August 3, 2006. This page contains all major reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

Power and Water seems to have a golden opportunity for a 10 year plan to move the Alice power station away from where it is causing a noise and smell nuisance close to residential areas.
All eight of the Ron Goodin Power Station’s piston engines will reach the end of their life within 10 years, some of them within just three years.
Of the three replacement engines bought so far, all of them turbine powered, the Titan, set up outdoors, is causing noise so serious that Power and Water is currently accommodating one Range Crescent family in a local luxury hotel until a solution is found.
Power and Water boss Kim Wood describes the noise levels as “unacceptable” and the NT Government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it has given “advice” to Power and Water, owned by the NT Government, “on the levels of sound attenuation that will be required to keep noise below the nuisance threshold”.
Mr Wood says if the fitting of sound dampening baffles scheduled for October is not successful, in the event of “continuing unacceptable noise levels, Power and Water will consider other options, including the possibility of relocating the Titan”.
A logical new location would be Brewer Estate, well outside the town, on the South Stuart Highway, an industrial complex owned by the NT Government and already home to a private power station.
Mr Wood says “Power and Water currently has no plans to relocate the Ron Goodin Power Station”.
Clearly, a decision is likely to depend on the pressure Alice Springs is able to bring to bear on the NT Government which is currently planning a second power station in Darwin.
The time seems right for liberating the long suffering residents in the Golf Course Estate from the noise and smell emanating from the power station since the advent of the turbines, far more intrusive than the piston motors running when the subdivision was opened up.
The power station’s five Mirrlees and three Pielstick engines can run on diesel or gas. They are mounted on massive concrete foundations not needed for turbine engines which also require less maintenance.
However, with the rise of fuel prices, state-of-the-art piston engines may be a better deal than turbines.
The replacement cost of the generation hall in the event of a shift to Brewer Estate, not counting the motors and generators, is probably $20m.
The super heavy foundations required by the old machines would not be needed.
Even if, because of their fuel efficiency, new piston engines were installed, medium size foundations would suffice.
Shifting the Titan, which is on wheels, wouldn’t take much, but getting the electricity to the consumer is another question.
Mr Wood says the cost moving the Titan to Brewer Estate plus running new lines would be around $12m, while relocating “the entire power station could cost many times that amount”.
Generation manager in Alice Springs Jean-Luc Revel says because of the present power station’s proximity to the town, all that’s needed is a distribution network. But if the major generation capacity were to be moved to Brewer, then a 66,000 volt transmission line may be needed, with a sub-station close to town from which the distribution lines would fan out.
Interstate noise consultants were hired, says Mr Wood, because “the Department [of Environment] advised they do not conduct work of this nature, as their policy is to respond to complaints from the public”.
Meanwhile it is understood that a complaint has been lodged, and an officer of the department is now taking sound readings.
It is also not clear why the consultants’ report refers to the “average” noise of the Titan and not to noise peaks, and how much that average noise is above the background noise (Alice News, July 27).
Territory authorities, apparently in the absence of definitive local legislation, are guided by noise laws and regulations in NSW.
In that state “intrusive noise” is defined as noise which for any 15 minute period is five decibels or more louder than the background noise.
The NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 sets the following penalties for noise offenders:-
• In the case of a corporation, a penalty not exceeding $1m and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further penalty not exceeding $120,000 for each day the offence continues.
• In the case of an individual, a penalty not exceeding $250,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further penalty not exceeding $60,000 for each day the offence continues.
Mr Wood has told the Alice Springs News about the question of average and peak noises: “I will have our generation people clarify the matter with the consultant, then give you a response as soon as it is available.”

