ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
March 25, 2010. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
Framptons on the spot as victims of Carey Builders go on attack. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
A group of 23 people calling itself the Framptons New Home Broken
Promises Group is inviting the real estate agency to explain how it can
make good the hundreds of thousands of dollars feared lost when Carey
Builders was put into liquidation.
The group represents the owners of 11 homes only partly completed, and
it says Framptons now must live up to a string of promises it made
to the buyers.
“We put our trust in your good name,” says the group in a letter to Framptons, released
exclusively to the Alice Springs News.
The letter invites Framptons to a meeing on Saturday when the firm will
“have an opportunity to cement that trust by showing us your plan for
moving all these projects to completion.
“And, we’re excited to hear how you’re going to do this within the
parameters of the ‘New Home’ contracts.
“In other words, with the builder now in liquidation, some customers
have paid say 90% of the contract price, but, preliminary builder
estimates suggest only 50-60% of the home is completed.”
The group says the experience was “extremely stressful, both
financially and emotionally.
“Some described it a nightmare – an experience that is still on-going
with no target closure date.”
The letter, released exclusively to the Alice Springs News, is signed
by Dave and Marieta Ives, Judy and Tony Kruske, Amanda and Trent
Abbott, Priti Easo and Biji Samuel, John and Blythe Stafford, Murray
and Brigeda Stewart, Rebecca and Rick Duncum, Danny and Sarah Dick, and
Alan Fisher and Denise Saunton.
Thee home buyers asked for their names to be withheld.
The letter also says: “We came to Framptons to seek such advice.
“Who is a trustworthy, reputable builder?
“Who can we trust to see the project through?
“And, you were right there to guide us. You told us to go with Carey
“Your reasons as follows [were] no other builders will quote; all the
other builders are too busy; he’s been building homes for years; he’s
got a builder’s license and he’s registered with Housing Institute
Australia (HIA); local builders are too expensive.
“Most of the group members agree: Framptons selected the builder.”
Framptons have earlier denied to the
Alice Springs News that they had recommended any builder.
The firm has now declined to make further comment.
The group also wrote to Gerry McCarthy, NT Minister for Lands and
Planning, saying there had been “numerous complaints to the Building
Advisory Board and the Minister’s Office over the past 12-plus
“These complaints related to the builder being unregistered, lack of
progress in construction and concerns with the conduct of the
“The Government was also informed in November 2009 that the license
Carey was working under was revoked [but he was allowed to] continue
building homes unlicenced.
“Only after he was placed into receivership mid March 2010 did the
Government take action and charge Carey with building without a licence.
“This action was too little, too late.”
The government has now initiated court action against Carey Builders.
A spokesman for Mr McCarthy says: “The Territory has what’s called the
Home Building Certification Fund (HBCF) which covers non-compliance
with building standards.
“However there is no requirement for insurance to cover non-completion
in the event of a builder going bankrupt, dying or disappearing.
“The Territory is the only jurisdiction that does not cover
non-completion while other jurisdictions have variants of this cover.”
The News asked Quentin Kilian, Chief Executive Officer, Real Estate
Institute of the Northern Territory (REINT) for a comment about the
role of Framptons in the dispute. He said: “My understanding is that
this matter is currently being discussed by parties involved in the
“It would therefore be inappropriate for the REINT to make any comment
on the matter.”
class: Pleased to meet you! By
“Hello, my name is Chika.”
“Chika,” repeat the children of the Japanese class at Gillen Primary
School and watch with fascination as Chika writes her name on the
whiteboard – a little column of Japanese characters.
“Hello, my name is Tatsuya.”
That’s a bit harder, but “Tatsuya” just slides off their lips.
They’ve been learning Japanese for a whole eight weeks for only an hour
each week and yet confidently greet the group of visiting Japanese high
school students in their language and repeat each of more than a dozen
names without hesitation.
Their teacher, Brenda Austen, says the course at this level is designed
as an introduction to language and culture, to create enthusiasm for
learning a language in high school – these children certainly seem to
After the introductions, the visitors sit down and teach them how to
use chopsticks – the children practise on popcorn.
Then they do some origami (the Japanese art of folding paper), learning
how to make a paper crane, all the while chatting – in English now,
good practice for the visitors.
The Japanese students are in their mid-teens and really enjoy their
contact with the children – they laugh and clap and give high
fives when the little Aussies manage to pick up the popcorn with their
chopsticks and transport it to their mouths.
