July 10, 2002.


One of Alice Springs' most successful directors of a community organisation says the current system of competitive tendering for government grants pits against each other groups that should be working together.
"We're supposed to work with people we won a tender over," says the Gap Youth Centre's Joanne Miller.
The quietly spoken NT Telstra Businesswoman of the Year has pushed the centre's annual budget from $150,000 to $600,000 Ð mainly from Canberra Ð in her five years at the helm.
And a GYC program manager, Linda Chellew, is calling for a broad community development strategy and claims allocations are decided by remote public servants with scant knowledge of the conditions in Central Australia.
Ms Miller says submission writing "is definitely an art form".
"It's a matter of knowing the current social trends in Canberra and plugging into them."
Ms Miller says researching and writing applications takes up "considerable" amounts of time, up to one month, is usually unpaid and Ð in her organisation Ð done by staff after hours.
She says the effort at best yields program funding for three years and often only for a one year "pilot".
Ms Chellew says timing is linked more to elections rather than to practical needs.
She says the government's Ausaid strategies abroad often make more sense than the domestic programs.
The GYC even has an assessment process deciding which applications are worth making.
The GYC now gets eight times the contribution from governments received by the Alice Springs Youth Centre at the other end of town, also regarded as a key social facility for young people.
The ASYC, which raises half of its $150,000 budget from fees, has a clientele that is predominantly white.
The GYC, an indigenous corporation, gets practically all its money from Canberra and is used almost exclusively by young Aborigines.
But Ms Miller says only one quarter of her budget is "indigenous specific" while $400,000 comes from the Federal Department of Family and Community Services.
She says that is money anyone can apply for.
Ms Miller's efforts have made the GYC the star in the town's patchwork of private and public services for young indigenous people.
At present it seems these services Ð including Tangentyere, Congress, the troubled Central Australian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, town council and the NT Government Ð operate without comprehensive coordination, and quite often compete for funding.
In addition to her submission savvy, Ms Miller runs a tight ship: all of her 25 staff have formal qualifications, or are working towards them, including teaching, youth work, graphic design, child care, sport and youth worker training, and all of them have first aid training.
She says contrary to the centre's bad reputation as a hotbed for gangs there's been only one fight in her five years at the GYC.
She says violence at the GYC is now merely a myth.
"Our image is changing," she says, from what many have regarded as a ghetto image.
A number of local youth workers suggested to the Alice News that the GYC is the domain of the kids living in the Gap area, and because of territorial disputes, which can be violent, Aboriginal youngsters from elsewhere in town wouldn't dream of going there.
Ms Miller denies this and says the centre is available to kids of all races and from all over town.
She says NT Government public housing policies in recent years have taken Aborigines out of the Gap area and spread them throughout the town.
However, most GYC users from outside the Gap area are bussed in by the centre, and are not casual visitors, although "anyone can get on the bus," says Ms Miller.
The GYC was started in the mid-seventies by St Vincent de Paul and transferred to Aboriginal control 10 years later.The taxpayer may well be asking, after all these decades of public funding, where are the black plumbers, school teachers, lawyers or mechanics and small business people?
Asked about how many of the ex-Gappies had made it into the mainstream Ms Miller names CLC director David Ross, as well as Centrecorp boss and former Imparja head Owen Cole.
Both work in Aboriginal organisations.
The others are a handful of national sporting heroes (including Darryl White, Richie Cole and James Swan), and actor Aaron Pederson.
Ms Miller's funding miracle is based on a string of cleverly formulated programs with snappy names: Homework Centre, Byte Beats, Reconnect, Alice Outcomes, Youth Online, Deadly Mob.
It's clearly the kind of stuff that impresses Canberra bureaucrats holding the strings of the public purse.
These are the present cornerstones of the operation:-
¥ The Outside School Hours Care program picks up kids after school, takes them to the centre, provides a "nutritious snack" and offers activities such as sport, art and craft.
SAFEThe kids also have "free time to play with each other in a safe environment" from 3pm to 5.30pm weekdays.
Some of the GYC kids come from dysfunctional backgrounds of alcohol abuse and domestic violence.
¥ The GYC's Reconnect Program provides assistance for young homeless people who "drop in for chat, get assistance with income support and housing," says Ms Miller.
That program also provides "family mediation" and has "reconciled" some young people with their families.
¥ Deadly Mob pairs mentors with about 20 young people in a bid to encourage them to stay at school past Year 10 and embark on a career path.
So far all mentors Ð 45 are on the books Ð are from Aboriginal organisations but program manager, Ms Chellew, says mainstream businesses around town will be approached soon.
But she says there is resistance by the youngsters to apply for mainstream jobs: "There are so few Aboriginal faces, it's shameful to be the first."
One way around this would be for employers to put on two youngsters at a time.
¥ Alice Outcomes is a joint program with the Alice Springs High School assisting about 15 young people to stay in the education system, providing a creche for the babies of young mothers Ð some in their early teens.
¥ Internet CafŽ will have 16 linked computers, in addition to the five currently installed in the GYC, and provide fast access for interactive games and exploration of the internet.
Ms Miller says this will enhance the young people's "whole world view" and literacy skills.
The internet cafŽ will be open to "training providers" in the early part of the day, and later in the day and the evening to the public, and will be a source of revenue for the centre.
¥ A new gymnasium will benefit from a $10,000 donation from the Cherish the Children Foundation of tennis star Pat Rafter.
¥ Under the GYC Performing Arts program the youngsters make music and hold jam sessions during school holidays.
¥ The GYC further provides an Alternative to Violence program (two facilitators), a Family Wellbeing program and ASIST suicide intervention trainers.