Centrecorp Aboriginal Investment Company is part of the Peter Kittle Motor Company expansion into South Australia.
A member of the Centrecorp board, Imparja chief Owen Cole, confirmed the corporation’s involvement in a brief phone interview.
Alice News: We understand that Peter Kittle Motor Company is undergoing a significant expansion in Adelaide, buying two more Toyota dealerships. We’re wondering  if Centrecorp is involved with that expansion?
Owen Cole: Centrecorp is involved with Peter Kittle so that tells you.
News: What is the advantage of that investment for Aboriginal people in  Central Australia – it won’t create opportunities for employment here, will it?
Cole: Blind Freddy could tell you what the advantage is. It’s a commercial  decision.
If the News could take over The Australian you’d do it. What’s the difference?
News: The issues aren’t the same. There’s high unemployment amongst Aboriginal people in the Centre. Why doesn’t Centrecorp [founded as charitable institution to invest mining, oil and gas royalties on behalf of the Aboriginal people to whom they are due] focus on investments that create employment opportunities?
Cole: We do.
News: In what ways?
Cole: In obvious ways. You just have to look. Why don’t you employ Aboriginal people?
News: We would if they came through the door and were qualified.
Cole: There you go. I’ve got nothing more to say.

A good tourist season has breathed optimism into the Mall, with most traders the Alice News spoke to upbeat about their business.
And CATIA chair Lynne Peterkin says there’ve been “reasonable rises across the board”.
She says compared with last July tour company figures are up by as much as 15 per cent and car hire companies are up 10 per cent.
Accommodation figures “vary so much” but in July Ms Peterkin’s own bed and breakfast Orangewood, was up 20 per cent from last July.
“Most people I’ve been speaking to have forward bookings until mid November which is very good,” says Ms Peterkin, explaining the boost by big conferences and the Masters Games.
But she says the backpacker market is still flat and some tour operators have reported their figures have levelled out.
“It’s because there are a lot more self drivers and so they’re not taking tours. While the rise in the cost of fuel hasn’t stopped caravanners on their annual trek north chasing the sun, they’re not spending as much on other things.
“The fuel prices have not stopped the numbers coming but indications are they’re not spending as much when they’re here.”
Conferences bring extra custom to The Dressing Room, says manager, Patsy Hayes. 
“The conferences at the Convention Centre help me through: there was a principals one this week and the nurses one recently helped too.”
The Red Dog Café has seen “at least a 20 per cent increase in customers”, says Chris Brandso.
“Last year we were doing good each morning and at weekends, now we’re busy all day.
“The events like the truckies conference meant we had big days last year: this year it’s steadier which I think is better.”
Starting a shop website last year has paid dividends over the last six months, says Pam Hooper, proprietor of Don Thomas Saddlery.
“At first it was a bit light on but over the past six months we get thousands of hits a day.
“We’ve got a good solid local base but the website really has worked well for overseas orders across the world from Japan to California.
“This year we’ve had lots more interest on saddlery items and horse care items. I think people are after anything different from around the world.”
“We haven’t got around to a website yet, that’s the next thing to do,” says Hans Boessem, manager of the Todd Camera Store.
“We’re having a better year than last year. People aren’t spending more money but there are more people coming through. I’ve noticed a lot of Europeans. Not so many Japanese: I think they go straight to Ayers Rock now.”
The proposed runway at Yulara can only reduce business for Alice Springs, predicts Barry Dew of Alice Souvenirs who also owns Outbush and the Bush Store tourist shops.
“There are less international tourists this year. It’s hard to compare numbers of domestic tourists.
“But the tourist industry needs to sit down and get something done for Alice Springs.
“I’ve got three shops and in 20 years of trading I’ve never seen a representative of the tourist bureau.”
An unexpected number of locals are contributing to the latest internet café in town, says owner of Adventcha Net, Daniel Davis.
“Business is much better than we thought.
“We’ve had a couple of hundred people a day: mature age people, backpackers, quite a few locals. There’s a real mixture of locals and tourists.” 
Although locals make up the majority of patrons at The Lane, the number of visitors is increasing, says James Nolan.
“Tourists normally make up 30 per cent but they’re up to 35 to 40 per cent at the moment.
“Overall figures track similarly to last year,” says Mr Nolan. 
Retailers underestimate the value of tourists, says Bev Ellis of Dymocks.
“We did a survey last year and found that 35 per cent of people coming through the shop were from interstate or internationals,” says Ms Ellis who says the refurbishment of the Alice Plaza and car park has shaken up businesses in the Plaza.
“It’s difficult to use last year as a comparison because of the redevelopment. There are several vacant shops here now.” 
On the proposed beautifying of the Todd Mall by the town council, Ms Ellis says: “Any changes to the Todd Mall will be expensive and there needs to be a lot of thought about them. It needs an orderly and progressive slow approach.”  
The Plaza redevelopment hasn’t meant a significant reduction in trade at Murray Neck Music World says manager Ronnie Couturier.
“It hasn’t affected us. We’re still busy. [The redevelopment work] might be off-putting for some stores but we’ve still seen good trading.
“Figures have gone down a little but will regain in the long term.”

