December 2, 2010. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

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Welcoming youth in CBD?

A park extending from the rear of Adelaide House to Hartley Street, mooted last week, would give the town an opportunity to actively welcome young people into its centre.
At present there is not so much as a slippery dip or swing in the whole of the CBD, let alone a skatepark. Skateboarding and roller-blading are banned, as is bike-riding except on the roads.
By contrast, the Victorian capital’s website declares: “Skaters are welcome in the City of Melbourne.”
Other towns, such as Geelong and Cairns, have seen the vibrancy that young people can bring to their public spaces and have welcomed them back to redesigned, award winning multi-purpose urban activity areas on their foreshores.
The Cairns Esplanade Skatepark won a design award from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) in 2008.
It is described on the AILA website as an “all ages public sporting facility” that challenges “the perception of what skateparks are and how they can integrate into the public domain”, “blurring the lines between traditional skatepark infrastructure and landscape”.
Interestingly, its designers, Convic Design, were behind the design of the Alice skatepark, the construction of which has never been completed.
The proposed town centre park, tagged “The Meeting Place”, will be the first project to be worked on as part of a bigger plan to revitalise the CBD.
It will be the subject of intensive community consultation in February next year.
Matty Day, a former professional skateboarder who has lived in Alice since 2007, is one person who has a vision for what could happen.
The park should become an activities hub: a place where small children can play, families and friends can gather to have barbecues, skaters can skate, and all of them interact with one another. 
The kind of “monolithic intrusion” that is the older style skatepark is not necessary; we could have an attractive low-rising plaza-style development where skating could be one of the many activities on site, with pathways for skaters and pedestrians as well as entry and exit points all clearly demarcated.
Other physical activities for all age groups could be encouraged – Tai Chi, yoga, dancing – with workers from the CBD able to take part at lunchtimes.
Mr Day says Alice is lucky because we have the opportunity to learn from what other towns have done.
“We’re not as unique here as we might imagine – our experience is quite similar to that of other regional towns,” says Mr Day.
The Geelong skatepark at Western Beach (one of several in the city of Greater Geelong) is just such a multi-purpose space, with multi-media supports and staging areas built in, including permanently installed sound systems.
A large-scale system suitable for public concerts masquerades as sculpture; all performers need to do is plug their equipment in.
There’s also the possibility for individuals plugging their iPods into smaller systems, to create ambience in smaller pockets.
But it’s not just a matter of structures, says Mr Day: the Melbourne City Council contracts the YMCA to run a proactive skate-boarding program, much as they might run a swimming pool.
The first sentence of the Melbourne council’s Skate Safe guidelines says: “The City of Melbourne encourages all young people to use the city, including skaters”, asking only that skaters “follow advice on skating in the municipality”.
The program employs skateboarders, young men and women, based at the Riverslide Skate Park in the centre of the city, to run a cafe, deliver first aid and coach as well as do outreach on the streets, talking to young people about the etiquette of skating in public places, and pointing out where it is not allowed (busy roads, sensitive sites such as memorials). 
These skateboard workers also talk to businesses about “the best way to engage with skaters to reduce confrontation if issues arise”.
“It’s a proven working model,” says Mr Day.
Would doing something like this in our town centre represent too much of a focus on a relatively small number of people?
Mr Day thinks not: welcoming them into the centre of our community life would be seen as a message to youth generally.
“We’d be seen as putting our youth, our future, in pride of place,” he says.
There is a lot of angst in Alice about youth on the streets which could be dispelled by the streets becoming more youth friendly.
Skating as an activity can also absorb some of the drive youth have towards ‘extreme’ experience: “You can get that same feeling but with more calculated risk-taking,” says Mr Day.
“It’s a great way of engaging young guys, but a safer, more central facility could also bring in girls.
“Girls are a growing part of the sport.
“There are a lot of professional girls now, there are ranges of skate shoes and clothing designed for them and just look at the roller-blade girls we’ve already got around town.”
At that same time as welcoming youth, the park could achieve multiple other goals: the expression of artistic vision (“Imagine a giant coolamon as a skate bowl!”), environmental sensitivity through landscaping and lighting design, as well as economic and social development.
More people would be attracted into the centre of town, for many now a “no go” area after business hours. 
Shops, cafes, restaurants would all benefit.
Skating could be used to steer disaffected youth towards education and employment, like Clontarf: “Football shouldn’t be the only pathway,” says Mr Day.
Hardworking and courageous Australian skaters have mounted such a program in Kabul, Afghanistan. Called Skateistan, it works on building trust and breaking down social barriers in that conflict-ravaged country.
If the Alice facility were “state of the art”, then national, even international events, such as the World Cup of Skateboarding series, could be staged here, adding another arrow to our tourism quiver as well as being a thrilling attraction for locals.
Bondi, Sydney gets these events because it is an iconic place with the right facilities; the Red Centre could be right up there, says Mr Day.

