August 2, 2007. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

Native title compensation sought over town of Alice. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Aboriginal interests in Alice Springs are understood to be investigating opportunities for a native title compensation claim over sections of the town.
It is likely to focus on land that has been developed after passage of the Racial Discrimination Act in 1975.
Possibly affected are most outlying suburbs such as Larapinta, the new Eastside, part of the Northside and the Golf Course Estate.
The titles remain secure and no-one will lose their land.
But if claims succeed, compensation will be paid by the Federal or the Territory Governments, depending on who caused the “extinguishment” of native title rights through, for example, real estate development.
The Territory attained self-government in 1976.
In May 2002 the Federal Court’s Justice Olney determined that the organization Lhere Artepe would be the body corporate for the Arrernte native title holders in the municipal area of Alice Springs.
The organization has 10 members from each of the three moieties in the town, and there are an estimated 300 to 500 native title holders.
Any compensation application would be heard by the Federal Court.
Several compensation applications have been lodged in Australia.
There was also a determination in NSW that no compensation be paid (to the Barkandji people).
The first compensation claim was heard by the Federal Court over the Ayers Rock Resort township of Yulara.
The claim failed because the applicants were not able to convince the court that they had an association with the land resulting in native title rights.
While the NT Government fought the native title claims over Yulara and Darwin, it did not contest the existence of native title in Alice Springs, but contested the extent of native title and some areas claimed.
Justice Olney accepted some of that evidence from the NT (see the white and green areas on the map).
The Alice News understands the preparation of a compensation claim would be highly complex.
Any land on which all native title rights were extinguished prior to 1975 would not be subject to compensation. (An exception would be previous acts done by the Commonwealth amounting to acquisition of property not on just terms.)
The remaining land would need to be examined, title by title, to judge whether a partial extinguishment had taken place prior to 1975, leaving only some native title rights intact.
All of the Alice Springs municipality was at some time, prior to 1975, a pastoral lease, extinguishing some native title rights throughout.
Where further extinguishment of rights surviving the pastoral lease took place after 1975, for example, by developing a suburb, some compensation may be ordered by the Federal Court.
Some other leases may have been granted prior to 1975, which grant exclusive possession, in which case no native title rights survived, and no claim for compensation can be made.
It is completely unclear what money value partial or full native title rights may have, as no court decision has ever been handed down.
However, the NT Government and Lhere Artepe made an agreement concerning housing land, some 80 blocks, opposite the Desert Park.
Lhere Artepe agreed to extinguish native title over the entire area to be developed, on the condition that they got about half of it.
Lhere Artepe sold its share of the land to a developer for about $1m.
All areas for future residential development have been found by the court to be subject to some native title.
Justice Olney’s ruling was that:-
• any rights legally granted to the public for the use of native title land shall continue;
• if there is a conflict between rights granted to the public and native title rights, the latter need to “yield” to the other rights;
• and “the native title rights and interests of the common law holders do not confer possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of the land and waters of the determination area on the common law holders to the exclusion of all others”.
Also, rulings by authorities, such as NT or local government, are binding on native title holders as they are on the general public, including such prohibitions as camping, littering, drinking and lighting fires.

Festival HUB space moves to town. By KIERAN FINNANE.

The Alice Desert Festival HUB Space will move this year from the banks of the Todd River to the centre of town.
The Alice News understands that youth events will be held under The Sails in Todd mall, family events on the Flynn Church lawns and other parts of the program on the Town Council lawns (asbestos clean-up permitting).
The festival program will be launched tomorrow, fittingly at The Lane.
General manager Eugene Ragghianti was trying not to give any secrets away beforehand, but the cat was already out of the bag on the visit of Barossa Valley gourmet food producer, Maggie Beer.
She will judge the Bush Foods / Wild Foods Recipe Competition, and announce the prize-winners at a special awards lunch following the competition final on Saturday, September 22. 
Ms Beer will arrive on The Ghan, bringing an ABC TV crew from The Cook and The Chef with her.
Her involvement will undoubtedly raise the profile of the Bush Foods/ Wild Foods event, which has been strengthening from year to year.
Local restaurants will take in a Culinary Challenge to create a special dish using bush food / wild food ingredients.
The much loved Wearable Arts event will again take place outside the main festival program. Always a sell-out, this year a matinee show will allow more people to see the event.
Cinema in the River will also be stand alone this year, waiting for the warmer weather (last year’s audience suffered a cold and windy night).
The street parade has reverted to the opening night, September 14, launching the festival with a carnival atmosphere.  The festival committee has obviously taken community feedback on board with this and with the relocation of the HUB Space.
The festival’s free official program will be delivered with next week’s Alice Springs News

Stand up money for real jobs? By FIONA CROFT.