A committee of aldermen will investigate the tendering process for the supply of furniture to the new Civic Centre.
The Alice Springs News revealed in its issue of June 29, two days before the centre officially opened, that local traders had been frozen out of the $300,000 furniture deal.
Murray Neck Homeworld was not supplied with tender documents despite being promised them; the tender period was just seven working days; and brands and finishes nominated could not be supplied by local companies.
The tender was managed on behalf of the council by engineering firm GHD.
On Monday aldermen voted unanimously to support the investigation.
“Our specific directions were to use local and Territory companies wherever possible,” said Alderman David Koch.
“There could be good reasons why the tender went interstate. Was it supply, timing, or was it inefficiency on our part or on the part of GHD?
“The people of Alice Springs are asking for answers.”
Ald Murray Stewart said it was part of council’s charter “to ensure a fair go for Alice Springs and Territory businesses” and asked what will happen to the town “if we can’t look after our own.
“We should clear the air or if fault is found, ensure that it never happens again,” said Ald Stewart.
Ald Samih Habib, whose motion it was to form the investigative committee, said the only reason he supported to redevelopment of the Civic Centre was to “create jobs, keep the town moving”.
Answers on the tender process are necessary, he said, because “business people support us. If my daughter’s in Girl Guides, she goes to local business for support. No one else looks after us”.
Council had breached its own policy, said Ald Habib.
“Do we trust ourselves, our director and staff or not?
“People [in business] are struggling and they want answers.” 
In other council business:
Aldermen heard from Andrew Durbridge of DBL Property P/L, consultants undertaking a scoping and costing study of the proposed heated swimming pool.
Mayor Fran Kilgariff allowed some questions from the public gallery to be put to Mr Durbridge.
There was anxiety expressed that the facility may not cater for the “learn to swim” needs of the community. At present school children can only learn during terms one and four, but a heated pool would allow programs all year round. 
Mr Durbridge said the “base facility” he would be looking at is a 25m pool of uniform 2m depth, attractive for competitive swimmers and events, while “learn to swim” lanes or a separate teaching pool would be costed as an option.
A uniform 2m depth would be “totally inappropriate” for learners and their teachers, according to a speaker from the public gallery. 
Mr Durbridge said his job is to provide a “technical analysis” of all the options so that council can then make a decision.
Another speaker suggested that “council has already made a decision”, which Ms Kilgariif strongly denied.
Ald Jane Clark suggested that all user groups channel their statistics on use of the pool to the consultants through council’s works manager, Tony Cheng.
Council formalised its refusal to accept handover of the Traeger Park grandstand until the security fence issue is resolved but supported the creation of a working party together with representatives of the Territory government to review the Traeger Park masterplan.
This is with a view to providing up to date costings, recommended priorities and funding responsibilities.
A number of aldermen reiterated concern over the lack of consultation on the naming of the grandstand (see Alice News, July 20). The Territory government will hear from them on this, but before taking any other action council will wait for the results of negotiation by AFLCA with the Hayes family.