Tourism: new broom. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Jeff Huyben, a former top executive for 12 years of Voyages when it owned major hotels in The Centre, is the new chairman of Tourism Central Australia (TCA).
He worked at the Ayers Rock Resort for six years before becoming the regional manager for King’s Canyon, the Alice Springs Resort and El Questro in the Kimberleys.
When the group was broken up Mr Huyben joined Chifley Hotels which bought the Alice Springs Resort, and he continues to manage that property.
He defeated the chairman of the past two years, Ren Kelly, in a secret ballot at the AGM on Friday attended by about 80 members and guests.
Mr Huyben had served on the TCA executive for one year.
Mr Kelly told the meeting that TCA membership was at an all-time high of 450, and the industry was “stable” despite a high dollar, the global recession and bad press over public disorder.
He said TCA had spent $100,000 on a new website and was in the throes of negotiating a new three year service agreement with the NT Government’s Tourism NT, a major funder for TCA.
It gets an undisclosed amount for providing services, such as conducting eight trade and consumer shows a year, or stimulating “visiting friends and relatives” activities by promoting functions, such as the Alice Cup or Henley on Todd, in which they can participate.
Mr Huyben, in an interview with the Alice Springs News, acknowledged TCA’s role as a lobby group, influencing the Government on behalf of its members.
He says the most recent example is the organisation’s efforts to give them a powerful voice in the current debate about outlawing drinking alcohol in pubs and clubs without a meal between 11am and 2.30pm.
Mr Huyben spoke with ERWIN CHLANDA.
NEWS: The town’s three big lobbies – the town council, TCA and the Chamber of Commerce – make their points but, seen from the position of TCA, is the government listening?
HUYBEN: Yes, they are listening, and they have been very supportive. I think there has been a lot of talk about alcohol restrictions and other things.
NEWS: For example?
HUYBEN: The Mereenie loop [now the Red Centre Way, to King’s Canyon] has gone cold a little bit. We were obviously always lobbying for the support of the Mereenie loop. That’s been ongoing for many years. I don’t know where we are at with that. We’ll have a new plan of projects and look at our “list to do”.
NEWS: The service level agreement with Tourism NT is coming to an end and a new one is being negotiated.
HUYBEN: I believe there are great opportunities in more marketing initiatives. I believe we are working closely with Tourism NT. There is a huge amount of synergy there, great representation.
NEWS: TCA is meant to be the watchdog over Tourism NT. Is it a good thing for TCA to be heavily dependent on Tourism NT funding? Would you bite the hand that feeds you?
HUYBEN: All I can say is Tourism NT is working very well in conjunction with TCA and I can see a lot of positive vibes coming from this.
NEWS: Do you have statistics of income from tourism in the past five years?
HUYBEN: That has been discussed. I can’t tell you from memory what that was. Especially this year, it’s been a successful year, I believe, with the Masters Games, Camel Cup, Henley on Todd. Every year is a tough year. The conferencing market has been fairly strong up till now. The forecast is next year will not be as strong. Conferences that have been worked on for the last 18 months have not been secured.
NEWS: So what are the figures for the last five years? Are we going up or are we going down?
HUYBEN: I am going to talk to Peter [Grigg, the TCA manager] about a strategy to get those figures.