A decrease in assault victims seeking treatment at both the Alice Springs Hospital and Congress since the start of the alcohol trial is encouraging, but the number remains alarmingly high.
In April and May this year, 105 people presented to Congress for injuries arising from assault.
This compares to 147 during the same months the year before.
The hospital had 122 assault presentations in April and May this year, compared to 134 last year.
Ian Crundall, chair of the trial's Evaluation Reference Group (ERG), says it is not known for sure that all of the assaults were alcohol-related, but it is generally accepted that assault is a reasonable indicator of alcohol-related harm.
Other "sentinels" or key indicators are fractures, injuries and lacerations. Injuries presenting at the Emergency Department at the hospital had also dropped from 399 in April and May last year to 312 this year.
The police reported a 20 per cent drop in total alcohol-related offences, such as assault and theft, and including a massive 60 per cent decrease in loitering.
The classing of an offence as alcohol-related is a subjective decision made by individual officers; there is no breathalyser or blood test.
"I would expect those numbers to be conservative if anything," says Dr Crundall.
Alcohol-related criminal damage and disturbances had increased.
Meanwhile, there are, as yet, no figures available on alcohol consumption.
These will be released to the ERG by the Licensing Commission, who in turn receive them each quarter from the wholesalers on behalf of retailers.
There is a legal obligation on retailers to supply liquor purchase returns.
Over the last two years, however, the wholesalers have taken on this task."It is theoretically more convenient both for the industry and ourselves, simply because they are well set up to do it," says Licensing Commissioner, Peter Allen.
He says all but one wholesaler provide the data promptly and that wholesaler has been told "to smarten up".
He says the data allows the commission to know "to the container" how much of what type of product is being purchased by what outlet in the Territory.
The data the commission will release to the ERG, by the end of this month and in readiness for its next meeting, will be by license category and type of product. (Outlet specific data are treated as "commercially sensitive" and have only ever been released to researchers.)
It will make quite clear the extent of any increase in the consumption of fortified wines.
Dr Crundall says "you would have to be blind Freddy" not to have noticed a massive increase in port consumption.
Precise figures will be critical, however, as the switch to port and fortified wines in Tennant Creek did not offset the overall decrease in alcohol consumption brought about by a program of restrictions on sales hours and large cask wines.
Precise figures are also the kind of "robust data" that Mr Allen says he would require before looking at a "tweaking" of the restrictions in Alice Springs, if requested to do so by the ERG or by the police.
DASA manager Nick Gill says staff at the sobering-up shelter are no longer experiencing the higher level of intoxication and aggression amongst their clients that they were experiencing in April.
Clients are reporting that they are diluting their port, which is "a very pleasing sign", says Mr Gill.
There was a very high level of usage of the shelter in April, but a steady decline since, though this pattern is similar to last year's.
Other evidence about positive effects, such as families being more able to buy food, remains anecdotal. Over the next two months in-depth surveys of the community will get a "more systematic feel" for the progress of the trial, says Dr Crundall.
Meanwhile, Mr Gill says in DASA talks with licensees are "some very encouraging signs".
DASA supports the immediate introduction of container deposit legislation as a way of dealing with glass litter from broken fortified wine and spirit bottles.

Come and join us ... please! COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.