People moving from CDEP to other employment and training programs will not be financially worse off,  a forum for Job Network providers in Alice Springs heard last week.
The Federal Government will pay the difference between what people get on CDEP and what they’ll get from other program payments:
“The NT transition payment will be there. If there’s a difference, payment will be available,” said Bob Harvey, from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), who fronted the meeting.
And the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) will provide capital assistance to Indigenous businesses which may start up to fill some of the gaps left by CDEP.
The department is still looking at what will happen with CDEP assets, which can include major items of equipment.
Turning around a “hopelessness about unemployment” on remote Aboriginal communities is the Federal Government’s goal in phasing out CDEP (the Community Development Employment Program) from September, said Mr Harvey.
The phase out will be complete by June 30 next year.
Over 8000 people are on CDEP in the NT.
“We’ll be looking at each of the 8000.
“We know 50% of people on CDEP don’t access all services – we would hope we could assist people to access services for the highly disadvantaged, including [services for] drug and alcohol, homelessness and family issues.”
The government’s target is to create 2000 “real jobs” and to have other people move on to mainstream programs such as STEP (Structured Training and Employment Program) and WFD (Work For the Dole) which has already begun in Imampa and Mutitjulu, doing community clean-up and building maintenance. 
About 3000 traineeships will be created across the NT, preparing Indigenous people to be able to take on many of the jobs in their communities now held by non-Indigenous people.
Mr Harvey cited an audit of 52 Territory communities which identified 3000 jobs on top of CDEP, of which 44% were held by Indigenous people. 
About 100 people attended the forum.  Many were confused and frustrated but others looked forward to the changes to take place.
Des Rogers  is running a successful security business in Alice, called Peppered Black. It employs 18 staff, 14 of whom are Indigenous, and most of those were formerly on CDEP. At Peppered Black they earn up to $1000 per week.
He asked for a “guaranteed” meeting with DEWR to discuss STEP. 
He said he was emailed the STEP guidelines and application form in February.
“I rang the DEWR office to tell them I had 30 to 40 places I could fill, and the response was to put it in an email.
“I question the capacity of your staff to deal with these changes. I can never get them on the phone.”
He said government has been the “worst culprit” for piggy-backing service jobs on CDEP and paying the top up. 
And he said the hours of work required by CDEP (15 hours a week) have never been enforced.
Said Mr Harvey: “We can give you a guarantee now we know who you are. We’re very interested in 30 to 40 placements in the case of STEP assistance for a while.”
Mr Rogers, former ATSIC regional chair, has had two businesses, employing 168 people over 15 years. Some have returned to CDEP but he’s had a high rate of stayers.
Broadly he has a positive attitude about the new changes and says Aboriginal people are very adept at change.
“CDEP changes every year. DEWR and STEP have the potential to assist Indigenous people.”
He welcomes the imminent arrival in Alice of the Aboriginal Employment Service (AES), founded by Dick Estens in Moree. 
They’ll be setting up in the refitted Uniting Church shop, next to Flynn Church.
“They’ve been operating in NSW for 10 years. There’s a lot of complacency here and I think the town needs new blood, new experience,” said Mr Rogers.
Heather Laughton, from Arrernte Council, spoke of employer resistance to putting on Indigenous people: “Some of our blackfellas stuff up and employers say, ‘yeah we’ve employed them once before’.”
Mr Harvey said employers would be approached to reassess employment of Indigenous people. He said
ANZ have indicated they have jobs available for Indigenous people; Voyages at the Ayers Rock Resort want 50 to 60 Indigenous people; 12 to 25% of employees in the mining sector are Indigenous. 
“We’ve seen significant change in corporate world,” said Mr Harvey, “a changing attitude in understanding Indigenous training issues.”
Phillip Wilyuka from Titjikala Council asked whether there would be a time limit on people undertaking their cultural obligations and ceremonies. 
“Government says they understand Aboriginal culture, but they don’t,” said Mr Wilyuka.
“If you want a couple of months, work for a period of five months to have two months off,” said Mr Harvey.
“Other people are fruit picking and do this.”
Harry Scott, CEO of Titjikala Council, was sceptical about people in the area being able to get and hold down a job, when the primary school at Titjikala has identified the average reading age of students as five. 
He also suggested that Work For the Dole have a name change: it should be called Stand Up Money as opposed to Sit Down Money.

