August 23, 2007. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

Centrelink staff balloons as dole quarantine starts: 5 communities in Central Australia to lead the way. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Centrelink in the Northern Territory has ballooned with 120 new staff brought in to implement the Federal Government’s welfare reforms, some 30 of them based in Alice Springs.
The local contingent are preparing to introduce income management over the quarantined half of Centrelink payments in five Central Australian communities within the next six weeks.
The “Indigenous Response” teams are moving into Minerals House in Hartley Street, out of which they are working with mobile phones and laptop computers.
The new staff, many of whom are unfamiliar with conditions in remote areas, are receiving training in First Aid, 4WD techniques and cross-cultural awareness.
They are being accommodated in motels and hotels across town, from the Swagman’s Rest to the Crowne Plaza, all expenses paid.
They have been visiting remote communities and continue to do so to explain the changes and ensure that everyone is on the appropriate benefit.
For instance, they are trying to make sure that the people caring for children, who may not be the children’s parents, are receiving the money due to them, and that people who should be on old age pensions and disability pensions are not on New Start, whose recipients will be drawn into work-for-the-dole.
The Alice Springs News understands that some remote communities haven’t seen Centrelink remote servicing personnel for two years or more, due to lack of funding, and that many people have been inappropriately on New Start (without consequence till now).
A request from the Alice News to Centrelink to confirm these details, which we have from a reliable source, and questions about the costs and time frame of the deployment of staff, had not been answered at the time of going to press.
Welfare recipients in Mutitjulu, Imanpa, Aputula, Titjikala and Santa Teresa will be the first to be subject income management.
Preconditions for the introduction of income management are having:
• a police presence in the community;
• a licensed store;
• and a Commonwealth business manager in place.
The licensing of stores seeks to ensure that they have “governance and financial management capacity, and stock affordable and nutritious food” (FACSIA).
Income management will be over the quarantined half of benefit payments, once government debts and child support have been deducted.
Income management will also extend to the whole of the “baby bonus” and to either half or all of the reconciliation payments made after the end of each financial year.
From July of next year if a child is not going to school or is referred to FACS because of neglect all welfare payments going to their carers will be quarantined.
Quarantined money will go to essentials – food, nutrition programs run by schools, rent, and power and water.
A list of further essential items that could be paid for with income managed funds includes telephone bills for landlines but does not include mobile phones.
If there’s any money left over from the quarantined half, it will go to a discretionary fund.
There is potential for this money to accrue and the recipient will have to negotiate with a Centrelink customer service advisor about what that money can be spent on. 
Once agreement is reached, Centrelink will make the payment to a third party. 
The Alice News understands that, as yet, customer service advisors are not trained to make these kind of decisions and there are no guidelines to base them on.
For instance, would recipients be allowed to put their accrued funds towards a plasma TV?
And if not, why not?
Existing debt, such as to a car dealer or a white goods dealer, will need to be met by the welfare recipient out of the non-quarantined part of the benefit.

Sue Gordon sits down with Papunya women: "I’d kill abusers." By KIERAN FINNANE.

