ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
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
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
The new staff, many of whom are unfamiliar with conditions in remote
areas, are receiving training in First Aid, 4WD techniques and
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
‘”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
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
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
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
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
“It’s about time for change.”
Jobs “for the community and for young people” are a top priority for Ms
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
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
“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,
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
For more info and books contact treasurer Vena Oliver: 89500534 (w);
0409 204 665.
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
ADAM CONNELLY: "I’m a mummy’s
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
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
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
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
Employment figures include farming families, indigenous landowners,
exporters, stockmen, road transport providers, dockside workers and
others that provide services such as veterinarians and fodder
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.
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.
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
The results of this forum show that community consultation can and does
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
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!
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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.
Back to front page of the the Alice Springs News.