ALP nosedives in Greatorex. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

The CLP held Greatorex in last week’s by-election with much the same vote – just over 53.5% of primary votes – but the ALP slipped to 16.5%, with independent Paul Herrick landing in second place, attracting 20.3%.
The by-election marked a new low in politics, with the CLP’s Matt Conlan, when challenged by media, failing to back away from a racist diatribe he broadcast on Radio 8HA where he had worked variously as a talk show host and reader of advertising.
And newcomer to politics Jo Nixon was sent into battle by the government party with practically no ammunition.
For example, Justice Minister Syd Stirling, in town supposedly to support Ms Nixon, announced not a youth camp, not the funding for a youth camp, but “an investigation into the proposal for a youth camp”.
Ms Nixon apparently stood in for Labor’s star recruit in 2005, Mayor Fran Kilgariff, who kept a low profile this time after surveys revealed the Government’s unpopularity.
Ms Kilgariff stock answer – right up to the week nominations closed – was “no comment” when asked whether she would stand.
Mr Herrick was tipped to be a much closer rival for Mr Conlan – further proof that independents in the NT don’t get it easy.
Mr Conlan is replacing Richard Lim, one of the old school of determined and substantial people who formed and shaped the CLP for nearly 30 years.
Dr Lim is an ethnic Chinese from Malaysia from a modest background.
He slept in a bed for the first time when he came to Australia to attend high school in Brisbane, where he went on to do medical studies.
He practised as a GP in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek and became interested in politics, first as a town council aldermen and deputy mayor.
Dr Lim was the chairman of the Alice Springs College of TAFE and brought about its amalgamation with the Sadadeen Secondary College.
He became the Member for Greatorex in 1994.
He held the seat comfortably except for 2005 when an all-out Labor push for Ms Kilgariff saw him elected with just 51.4% of the vote, after preferences, compared to the Mayor’s 48.6%.
An Asian in a town not short of xenophobia, Dr Lim gained a reputation as a hard worker for his constituents.
The count of preferences will conclude at the end of this week.
By Tuesday, the two party preferred count had Mr Conlan at 65.3% and Ms Nixon at 34.7%.
Enrolment in Greatorex is 4564 but only 3315 votes were cast – more than a quarter of the voters didn’t turn up.

Taskforce doctors to return. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Teams of doctors will return to Aboriginal communities to deliver follow-up treatment to children for health problems identified by child health checks.
The checks have been conducted as part of the Federal Government’s intervention in the Territory’s Aboriginal communities, now in its fifth week.
As of last week, 300 child health checks had been carried out in Central Australia – at Hermannsburg, Finke, Imanpa, Titjikala and Haasts Bluff. 
Teams are at Mount Liebig, Areyonga and Mutitjulu this week and more are being prepared to go out to Engawala, Ti Tree, Laramba and Docker River.
Major General David Chalmers, head of the emergency taskforce, confirmed for media in Alice Springs that there will be follow-up treatment: “I don’t know exactly when the teams of doctors will be returning – this is the strategy that is being developed now.”
He said the health checks are revealing some “trends”, informing Department of Health and Aging ‘s “long term strategy”, while individual children requiring referrals to specialists are being followed up “immediately”.
Major Chalmers denied that the taskforce is duplicating existing data with its information gathering.
He said they are building on existing capacity and information.
“There are gaps in the information, our aim to fill the gaps.”
Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough in a recent interview said
the government “is looking at innovative ways to be able to provide a long term medical intervention”.
Acknowledging the difficulty of getting enough doctors to relocate permanently to the Territory, he suggested the possibility of having “a number of doctors who rotate through a community, on an ongoing basis, so that there is a permanent medical presence there”.
Major Chalmers, questioned by media about the foreshadowed changes to the permit system, said they are part of the government’s broad strategy to address child abuse and deeper social issues.
“I’m absolutely convinced that the abuse of children, either abuse by neglect or by child sexual abuse, is a widespread problem in communities. So there needs to be a broad strategy to address those problems.”
To the suggestion that the permit system should be strengthened not weakened in order to provide greater protection, Major Chalmers said that would only serve to prevent economic development.
“If we’re going to help children we have to develop opportunities for them, education opportunities, employment opportunities.
“The permit system is clearly acting to prevent those opportunities from developing,” he said.