“If someone abused my kids I would kill them – I know how mothers and grandmothers feel.”
Chair of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Taskforce, magistrate Sue Gordon, was responding to anger and confusion expressed by traditional Aboriginal women from Mount Liebig with straight talking.
A statement attributed to Ngoia Napaltjarri Pollard had been read out: “I am talking on behalf of the proud grandmothers and mothers in the community at Mount Liebig. Of course we fight for our grandchildren to be safe. Of course we would kill for our grandchildren.
“We are shamed – insulted – that you have told the world we let our children be abused. It’s not the way of the desert. We love our kids. We fight for our kids. Why did you tell the world we let people abuse our children?”
When a statement attributed to Kayleen Collins asked, “Do we look like bad people? Who gave you the right to judge us?” Dr Gordon answered with a story about her own family – a sister who lost an eye as a result of being bashed by her partner, another sister who drank heavily during pregnancy and whose child was born with foetal alcohol syndrome.
A murmur rippled through the assembled women when MLA Alison Anderson translated this story.
Ms Anderson had invited Dr Gordon to this meeting of women from her home community of Papunya and the nearby communities of Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji) and Mount Liebig (Watiyawanu) in a bid to give the women greater confidence in the Federal intervention.
Alone in the Territory Labor government, the outspoken Member for MacDonnell    is lending her full support to the intervention. 
About 50 women gathered last Friday outside the Papunya Council office, prepared to listen but also with some of their own talking to do and plenty of questions to ask.
A group of seven senior women from Mount Liebig – all of them artists, including Ngoia Napaltjarri Pollard, who last year won the Telstra National Aboriginal Art Award – set the tone.
Sitting a little apart, they prepared to dance, painting up and singing, while Dr Gordon and Ms Anderson were greeting other women as they arrived.
‘”Where’s that lady, not Alison, other one – Sue –  we want to show her our law,”  said Elsie Nungararrayi, sending a messenger to fetch Dr Gordon.
The women danced the willy wagtail dreaming that belongs to their country and concluded by presenting Dr Gordon with a symbolic gift – two painted sticks wrapped in a hair-string ball, representing Aboriginal people and the government working together, as well as a small painted board representing Aboriginal children.
Dr Gordon saw the gift as a sign of the women wanting to work with the government, though it may also have been a reminder of the women wanting to be consulted over decisions about their lives.
Dr Gordon was visibly moved by the experience. Close to tears, she told the women: “I’ve never had that [a traditional upbringing]. I’m really emotional. Thank you. Thank you.”
She told the meeting that she was taken from her Aboriginal mother when she was four. She later told the Alice News that this had come up in her private discussions with the women, with her making the point that the wrongs of the past can’t be undone. What’s important now is to move forward: “As Alison said, every day that change doesn’t happen, it’s another child to worry about.”
At the meeting Dr Gordon acknowledged that it is not only Aboriginal children who are being abused: in her 18 years as a magistrate in the children’s court in WA she has seen abused children from all groups in the community – white,  Asian, African, Aboriginal – “but only a handful”.
Similarly “only a handful of Aboriginal men” are abusers.
She said she makes sure that she keeps saying on radio that “not all our men are abusers”.
She welcomed the strongly worded statements by the Mount Liebig women: “You’ve brought it up to me, you’ve made it loud and clear. I don’t have a problem with that.”
Kayleen Collins’ statement also asked, “Why did you send in the army? We are not at war. When the army first came we packed up and took the kids to the creek and slept in the cold. It was freezing. We were frightened and we didn’t know why. You scared us.”
“That’s very powerful,” said Dr Gordon, going on to explain the support role of the army and reminding the women that there are a lot of Aborigines in Norforce.
There was concern expressed about soldiers playing with kids without parents being present.
“I’ll take that message back,” said Dr Gordon. “Norforce have to be careful that parents are there.”
Alison Anderson told the women that the taskforce’s concern is not only with sexual abuse, it’s also with children not being looked after, being unhealthy, not being sent to school, nor given opportunities: “We have to change our thoughts,” she said.
She also brought up the issue of domestic violence: “We turn a blind eye when women get bashed.”
She continued to speak on this point in language and again a murmur rippled through the crowd.
Dr Gordon brought up the Little Children Are Sacred report: “Women and men spoke to Pat Anderson and Rex Wild and said there was abuse.”
She said she and the government were not coming to communities about new abuse, but because “things were too slow to happen” in the wake of the Little Children Are Sacred report. 
The mood of the meeting began to shift.
Alison Multa from Haasts Bluff spoke about how happy the community was to now have police.
The women from Mount Liebig said they also wanted to have police stationed in their community because people are bringing grog through.
There had been grog brought in that very morning by a visitor from Kintore. Dr Gordon said she would again pass on the request, but “I can’t promise anything”.
The visiting health team doctor, Chris Henderson, then made an appeal to the women to bring their children to the clinic for a full health check. So far he had only seen 40 children.
“This has got nothing to do with the army,” he said.
“We are trying to find out what diseases are in Papunya and to get health into the community.”
He said he would be able to put children who needed it onto specialists’ lists straight away.
After meeting privately with first the Mount Liebig women and then the Papunya and Haasts Bluff women together,  Dr Gordon said she had been able to allay some of their fears: “They started to feel a bit better.”
She said the women had received a “lot of misinformation from vested interests” but also acknowledged that they had not had enough information and not enough explanation from the government.
The women had wanted to know if the five year leases extended to outstations (they don’t); whether, with the changes to the permit system, they would still be able to close communities for sorry business and ceremonies (that’s possible).
They wanted to know who would look after their kids while they worked for the dole, but they also had ideas about jobs, training, facilities in their community that could be fixed up and used.
Dr Gordon felt that the women had wanted to express their own thoughts and feelings and it was important that she had listened; indeed, she came to listen.
But she also felt that they now had enough initial information to go away and talk about among themselves and she is happy to come out to see them again: “The Minister [Mal Brough] has said it is very important for me to work with the traditional men and women on this.” 
Linda Jonggarda Anderson, who has long held positions at Papunya School, said, speaking as a community member, she still felt “a little bit worried” after the meeting.
On the whole she thinks the intervention is good but feels that people on communities still don’t know exactly what is going to happen.
She said the worry is also about problems like drugs and alcohol “taking over our culture”.
She said some kids are “at risk”.
“I worry some of those kids haven’t got grandmothers here, some grandmothers are living in town, and the kids’ parents are drinkers. Those children are at risk.”
She lives on an outstation: “There’s peace there, lots of birds singing.”
There are only a couple of children amongst the 20 residents.
“We look after them. Their family is with me and they look after their children very well. They make sure their children get on the school bus and get dropped off at the outstation every day.”
She said it was good to have the health team at Papunya.
“Sometimes it worried some of the people why they were here and who gave them permission.
“Some of them understand now.
“At today’s meeting some have got the message.”
Alison Multa, niece of her namesake and a teacher’s assistant at Haasts Bluff School, was pleased that the meeting had been held: “It’s really good that ladies and old ladies are getting together and hearing what the government idea is going to be for our people.
“We have got to know the government and the government have got to know us.
“It’s about time for change.”
Jobs “for the community and for young people” are a top priority for Ms Multa.
But she was unhappy about the way so much of the discussion about change and the need for it had happened in the media.
“They should have come and talked to us first in the community ... It’s not really good the whole world is watching.”
She had been asking for police at Haasts Bluff “so many times”.
Now they’re there: “I’m happy now. It’s changing our community.
We are sleeping through the night. Grog is not entering no more.  Kids are really good at school.”