They come from Imamiya Senior High School in Osaka and were being
billeted around town with families of students of the Alice Springs
Their school and the language centre have a sister school relationship
and this is the second visit to Alice by Imamiya students.
aircon at Araluen – has horse bolted? By KIERAN FINNANE.
NT Government is now advertising for people to nominate for a
"community reference group" to assist the arts department's
decisionmaking about the air conditioning plant "by attending several
strategic meetings to make informed recommendations on the preferred
location of the project and related design and construction elements".
The solar air-conditioning project proposed for the Araluen Arts Centre
is apparently not a “fait accompli” despite tenders for the project
An information meeting, attended by some 60 people, was held last
night, the first such meeting about the controversial project, planned
since 2006 and in detail since at least late 2007, when the Alice News
first reported on
it as one of the five “iconic” projects for Alice Solar City
Details about siting and the nature of the technology involved only
began to emerge late last year and become public knowledge early this
year, thanks to information disseminated by Central Craft, the cultural
precinct facility the most directly impacted on by the proposals.
Questions from the floor at the information meeting overwhelmingly
expressed concern about the impact of the siting and the appearance of
the project – described as an “industrial complex” – on the precinct.
There was also anger that the meeting had not been held earlier,
especially before the project was put out to tender.
Given the imminent closure of the tender “I’m not sure what I’m doing
here”, said Harold Furber, local Aboriginal identity and board member
of Desert Knowledge Australia, questioning “the process” to general
There was no real explanation for the delay in informing the public,
except for a suggestion that funding deadlines may have put the project
under time pressure.
While precinct director Tim Rollason and newly appointed executive
director of cultural institutions and collections, Hugo Leschen, both
said the project as proposed was not a fait accompli there was no clear
information about what scope remains for changes.
Information sheets made available at the meeting state clearly that
“construction is expected to commence once the tender process is
finalised, with the target completion date of June 2011”.
From the floor John Childs – a user of the precinct but also someone
with considerable expertise in resource planning – asked for an
undertaking that calculations as to the viability of alternative sites
be presented to the community.
Two sites had been suggested – one south of the homestead, next to the
Memorial Cemetery, the other on the corner of Larapinta Drive and
Memorial Avenue, currently a garden in front of the Museum of Central
Australia (and Strehlow Research Centre).
The possibility of moving the project further east towards Memorial
Drive had also been raised.
The supervising engineer, Lalith Ramachandra (Department of
Construction and Infrastructure), said greater distance of the plant
from the Araluen building can be managed by the pipework, but it would
come at a cost in terms of energy consumption.
He said the most critical factor in determining location is the shading
of the troughs.
While the usual commitments to consider everything said at the meeting
were made, no undertaking was given to make available the information
requested by Dr Childs.
Dr Childs criticised the quality of the information provided to date,
noting particularly the discrepancies between the engineering
elevations and the engineering plans on display in the Araluen foyer,
showing different orientations of the plant building. Others noted
differing orientations also of the solar array.
Pip McManus, artist and member of the board of Museums and Art
Galleries of the NT, raised more than once the lack of visual
information so that people could see what the project is going to look
She said she had specifically asked for such information to be made
available for the meeting.
The only visual information to date has been engineering plans and
elevations and photos of solar troughs similar to those that will be
used, including a mockup of a field of troughs with the MacDonnell
Ranges in the background.
At the current location the ranges will not be in the background
– Big Sister Hill, a sacred site, will be. And the mock-up does
not show at all the plant building with its tower, its most intrusive
There has been no clear information about fencing.
The current tender does not include the fence.
Mr Ramachandra did say that there had been discussion about a very high
fence to protect the solar field (the troughs stand at just over two
Mr Rollason says architects’ elevation drawings will soon be available
(there were a number of references to architects having withdrawn
from the project, though it was not explained why).
Dr Childs pointed out that the water storage tower of the plant, at 8.5
metres high, will be 1.5 metres higher than the highest point of the
roof of the adjacent Central Craft building.
Mark Wilson, artist and secretary of the Central Australian Art
Society, asked for an Araluen advisory group to be formed immediately
and for no decision on the tender be made without a review by the
Mr Rollason and Mr Leschen both indicated that an advisory group will
be set up – it is provided for in the revised draft development plan
for the precinct, which will be released in April and open for public
comment for a month.
With this process it will obviously be some time before the group is
formed and able to have any input on anything.