Grog runners transport booze in kangaroo carcasses. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Grog runners are endlessly ingenious about where they hide their illicit cargo – the latest place is inside the carcasses of kangaroos.
Inside flat tyres and in the windscreen wiper reservoir are alternatives.
This means police will have their job cut out for them as they try to stop “the rivers of grog” flowing into communities, says Indigenous Labor MLA Alison Anderson.
Stopping the supply is an early priority of the Federal intervention in Aboriginal communities; a bigger police presence in the bush is one of the tools.
But Papunya, Ms Anderson’s home community, has three sworn police officers and an Aboriginal Community Police Officer (ACPO) stationed at the community.
What difference have they been able to make?
Ms Anderson says “old Bob” (Sergeant Bob Allen) does a good job but there are simply too many ways to get into the community – she estimates seven to 10 different points of access.
To stop the grog runners she says the police would have to set up a permanent checkpoint at the grid where you drive from pastoral land onto Aboriginal land.
And even that might not be enough because of the ingenuity of the traffickers in hiding their stash.
Sgt Allen says the police conduct random searches: “I wouldn’t hazard a guess on how much we catch.
“It would be foolish to think you could stop everything.”
But a permanent police presence at nearby Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji) will help, because that is one way the grog is flowing in.
Garry McMahon, a federal agent previously stationed at Sydney Airport, has been appointed to Haasts Bluff on a three month contract but is “keen to stay for six”.
He’s got “good accommodation”, and the community is “great”, he says.
One of his first moves has been to get street lights fixed.
On arriving in the community around three weeks ago, he found 16 lights out, about a third of the total, with the community area, especially around the telephone booth, particularly affected.
Papunya is well enough lit at night, says Sgt Allen, with council workers on hand to repair breakages.
Special Constable McMahon says the current problem at Haasts Bluff is due to council staff being on leave.
Const McMahon’s simple presence in the community has already had an impact, with drinkers keeping a low profile (as we reported last week).
But getting the grog traffic to stop all together will be hard  “when there’s only one of me”. Const McMahon has since been joined by an NT police sergeant.
“The people bringing grog into Papunya might be considered responsible drinkers in Alice Springs,” says Sgt Allen, “but the problem is, here drinking is illegal.
“Things have been quiet lately,” he says, putting this down to the cooler weather and the footy season: “Football gives them something to do – the warmer months are our busiest time.”
But just the night before there had been an incident. The Alice News was told that victims of stab wounds had been treated at the clinic. What was Sgt Allen going to do about that?
“They don’t want police action,” he said. “We’ll go and find out what happened and why they don’t want police action, whether it’s out of fear of the other party.
“But it’s not a domestic violence matter [where the police would be required to act, irrespective of the victim’s wishes], they’re young fellers.
“I’ll try to persuade the victims to lay charges.”
Since he’s been stationed at Papunya, Sgt Allen has seen some domestic violence offenders placed on domestic violence orders [restraining them in some way from contact with their victims]: “There’s a noticeable difference in behaviour. It’s an effective tool.”
Const McMahon says he’ll be doing “the same work as the guys here, we’re just trying to get wider coverage”.
He speaks of the need to clamp down on unlicensed drivers and unregistered vehicles.
“This is not an issue in the community like it should be.”
Sgt Allen agrees: “If the family needs to be driven somewhere, the men will drive, even if they’re disqualified.”
“We’ll pull them up,” says Const McMahon. “We can’t accept disqualified drivers.”
Sgt Allen points to a problem: “At the end of a period of disqualification drivers are supposed to do a drink driver education course. It’s hard to get people out here to give the course.
“If [the disqualified driver has] had to serve a custodial sentence, it would be easier if they were made to do the course while they’re still in custody.
“It amazes me that the service providers, like CDU and DASA, can’t get coordinated to do the course out here. There are 10 blokes at Papunya who need it.”
Grog runners generally have their licence, says Const McMahon: “They know it’s needed.”
Ms Anderson says everyone knows who the grog and drug runners at Papunya are, the problem for police is to catch them in the act.
Family members don’t want to dob them in. She says the opposite is the case.
She says the government’s “baby bonus” goes on “motor cars carting grog”: “Women are happy to spend it on cars and cards [gambling] for their husbands.”
The proposed blanket grog bans are “the best thing since sliced bread”, says Ms Anderson, but she also does not doubt that drinkers will find new ways to bring grog onto communities and if needs be, “they will move into Alice Springs”.

Papunya’s Council looks to the future. By KIERAN FINNANE.