Todd dam should be lake, says Chamber of Commerce boss. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Alice Springs must get a flood mitigation dam but it should double as a recreation lake, says Terry Lillis, chairman of the Alice Springs Chamber of Commerce.
He says there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since the massive row in the early ‘nineties: Aboriginal sacred site custodians opposed a lake, later gave permission for a flood mitigation dam, but both were blocked by Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Robert Tickner, taking his cue from the Central Land Council.
He imposed a 20 year moratorium.
It has five more years to run, but climate experts say that with the accelerating global warming, and a growing likelihood of extremely heavy rainfalls, there is now a much greater risk of a one-in-100 year flood which would wipe out much of the town centre (Alice News, Aug 9).
Says Mr Lillis: “If we spend that sort of money we should revert to the original purposes, flood mitigation, a lake and water conservation.
“All that water should not be allowed to flood out and be lost.
“We would certainly welcome any major infrastructure being built in Alice Springs, apart from the need for flood mitigation.
“The construction industry would benefit, and there would be potential savings to businesses, should this flood ever happen.”
Mr Lillis says it is likely that attitudes towards a lake have changed.
“Mr Tickner is gone, there are different governments in Canberra and in the NT.
“Aborigines have undergone a generational change.
“They don’t walk, hunt nor gather any more in this area. They seem to be able to do deals.
“There should be some trade-off, for example, employment, recognition, business concessions.”
Meanwhile Shane Braitling, of Numery, gave a graphic account of the day last January when 246mm of rain – nearly 10 inches, more than the area’s annual average – fell on on his cattle station, 215mm of it in the six hours from 3pm.
It was the kind storm which, had it fallen in the catchment area of the Todd, would have resulted in a catastrophic one-in-100 year flood.
Mr Bratiling says the massive downpour came after five years of drought.
His pastoral lease is over 2000 square kilometres, east of Alice Springs on the Hale River.
Mr Braitling says the deluge affected about half the property.
He was preparing to send cattle on agistment when the rain came in.
He saw cattle bogged in mud from the air; they would have perished as he couldn’t get to them.
He hasn’t mustered yet so he doesn’t know how much stock he may have lost.
Flash flooding took out a lot of fences, swept away the banks of dams and caused severe erosion damage, including to his 1200m RFDS-approved airstrip.
It is now just 700m.
Mr Braitling says he hasn’t got the diesel nor manpower to repair the damage and is not getting any government assistance to do so.
He said after the 1974 floods, before he took over the property, eroded roads were abandoned and new roads pushed through.
Now the old roads have turned into creeks.
Old-timer Gerry Baddock recalls returning from Adelaide in 1965 during massive rains covering much of Central Australia.
Even as far south as Pimba the water was so deep her nine-year-old son had to walk in front of the car to make sure it didn’t go under.
Mrs Baddock’s family lived in Khalick Street, near the present-day Alice Resort.
Arriving home, she remembers her husband saying “listen to that train”.
Only it wasn’t a train, but a three metre high wall of water coming down the Todd, high enough to flow over the footbridge.