Ms McManus expressed her concern about the process, saying that the
community meeting in November last year had requested consultation and
transparency in planning for the precinct and for an integrated vision
for the precinct to be developed.
Mr Rollason said he had made the plans for the project available at the
November meeting and if that was not clear to everybody at the time, he
He said that consultation was being done “right now” – a bit late was
the feeling of the meeting.
At this point Faye Alexander, chairperson of Central Craft, wanted a
clear answer on how much of the project is a fait accompli.
Mr Rollason said architectural drawings are almost complete and will be
made available in the next few weeks and that comment will be taken on
Ms Alexander repeated her question: “Is it a fait accompli?”
“No,” said Mr Rollason.
Can the project be moved off the precinct? she asked.
Mr Rollason replied: “A lot of people have expressed that they don’t
want it in there – we’ll have to consider that.”
When architect Domenico Pecorari asked, to applause, whether a decision
on the tender could be delayed until the aesthetics of the project have
been fully considered, Mr Rollason replied, “Anything is possible”, but
delay could mean that the project wouldn’t happen at all, he said.
More than one speaker from the floor asked about what alternatives had
Mounting photovoltaic panels on the north-facing roof had been
rejected, said Mr Ramachandra, because the roof was not large enough to
take all of the panels required (to achieve comparable energy savings),
and OH & S considerations would require the installation of
platforms for the maintenance work, making the option cost prohibitive.
The information sheet on this issue says: “Photovoltaic technology is
rarely used in air-conditioning applications due to the high in-rush
currents, peak cooling demands and battery storage area required”.
It also says the cost “in this instance” would have been in excess of
$3m, nearly three times higher than the installed cost of the proposed
solar troughs and absorption chiller.
There was general acceptance and endorsement of the “green” aspirations
of the project but challenges to the weighting given to its “iconic”
aspect, which will be achieved at the cost of the character of the
eastern side of the precinct.
It was suggested, for instance, that the electricity generation
capacity of the solar project proposed for Ilparpa be expanded to
offset Araluen’s energy consumption – this would achieve carbon
abatement without impacting on the precinct.
The passive energy efficiency of the Araluen building could also be
Mr Rollason outlined some of the improvements made, including
insulating the ceilings in the galleries.
However, to a question from the Alice News, he acknowledged that the
large roof area over the theatre has not been insulated and to date
this is not in the program of works.
The theatre is not used every day and the galleries, which are, have
been isolated from it (previously Gallery Three’s ceiling cavity was
open onto the theatre), said Mr Rollason.
There were questions around the technology’s claim to be “cutting
Will it still be cutting edge in five years’ time? asked Nicky
Schonkala, textile artist and project manager at Central Craft.
Brian Elmer from Alice Solar City said the technology concentrates the
sun’s energy and that is at the forefront of where solar technology is
Mr Wilson understood, from what he has read, that the technology is
“proven to a point” – what were the advances of the system being
proposed for Araluen?
Mr Ramachandra said improvements included how the troughs track the sun
and refinements in the chiller controls.
The Central Australian Aviation Museum were never asked for their views
about the location of the solar air-conditioning plant at Araluen.
President of the museum committee, Jim Thomas, says the location,
between the museum and the Central Craft studio, was presented to the
committee as a fait accompli during the negotiations “about a year ago”
for their long-term lease over the site.
The committee agreed to cut off the north-western corner of their site
but was not told that the location of the project was negotiable.
The location was not discussed, says Mr Thomas.
A “fact sheet”, distributed at last week’s information meeting says:
“The Central Australian Aviation Museum was consulted on the proposed
location and they have agreed to this site.”
The same fact sheet says: “An in principle agreement has been reached
between Central Craft and the Araluen Cultural Precinct in regards to
the overall placement.”
While chairperson Faye Alexander has declined to comment on the detail
of the “in principle agreement”, when it was raised at last week’s
meeting, there was angry commentary from the floor: “The general
members [of Central Craft] are not happy with that,” said one.
Turmoil as CAAMA
By ERWIN CHLANDA.
The Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) is heading
for its 30th birthday amidst financial stress, heightened tensions
between its board and staff, declining trade, demands from members for
a forensic audit and questions being asked about former CEO, Owen Cole.
Documents leaked to the Alice Springs News reveal that 28 members are
demanding a special general meeting which will be held on April 9.
They say they want to find out “how the organization is managed,”
claiming they have been denied that opportunity at the annual general
meeting by “verbal spray, out-of-order interjections and opinions, or
unduly [sic] group discussion of an intimidating and bullying nature”.