I have already dedicated one of these columns to the subject of soccer, so I promise that I won't do it again (much). But indulge me one tale.
On many weekends during the seventies, I spent Saturday afternoons watching my home-town football team. Inevitably, they would score the first goal of the game early in the second half, enabling us to spend the rest of the match singing songs to taunt the travelling supporters of the visiting team. And they say that blood sports should be outlawed.
Anyway, one of these songs involved the repeated singing of the sentence, "Come and join us, come and join us, come and join us over here".
This was a charming ditty which was easy to learn and very popular, especially for adult men who had not developed the full range of human emotions.
The implication was that those poor visiting losers would have a much better time if they simply joined our happy throng of winners.
There might be an excuse for under-evolved soccer fans to think this way, but this kind of attitude all too often clouds the way in which we think of life in Central Australia.
Of course, WE might like it here, but there's no point going on about how wonderful it is to a bunch of people who are quite happy with their own part of the country.
After all, around 19 million Australians choose not to live in the Territory.
This kind of self-denying promotional clap-trap seems to find its way into many facets of the Alice psyche.
It's a bit like that movie with Kevin Costner where the lead character, a poor-but-determined farmer, decides to build a baseball stadium in the middle of the Great Plains. The film was called "Field of Dreams".
Anyway, our wholesome Kev kept hearing voices telling him that "if you build it, they will come". In this case, "they" were the talented baseball stars of yesteryear. And, this being a movie, they did come to play a classic game in the stadium that he constructed.
But Alice Springs is not Hollywood. Just because you build a community in the middle of the continent, doesn't mean that anyone will want to spend more than a coach tour here. Unless it's their home, of course.
Take recruitment. Even in my short time as a fish out of water, I have met quite a few people whom I have tried to persuade to come to the Alice to live. I like it here, so why shouldn't they?
My organization is ambitious, national and non-government and needs specialised people to help us expand. But it is very difficult to find them.
Waxing lyrical about the joys of life despite being 1500km from the sea and far from an endless choice of consumer goods, simply doesn't work.
Let's look at some of the reasons why recruitment to the Centre is a tough assignment.
These are the same reasons that successful recruitment agencies in the Alice deserve some good reviews.
First of all, explain how desirable the Centre is and people often think about how the Top End sounds better. It's tropical and warm all year round (if you ignore the humidity). And it has sea. Lot's of it. It's hard to dispute that.Another reason is that the Centre is too expensive. Not only to get here or to get away (although they are costly enough) but to actually live. Look at rents or house prices. A potential recruit who arrives the day before the interview and takes the opportunity to look at property prices during the afternoon, comes in the next day in a state of shock.
To take another example, some people say that the things that they like to do cannot be found here.
Of course, if you like Indigenous culture, or the beautiful bush landscape, desert wildlife and rockholes, or fitness clubs, videos and takeaway pizza (hands up), then this is the place for you. It may be a thriving town, but some pastimes are hard to find. Another observation is that the Alice seems a bit scary.
This depends on your disposition and which street corners you choose to stand on, but it certainly has an impact on people during that crucial first evening before they meet their prospective new employers.
Or, it could be that the town is distant. Not in kilometre terms, but in its relation to mainstream Australian. Not such a bad thing, I reckon. The strength of local languages and the fact that they are heard everywhere in the streets of the Central Business District is one of the best things about the Alice.
But mix this with the tourism and the place can seem at times more transient and multicultural than Melbourne.This can be a surprise to someone who is already far from his or her own climate, culture and surroundings.
One reaction to all this could be, who cares? After all, the town is short of building land.
It's a nice size already and doesn't need any more growth spurts. If people don't like it, let them stay down south, you could say.
Let's have colourful bush characters, not professionals on fixed-term contracts.
But that would be small-minded. The reality is that Alice Springs is an exciting place simply because it attracts people from all over the world who bring their talents with them. If people don't want to settle here, then mediocrity is the destination for the Alice.
Telling them that it's wonderful and dreamily inviting them to "come and join us" is not enough. We had better think of some more inventive ways to bring and keep people here.

Will Territory get a drink container refund scheme? COLUMN by GLENN MARSHALL.