Baby boomers now seniors making election demands.

“We’re not the senior cits, we’re the 50 somethings, those coming up to retirement and those in it,” says Penny McConville, president of the Central Australian branch committee of National Seniors.
“We’re trying to interest the baby boomers, so really the 45 plus group, on the issues that will be confronting them.”
These are things like having financial security in retirement, being able to remain in your own home as you age, and there being adequate safety nets if you run into problems.
National Seniors have identified these and other issues as priorities for government to consider in relation to Australia’s 50 years and over population – 40% of  voters.
And the 300,000 strong organisation is attempting to get political parties to commit to policies before the next election on the priorities National Seniors have identified.
In Alice there are around 30 people attending National Seniors meetings each month and 100 who receive the local newsletter.
The local branch is “growing like Topsy”, says Ms McConville, and there are likely to be more members of the national organisation, as it offers a range of benefits that don’t require the member to be locally active.
She says ABS statistics show that the NT’s population is ageing, and faster than the national average.
The Central Australian branch has organised an expo next Monday and Tuesday (August 27 and 28), followed by a dinner at which they hope local politicians will be present to answer questions.
The expo at the Andy McNeill Room, from 10am till 4pm on both days, will feature displays from organisations like Centrelink, Frontier Services, funeral planners, Red Cross, U3A and more.
There will also be a speaking program, including addresses by a dietician, financial planner, lawyer and psychologist.
The dinner will be at the Desert Lantern, 7pm Tuesday, for $23 per person.
For more info and books contact treasurer Vena Oliver: 89500534 (w); 0409 204 665.

Grave error.

The grave for a boy aged three, killed in a driving accident, had to be enlarged during his burial at the Garden Cemetery last Friday.
The extended family of the child had to leave the graveside while council workers brought in a backhoe to enlarge the grave.
According to David Evans, health service manager at Amoonguna, the coffin was not placed back in the hearse whilst the grave was being re-dug, but put under a tree.
He said in a letter to the Town Council it should apologise and offer compensation to the family.
Mr Evans said: “Such a blatant miscalculation worsened the feelings and exacerbated the sadness” of the families and friends.”
However, Mayor Fran Kilgariff says: “From our enquiries we do not believe the mistake was ours.
“We are in discussions with other parties regarding written confirmation of this.
“I offer my heartfelt commiserations to the family about the event at such a sad time for them.”
The Alice News spoke to the manager of Centre Funeral Services but she declined to make a comment, would not say whether the wrong dimensions for the grave had been given to the council, and hung up on our reporter.

ADAM CONNELLY: "I’m a mummy’s boy."