The Alice Springs News asked for an interview with current CEO Jennifer
Howard, who is Mr Cole’s partner, and with chairperson Marilyn
Smith. Neither responded to the request.
The News last year asked Ms Howard whether Mr Cole had acted as an
advisor to CAAMA, but she did not answer the question.
A letter dated March 12 to Ms Smith from Financial Controller Sergei
Jansons indicates that Mr Cole was indeed a consultant.
Mr Jansons states: “I do not see any conflicts of interest in relation
to any payments made to any consultant and especially in relation to
payments made to Mr Cole, as the Board was the only one to appoint him.”
Among the documents leaked to the News is a letter from Deputy Chair
Eileen Van Iersel and Director Maureen Abbott to the Board of Directors
(BOD): “At present, the staff of CAAMA seems reluctant to accept policy
direction from the BOD and the BOD is treated with disdain and
On the other hand 23 staff members wrote to the BOD: “For months now we
have experienced the brunt of destructive rumor and innuendo; this has
included embarrassing inquisitions by the media and malicious public
gossip about workplace matters on internet forums such as Facebook.
“Staff have experienced threats and taunts made to them by CAAMA
members and the CAAMA Board itself has directly engaged in workplace
operations and staff matters; we are aware much of the turmoil has been
created then promulgated by CAAMA Board members.”
CAAMA is getting substantial grant funding, more than $2m in 2008/09,
presumably from governments, but possibly also from NGOs.
This is about two-thirds of CAAMA’s budget.
In addition, in 2008/09 CAAMA made a loss of $452,000.
CAAMA’s accountant Bill McAinsh, a partner of the Deloitte accountancy
firm in Alice Springs, on September 30, 2009 felt compelled to comment
that there was a “material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt
about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern”. (News,
November 19, 2009.)
We put to Ms Howard: “After 30 years of receiving massive support from
the public purse, CAAMA is still dependent on that public purse,
despite having significant assets that could – should – be put to money
“There are repeated references in Ms Smith’s annual report to
significant portions of the operation depending on funding
applications.” Ms Howard gave no reply.
“How much did CAAMA receive in 2008/09 by way of dividends from its
majority shareholding in Imparja?”
“Please list CAAMA’s assets including TV, video and music production
facilities, and the respective hourly hire charges as per industry
News staff have extensive experience in the production of television
news, current affairs and magazine stories, and their value on the
national and international markets, which have an unquenchable thirst
for material from Central Australia, especially when the material has
Some years ago we occasionally hired CAAMA’s on-line and off-line
editing suites, worth then $300 an hour.
CAAMA’s current balance sheet does not appear to reflect substantial
use of the equipment, nor lucrative television sales of productions
with an outback storyline to which CAAMA has easy access.
While in 2008/09 CAAMA received $2m in grants, the total value of its
“service income” was $847,000, down from $1.13m in 2007/2008.
This is presumably what the organisation earns other than grants. It is
less than half of the grant amount, and about half of the wages bill
[FOOTNOTE: The leaked documents did not come from Ms Van Iersel nor Ms
Chance to make
fair funding L–A–W.
Rawnsley is calling on the Local Government Association of the Northern
Territory (LGANT) to launch its own statehood campaign, one that would
see the constitution of a new state enshrining the rights of local
government and the regions to a greater and equitable share of
resources and political power. Below is an edited version of the speech
he is making today to the LGANT general meeting in Darwin.
If, in making the case for statehood, we emphasise the importance of
being equal to other states then we must first confront the importance
of being truly equal to each other.
The new state constitution can achieve this, going further than any
other state constitution.
Because constitutions are difficult to change once they are in place
the constitutional convention in 2011 will be pivotal to how we define
It will be our once only chance.
The motion I move calls for the new state to ensure discretionary
infrastructure funds are distributed to the regions on an equitable
Local government deserves not only a greater say as to how
discretionary infrastructure funds are spent, but also deserves access
to its fair share and an equitable cut of the total discretionary
Whether it is a ‘royalties for regions’ scheme similar to that adopted
in Western Australia recently [see
www.alicespringsnews.com.au/1641.html], or a proportion of total GST
revenue distributed equitably, or another model, it is possible for the
new state constitution to enshrine a distribution formula for
discretionary infrastructure funds.
At the very least delegates of the 2011 constitutional convention
deserve to explore a number of models consistent with the core
principle of protecting our regions.
