradiction and policy options available to Aboriginal people who wish to pursue the operation of cattle activities in the NT", with the aim of "laying a basis for more effective government policy". Two detailed case studies are at the core of Dr Phillpot's thesis. They are Ti-Tree Station, run by the Puraiya Cattle Company, and the Ngarliyikirlangu Pastoral Company at Yuendumu. The substantial historical difference between the two is that the Puraiya Cattle Company operated on a conventional pastoral lease, established as a commercial enterprise by Bill Heffernan in the post-war years, while Ngarliyikirlangu was developed from a government training project at Yuendumu. However, both, once they passed into supposed Aboriginal control, suffered from fuzzy and constantly changing goal-posts established by external bureaucracies, and a lack of coherent long-term planning, in particular with respect to training for commercial management. Ti-Tree station was purchased from Bill Heffernan's widow at the end of 1975 by the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission and officially handed over to the Puraiya Cattle Company in 1976. The Heffernans, writes Dr Phillpot, had established the station by "shrewd dealings" and having a capacity to earn non-station income. During their ownership the station was developed to the stage where, at its peak in the 1950s, it supported six permanent families, three Aboriginal and three non-Aboriginal. The station's commercial viability then declined due to drought and the ageing of the owners. Pre-drought stocking levels had reached about 7000 head. During the drought the station was largely de-stocked, and then the Heffernans rebuilt the herd to around 4000 head by 1974. Capacity of the station, according to the Department of Lands, is 5600. When it was sold to the Anmatyerre people it was barely viable, and the area where thriving horticultural businesses have since developed had been excised. The purchase was made in the context of the Fraser Government's policy of self-management (which had replaced the Whitlam Government's policy of self-determination) and was intended to achieve three objectives: provide a measure of land tenure for the resident Anmatyerre communities; enable the communities to manage themselves; and to increase the resident communities' economic self-sufficiency. The first objective was achieved with the purchase, and strengthened in 1987 when the station was declared inalienable Aboriginal freehold land belonging to the Anmatyerre people under the NT Land Rights Act. Dr Phillpot charts the build-up of services - essential to self-management - that the cattle operations supported, such as the establishment of the store and the provision of power and water, as well as vehicles to the directors of the cattle company. However, he says the provision of these services came at the expense of the long-term viability of the cattle enterprise as the funds were not then available for its development. Thus achievement of the third objective was in constant jeopardy. The Aboriginal directors of the cattle company, highly regarded as stockmen, had no experience of enterprise management, and there was no consistent effort by the bureaucracies supposedly supporting them to provide them with these skills or else to insist on a "safety net" of supervision and intervention. In fact, the opposite was the case. The Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) and the Aboriginal Development Commission (ADC) were both shareholders in the cattle company from the time of purchase. Grant conditions, as well as the Companies Act and the NT Associations Incorporation Ordinance, were breached among other things by the failure to hold general and annual general meetings between 1979 and 1983, yet DAA and ADC failed to take action. Dr Phillpot says officers of the two organisation were reluctant to interfere "in a manner that would compromise the policy of self-determination or where they could be accused of doing so". He says there was also confusion over the social and economic objectives of the policy: if a community was enhancing its social autonomy by certain decisions, should a departmental officer then interfere when these same decisions were economically disadvantaging the community? On top of this both agencies had a shortage of field officers with training in either community development or in the pastoral industry. What field officers there were had difficulty establishing relationships with the Anmatyerre who had had little contact with government services prior to the purchase of the station. Thus the field officers were hard put to provide advice that would be seen by the Anmatyerre as being more credible than that of the company manager who was making most of the day to day decisions about management of the station with the informal support of the directors. A further complexity was that, because of a lack of appropriate field work and knowledge of traditional Aboriginal social structures at the time of purchase, the