Have you noticed the new trend in politics?
I suppose this trend has always been there but now it seems to be the new in thing for pollies to do and they’re getting more and more polished at doing it.
The hottest thing for politicians right now is appearing to be humble and sorry for things they have done.
Just this week Kevin Rudd was extremely sorry and terribly upset by the fact that a reporter found out that he went along with our man Warren Snowdon to an infamous New York nudey bar.
Kevin admits to getting on the sauce and spending some quality time at the establishment. Drinking and looking at naked women. And I didn’t even know Kevin played for the Canterbury Bulldogs.
This is just the latest of many instances where political figures try and sell us their sincerity in order to come across as one of us.
Well it is that same spirit that I reveal a little skeleton of my own. I am sincerely sorry. From the bottom of my heart I wish to apologise for any hurt or offence this has caused but I, Adam Connelly, am a Mummy’s boy.
It’s true but I doubt I’m alone. There are men from all walks of life that have the same embarassing skeleton in their closet. It can be a hard life for a tough bloke who loves his Mum, but you get by.
For a Mummy’s boy, receiving a phone call in the middle of the night saying that your mother is gravely ill and in a coma in Sydney is probably the worst phone call you can get.
Unfortunately I did receive such a call a couple of weeks back. Mum had suffered complications from a treatment for pneumonia and developed a small bleed in her stomach. She lost a load of blood and her organs had started to shut down.
By the time I got to the hospital mum was in a coma, on a dialysis machine, a breathing machine, several drips and had received 12 units of blood. I didn’t even know 12 units of blood could fit in a person.
She looked like she’d gone ten rounds with Tyson and had more tubes and cords coming out of her than a home entertainment system.
My sister and I spent the next week at her bedside. The doctors initially didn’t want to give us too much hope of a recovery but thankfully every idea they tried seemed to work. Mum woke up and while she still remains in hospital 2000 kilometres away, the prognosis is for a full recovery.
I have always had an interest in the health system. I believe that a government’s primary goal is to do all they can to allow citizens to be educated and healthy. A smart and healthy population is the goal of any society as far as I’m concerned.
My interest is purely theoretical. I am incredibly thankful that others have an interest, a passion for the practical side of the health system. 
The small band of men and women that make up the Intensive Care Unit at Nepean Hospital in Sydney were some of the most dedicated and wonderful people I have ever met.
In a time of enormous emotional stress for both my sister and me, these angels in powder blue were brilliant. Informative, compassionate and outstanding at their job.
Why on earth would someone want to do their job? It is particularly unpleasant at times and it must also be emotionally draining. Yet these people wake up each morning with the commitment and passion to help people.
We hear of the issues surrounding the funding of our town’s hospital. The fracas of the pool and the chapel and the fish fingers for dinner. All of that is nothing but trivia. From the bloke who cleans the gutters to the general manager and every single person in between, they should all be justifiably proud of their contribution to our community.
So while the politicians use their spin and their press agents to conjure up an image of the good bloke or top sheila, those that work in our health system don’t need to pretend. They have my respect.

LETTERS: Money on the hoof.

Sir,- An independent report commissioned by Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp found the live cattle trade contributes $175 million to the Northern Territory economy per year, and employs 1,821 locals.
Employment figures include farming families, indigenous landowners, exporters, stockmen, road transport providers, dockside workers and others that provide services such as veterinarians and fodder suppliers.
The report also found the industry provided security of employment on many cattle stations and has added significantly to the overall prosperity of the NT beef industry. 
If the livestock export trade were to cease the industry would suffer significantly reduced revenues, especially in the VRD, Katherine, Darwin, Roper and Gulf Regions.
Overall the report found the industry contributed $1.85 billion to regional economies throughout Australia last year, and generated employment for over 11,000 Australians in these areas.
Stuart Kenny
NT Cattlemen’s Association

Sir,- This Rudd in New York thing.
Was that about the time Warren Snowdon came home from New York to vote for Latham as leader?
He claimed at the time that the government did not pay his airfare.
He was in NY on a study thing.
Have people forgotten his VIP aircraft trip from Townsville to Tennant Creek for a cat show?
Obviously he has a thing about pussy.
Colin Saunders
Alice Springs

Sir,- The People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC) applauds the progress made by community members, community organisations and the NT Government in tackling the causes of alcohol misuse in Alice Springs.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Summit in Alice Springs on August 9 showed that the Government is committed to the implementation of an ID system to support the current liquor restrictions that are in place and create the potential for supply reduction targeted at individual problem drinkers.
The results of this forum show that community consultation can and does have benefits.
PAAC is also pleased that the Chief Minister has endorsed the concept of a take away alcohol free day each week.
PAAC advocates linking the take away alcohol free day to the day that the majority of Centrelink payments are paid, and recommends the NT Government work with Centrelink in relation to this.
The buy-back of some take-away licences, greater restrictions on the sale of low-priced alcohol  and the further reduction of hours for available take-away liquor sales are other proposals advocated by the Chief Minister, that are supported by PAAC.
Dr John Boffa
Chairman, PAAC

Sir,- If we’ll sell uranium to China, then why not India, Pakistan and ... well, let’s cut to the chase, and sell direct to Al Qaeda.
They’ll all use it for the same purpose really.
And we’ll be good sports and take it back as radioactive rubbish and eventually falling bombs!
Why not?
Rosemary Walters

StoryWall will become StorySite. By KIERAN FINNANE.