In a first in local government, leading up to the creation of shires in the Territory, the communities of Papunya, Haasts Bluff and Nyirripi now share a CEO.
Rod Richardson, based at Papunya since January, with his wife Gail who is the CDEP coordinator, says the three communities are still run as three separate entities: “The only thing they share is me. 
“The shire structure will let us do more sharing.”
He’s working his “butt off” and sometimes thinks he should change his profession to “rally driver” but Mr Richardson is optimistic about the wave of reform sweeping the bush.
Speaking to the Alice News in the company of Syd Anderson, vice chair of Papunya Community Council, Mr Richardson said the creation of shires is the “best thing, providing they do it properly”.
That means making sure “the little places don’t get neglected”.
Its effectiveness will also depend “having a good CEO, good staff and good backup”.
The council has drawn up a wish list for what needs to be done to improve their community and showed it to the Commonwealth’s assessment team when they visited to explain the intentions of the Federal intervention.
The list goes from big ticket items like creating a town centre, building a community hall and aged care units, and undertaking a big housing refurbishment program, to moving the car wrecks and planting trees for dust control.
Housing will probably get priority: seven existing houses could come on line quickly if they were refurbished. Mr Richardson estimates the cost at $100,000 each.
He said it’s impossible for council to stay in front with its present housing maintenance funds. “We only receive $1700 to maintain houses built after 1998; $2000 for houses built before.
“And we collect rent, which gives us another $2000 per house.
“But replacing a stove, by the time it is installed, costs $1000. A “swampy” airconditioner, $1000. Hot water, $5000.
“We’re too busy looking after the essentials, water and cooling. There’s no money left for things like putting on doors, putting in cupboards.”
And the housing budget also covers dog control, which he hopes will be separately and adequately funded under the shire system.  There’s a housing waiting list of 20 to 25 families, he said.
Mr Anderson said there are several houses where three generations live together in crowded conditions.
Another existing house, in need of refurbishment, has been identified for staff: “We can’t initiate any more programs here due to lack of staff housing,” said Mr Richardson.
Council roles are very broad in communities, and Mr Richardson hopes the new shire will be able to employ a regional welfare officer.
At present council’s front counter staff help people where they can with things like credit management, debt management, phone bills, Austar bills.
The council is also running an out of school program, both during school holidays and after school during term.
“We scrounged up money for a vehicle” from Juvenile Diversion funds, and got a grant for $140,000 from FACSIA (Mal Brough’s department).
The program is run closely with CAYLUS (Central Australian Youth Link Up Service) – “they’ve got the expertise” – while Mr Anderson and Sammy Butcher have also done wonders, getting kids involved in football and music.
Other activities for youth include cycling, movies, softball, discos. Almost half of Papunya’s 469 residents are under 24 years of age.
The council is about to start a child care centre, which Papunya hasn’t had to date. FACSIA has verbally confirmed $170,000 for its operation. There are 49 infants and toddlers under the age of four in the community.
Mr Richardson says council tries to employ local people “when they want to work”.
But in winter it’s “hard to get them out of bed”.
Nonetheless, 40 CDEP workers cover most of the basic municipal services, with the council also running CDEP programs in Haasts Bluff and Mt Liebig, with 20 workers in each, working four hours a day.
CDEP workers cook for the elderly, delivering meals on wheels. A “proper bus” and a heater for this service is also on the wish list, as the food is “pretty cool” by the time it gets to the outstations. 
The Federal Government’s phase-out starts in September – it’s unclear what will happen then.
But council’s vision is not limited to service provision.
Economic development, particularly through tourism, is in their sights.
Even though council “doesn’t like the idea” of the removal of the permit system, they expect it to happen and there are discussions about having a roadhouse and an art gallery, trading on Papunya’s world wide reputation as the birthplace of Western desert painting on canvas. 
MLA Alison Anderson says communities have to be opened up for economic development – “real partnerships”.
She says a small but significant collection of early Papunya boards, presently housed at the Araluen Centre in Alice Springs but owned by Papunya Council, could provide the core attraction for the gallery.
She and Mr Richardson talked too about setting up accommodation for tourists: there are transportable buildings and others that can be unbolted from their slabs at an abandoned outstation, which could be relocated them near a wonderful site (not sacred) in the hills that overlook the community, where there is permanent spring water and hot pools.
In all his enthusiasm for the new opportunities in the bush, Mr Richardson is uncertain about his own future role.
Like “all the CEOs” he’s a “bit peeved” about the appointment of Commonwealth government “business managers” for the communities prescribed by the reform agenda (broadly those with populations over 100): “We’ve no idea about how it’s going to work, about what exactly their role will be.”
Mr Richardson has been working in the bush on and off for 20 years, starting at Kintore in 1987. He usually tries to stay in a community for two years but would be happy to stay in Papunya longer: “They’re lovely people, fantastic.”
Work on communities is demanding and he and Gail have regularly taken respite back home in Tasmania.
But they keep coming back because the “job satisfaction in the bush is way up there”.

Be fair to pink. By DARCY DAVIS.