directors only represented three of the traditional land owning descent groups. The shareholders and directors were one and the same. Thus the company was only partially representative of the Anmatyerre community. There was an almost permanent struggle for power between the Nturiya group and the Ilkawerne group, which manifested itself in the division of the station in 1982. Meanwhile, the Pmara Jutunta group was denied any access to resources and any decision-making involved in the cattle company. Dr Phillpot writes: "The assumption that a few people could represent all of the groups living at Ti-Tree Station was patently false. "The shareholder / director company structure was typical of many holding company arrangements and, in a non-Aboriginal context, would have been appropriate. "However, it did not reflect the traditional structure of the Anmatyerre community. "Furthermore, there appears to have been no attempt to educate all of the groups living on Ti-Tree Station in the operations and legal requirements of a commercial company and, as a consequence, there was confusion over the rights of the manager, the role of directors and the way resources from the cattle company should be distributed. "This confusion was long-standing." The confusion manifested itself notably in the sacking of managers when the cattle company failed to provide "resources", most particularly vehicles, to the directors. There is not room here to give a full account of the bureaucratic maze that the Puraiya Cattle Company had to negotiate but a list provided by Dr Phillpot paints a picture. The major agencies responsible for implementing policy at Ti-Tree - often overlapping each other and spanning different governments and policy periods - were: DAA, 1972-1990; ADC, 1980-1990; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, 1990-current; Department of Employment and Industrial Relations, 1978-1988; Department of Employment, Education & Training, 1988-1996; Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, 1996-current; and, the Central Land Council, 1976-current. As well, the Institute of Aboriginal Development (IAD), through its rural extension program, and the Central Australian Aboriginal Pastoralists' Association (CAAPA) both acted as advisory bodies in relation to Ti-Tree. The CLC did not get involved in the operations of the cattle company. Despite being aware of "the dissonance between traditional land ownership as detailed in the land claim and the structure of the Puraiya Cattle Company", Dr Phillpot says the CLC made no attempt to resolve the issues arising, such as an appropriate distribution of benefits from the enterprise. However, he notes that the CLC's land management and enterprise support has always been dependent upon annual project funds and as a consequence its capacity to support or assist enterprises has been limited. As well, the IAD program was closed down in 1984, as was CAAPA in 1987. Says Dr Phillpot: "At the peak of the BTEC [Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign], at a time when Aboriginal properties needed access to extension education and training most, there was none available." Dr Phillpot suggests, however, that the land claim process did develop the Anmatyerre's political skills: "Having articulated [during the land claim] that they were one mob, the Anmatyerre leadership then appears to have begun to determine a new future for Anmatyerre. "This new future included a reduction of alcohol abuse, increased access to government funding for community facilities, an involvement in local government, and lastly, but certainly not least, the establishment of their own land council." However, "all of these activities had little to do with the operation of the cattle station". The station did not achieve any measure of commercial viability until 1996, and this only came about as a result of substantial subsidies from the Federal Government. During the re-establishment phase (1983-1996) the only permanent benefit, says Dr Phillpot, went to the two managers, with occasional benefits to individual directors and, perhaps, in terms of self-esteem to the young men who worked on the station. Dr Phillpot told the Alice News that he believes the station to be commercially viable under certain conditions: "In good seasons with reasonable markets it could return a living to an owner-operator and his family, and to a manager, doing all their own maintenance. "Purchasing the station as a commercial proposition to give some self-sufficiency to a group of 300 or so people is totally questionable, but you can't separate economic good from social good. "If the enterprise creates employment and increases self-esteem then it may be better than not having the enterprise at all. "Station communities have been found to have, for example, low rates of petrol sniffing. The average Federal Government subsidy to cattle enterprises - until 1997 when they were stopped - was $55,000 a year. That was probably a cheap way to achieve a social good."
NEXT: The experience at Yuendumu.