At the Show last year, the Arid Lands Environment Centre handed out five cents for every drink bottle and can brought to us near sideshow alley, to gauge the level of public interest in a permanent scheme.
We received 8,000 containers in eight hours, picked off the ground by kids eager to raise extra cash for rides. This reduced litter significantly and deferred seven cubic metres of (uncompacted) containers from the tip.
This year we didn't repeat the exercise, disappointing at least two kids who stopped me in sideshow alley asking if I was giving money for cans again. The lesson is clear Ð there is an army of young (and older) volunteers in Alice Springs ready to pick up rubbish if the incentive is right, leaving our streets cleaner and encouraging an enterprising spirit in those taking part.The NT may soon have a permanent container refund scheme (like that in South Australia), pending a decision soon by the NT government through Minister Kon Vatskalis.
There are two competing influences on his decision. On one side is the general public who regularly express over 90 per cent support for its introduction (most recently in a December, 2001 telephone survey commissioned by the Minister).
On the other side is the beverage industry, which vigorously opposes it because it may impinge on profits.
To aid his decision-making the Minister commissioned a report last year into "the level of understanding and acceptance of a Container Deposit scheme within the NT".
Disappointingly, the report, delivered in May this year, produced little new information and simply re-iterated what is already clearÐ the public wants it but industry doesn't. The report offered little new data into the cost-benefits of a scheme and recommended that "further evaluation is required on legal, financial and operational matters".The Minister needs to come out strongly on this issue, reflecting the clear wishes of the voting public and the existing evidence that the scheme will benefit the Northern Territory.
Jobs will increase due to the establishment of collection and sorting depots across the NT, including remote communities.
Litter in towns and along roadsides will be significantly reduced, as demonstrated in South Australia.
Money from unclaimed deposits (for cans that end up in the tip or elsewhere) is estimated to be worth $2 million per year in the NT.
This can be used to fund additional recycling and litter programs.
What will be the negative impacts on the beverage industry? We still don't know because aside from general statements like "jobs will be lost and sales will decrease" the industry has provided no data in the NT to support their claims.
Indeed, the May 2002 report states that "it was disappointing that national associations did not provide written submissions and it is anticipated that they will present their views directly to the Minister".
The nature of such conversations would be interesting, because large soft drink and beer companies are often generous financial supporters of political parties. Hopefully this will not sway any Ministerial decisions.
A recent example from Hawaii also demonstrates the lengths that some beverage groups will go to. During public debate on whether to introduce a refund scheme into Hawaii, a group called Hawaii Citizens for Comprehensive Recycling vigorously opposed a refund scheme through extensive media advertising.
It was later exposed that the group was entirely funded by an American soft-drink company and had no community representatives at all.ALEC is calling on the Minister to make a decision in favour of a Container Refund Scheme in the NT, and start the wheels rolling immediately so that the Territory gains the benefits of such a sensible, effective program.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Carney HIH levy claims - CLP would have hit us twice as hard, says Toyne.

Sir,- Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your draft article. Given your determination to seemingly support anything and everything the Labor Party says and does, while rejecting anything the CLP has done, or will do, it would be pointless of me to attempt to correct the mistakes you have made in the facts you have presented in the article [Alice News, July 3].
Jodeen Carney MLA
Alice Springs
ED Ð The Alice News is happy to leave on the table its invitation to Ms Carney to substantiate her claims, including the ones in this letter.

Sir,- Ms Carney's comments on the financial management of the Martin Government (see last week's Alice News) smack of the CLP incompetence that left Territorians with a $107 million budget black hole.
The Martin Government has committed to turning around the CLP budget legacy and will legislate to ensure the way the budget is handled in future is up to standard and free of political manipulation. This legislation will ensure budget estimates are open to public scrutiny and follow the uniform framework of other States.
As we have come to expect from the CLP they are again being untruthful in talking about extra federal funding.
The expected additional funding to be granted to the Territory is in the order of $74 million, not the $150 million the CLP are bandying about. This funding is not a windfall but given in recognition of the extra cost of providing health, education and policing to remote areas.When you consider the $3 billion of Territory debt left by the CLP the extra funds granted by the Federal Government pale into insignificance.The CLP government introduced and passed legislation allowing a levy to be imposed on employers to cover the liability caused by the collapse of HIH, which is expected to amount to about $40 million.The Martin Government has moved to keep this burden as low as possible on Territory businesses by committing to shoulder close to half this cost, having already contributed $9 million, and will commit a further estimated $800, 000 per year.This is far more than the CLP committed to doing. Under the CLP businesses may have been forced to pay an eight per cent levy rather than the current four per cent.
The HIH levy is not a tax to the Government but a scheme to protect those affected by the collapse of HIH, and an issue that has impacted on every Australian jurisdiction.Territorians can look forward to responsible and open economic management by the Martin Government.
Dr Peter Toyne MLA
Minister for Central Australia