While there are many reasons to support this case, I emphasise two.
First, this motion goes to the heart of an enduring and debilitating
tension: the relationship between the capital centre and our
When you talk to people outside of Darwin, at meetings, in small
conversations, in every sector and on every corner there is a tendency
to blame government, or Darwin, or the Berrimah line, or someone
This tendency is debilitating: it says that responsibility for change
and solutions belongs to someone else. It holds us all back. Yet,
elected members at all levels of government and not in positions of
power tap into this sentiment all of the time.
Both politically powerful yet self-destructive, it is re-enforced by
our governance structure, where the ‘swing’ seats of our single house
in parliament are all within the capital centre. Because a
government of any persuasion is committed to retaining power, and an
opposition to gaining power, the political focus becomes these ‘swing’
The constitution of the new state can fundamentally reform this
structure by devolving the decisions concerning infrastructure to the
regional level, and by ensuring regions have access to an equitable
share of total infrastructure expenditure.
Second, if we are to continue with the present structure, of a single
assembly of parliament with a one vote, one value across the new State,
we will see a greater concentration of political power in the capital
This is because the population of the capital centre is growing
significantly more than the population in the rest of the Territory.
This has implications for the way decisions are made.
The one vote, one value principle is a cornerstone of our
The problem with this is that if there is a large concentration of
people in a certain location than the value of the individual votes of
those people is much more than the value of votes held by individuals
As well the capital centre will see a greater number of seats in the
Northern Territory Parliament.
In this way the one vote, one value principle does not stick, unless
the interest of regions is protected in the constitution.
Our regions deserve constitutional protection, not only in way
discretionary infrastructure funds are distributed but in the
governance and political model.
business moves to The Alice. By
It’s not every day that an established capital city business decides to
relocate to a regional town, but after nine successful years in Darwin,
some 140 shows and a solid reputation among collectors, Raft Artspace
is moving to Alice Springs – a clear statement about the cultural
vitality of Central Australia.
The gallery will open its doors at 8 Hele Crescent after Easter and
will launch its first show, a survey of artists from the APY and NPY
lands, on April 24.
Director Dallas Gold says he was drawn to make the move by – apart from
the “sheer beauty of the place” – “the sense of possibility in
This was most clearly demonstrated to him when a few years back he
visited Mike Gillam’s Silver Bullet – a cafe like no other, regrettably
“It really inspired me – the way in which it said you don’t have to do
things in a certain way.”
With Raft named in honour of Australian artist Ian Fairweather’s
near-suicidal voyage on a makeshift raft from Darwin, washing up after
16 days on a reef in Indonesian waters, a sense of adventure is to be
So when Mr Gillam began to develop another creative space, just a few
doors up from Silver Bullet, Mr Gold saw an opportunity for a second
life for his gallery and an enriching change for himself and his
He’s taken a long-term lease for the gallery, invested heavily in its
fitout, bought a house and settled his children into local schools.
Raft could work anywhere, he says, confident that his clientele will
follow him, but he sees advantages in working out of a place “that is
the centre of a movement in art” – the art by the Aboriginal artists of
the central deserts.
“I could have gone to a major capital city, but for me it makes more
sense to go to the source where the art is made.
“When the art leaves here it’s a whole different circus.
“Here there’s no room for pretentiousness, the place makes you honest.
“It has its issues but it’s also a very strong community, with a rich
mix of people, and some great people working in the arts.”
The gallery does not show Indigenous art exclusively but rather
presents it as contemporary art, through its exhibition program often
putting it into dialogue with non-Indigenous art.
For instance, in a 2008 show titled simply Paint, Mr Gold hung work by
Makinti Napanangka (Papunya Tula) and Eubena Nampitjin (Warlayirti)
alongside that of non-Indigenous abstract painters Ildiko Kovacs and
Aida Tomescu – “four very different artists who had in common a passion
for the material of paint and a deep reverence for the process of
He’s also interested in exhibiting the best of the Territory’s
non-Indigenous artists, among them Alice Springs painters Wayne Eager,
Marina Strocchi and Neridah Stockley whose work he has already shown
over the years.
Another area of interest will be in bringing “saltwater artists to the
desert” and putting them too into dialogue with one another.
AT RIGHT: Mr Gold in the new Raft Artspace, with a painting by Rammey
Ramsey (Jirrawun Arts, Wyndham).