A tropical downpour ruined any chance of a result in the Albrecht and Traeger Park cricket matches on Saturday. At Traeger the game was poised to go either way, with West launching into their second innings 26 runs in arrears. On the previous Saturday, Rovers had bowled the Bloods out for a paltry 68 and then suffered a collapse themselves, only accruing 94 runs. West promoted Peter Tabart up the order this week, and the move proved worthwhile as he partnered Shane Law for a first wicket partnership. Rob Wright fell victim to Peter Isbel, who caught him off Tye Radfield's bowling. The incoming Tabart then held his end as Law proceeded to establish an innings. Tabart was duly bowled when on 19 to leave his partner the task of continuing the innings. Law amassed 69 before Radfield caught him off a rejuvenated Craig Murphy delivery.For Murphy it was the start of a day which deserved front page headlines, as he also took the prized scalp of Ken Vowles when the master blaster was a mere 10. Down the order the veteran of clever bowling was responsible for the demise of Adam Stockwell (8), Gavin Flanagan and Shaun Cantwell, each for a "quack". Murphy finished with the figures of 5/35 off eight overs, and Westies were in the soup at 9/146. The rain tumbled down in the 36th over and denied the Blues the chance of an outright result. However with the first innings win and bonus points for both days, skipper Mark Nash would have slept comfortably. Such was not the case for the Demons' Allan Rowe. Searching for a win to keep themselves in touch with the top three clubs, Federal were beaten by circumstances. In an era when positive cricket is promoted by the ASCA, there was no activity at Albrecht Oval for the first hour of scheduled play. The umpire declared the pitch to be unsafe for play, and as the minutes ticked over before a ball could be bowled, it became more and more difficult for a result to be achieved. Federal made every post a winner once the game resumed, with Sam Curtin and Jarrod Wapper claiming three wickets a piece. Glen Hartley and Dennis Breen got the RSL off to a solid start with 31 and 16 respectively, before each was caught. Pete Smith fell to Wapper when on 16, and Luke Rowe went LBW to Curtin for a duck. The next three wickets tumbled cheaply and when Jamie Smith was 10 and Matt Forster 8, the RSL prayers were answered. Rain pelted down. Sitting precariously at 7/91, RSL were saved. Alas, there were a mere 28 overs bowled on a pitch which had been affected by only four mm overnight. The last of the two day games before Christmas will begin this week. At Traeger Park, an "in form" Rovers will take on the Federal Demons. At Albrecht Oval, West will do battle against RSL.


A handful of grass would have to be the original "found object": but the kind that's useful for making art is hard to come by around Alice, too much buffel, says Thisbe Purich. The artist who introduced basket-making into the NPY lands, where it spread like wildfire, was guest tutor at Batchelor Institute earlier this year, teaching first the techniques of grass sculpture, then consolidating the students' knowledge with a weaving workshop. The result is a small commercial show, A Bird in the Hand, almost sold out on opening night at Gondwana Gallery. But that's just the end point: the experience of the workshops has been the highlight of a wonderful year, say students June Sultan and Lavinia Richards. Both have just completed Certificate II in Art and Craft, taught by artist Marina Strocchi. June, who lives at Barrow Creek, loved the course so much she intends moving to town "so I can go down to Batchelor every day". "I want to be creative, learn more, know how to do things. "I paint a bit and sell odds and ends. "I've got my own style, I paint bush tucker and flowers, my dream is to print them on fabric. "Working with spinifex grass was new to me, I'd never done anything like it before. "I've got all sorts of ideas in my head about it now. I'd like to dye it and do things in colour." Lavinia also wants to "bring out the creativity inside" and use it to go into business. She wants to study small business management as well as continue with her art work. She'd love to study art at a higher level, but at present that is not offered by Batchelor; she'd have to go to Centralian College. But the skills training is only half of what she gets out of her study at Batchelor:"I come from down south and I've lost a lot of my culture. "It's been great mixing with the elder women who have got a strong cultural background. "There are all sorts in the course, they come from different bush and urban communities, we all learn from each other." Some of the bush women who were in the course and who have contributed to the show are well-known Hermannsburg potters , such as Clare Inkamala., and a number of NPY women, including Nyiningka Lewis, also participated. Shows until December 14.

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