“You can’t give art a single definition!” cried Kieron Wilson.
I felt dizzy and light headed such was the conviction with which he spoke these words … or maybe it was because of the fumes from the spray paint close by.
Nonetheless, these but the words rang true. From fingers to computers, the means of expressing creativity and imagination have developed as rapidly as the human being has.
But there are a few art mediums that are taboo. Blood art would be one, nude art is often frowned upon, and graffiti.
Graffiti is an interesting one: it is taboo not because of its content, but because of where it is displayed. Brisbane-based Wilson is passionate about graffiti and is working hard at tackling the injustice of society’s attitudes towards the art form.
In Alice Incite Youth Arts has brought him in to give kids the opportunity to learn and practice graffiti as an art medium without being fined or having to deal with any vandalism charges.
After Battle of the Cans in 2006 kids wanted to do more, explained Incite’s Sarah Katz.
“So we’ve gotten Kieron involved in workshops, this time with a view to have a ‘train the trainer’ system.”
The trainee mentors are locals Tanya El-Gamal and Charlie Lowson.
“We want people to see graffiti as artwork, not just vandalism,” said Ms Katz.
“If we can show people that it is a town and youth initiative, the medium won’t have to seem so… dirty.”
And the community response to the wall has apparently been very positive. Ms Katz said some people have even volunteered their own walls to be used in future projects.
The kids have chosen “positive youth” as the theme for their artwork – I couldn’t see much evidence of this theme, until I started to look hard at the pieces.
I saw nice looking writing – that’s a positive thing for youth, kids don’t usually want to write much.
There are paintings of kids who look like gangsters. That is definitely a positive thing because of the message that it represents, gangsters are people too, and we can’t ignore them, they are everywhere.
One of the pieces is pink, I think that’s a very positive thing – pink is discriminated against a lot because of its connotations and if it’s out in public, people can’t ignore it. Pink has lived beneath the covers far too long.
No, the real positive youth are the kids who are getting involved and doing it. Regardless of your perspective on Aerosol art, you can’t ignore positive youth.
The grand opening of the graffiti wall at the Alice Springs Youth Centre will be on September 15 and 16, as part of the Alice Desert Festival.
There will also be DJ, Dance and MC workshops as well as graffiti art displays under the Sails. Call Incite Youth Arts if you’ve got an act or want to participate in one of these workshops on 89526338.
Meanwhile, Kieron Wilson is also holding an exhibition of his own artwork, opening on Friday at Watch This Space and showing till August 24.
“The name of the exhibition is ‘Arcadia’,” said Kieron “my place of peace and tranquillity, where I can be in the place of my own work.”
“In public, this art is seen as an intrusion, but in its own world of peace and tranquillity, it’s something that can be appreciated in the situation we might normally view art in.
“I love interpreting Australian icons, landscapes, animals, especially the crow, because of what it symbolises, all of its meanings and associations, the most observant of all birds, watching, waiting, and then going in and cleaning up afterwards. Symbolic, I guess of graffiti-ing, illegally.
“The bird of life is the dove, the bird of death is the crow. Black and White. Good and Bad. I like playing with colours because of the associations that society has with them.
“These paintings aren’t about painting on the spot, unlike a lot of graffiti, they’ve been thought out and planned.”
• Also planned for this Friday is Hip Hop Up Top 4 (on the roof at The Lane). Featuring a wide range of performances from Dan N Dee, Bloom, Jacinta Castle, Leon Spurling, Tashka Urban, D.T.G and Hip Hopportunity.
The last is an initiative of CAAMA Music, fostering the growth of young indigenous hip hop with the chance to record under the CAAMA label and receive training from people in the industry.
“I’ve been blown away by how tight some of these  kids’ rhymes are,” said producer and engineer of the project Frank Trotman Goldman. Doors open 7pm ‘til late and all ages are allowed until 9pm. Cost is $6 entry.

Harry Potter fans get final fix. By EMMA HURLEY.

Local boy Mike Rindahl, 10 years old,  may have set a record, reading the latest Harry Potter novel – the whole 607 pages – in just seven hours!
Harry Potter mania hit Alice, as elsewhere, on July 21, a day that will be remembered as a publishing phenomenon, with the seventh and supposedly final novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, published simultaneously in 64 languages.
In Alice Springs 100 eager fans lined up outside Dymocks Booksellers to purchase or receive their pre-ordered copy of this long anticipated book. 
I spoke to young readers about their response to the book, but plenty of adults are also Harry Potter fans.
Felicity Korman from Book City said the majority of people buying the book there were adults.
Beverley Ellis at Dymocks said there may not be a reprint of the adult edition and consequently, this may one day become a collector’s item.
So, what do readers think of the story?
Tamara Thompson, 14, is happy that the book is “action packed from the beginning”. 
Michael Coffee, 11, likes the way the ending “fits together”.
Christina Appleyard, 13, thinks it’s “pretty good” and is pleased author J.K. Rowling “didn’t leave out anything”.
The novel is incredibly imaginative and extremely hard to put down.
Harry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, drop out of Hogwarts and go on a journey to destroy the seven pieces of Lord Voldemort’s soul.
It is inevitable that Harry must kill Voldemort or vice versa, but can it be done?
When it seems like Harry has lost everyone that matters to him – his parents, his godfather, Dumbledore – is it possible that he could lose more?
As Voldemort attempts to seize control of the wizarding world, Harry knows he is the only one who can stop him. He has known his destiny for years … or has he?
As well as the familiar loved or hated characters, there are also many intriguing new characters, mysteries to solve and numerous surprises along the way.
The readers I spoke to have a variety of favourite characters including Harry, whom they agree is brave and strong; Ron, who is funny and doesn’t know when to stop talking; Tonks, who is naïve and has the incredibly cool ability to change her features according to whatever she wants; and even Peeves the poltergeist, whose victory chants they enjoy.
They are all sad that the series has come to an end: Tamara says she will miss the adventure, although Christina said she is almost relieved it was over because she didn’t want too many characters to die.
They know J.K Rowling, who has become the world’s first billionaire author on the back of the Harry Potter series, has written other books about the wizarding world, which they could read for comic relief.
But they say nothing will ever be as good as the Harry Potter.
Emma Hurley is a Year 10  student from OLSH College, doing work experience.