Sir,- Beware BANKS!
Let this letter be a warning to unsuspecting ANZ customers. I have a savings account at the local Alice Springs branch, into which is deposited a fortnightly amount of $100.
There is no cheque book attached, it is purely your straight forward savings account.
So imagine my shock when I went to check my balance to find it nearly $60 in debit!"In debit?" I said to the teller, "it can't be"
I explained that if I don't have enough money in the account, then I can't get the money out, how can it possibly be in debit?
According to my receipt I have two overdrawn fees.
Well, get ready for this folks. If you don't request that your savings account be limited to the money you have in it, you can go ahead and spend more but you get a $29 overdrawn fee and the banks clap their hands in glee. Another sucker.
In my case, I was aware my account had only $9 in it when I had previously checked, but as I was expecting the $100 to be deposited, I'd gone and bought some shoes to the value of $79, and the bank let me.
The transaction for the shoes I bought went through the normal eftpos and instead of the machine saying transaction declined, which it does with my other bank account, my transaction went through EVEN THOUGH MY ACCOUNT HAD INSUFFICIENT FUNDS, and I was charged $58 in fees. My account would have kept on charging me overdrawn fees with each additional withdrawal.
I was incensed over what to me was scandalous profiteering of unsuspecting customers. I felt robbed. I expect those fees to be refunded to my account right now, I said to the customer service teller.
I waited at the counter while there was some consulting with the bank manager who sits in a glass (bullet proof) office safely protected from the wrath of customers such as me, and who has too many appointments to see me.
The teller returned to advise me that my money would be returned to me and that a limit would be set on my account preventing me from spending more than what was in it.
Well, don't get complacent like I was, there is more to this story. Fast forward another fortnight and I innocently deposit $60 into my savings account. My receipt says I have only $29. Well, what have we here? Another fee? Two fees? The bank had let me AGAIN overdraw $1. For which the bank got $29.
The reason this happened for the second time: Melbourne had only processed one of six people's requests for limits.
Oh, and the bank manager said I should know how much is in my account. Pass the buck, pardon the pun, and give the buck back!
Where is my BUCK? I'll sort it out for you by tomorrow, says the customer service teller.
I've been standing at the counter for 25 minutes, I've been ignored by one teller for requesting that I just have my $60 returned to me and now I have to wait for tomorrow for my money to be returned to my account.I was late for my appointments for the rest of the day.
Moral of the story? There isn't one because we're talking about a bank!
Karen Unsworth
Alice Springs

Sir,- I reply to an Alice News article on June 5, regarding the perceived lack of quality accommodation to service the new Alice Springs Convention Centre.Accor has recognized the potential of the new centre and now, as Australia's Ð and the world's Ð largest hotels and tourism operator, also manages The Alice Springs Outback Inn Resort (formerly the Vista).
Following a major refurbishment (already commenced) this property will be rebranded to Novotel Outback Alice Springs later in 2002, reaping the benefits of global branding.The following information should allay any fears of the Convention Centre not having accommodation within walking distance to cater to four star delegates:The hotel will join a network of 22 Novotel hotels and resorts in Australia, and a global network of over 350 Novotels.
It will be Accor's third hotel in Alice Springs and fifth in the Northern Territory (Accor also has hotels in Darwin and Katherine).
The Novotel Outback Alice Springs is owned by three major tourism figures, all extensively involved in Northern Territory tourism: Andrew Burnes, Angie Reidy and Brian Measey.
The 140 room hotel is located at the foothills of the McDonnell Ranges, a short drive to the town centre.
The refurbishing and upgrading will complement the recent launch of the Alice Springs Convention Centre, opposite the hotel.
Accor is one of the leading operators in the meetings, incentives and convention sector and will work closely with the centre to attract more domestic and international business to the world-class facility.I hope this information is of interest to your readers.
Cynthia Dammerer
PR Manager Accor WA/NT

Sir,- The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs is to hold an inquiry into ways of building the capacity of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders to better manage the delivery of services to their communities at the local and regional level.
The issue of capacity building is one of the most important issues for Indigenous communities today.
I would encourage any person, group or organisation with views on this matter to make a submission to the Committee.This inquiry gives Indigenous people as well as those concerned with this issue a chance to make a contribution to finding real and effective ways to build capacity in indigenous communities.
The Committee's report will go some way to informing Government policy. Governments must now acknowledge that any efforts to reduce Indigenous disadvantage are more likely to succeed if Indigenous people have a central role in the design and delivery of government services.
Being in partnerships with governments places additional responsibilities on communities.
They require effective local leadership and decision-making processes that are relevant and deliver improvements for community members. Communities need stable and viable organisations and councils that have competent staff, adequate infrastructure and that can deliver effective corporate governance and financial accountability.
The committee, of which I am a long-term member, wants to hear from people living in both the urban and the regional and remote areas of the Territory.
It's important that we hear from a wide range of people to ensure the Committee's recommendations representative and effective.After receiving written submissions the committee will visit places around Australia, almost certainly including visits to parts of Lingiari.
Warren Snowdon,
Member for Lingiari