NEWS: All we could get from him was the number of people calling at the Visitors Centre and that is not a precise indicator of the industry. I thought TCA would be keen to have precise, actual figures, is business going up or down, what shall we do next?
HUYBEN: To deal with this, one of my ideas is to have an executive workshop towards the end of this year or definitely early next year.
NEWS: Having precise figures would drive your activities, would it not?
HUYBEN: I guess it would.
NEWS: In view of the global recession and the high Aussie dollar, what do you think should be the most important initiatives of TCA in the next year or so?
HUYBEN: There are many Australians who have never been here. We need to work closely with Uluru, King’s Canyon, Glen Helen and the Barkly Region. The domestic market is big.
NEWS: How is the relationship shaping up with the new owners of the Ayers Rock Resort?
HUYBEN: It’s going to be interesting over the next 12 months, isn’t it? One of their objectives is to have an increase in Indigenous employment within the resort operations, including – for example – the airport and retail.
NEWS: That was also an objective of the previous owners who bent over backwards to offer employment to Aborigines, yet the offers weren’t taken up. Work experience for students from Nyangatjatjara College was one of the very few exceptions.
HUYBEN: We tried to get gardeners, handymen and housekeeping staff from the three communities, and we got them, in sync with the Voyages indigenous employment strategy.
NEWS: For how long?
HUYBEN: It was short term or seasonal, on a casual basis, it could have been three to six months.
NEWS: About 80% of people in the Mutitjulu community are un- or under-employed. Why are they not all working at the Resort?
HUYBEN: That’s the question, isn’t it? We at Chifley have three Indigenous staff working for us, one lady for three years, the other two as permanent part-time staff. It’s working well. I was the Kings Canyon regional area GM for three years. In the nearby communities we tried desperately [to recruit staff]. We would even pick them up if they didn’t have transport. We certainly tried. There are certainly plenty of jobs there to suit anyone in any resort environment.
NEWS: There is a lot of anxiety about going out at night in Alice Springs, reports of people being attacked. What will it take to get the tourism industry back to where it was?
HUYBEN: The hotel I’ve been working for in the last five years attracts anywhere from 68,000 to 72,000 bed nights a year. I have yet to have a guest coming up to me personally with a negative attitude towards the town. We haven’t had any any issues that affected the guest experience. 
NEWS: Do you warn people about dangers?
HUYBEN: We don’t. We encourage them to enjoy the town, and just like anywhere else, late at night the best thing is not to walk home but to catch a cab.
NEWS: What do visitors ask for?
HUYBEN: A lot of the guests are asking us about Indigenous culture, art, craft, local attractions.
NEWS: How can you, as an organisation, enhance the contacts with Indigenous people? As a visitor you may talk to someone who wants to sell you a painting, or ask you for money.
HUYBEN: Having more employment front-of-house. In the hotel and resort industry it’s quite obvious most Indigenous staffing tends to be more back-of-house positions. We’ve got two absolutely lovely ladies working in our resort, they are mentored, they feel comfortable, they are in front of the guests. One girl is at reception. We’ll be looking in 2011 at Indigenous employment in the TCA Visitors Centre.