A multi-projector installation will transform the space around Flynn Church and Adelaide House in a special StoryWall event for the Alice Desert Festival.
StoryWall is all about “the celebration of who we are, how we think and feel” through digital media, and has been running programs every Thursday and Friday night right through the winter.
The festival event will use up to 10 data projectors to throw up films and imagery on surfaces all over the site, including trees and people as well as buildings and the StoryWall itself.
The event will kick off on Sunday, September 16 at dusk and continue over eight nights, “hopefully with an evolving presentation”, says one of its drivers, Reverend Tracy Spencer, minister at Flynn Church.
The content is still being developed, with a coalition of ideas and technical people guiding it, including film-maker David Nixon, Cy Starkman who has been running the regular projections, Shifting Ground’s Kieren Sanderson, artists Al Bethune and Nicky Schonkala, and Pat Anderson from NT Archives.
“We’ll use it as an opportunity to experiment with what the site can offer,” says Rev Spencer, “and to look closer at story-telling technology and what can be achieved with the overlay of images, stories, sound and so on.” 
Some of the material will be historic, some contemporary, including music clips and rap poetry by prisoners, made specifically for StoryWall.
Other material they are playing with includes footage they are showing regularly of the Alice Desert Festival, the Beanie Festival, Finke Desert Race, the Harts Range Races, as well as archival films from the Lutheran Church, the Strehlow Research Centre, CAAMA, and Ngapartji Ngapartji clips.
“A narrative will evolve through the juxtaposition of images, story and space,” says Rev Spencer.
“The idea is just to get people thinking.”
For future material, Rev Spencer is also negotiating with Film Australia and Screen Sound, the national film and sound archive.
“That’s about getting more films for StoryWall but it’s also about repatriating some of Central Australia’s film history,” she says.
This heritage includes early tourism films and Ian Dunlop’s enthnographic films.
Meanwhile, as the weather gets a little warmer there’s a lineup of special features at the regular StoryWall screenings.
The 1995 lawnsale cult classic (a cultural category no doubt unique to Alice Springs), In Search of the Shell Encrusted Toilet Seat, will screen this Friday, August 24, with an introduction by Russell Goldflam, local ABC Radio’s hilarious lawnsale commentator back in the day.
A lawn sale will be held at the same time on the verandah of Adelaide House, with proceeds going to StoryWall. (Bring along items to contribute!)
ABC TV’s Choir of Hard Knocks, about a choir of homeless and disadvantaged people, will screen over five Thursdays, starting this week at 7pm. 
Then at 7.30 viewers can go over to the church hall to listen to the local community choir, Asante Sana, practise,  or else stay on for more of StoryWall’s screen culture smorgasbord.
Warlpiri Media’s Aboriginal Rules will screen on Friday, September 7, coinciding with the national launch of the film.
A virtual art gallery on StoryWall is planned to mark the Desert Mob Symposium also on the same day.
StoryWall is a partnership between Uniting Church, the Town Council and Welcome TV, supported by sponsors, the Desert Park, Desart, Desert Knowledge, and Australian Property Products.

Vote on shires.

Ten of the NT’s 62 local government councils, including two in The Centre, will be holding referenda about whether or not they should be amalgamated into nine shires, according to the CLP candidate for Lingiari Adam Giles.
He says he has passed on to the councils an offer from Prime Minister John Howard to pay for the running of plebiscites on the question of amalgamation.
Mr Giles says the amalgamations proposed by the NT Government would “massively” increase urban drift from bush communities.
He says only Federal Local Government Minister Jim Lloyd “can do something about this.”
Only the councils of Alice Springs, Darwin, Katherine and Palmerston would remain unaffected by the sweeping changes planned.
Meanwhile Mr Giles says public housing should be privatized which would provide access to generous rent assistance from the Department of Family and Commuity Services and Indigenous Affairs.
He suggests the housing stock could be transferred to Alice Springs’ native title body, Lhere Artepe.
Mr Giles says the subsidies are paid only to the tenant, not to the provider of housing.