In the background on the left is Kelly’s Fall by Peter Adsett, the
painting used as Raft’s logo.
and down, soft and hard.
Ahead of The John
Butler Trio’s headlining appearance at Saturday night’s One Night
Stand, POP VULTURE with CAMERON BUCKLEY previews JBT’s new album, April
Uprising, to be released tomorrow.
A handful of new ‘chewns’ from The John Butler Trio will be unleashed
on the Alice faithful this Saturday at the One Night Stand concert
(Triple J’s free concert at Traeger Park from 3pm).
Due for release on the concert’s eve, JBT’s latest is a very
accomplished and diverse body of work, with a level blend of tempos, up
and down, and it starts and ends on serious notes, both soft and hard.
The opening track, “Revolution” is possibly the album’s most radio
friendly edit, in music and verse following a typical Butler blueprint,
making it instantly recognisable. It has Butler trying to explain the
concept of a revolution in contemporary western society. Could be he’s
trying to teach us that there is always room and time for revolt even
in times of impending chaos.
“C’mon now” sounds how the Ramones might have sounded if they gave
birth to their music around about the time of the “California Dreaming”
era. This is the easiest song to listen to, and should be a certainty
for Saturday’s set list.
“One way road” is a fast moving steel train that can only steam
forward, a cool ride that’s hard to get off.
The essence of longing for someone who is a million light years away is
brought to verse in “I’d do anything”.
“Ragged mile” has a banjo duelling with itself – producing a rolling
beat for a pleasant stomp, like reliving Deliverance without the
squealing pigs part. This song weds well with Central Australia,
conveying a sense of giving over to your surroundings, of displacement
in a place you call home, of knowing that as comfortable as you may
feel you’ve still got a lot to learn.
“Don’t wanna see your face” shows a new elasticity in Butler’s voice,
similar to the vocal styling of Les Claypool. A trademark cool fluidity
of strings also accompany this number, that twing-twang flamenco we
have grown accustomed to with JBT.
“Take me” is a crash course in barroom romanticism, a last drinks waltz
with a plucking adagio baseline. If it’s played on Saturday night the
lyrics may seem to make shallow ironic comment on the concert’s name.
Other acts aboard the plane to Alice include Washington, Bluejuice and
Gyroscope, who’ve received a lot of radio play over the past year. Once
they start performing small waves of reminiscence should flush over
Washington in particular has begun to attract fans like a tumbling
snowball, following a string of acclaimed live performances.
With admission free, expect the place to be overrun with purely curious
bodies and collectives, all stuffed with forestalling eyeballs.
us the artistic bbqs! By
The Town Council has declined to be advised on matters of design by its
Public Art Advisory Committee.
The committee proposed a name change to Public Art and Design Advisory
Committee in order to be able to put forward ideas for council
infrastructure such as seating, lighting, bubblers and shade
At council’s February 8 meeting Technical Services Director Greg Buxton
expressed concern over the agenda of “some of the newer members of the
committee” wanting to be “involved with some of our infrastructure”.
Alderman Samih Habib asked “what the big deal is” with having a name
Mr Buxton replied: “Saves having an artistic barbecue at the river.”
Ald Liz Martin, who is chair of the advisory committee, shared his
concern, not wanting to see a barbecue costing “$38,000 instead of
Ald Jane Clark said the role of the committee is to advise on how
public art funds should be spent, commenting that “design is a huge
area” outside of the intention in setting up the Public Art Advisory
KIERAN FINNANE COMMENTS:
Poor design can cost as much in dollar terms as good design but instead
of adding to the enjoyment of our public places, it detracts from them.
In the captions are some reasons why the Town Council should take
advice on design in our public places.
People living in “prescribed areas” – Aboriginal communities so
identified by the Federal Intervention – may not drink alcohol unless
they have a permit from the Licensing Commission.
In the southern region there are 70 such permit holders but as of
Monday, April 5, four of them, held by people in the Ali Curung
Prescribed Area, will be revoked.
This is not for any breach of conditions but follows a complaint
brought by the Barkly Shire Council that “such permits are
discriminatory and are inconsistent with the purpose behind restricting
alcohol in Prescribed Areas”.
The commission found that the majority of the community of some 1000
residents were opposed to the liquor permits.
One of the permit-holders, a public servant in a position of
responsibility, had argued that revoking the permits would make it
harder to recruit staff for the community.