Bulldoze or preserve: here we go again. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Owners of the old drive-in site have applied to have the heritage listing of part of it, protecting the screen, projection building and the space in between, revoked.
This would allow them to remove the screen – they say they have people interested in relocating it – and demolish the projection building, making way for what they hope will become 74 vacant housing lots.
It would be yet another erasure of memory from our built environment – so should we care?
The drive-in, opened in 1965, has not operated on a regular basis since 1988. 
The films Masquerade and A New Life were shown on Friday November 25 and Saturday November 26, 1988. When only two cars turned up on the Sunday, the screening was cancelled and a chapter of local cinema history closed.
Use of the facility for even occasional advertised screenings, principally fundraisers, has not been recent.
But the recognition of its heritage value has been: the site was nominated in 2000 and the listing was gazetted only in October, 2005.
Various schemes to find another use for the site have not been successful.
They included a plan for a holiday village, which did incorporate the screen and open space in front of it up to the front wall of the projection building.
Designer of this plan, architect Brendan Meney, says its tourism character made sense of a concept that attempted to retain the atmosphere of the old drive-in.
It was intended to have screenings, using contemporary projection equipment, as part of the activity on site.
He doesn’t know how that would work with a purely residential subdivision.
He says the concept plans for the subdivision seems to be taking a very minimalist approach, with not even a corner shop to provide some sort of community infrastructure.
Retaining the heritage-listed area would cut back on a lot of space, he says, though perhaps housing could be wrapped around the area which could be used as a park.
However the owners argue that “no occupant of a residential subdivision would be happy with their neighboring parkland being utilized at night by large numbers of the public watching movies”.
They also claim that the protected area would “look unsightly and out of place in the middle of the subdivision”.
They say the structures are “currently subject to vandalism and in our opinion will continue to attract an undesirable element after it is incorporated into the subdivision”.
They say that the Public Open Space of the proposed subdivision will be vested with the council and ask “will the council be happy to maintain the structures?”.
The Alice News put this question to the Town Council.
CEO Rex Money replied: “If the rezoning and subdivision plans are approved by the Minister, Council will consider aspects of the design (including open spaces) that are in accordance with the Subdivision and Development Guidelines. 
“The public open space has not been defined or agreed upon and there are heritage implications involved. 
“Council is waiting for updated drawings before we can comment any further. 
“Council is pleased to work with the developers regarding planning issues such as stormwater, open spaces, roads and access.”
The owners are listed as 1604 Stuart Highway Pty Ltd, a company registered on September 24, 2009. Title was transferred to them on December 3, 2009 for $1,347,500 (including $122,500 in GST).
The contact person on the application is well-known builder and developer, Philip Danby.
The application refers to other parties to it as owning heritage properties at 84 Hartley Street and 11 Railway Terrace (the Old Alice Springs Post Office). 
The Hartley Street property is owned by Steven Brouwer Nominees Pty Ltd as trustee for the Brouwer Family Trust and Mosgiel Pty Ltd as trustee for The Mary Adlington Trust.
The Railway Terrace property is owned by Philip and Linda Danby as Trustees of the P & L Danby Family Trust.
The application says the owners “have actively worked with the council to preserve these architecturalIy significant properties” and they “are not opposed to preserving significant pieces of Alice Springs history”.
It argues however that “these should be sites that specifically demonstrate unique elements of Alice Springs history and growth, not general Australian history”.
The main thrust of the argument is that the “drive-in culture” sought to be preserved by the heritage listing was an Australian-wide as well as international phenomenon and not specific to Alice Springs – so why preserve it here?
The application offers a nutshell history of the site which shows that for most of its life as a going concern it was operated by people or companies from outside of Alice and under another name, not Pioneer Drive-in, the name given to it by original owner and operator, Snow Kenna.
Mr Kenna is only one aspect of the interest of the site as described by the NT Government’s Heritage Unit.
As the only surviving drive-in in the NT, it is seen as representing  “a particular era” from the mid 1950s to late 1960s “when drive-ins were the most popular form of cinema entertainment”.
It is also “testimony to the increasing sophistication of Allce Springs during the 1960s”, according to the unit.
Its key features including the screen “are particularly evocative of the drive-in culture and are reminders of a way of life and technology that was once common-place but is now in danger of being lost”.
All this does not wash with the current owners who see that most drive-ins across Australia “have been appropriateIy demolished as they became less relevant to today’s needs so the land they occupied could be utilized better”.
They conclude that “the Pioneer Drive in does not have any heritage value”.
“We believe that only a minute section of the Alice Springs population believes it [has] and that the vast majority are perplexed by the listing and see the site as no more than an eyesore.”
Their application will test this proposition: if few people object to it then the Minister will probably be inclined to listen to the next part of their argument, that “the proposed subdivision will provide much needed residential land for Alice Springs” which will not be able to proceed unless the heritage listing is revoked as it would be “uneconomical”.
It’s worth noting that no data is offered in support of this last argument.
The closing date for submissions is December 21.
The concept plan for the subdivision, put forward in the application for rezoning of the site from TC (tourist commercial) to SU (special use), shows that they hope to create 74 single house lots ranging from 300 sqm to 754 sqm – a “courtyard and villa” style development suitable for first home buyers.
This application has been through the Development Consent Authority process and is before the Minister.
The notional layout for the subdivision shows a central open area and another small area of open space.
There appears to be no provision for any other kind of amenity though the rezoning application suggests that the site is in an area containing some commercial and educational facilities – “some within walking distance”.
Employees of these facilities – Yirara College, Road Transport Hall of Fame, Pioneer Park, Sun FM, AZRI, Old Timers, Desert Knowledge Precinct, St Mary’s – would thus have an opportunity to reside close to their workplace.