Rodeos are part of Outback culture and Alice Springs should have one.
When two young rodeo fans saw that we didn't, they were appalled, especially in this Year of the Outback.Judy Debney and Regan Liddle have grown up in the Outback Ð Judy on stations around the Territory, Regan in Alice Ð and they've got its fabled grit and determination in spades.
Regan was an off-sider for cousin, Rachel Perkins, during last year's Yeperenye Federation Festival, but otherwise the two are new-comers to event organisation.
They talked through their plans with Enterprising Territorians, a support organisation created by young people for young people, aiming to overcome social and intellectual isolation.
With ET's encouragement, in just six months, Judy and Regan have raised the sponsorship needed to stage the $30,000 occasion, which includes $10,500 in total prize monies.
They're expecting top competitors of the Australian rodeo circuit to come, as they've registered the event with the Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) and participating in it will contribute to championship points.
APRA was also able to offer an affordable insurance package Ð indispensable at present when many community events are collapsing because of exorbitant public liability costs.
The pair are fun-lovers: Regan describes herself as an adrenalin-seeker, just looking for a chance to ride a bucking bull; Judy is less keen on gambling life and limb, but she's looking forward to the party.
"It's all about the community coming together, just like they do for the Finke Desert Race," says Judy.
"People might not know much about bikes, but they enjoy the race and the whole weekend."
But apart from putting on a good time, the young women also want to do some good: any money raised will be donated to organisations working to prevent youth suicide.
In the last year Judy has known or known of four young men who have killed themselves, while Regan has had a family member commit suicide.
"There's a lot of ignorance out there about depression and the way it might lead someone to kill him or herself," says Regan."People need to be educated about it and we'd like to contribute to that."
Apart from money made on the bar, they are also planning to hold a charity "Ride for Life" with all proceeds going to the cause.The rodeo is scheduled for August 17. The pair are looking for volunteers to help in the lead-up and on the night. Ring Judy 0438 272 188, or Regan, 0411 325 646.
Pictured: Local dare devil Steven Groves in 1989.


Pioneer players thought they were still at the knock Ôem down stall at the Show where every player wins a prize on Sunday: their match against the Blues was the only scheduled game for Round 10, and they only struck form in the second half.
At the final siren Pioneer had won the game by 63 points, 21.10 (136) to 10.13 (73).Although the scoreboard showed Pioneers almost doubling the Blues score, the game was not a lay down misere from the first bounce.
Respective stars Sherman Spencer and Trevor Dhu got each of the teams on the board with early goals. But then the going was tough for a good 15 minutes before the Eagles could break the Blues' defence.
Dhu and then Graeme Smith and Ezra Bray scored late goals while Leo Jarrah and Spencer countered with majors.
Interestingly Bray in his first match on Traeger since his childhood, didn't dominate early, but did produce enough, including his goal, to reveal that he has developed as a player in Victoria.
A mere goal separated the teams at the first break, and Rovers appeared to have the ability to smother the break-aways attempted by Pioneer.The Eagles then had a five goals to four second quarter. A highlight of the session was the high marking exhibited around the ground, making for entertaining football.
At the bottom of the packs, however, Pioneer had the running players to carry the ball goalwards. Dhu snared an early goal while it was Smith, Nathan Pepperill, and Geoff Taylor who sank the slipper in deep and registered goals. At the big break only 11 points separated the teams thanks to some determined play from Rovers, Clinton Ngalken and a new comer Nigel Boltwin. The Blues found Malcolm Kenny in touch to score a fine goal, while big Leo Jarrah proved an ideal target with three consecutive goals.Come the third quarter Pioneers seemed to lift a notch or two and create pathways through the Rover defence. While the Blues kicked 2.3, with the goals coming from Oliver Wheeler and Jarrah, Pioneers rattled on 6.3 and so established a 35-point buffer at orange time.
The performance of Bray was worth noting at this point of the game as time and again he set up creative passages which were simply too slick for his colleagues. The Pioneer machine, however, did produce the goods in this term without fuss. Martin Hagan hit his straps with three handy goals, Bray increased his tally to two, and the long striding Craig Turner dominated at centre half forward and goaled. Another to show his improvement was Rury Liddle, who put one between the big sticks.
The quarter simply broke the Rover system, and in the run home the Blues were no match for Pioneer. The Eagles booted a further 6.4 while Rovers scored a meagre 1.6.
Ben Stephens opened the Pioneers account with a goal, followed by goals from Dhu, Smith, Turner, Dhu again, and finally Joel Campbell. The Blues literally staggered to the final siren with Kasman Spencer providing the only ray of sunshine with a fine goal.Trevor Dhu finished the day with five goals, and both Hagan and Smith contributed three each. In looking at best players once again Graeme Smith, who still appears to be nursing an injury, was simply the best. Craig Turner put together four consistent quarters and the regulars Geoff Taylor, Aaron Kopp and Wayne McCormack once again did their jobs quietly but effectively.For the Rover side Jarrah bagged five goals, and both Oliver Wheeler and Sherman Spencer scored two goals. Max Fejo played a strong game as did Edric Coulthard and Nigel Bolten.On Sunday CAFLwill return to two scheduled A Grade games. Rovers will have a chance to recoup their confidence in the game against South. The Roos have the players to be a premiership threat, however have not put their game together very often this season.
In the late game Federal and West will do battle. Westies have enjoyed a dream start to the season, having won five out of their seven encounters. This week they should be at full strength but may be looking for match practice as the draw has limited their performances in the last month. Despite this the Bloods should prove to have too many guns for a Federal side who are clutching at straws to make sure a full complement run onto the field each week.