However, the commission noted that out of a non-Indigenous population
of around 40 public servants and contractors, only three were permit
Cowed public servants. COMMENT by
Does taking a job with the government in the Territory mean
surrendering all right to participate in the civic society?
Some government employees are certainly under that impression.
Every journalist in town has come across the “I can’t say anything, I
work for the government” refrain.
But should this apply when it comes to a simple matter of whether or
not you would like a footpath built in your street?
A petition to the Town Council by residents of Chapman and
Weaving Courts, protesting council’s intended construction of footpaths
there as a waste of public money, included three abstentions.
The covering letter explained that this was because of the residents’
What kind of intimidation can produce public servants so cowed?
Surely this is not a good thing for the society we live in.
Hold that front page!
While there are some rather intelligent people in the world who say
they don’t believe in climate change, I’m 100% positive that there are
too many cyclones.
Far too many cyclones for our naming system to handle at any rate.
This week the Queensland coast was preparing for another onslaught from
another tropical low. This one, named Cyclone Ului, unleashed the
equivalent energy of about a bazillion atomic bombs on the poor
unfortunates in its path.
If I were in the path of a cyclone, I would like to be certain that the
natural disaster that was about to unleash its temper upon my home, my
family and me had a name I could pronounce. Or at least have heard
before. I would like to look upon the devastation and say in a loud and
unabashed yell, “Damn you Cyclone Robert!” Or Sarah or Tiffany. It is
my opinion that something drastic will have to be done about reducing
the impact of climate change before we get to Cyclone Chenneayda.
If you sifted through the news last week you would have read about
Cyclone Ului. You would also have seen that two state elections were
held. The clean up continues in Haiti and Chile following massive
earthquakes. US President Obama has postponed his visit to Australia
and Indonesia in order to push through his Medicare style health
reforms. Speaking of nationalised health, here in Austr… “Hold the
front page! Lara Bingle and Michael Clarke have split. We cross now to
their Bondi flat.”
Apart from the mixed media metaphor, that sums up the news of the past
couple of weeks.
I don’t know why we are so hungry for news of a sports person and
someone who used to model a bit’s private life. What I am concerned
about today is that Michael Clarke’s career advancement was called into
question because of the “scandal”.
There may be no more highly esteemed position in Australia than the
captain of the Australian Cricket Team. Michael Clarke has been groomed
to take over from Ricky Ponting when Punter retires. According to
several ex-players including former Australian Test Captain Ian
Chappell, the fact that Michael Clarke took a day off work in order to
work out his dissolving relationship means that he may not be fit for
the job of captain of the Aussies.
I have never been a captain of a cricket team. But if we look at the
often more salacious world of the football codes we can see a swathe of
sports people brilliant at their jobs, artists rather than players. But
once they hit the showers they turn to drink, drugs, womanizing,
gambling and violence. Behaviour far worse than needing to sort out
The question needs to be whether Michael Clarke can still make a
decisive bowling change. Can Michael Clarke know the right time in the
match to bring fine leg into a catching position?
The same question hangs over many positions of prominence, in politics
The South Australian election last weekend was one such test. Labor had
delivered the lowest unemployment in the country, they had turned the
economy around and they had introduced legislation designed to keep the
streets safer. Three big ticket items on voters how to vote list. Yet
the premier has been accused of having an affair and the swings against
Labor have been massive.
What is more important to us as voters? We have a Federal election just
around the corner and a Territory election could be called if Gerry
Wood catches a cold, so how will we vote?
To be honest I couldn’t care less if the person I vote for stays at
home on Friday nights wearing nothing but a baby bonnet as long as they
get the job done.
Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Bob Hawke, Silvio Berlusconi ... the list
goes back to Caesars and Pharaohs. All of them have done shameful and
morally questionable things. But I am not going to ask them to have a
sleepover or teach my kids the importance of a morally rigid
I will ask them to balance the budget. I will ask them to provide more
affordable housing and I will ask them to have a fresh look at fixing
the problems we here in Alice Springs deal with on a daily basis. It’s
the problems and their solutions that need to be on the front pages.
Is tourism lobby ignoring reality?
Sir – Phuket in Thailand is at present chock a block with tourists even
though there are red shirts trying to topple the government!!!
Peter Grigg (Alice News, March 18) forgot to mention just about all
international tour groups bypass Alice now.
When last have you seen a bus load of tourists?
Business for us is the worst it has been in 24 years. We now employ
seven staff compared to our old average of 20 to 25.
From flying 18,000 passengers five years ago, we’re down to 6,000.