A Cinema Park?

The site of the old drive-in could become a Cinema Park for Alice Springs, suggests Lisa Stefanoff, organiser of the Alice Desert Festival’s Cinema in the River, whose audience has grown “exponentially” over the last three years.
This – as well as other smaller screening ventures like StoryWall, Lunacine, and Wanngardi – demonstrate that there is a strong local interest in outdoor cinema, says Ms Stefanoff.
It would be great if the heritage listing could be made meaningful by the government investing in renovating the site as a Cinema Park.
People have very strong memories of the kind of community experience that it was, with all parts of the community able to mix there.
The town lacks these kinds of venues now, except perhaps for the football and the annual festival events.
“I can see the owners’ argument about the disrepair of the site, seeming to reflect a lack of interest in it. 
“I’d love to see some kind of lobby group form to develop a plan for using and taking care of the space.
“We were pleased this year at Cinema in River to be able to draw Snow Kenna back into local memory.
“Preserving the drive-in would be a continuity of the recognition that the town has felt he deserved in naming a street and park after him.”
See also Mike Gillam’s letter to the editor:

In the boot

Friday night at the drive-in was a highlight of the working week and a great way of sliding merrily into the weekend.
Everybody was there, in any conceivable conveyance, from pushbikes to prime movers.
I’m sure I can remember a steamroller in the back row one night.
Hardly anyone sat in the cars but on them and in front of them and on anything from swags to deckchairs and bean bags.
Exceptionally well stocked eskies were always within easy reach, yet I can’t remember a single unpleasant event, except upon departure when 4WDs with large bull bars had no difficulty getting the right of way.
I was working for the Advocate and although we were given a liberal number of freebies, greed got the better of us and we brought along some other mates as well.
Printer Paul Urban had a penchant for mammoth V8s. One night we were all at La Pizzeria when Paul did a burnout right out front.
The rubber smoke caught under the eaves and the excited Italian waiter came running outside yelling, “Mamma mia, the house is on fire!”
I digress.
Paul’s cars were always big enough for two to three people arriving at the drive-in, sardined in the boot.
With six in the front, the stern of the vehicle was almost scraping the ground.
This didn’t escape the attention of the guy in the ticket booth: he usually gave us a knowing raised eyebrow but he always let us through.
A Guinness Book of Records drug raid could have been performed at the drive-in screening of Cheech and Chong’s “Up in Smoke”.
The constabulary could just have locked the gates and booked everyone. Except they would have needed breathing apparatus.
            – Erwin Chlanda

Alice streetscape: death by a thousand cuts. By KIERAN FINNANE.

“It looks like a very, very bad pixilated photo,” says Mayor Damien Ryan of the so-called reinstatement of the Kmart wall.
Although still behind scaffolding, the crude concrete block approximation of the former sandstone mural is all but complete.
Mr Ryan is a bitterly disappointed that Minister for Arts and Museums Gerry McCarthy, who is also the Minister for Planning, did not intervene to support the Town Council’s request for an exact sandstone replica of the mural.
It was demolished after being damaged in a storm in 2008.
The original “Instrument of Determination” for the Kmart building stipulated that the wall must be maintained to the satisfaction of the Town Engineer, an employee of the Town Council, but it was clearly not worth the paper it was written on.
Mr Ryan says former owners, Centro Properties Group, who successfully appealed a decision by the Development Consent Authority to insist on an exact replica, just wanted “a quick sale”.
They achieved that in June this year when local company Yeperenye Pty Ltd bought the property for close to $16m.
Yeperenye pressed ahead with the work on the wall to achieve the result we have now.
It puts them into contention for the Alice Springs CBD Death by 1000 Cuts Awards (if they don’t exist, they should), alongside owners of the Coles Complex for their new low in “landscaping”. 