For many the Alice Springs Show provides the one day of the year when they over-indulge in fairy floss, waffles and side show alley. For others, however, the Show is far from a whimsical romp through Blathers-kite Park.People with horses are one such group.The bumper stickers bluntly state that "Poverty is owning a horse": plenty of dollars are needed to participate in the horse game.
Feed can be $50 a week for a horse.
A visit from Trevor Wapples, the farrier, every five or six weeks can run up a bill of $70; and worming is of the order of $20 a treatment.
Putting the expenses of a horse aside, the rider also needs a fist full of dollars for saddlery ($2,000), riding clothes ($500), and boots that can cost anywhere up to $1000. Add to this an investment of $20,000 on a horse float.
Not a bad outlay for people who are really only in the sport for the love of horses and maybe a laurel of ribbons!
Entering a horse in the Show is also very time-consuming. Each day starts at about 5am in below zero temperatures. The owner needs to round up the trusty charge and feed it, before sprucing it into tip-top condition. This may involve a complete bath, prior to the tedious job of plaiting the mane and tail, which can take over an hour.
With the horse presentable, the rider must then ensure that he or she is also ready. They often dress themselves in their riding gear first and then put on a set of loose fitting clothes, which can be soiled while preparing the horse.
Once at the Showground. with all manner of supplementary feed and equipment, the rider continues their total preoccupation with the horse, both in its events and between times.
More often than not the rider's parents and friends are cajoled into assisting.By the end of the day, at least 12 hours since the preparation began, packing up, undoing of plaits, and re-stabling of the horse has to be completed before any thought is given to bedtime.
This year at the 43rd Alice Springs Show riders were rewarded for their performances, with little real consideration from the toffee apple-licking Show goers, as to how much time and money had gone into this time-honoured Show Day attraction.
In the Puissance, Emily Murray was able to have her mount jump the high bar most successfully, while at the other end of the spectrum in the Led Gelding class Michelle Beatty took the event with an aptly named competitor, Gordon Tallis.The Champion Pony Hack was taken out by Willowcroft Pageant whose 14 year old rider hails from Griffith in the Riverina.
How come a rider from Griffith enters the Alice Show one asks? Interestingly the Parker family who show Willowcroft Pageant combine their passion for horses with a side show enterprise they run for their livelihood and hence they follow the national Show circuit.After many years as the bridesmaid of the Show ring, 2002 proved to be one of triumph for local Shirley Stanes who took out the Champion Lady Rider on Peace River Africa.
In the Champion Gent Rider the award went the way of Andrew Sims who normally competes as a stock rider but this year rode Psycho to victory.
The strong showing by Brooke Morley, Kate Avery and Emma Hall verified the value of the re-introduced Pony Club in Alice Springs. Meredith Joseland, Bob Avery, Lindsay Morley and Trish Campbell have been instrumental in having youngsters learn the ropes of the Show through structured learning at the Pony Club.Another sector to compete in this year's Show were the Riding for the Disabled. Star of the Show in this section was four year old Jack Butler on Amber.Adding to the status of the Show was the presence of three interstate judges who not only decided the ribbon winners but also conducted specialist classes on Sunday.
Barbara Vial came to the Centre from Milton, NSW; and Merrilyn Hamilton Smith from Melbourne, along with the ever-popular John Patterson, whose expertise is in Show Jumping.Most who went to the Show were home, fireside, and in front of the TV by seven o'clock, resting mind and body. For the riders and horses from the Alice Springs Show, many chores still had to be completed!