Audiences are set to fall in love all over again with Peter Finch and Virginia McKenna as the town steps back to 1956 for a celebratory screening of A Town Like Alice, marking the film’s 50th anniversary.
The film of Nevil Shute’s novel premiered in Australia at the Pioneer Theatre, now the YHA, and will be shown there again using three reels of film on the old-fashioned projector.
Guests are encouraged to dress in 1950s styles to walk down the red carpet, and film memorabilia will also be displayed.
As a young girl, Telka Williams nearly appeared in the film and she remembers the excitement of the premiere, attended by Peter Finch and Nevil Shute.
“The film was wonderful then and still is today,” says Ms Williams.
“I was working as a hairdresser in Todd Street at the time it was being filmed, and I and an apprentice friend of mine were extras.
“All the cars had to leave the road and there was just a horseman riding down Todd Street.
“We had to walk across the road three or four times or so.
“On the night of the premiere we were sitting on the edge of our seats waiting to see ourselves.
“But the humorous part was we had been cut and didn’t end up in the film at all! We were very disappointed.
“I remember it was a cold night and I took my pillow to the theatre. We sat in the back half and it was packed.” 
The irony of the film is that Alice Springs only features in the last seven minutes of the movie. But it is the unforgettable romance of the outback story (based on a real-life adventure) which has made Alice Springs the most famous town of its size in the world.
Locals may remember a screening in 1999 for the Cancer Council when Virginia McKenna visited Alice Springs for the first time.
On August 16 at 7pm. Tickets available from Dymocks, the YHA and the National Trust. All profits will be donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, as they were at the premiere (when $25,000 was raised).

The sound of hip hop booms through the corridors of Alice Springs High School.
I open the studio door and am faced with a scene like from the dance movie Fame.
A large group of male and female students dressed in colourful funky clothes step forward in formation, pumping their arms and sharply moving their head left and right.
They’re led by Gerard Veltre, a hip hop dancer, choreographer and director from Melbourne (pictured with student Brittany Mather).
The music cuts and the class relaxes.
“I’m so proud of you guys!” says Veltre as he claps his hands and shares some last minute advice: it’s the last time the class will meet him.
The workshop is one of a series teaching hip hop dance and music organised by Incite Youth Arts.
“It’s been a really special experience,” says Veltre.
“It’s one thing teaching in Melbourne and Sydney but to have the opportunity to meet with students from Alice Springs and teach at Yipirinya, an Aboriginal school, is a real privilege.
“People here know hip hop and they’re very cool dancers.
“We’re not really teaching but sharing and developing youth culture so it stays in the community when we leave.
“It’s about nursing artists to be community teachers, like Brittany.” 
Brittany Mather from OLSH College is a mentor for the program which means she’s been helping groups in different schools learn hip hop routines.
The plan is for her to carry on the work that Veltre has done.
“I’m like an assistant to Gerard,” says Brittany. 
“I used to go to dance classes, now I do it on my own.
“Being a mentor is good experience. I’ve learnt heaps from Gerard: he’s older and a very good dancer.”
Hip hop music workshops are being held this Friday and next Wednesday and Friday (August 9 and 11) at the Red Hot Arts Space.  Call 89 526338 for more info.
The program ends with a gig at The Lane, Hip Hop Up Top at 7pm, August 12, with Combat Wombat.