Cheers from under a coconut tree!
ED – Mr Sanby also runs China Hot Air Ballooning – see our Nov 20, 2008
Divert Araluen solar funds elsewhere
Sir – I’m an off-grid resident of North Queensland, so I have some
familiarity with solar power and its limits.
The Araluen proposal sounds warm and fuzzy, but there are clearly some
Solar power requires space that is not available, maintenance issues
add heavily to cost, and local amenity is threatened.
Is the reason the proposal exists to save carbon emissions whilst
providing air-conditioning to the building? If so, I think there is a
Move the application of funds to other sites where the same carbon
reductions will apply, and hook the Araluen air conditioning into the
Araluen uses proxy savings, the total carbon footprint is the same, but
applied to different sites. In the big picture, it makes no difference.
In other words, direct the solar energy funds to different buildings so
that they get the benefits of solar power, because the funds have
been “traded” from Araluen. In this scenario, all the
environmental and amenity objections should evaporate.
Good luck Alice.
Meeting hostile to Araluen solar plant
Sir – Regarding the proposed solar energy project for Araluen, it seems
that the Araluen administration (and indeed the NT Government) have
again failed to take into consideration the public’s concerns over the
development of this project, just as they did concerning the recent
plans to develop the Araluen precinct and in particular the
rearrangement of gallery space.
I was part of a large crowd that attended the information meeting last
Wednesday night at Witchetty’s where Tim Rollason and the other panel
members received a very hostile reception towards their plans to locate
the solar arrays and a thermal plant close up next to Central Craft and
in an area that is considered by many as an important part of the art,
cultural and visual space of the precinct. People are not against the
idea of Araluen having solar driven air-conditioning but are very
resistant to the idea of having a huge, and very visible, industrial
plant stuck in the middle of our beautiful, and spiritually
significant, Araluen grounds.
While people applauded plans to make large savings of energy and
significant reductions in carbon emissions, they were far less happy
about the community consultation process surrounding this project so
Even though the information tabled last night suggests a thorough
engagement with the public over the project has occurred, I beg to
differ – this is a very complex and sensitive project that requires
lots of information and discussion that needs to occur in a timely
I have attended all previous meetings and yet last night was the first
time that such a depth of information has been made available.
Incredible as it seems, we were also told that the tenders for the
project would close on Wednesday March 24 (yesterday) – leaving a mere
week for our concerns to be considered.
If that was not enough, it was pointed out by one of those attending
that the project information provided in the foyer of Araluen didn’t
match the information put out on the tables at the meeting – apparently
what we were looking at was an old version!!
Araluen also failed to provide sufficient visual information on the
night, leaving many of us struggling to understand the engineering
aspects of the project and more importantly, how it will visually
impact on the surroundings – a number of computerised architectural
drawings could have easily satisfied this.
While Tim and others tried to soothe us by promising to take on board
our concerns (and there were pages and pages of butchers papers by the
end of the night) it wasn’t hard to understand how dissatisfied people
felt as they left the building.
So it leaves me to reflect, has the NT Government become so engrossed
in their drive to hold this project up as cutting edge technology and
become the envy of the nation to a point where they have once again
failed to see the brick wall in front of them? Because if last
night’s meeting is anything to go by there is a very real brick wall
and it’s called “The Community” and it’s being reinforced by the day!
Troubling crime stats
Sir – The latest youth crime figures show a troubling increase in
recorded crimes by juveniles across the Territory in the 2008-09
The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show there were 8982
recorded crimes by offenders aged between 10 and 18 in 2008-09,
compared with 7817 in the previous financial year, an increase of 14.9%.
Young people represented 22.4% of all offenders across the Northern
Between 2007-08 and 2008-09, the Northern Territory reported the
largest proportional increase in the number of offenders, both male and
The increase for young males was 14% and for young women it was 16%.
The figures show the Territory had the highest offender rate in
2008-09, with 4832 offenders per 100,000 persons aged between 10 and
over and recorded the largest increase in the offender rate across
There is no substantial consequence for young offenders and so the
cycle of youth crime remains unbroken. Under the Country Liberals, boot
camps would be established around the Territory aimed at getting young
offenders to work and develop skills.
The average daily number of people in full time custody in the
Territory last year was 1073 compared to 939 in 2008.
The NT also has the highest imprisonment rate in the country with 662
prisoners per 100,000 population compared to 171 prisoners per 100,000
Terry Mills MLA