After a month of uncertainty at the helm, the Alice Springs Festival now has a new director, Di Mills, previously employed as production manager for Outback Central.
Her appointment was made official last week, just seven weeks out from the launch of the festival on August 23.
Ms Mills is being employed by Wana Ungkunytja, the project managers for Outback Central.
The festival committee is silent on the reasons for the replacement of Harriet Gaffney, who was announced as director in early June. Ms Gaffney is now working for the Darwin Festival.
Ms Mills is enthusiastic and confident about the festival program taking shape, but on Monday she did not yet know what funds she would have at her disposal to support key events.
In particular, a question mark remains over the participation of Red Dust Theatre.
Their production of "Train Dancing" was a highlight of last year's festival and the only part of its program to go into the national arena, making history for the performing arts in Alice Springs when they were invited to be part of the main program of this year's Adelaide Festival.
On Monday it was still unclear if any of Red Dust's three projects would be sufficiently funded to go into production.
In any case, a decision to support them will come so late that it may not be possible to find creative talent in time to rehearse to the high standard set by "Train Dancing".
Funding challenges are also faced by the festival's closing event, Desert Song, featuring Indigenous choirs from remote communities, which thus far has received only a portion of its budget.
Outsite, the national sculpture prize that was launched during last year's festival by Watch This Space, may now be held outside of the festival program. Outsite did not receive full funding either, on top of which WTS has yet to fill its coordinator's position.
Ms Mills says Outback Central can offer events a lot of "in kind" support, including use of the office facilities where she is based (old Repco building, diagonally opposite K-mart), as well as the benefits of joint promotion and marketing.
Clive Scollay, Executive Director of Outback Central, told the Alice News he was "reasonably confident that there would be enough money in the overall budget to ensure a good program" for the festival, which he said had always been seen as "integral" to the official Year of the Outback events in Alice.
But to date the money is not flowing.
There is some good news, however.
The festival will see the launch of two new arts spaces. One, photographer Mike Gillam's Silver Bullet Gallery at 4 Hele Crescent, will officially open with a collaborative exhibition by Gillam and sculptor Dan Murphy.
The gallery takes its name from the transportable housing once widely in use in the Outback and affectionately known as "silver bullets" because of their metallic outer shell. Gillam's particular specimen was in use as a classroom on a remote community and children's paintings on some windows have been carefully preserved.
The second space, romantically named "My Promised Land" by owner Matt Yates, is offering itself during the festival as an alternative venue for people to hang out at Ð "a music venue, community arts space, a cultural precinct, a lounge bar, with a fire circle out back" Ð located at 5 Stuart Terrace.
For the rest of the year, it will function as a jazz bar and will also be available for hire to hold exhibitions, workshops, for artists in residence and so on.
CAAMA has two "Live to Air" shows scheduled for the festival's opening weekend: the first, a showcase for local talent, live in their studios and via broadcast on 8KIN-FM.
The second will promote the "Last Camel Train" CD being released on the CAAMA label, featuring among others, Ted Egan and Warren Williams.
The Festival Club is set to go ahead at the Alice Springs Resort, with an array of music, dance, poetry Ð Ms Mills says the proposals are pouring in.
The Outback Youth Film Festival is also firmly in place.
It will run as a competition, open to any youth (up to 25 years) living and/or studying in Outback Australia, submitting short screen work of any form completed since December 1, 2000.
There are three main categories: student, professional and amateur. Entries must be in by 12 August 2002. The entries will be screened over three nights (Aug 24-26), while workshops, forums and presentations will happen during the day at Witchetty's.
A story-telling evening is being coordinated by Lucy Skoss, bringing together a number of story-tellers including Jacinta Price and Dick Kimber as well as Skoss herself.
The Wearable Art Awards, in three categories, each attracting a prize of $1000, are drawing a lot of interest. And it looks like one of the judges will be Deputy PM, John Anderson. (PM John Howard will have visited the weekend before during the national Youth Muster.)
Carnivale Feva "an all inclusive street parade of culture" leads into The Wildfire Weekend, which closes the festival.Apart from Desert Song, the weekend will feature a writers' event, "Words on Fire", hosting acclaimed Indigenous author Kim Scott and launching the novel, "Bantam", by Alice-based author Terry Whitebeach and her son Michael Brown.
This list if far from comprehensive and in particular doesn't include many of the visiting attractions. There will be a lot on, despite the funding and organisational hiccups to date.
Ms Mills says the community will make it happen.
"I'm amazed at the sense of ownership of this festival. I've been around a lot of festivals over the last decade and I haven't come across it to this degree.
"There's a passionate group of people out there who will ensure that 'their festival' is a great festival."

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