LETTERS: Are shires just cash cows?

Sir,- Closing 58 community councils and merging them into supershires is Labor’s way to increase revenue through new and increased taxes, remove local level democracy and move people to town.
This was confirmed at a local council amalgamation community meeting held in Alice Springs on July 17 where implementation committee board members spoke of the ways to increase new taxes.
These included new land taxes for all pastoral, mining and roadhouse properties; the potential for a $600 per annum charge on all houses in communities; and the potential to introduce or increase “service fees” which is to offset a local land rates reductions in the short term.
There was even discussion about “re-introducing a 10% bed tax like they do in Victoria” to raise more revenue.
Local Government Minister Elliott McAdam even spelt it out for us on June 26 at Estimates: “As a result of the new model, we believe there is a greater capacity in terms of also being able to raise money, because we are talking about rates here.”
The Northern Territory Labor Government should be removing taxes such as Stamp Duty on commercial transactions, as agreed before the introduction of the GST, which provides a substantial part of the extra $1.1 billion annually to the NT Government.
We should be using this money to improve our transport infrastructure not wasted on the $530 million Government Commitment to the Darwin waterfront and wave pool.
Adam Giles
CLP candidate for Lingiari

Sir,- I sometimes think the Martin Labor government could not be more remote from Alice if their offices were in Singapore. 
They cannot even finish one small grandstand at Traeger Park before offloading it onto the Town Council and scampering north again.
But wherever they are, I wonder why Ms Martin insists on keeping the portfolio of indigenous affairs for herself. 
Having commissioned the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report, that straw that finally broke the camel’s back, perhaps now would be a good time for her to step aside.
Why not ask Alison Anderson, the Member for MacDonnell, to step up? 
She has shown a rare willingness to work with the current Federal intervention instead of succumbing to rumours or just bagging it along Party lines. 
Her identification of “the little people on the ground” as being those most affected for good or ill is exactly right.
It is encouraging to hear from her that once word gets around the communities that the new permit system and lease arraignments will only apply to the town areas and access roads, most objections drop off.  The unfounded rumours put about concerning those two aspects of the intervention are now sounding like wheels falling off a gravy train. 
There are some bottom-feeders out there with a very dodgy interest in maintaining the status quo, no matter in what condition “the little people on the ground” live.
A recent SBS Insight program discussed the current focus on remote communities. 
When a young woman from north of Broome was asked to close the debate she identified power, and those who hold it, as being the key to everything.
Hal Duell
Alice Springs

Sir,- Territorians should be alarmed by reports that the Howard Government is negotiating secret nuclear plans with the United States ahead of the APEC meeting.
This another sign that the real story about the place of the Territory’s nuclear waste dump in the Prime Minister’s personal crusade for nuclear power is starting to emerge.
These secret plans could force Australia to establish uranium enrichment plants and accept the world’s nuclear waste – on top of the 25 nuclear reactors that Mr Howard already wants to build.
Despite the Liberal Party Council adopting a motion calling for Australia to take the world’s nuclear waste, the Prime Minister is still being cynically tricky and dishonest when he says this wouldn’t mean Australian accepting nuclear waste.
Getting more involved in the nuclear fuel cycle would mean Australia taking back spent fuel from any overseas customers we might have for our enriched uranium.
This makes the government’s plans for a nuclear waste dump in the Territory all too clear.
If Australia takes back spent fuel, you can bet your last cent it won’t be stored in rural NSW or Victoria.
The CLP said there would be no nuclear waste dump in the Territory, even for low level waste, and then they changed their tune when John Howard decided he’d force us to accept one – just because he could.
Thanks to them we’re stuck with the prospect of a dump nobody wants and we could be facing more than low-level waste if Australia rushes into the nuclear fuel cycle.
Warren Snowdon MHR for Lingiari
Damian Hale, Labor Candidate for Solomon