Rich fellowship to Alice artist.

Alice artist Pip McManus is the inaugural recipient of the $20,000 Declan Apuatimi / J Bird Public Art Fellowship.
Announcing the award, Arts and Museums Minister Marion Scrymgour recognised Ms McManus as “an outstanding Northern Territory artist” and “a strong advocate for public art in the Territory” over the past 25 years.
Ms Mcmanus  was involved in consultations for the NT Government’s Public Art Policy as well as the Alice Town Council’s.
A ceramicist Ms McManus has contributed work to public spaces in and around Alice Springs and Darwin.
Examples are at the entrance to the CATIA information office in Gregory Terrace, at the Desert Park and the Alice Springs Cultural Precinct, as well as in the Darwin City Mall and Darwin Botanical Gardens.
Ms McManus has also worked on several public art projects with Indigenous artists, including the Uluru Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre.
She intends to use the fellowship to support her studies in the Public Art Diploma offered by RMIT in Melbourne.
“The course at RMIT is one of just a few anywhere in the world,” Ms McManus said.
“My hope is that I will be exposed to the latest ideas and technologies employed in working in public areas and that I will make useful contacts with experienced artists and other professionals in this area.”

Room for Bloom. By DARCY DAVIS.

“I’m not crazy, even though you think that I am, I’m just a chicky with a mission with the mic in my hand, I’m at war with myself like an Arabian, I look in the mirror and see an alien, my father’s a Muslim but I’m Australian, he never understood me so I hated him.”
Half Egyptian, half Australian and with a sound of her own, Tanya El Gamal, aka Bloom, is paving her way into the Alice music scene. And doing a very funky job of it.
Originally from Sydney, Bloom has been rapping for over five years.
“I used to write a lot of rhymes down, and all my friends were like ‘Rap em out man, rap em,” said Tanya.
“I started going to battles around the place in Sydney and mucked around at places there, but being on the mic all the time helped me get gigs.
“I’m not really into today’s style of popular hip hop, I like the old school stuff, where groups had more of a story and funkier beats.” 
Bloom performs with a full band, including drums, bass, keyboard, saxophone, guitar and occasionally didgeridoo.
“I love the vibe of a live band a lot more than programmed beats. It’s a lot more fun being on stage with other people, you can bounce off each other more and it takes the focus off me a little bit.
“There’s always a positive outlook in what I write and there’s always a way of taking the bad and seeing the good in it.”
As the performing arts co-ordinator at the Gap Youth Centre, Tanya sees the ins and outs of the town and youth issues.
“We all make choices and choosin’ right can be confusin’ but it’s all about the voices in your head and how you use them.”
Regardless of what message she’s putting out there, without an audience she’s just a girl with dark hair, rhyming to herself about dropping ‘beats not bombs’, swapping head scarf for thongs, using funk beats for songs, not rapping krunk and gangster guns, with Muslim dads and Aussie mums, reflecting on the sound of the red brown ground of the living, a long future beginning.
We’ve been taught to support the people who striving, and keeping alive in, the Australian dream, as strange as it seems, for pyramid descendents to kick it independent, we’re a nation of cultures in a station of vultures.
It’d be great to see some new local acts like Bloom and her band breaking on to the scene and playing at some bigger gigs like ‘Bassinthedust’.
Bands like The Moxie and Zenith are already well established and have a solid grounding around town; the smaller bands need the support we offered the bigger ones when they were young in their careers.
The Youth Centre is running  workshops from dance, art and graffiti to music and film making.
If you’re interested, contact them on 89523927.
Bloom is performing this Sunday for the "Make Some Noise for Amnesty International" fundraiser, along with cellists Mei Lai Swan and Nic Hempel, songwriter Mary Flynn and Rusty and the Infidels’ Klezmer group,  at the Telegraph Station from 1pm to 4pm.

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