I am the child of a baby boomer.
I know my parents are baby boomers because baby boomers have embraced nostalgia like no other generation before or since. The music, the old cars restored and the good old days when love was free and one person could change the world.
Now I don’t have a problem with nostalgia. I do have a problem with middle aged men using nostalgia as an excuse to try and fit their middle aged buttocks into their nowhere near middle aged jeans but no problem with nostalgia itself.
All nostalgia is is a sentimental view of history. Nothing wrong with that in good measure and the baby boomer excels at it.
Being born in 1975, I fall into a classification gap. I don’t think I fit into Generation X and I’m certainly not Generation Y or E. Whatever category I fit must love a good list. We can’t get enough of lists. The top five this or the best 50 that.
I sometimes think in lists. Just like John Cusak in the film High Fidelity I am a top five freak. I can tell you my top five Sunday morning songs, my top five things to do while listening to my top five Sunday morning songs, even my top five favourite ex-girlfriends (OK maybe that’s a top four, I don’t get out much!).
With this in mind, I give you my first ever top five list published.
Here goes: Adam Connelly’s top five things he would never have done had he not moved to Alice Springs. (When written in the third person a list assumes a sense of importance. See, all bases covered.)
Number five –ridden a camel.
Sure I didn’t race one at the Camel Cup but I did get to go around the track on a lovely beast called Sam. I don’t think Sam was exactly thrilled with the idea of carrying around such a burdensome load but I had a ball.
Wel,l it is easy to say one has had a ball after the fact. Truth be told while two and a half metres above the ground on the back of an animal which up until recently I’d only seen in zoos or on television my thoughts weren’t, “Wow this is fun”. More like, “Lord Jesus, full of Grace…” Having said that, while riding a camel never quite made it on the things to do before I die list, I’m glad for the experience.
Number four – paid more rent than a mortgage.
Friends of mine just asked their bank manager for an 800,000  dollar mortgage in Sydney. $800,000!
House prices here in Alice Springs are far more sensible. A decent home in a quiet street is an obtainable goal. However, sneaky people known as landlords have figured out an ingenious ruse.
Due to the high number of people who come to the Alice for a short period of time, many of them would prefer to rent a home.
It blows my mind that the place in which I live has the same rent as a place three times bigger in a capital city. This entry also belongs on my “Adam’s top five things that get my back up” list. 
Number three – said “Too easy”.
Just as different places have different names for the same thing, so too do they have different sayings. Let’s not get started on the whole Devon, Paloni, Fritz hoohar. But I can safely say that never before moving to the Territory did I ever say “too easy”. I say it all the time now.
In Sydney it was “no worries”. My friend in Cairns says “she’s apples” but here it’s just “too easy”.
Number two – I would never have thought five hundred kilometres was close. In Sydney distance is a measure of time.
Your destination might be 25 kms away but it still might take you and hour and a half. But here we talk of Yulara being down the road.
Why do I not mind the idea of taking a day trip to the Rock here but would have never taken a day trip to Coffs Harbour or Albury?
Now for the number one thing I would have never done if I hadn’t moved to Alice Springs.
I NEVER would have drunk a beer made in Queensland. Drinking a cane toad beer in Sydney is like wearing maroon on State of Origin night. Inconceivable! Treason of the highest order.
A cardinal sin. But here in the Territory, it’s like a neutral zone. It’s like the Switzerland of beer. And on a hot stinking day in February, there’s no place like Switzerland.

The following is an edited version of a statement released on Monday by Gregory Andrews, now Assistant Secretary, Communities Engagement, in the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination in Canberra.

Sir,– On 21 June I appeared on Lateline’s program about child abuse and other social problems at Mutitjulu community near Uluru. The ABC asked me to appear because they knew of my former work with the Mutitjulu Working Together Project.
I decided to speak to Lateline because of my deep concern for the victims.
I decided that I would only appear anonymously because when I spoke out during the NT Coronial Inquest into the deaths of two petrol sniffers I was threatened with violence and intimidated on a number of occasions. This abuse extended to harassment of my wife and me when we were in hospital with our new-born son.
[I also wanted] media attention to focus on the issue, not on me.
Most of the media have respected my privacy. But the release of information about me [by some] has put [me and] my family in danger. I have been threatened and have endured persistent harassing phone calls and emails. Offensive faxes have been sent to me containing defaced photographs of me.
I have had to seek the assistance of the police, change my telephone numbers, and temporarily move residence.
Some print media and others have sought to discredit my integrity and credibility. The threats and character assassination have been difficult enough for me and my family. What is worse is the message sent to disempowered Indigenous Australians about what might happen if they stand up for their and their children’s basic human rights.
Gregory Andrews

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