Sir,- A cynical person may say that the real reason for cancelling CDEP on remote communities is to allow the quarantining of residents income.
This was the first reason for the changes given by Minister Brough in an interview on ABC radio and features prominently in the documentation issued with his media release.
Remote Councils are already contacting us with comments like ‘CDEP is the backbone of our community and the ramifications to Indigenous business enterprises could be disastrous’.
Some of our members are saying that this decision could well mean the beginning of the end for many remote communities. Most people currently employed by CDEP will not get a permanent job and will have their income reduced by 18 percent. On top of this community stores, without the benefit of CDEP labour will need to increase prices.
There will also be a knock on effect to businesses in the major towns that supply CDEP with safety equipment, workwear, tools and materials for the many CDEP projects on communities.
I have asked our members to forward their comments to me and the LGANT Executive will be meeting next Monday to further consider this issue and what action LGANT should take.
This decision has been made without any idea of the practical consequences for remote communities and I urge the Federal Government to reconsider.
Ald. Kerry Moir
Local Government Association of the NT

Sir,- I’m replying to the letter from Loraine Braham “Public Servants Need Love Too”.
Her attack on Advance Alice clearly demonstrates how far removed our politicians are, attacking a member of her own constituency and defending the government of the day.  She should listen to positive criticism aimed solely at creating a new and positive direction for “our” town.
Loraine clearly considers herself a public servant, not as a people’s representative whose true role is to direct the public service, not to immerse themselves in it.
There is a confusion of roles, and a never-ending line of poor quality candidates, many of whom have stepped directly from the ranks of the public service. Our Government is inbred, lacking in imagination.
Advance Alice’s letter about planning for the future of Alice was a comment on the lack of a forum through which private enterprise and the working people of Alice Springs can have an input into the planning process for our town.
The lack of a pathway directly to the government has led to the calamitous situation in which we now find our town, once bursting with opportunity and recognized as one of the top five potential growth areas in Australia.
During the early days of self government we boomed. Now we are precariously close to a backslide into oblivion. That has happened under your stewardship, Loraine.
We need political answers to our town’s and they must come from the party rooms of our major political parties.  They discourage new members who might out-shine them, threaten their positions within the party. There need to be heavy, sustained, membership drives by both parties.
Government in the Northern Territory has become to inbred. We need new blood!
Steve Brown
Alice Springs

ADAM CONNELLY: Poll brings out a streak of cynicism.

Well you come back from holidays and everything changes.
If a week is a long time in politics then three weeks is an eternity.
I head home to look after my ailing mother, come back and Limmy’s retired, and Matt, the first face I see every weekday at work, is plastered all over the Eastside.  Australians have many traits that bind us together.
A sense of humour unlike other nations. A slight rebellious streak that makes us wary of authority and a cynical outlook that keeps us honest.
It’s the cynical part of me that normally fires up during an election. However, against that is a genuine respect for people who seek public office.
Putting your hand up to be hated by half the population, distrusted by two thirds of the population, and targeted by the entire media population can’t be an easy decision to make.
I had the opportunity to interview all four candidates last week and regardless of what I thought of their policies or credentials, all four seemed to have a genuine desire to change things for the better.   Whether Matt can do that remains to be seen. It seems to me like a massive undertaking.
To me, the race for Greatorex was a unique one. As unique as the Territory itself. So much import, so much gravitas for an election decided by 4500 people.
In 1998 I was bored and decided to run a satirical campaign for the New South Wales Senate. I got almost 8000 votes. Didn’t even make the papers.
Yet the seat of Greatorex made the news back in Sydney.
Alice Springs makes the news quite a bit.
People in the big cities are really quite fascinated by the place.
They see Alice Springs as this mystical town so far away that it can be magical and dangerous all at the same time.
While back in Sydney I had two questions asked of me in almost every conversation. People asked about the “Little Children are Sacred” response and they also asked a less pointed question. “So Adam, what’s it like?”
People move here for a swathe of different reasons. One reason is the freedom that a place like this provides. After being in Alice for a while I found intolerable the amount of regulation under which the people of my home town live.
From a toll road that charges you $3.20 every seven kilometres to double demerit points through to fines for incorrectly separating glass, plastic and newspaper in the recycling bin, Sydneysiders have almost every aspect of their lives regulated in some way.
There are signs everywhere that say things like, “Police are now targeting seat belts”.
And “Water restrictions are enforceable by law”. “Crossing the road will result in a $300 fine”.
And “Cameras enforce Bus Lane restrictions – 4 points and a $520 fine apply”.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my city.
It’s my version of my stompin’ ground. Like my mates who need to get back to Yuendemu or Utopia every so often, I need to get back home and bathe in my culture, be with my people for a while.
But I did feel as though if I was enjoying myself, I was probably contravening some sort of by-law.
I seriously expected to see a sign saying, “ Police are now targeting incorrect posture”. 
So the charge for all members of parliament here in the Territory should be this: don’t regulate the Territory out of the Territory.
Restrictions are an easy way of making people do the things you want but this compliance comes at a price.

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