Lesson needed in supply and demand. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.

I’m going to voice some opinions dissenting from the general thrust of views expressed at the town planning forum last week.
That thrust was to defer the residential development of the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI) block south of The Gap, until the proposal has been examined exhaustively from several angles.
In the meantime the town should rely on “infill” in the established suburbs to meet the still acute demand for housing.
It was significant that the land development movers and shakers were either notably absent from the meeting, or silent.
It seems the AZRI opponents had the floor – at least for the limited time when government figures or invitees were not holding forth.
The movers and shakers probably thought it quite unnecessary to sit through such a meeting because they have the government in their pockets, anyway.
Judging from the recent Range Crescent decision, they are probably right.
On the face of it we now have a situation where the government has, at long last, started to spend real money on providing housing blocks in significant numbers, namely at AZRI.
Yet the ‘public’ is against it.
What the ‘public’ seems to be saying to the government is this: let’s just continue to dribble out a handful of blocks at a time.
Never mind if this continues to keep the price of land at exorbitant levels, and that in the middle of a million square kilometres of land that is hardly occupied, we are squeezing people into blocks of land ever decreasing in size.
Did anyone see the irony in bringing in big city consultants to advise us on how to cope with shortage of land, smack bang in the middle of the near-empty outback, a shortage that we have created?
Remember, it was the NT Government that made a bad situation worse: they removed vast swaths of land from consideration for cheap housing by pegging native title at half the freehold value. That’s 10 times higher than in Western Australia. One of the attractions of the AZRI block is that it’s not encumbered by native title.
My family and I are living on two hectares closer to AZRI than most other “blockies”.
As a rural resident I have fought hard to preserve the lifestyle choices of people living as we do.
But as a citizen of Alice Springs I am aware that lack of housing land has stagnated the town for more than a decade, and driven it close to the tipping point: many people vital to our survival, let alone our prosperity, have already left town.
Which part of the supply and demand principles do some people not understand?
If you pull the 1000 to 1200 AZRI blocks off the market, what effect will that have on the price of land?
Who will benefit?
We need two AZRIs to knock some sense into the market – not none.
There have been voices of reason out there, most recently from Robyn Lambley when she was campaigning for Araluen, urging debate about land being sold at or close to development cost.
Across the border the Mount Isa City Council is doing just that – $75,000 a block – while in The Alice the council is doing little more than wringing its hands.
Now an unholy alliance between greenies and real estate speculators seems to be getting underway, seeking to block the government’s first significant housing land initiative in decades.

The power of the desert. By KIERAN FINNANE.

The power of the desert made itself felt in Todd Mall last Friday.
Some 20 women from Kiwirrkurra and Kintore, artists of the Papunya Tula company, were preparing to dance.
They wore headbands of deep yellow, many had their faces red-ochred, some wore sticks through their septum, their bare breasts were gleaming and painted.
They had decided that the gallery was too small for the dancing and led the exhibition opening crowd outside.
A gob-smacked British tourist asked me what was going on.
I explained: this was the biggest night of the year for The Centre’s premier painting company and the women were launching the exhibition.
“How lucky are we!” she exclaimed to her companion.
Behind the women, lined up across the full width of the mall, the patrons of Red Ochre Grill streamed out, cameras at the ready.
The crowd waited as negotiating between the women went on.
And then it began.
Josephine Nangala and Yukultji Napangati sang, taking turns to use a microphone, their deep rhythmic chant ringing out in the mall.
The long line of women moved forward and backward, at first all linked by a long strand of deep yellow yarn.
Later, each woman had her own length of yarn, held taut, running her hand down it, then passing it back and forth beneath her nose.
I later learnt that this related to the site of Marrapinti, visited during the women’s seven night painting and camping trip that had nourished the work on show in the gallery.
Marrapinti is a women’s initiation site, and the dance referred to nasal septum piercing, the ritual that marks entry into womanhood.
The stroke down the yarn represented the cleaning of the stick prior to piercing; the passing back and forth beneath the nose represented the piercing itself.
“We have been dancing out bush,” Marlene Nampitinpa told the crowd, emphasising the direct connection of the dance to the travels in their country, to their sacred sites, and the work on the walls inside.
It was a show of strength by Papunya Tula.
You need a degree of critical mass – and this long-established, highly esteemed art centre has that – for such a powerful, meaningful demonstration.
A young male artist, Jeffrey Zimran Tjangala, also spoke at the opening.
He thanked Papunya Tula for giving him the opportunity to paint and, if I heard him rightly, said that before that opportunity he hadn’t known what to do.
He spoke of the men’s painting trip, undertaken separately, as a “really special” experience for him as a young person – he had learnt a lot of things.
His statements were another expression of the broad contribution that an art centre makes: the development of young artists, and the nurturing of the whole cultural context in which their work is produced, takes place alongside the production of master works. 
Added to this were announcements by Papunya Tula manager Paul Sweeney that funds raised from the sale of selected master works would go towards the establishment of an aged care program to provide “additional support and help with their daily lives” to a group of older artists, including many who had been “major contributors over the last 10 to 15 years” to the success of the company.
Said Mr Sweeney: “Already, Makinti Napanangka, who now resides in the Old Timers Retirement Village here in town, has travelled back to Kintore and out to her homelands south of the community on two occasions with her own fulltime nurse, each trip lasting for between two to three weeks.
“These trips back to the community have been very successful and have benefited not just Makinti but her entire extended family.”
Inside the gallery, the long row of works by the women, above a line that traced their journey between sites, had echoes of their long line across the mall.
The small works seemed a little neat in rendition of their experience, the larger collaborative work somewhat hemmed in, in comparison to the grand statement of the song and dance outside (and to the unforgettable very large collaborative canvasses that launched the Western Desert dialysis unit appeal back in 2000). 
For me overall the impression was a little underwhelming, perhaps due to the democracy of this end of year exhibition, which always tries to give as many artists as possible an outing.
This means a lot of small work hung quite close together, which in itself can diminish the impact of some fine treasures.
Amongst the larger works there are, as always, some that are superb.
To mention a few: the largest on show and the dearest at $80,000, a 2007 work by Walangkura Napanangka, radiates warmth, depth and a big vision.
Kawayi Nampitjinpa’s 2010 work has its own electricity, the surface charged by vivid contrasts and strongly drawn motifs.
Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula’s 2010 work, the smaller of the two in the middle of the gallery, fairly bursts with heat and energy.
How lucky are we – to borrow from the British tourist – to have all this in our midst.

Sister Bertha’s great contribution to the Alice community. By JENNY MONTEFIORE.

Sister Bertha Winifred Brown left Alice Springs this week after 13 years of service with the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM).
She was born in Rangoon, Burma, on February 23, 1942 to parents Kathleen and Vincent Trinidad.
Vincent at a very young age had to join the British Army who were in combat against the Japanese. He died in action.
Bertha’s only brother Conrad, two and a half years old, also died, hit by a splinter from Japanese planes as he ran out from a trench. 
Bertha was only few months old at the time. She fled with her mother and grandmother (Vincent’s mother) to India, which had  been arranged earlier by Vincent. 
Kathleen worked in the hospital when she eventually met Kenneth Brown, a British pilot. They married and had a daughter, Barbara  Ann, with Kenneth also legally adopting Bertha.  
Tragically Kenneth too met with an accident and died.
Kathleen returned to Rangoon with their daughters, where her mother, Daw Than, came to live with them. 
Kathleen was a very devoted Buddhist and worked hard as the head stenographer and typist at the Mercantile Bank.
Bertha and Barbara Ann were educated by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary as was pro-democracy leader Aung San Su Kyi: she was in the same class with Barbara Ann and of course Bertha knew her well.
Bertha later attended the Workers’ College, did her teacher’s training and finally entered the FMM Convent in 1962 at the age of 20. 
It was a bad year in Burma: the military dictatorship began causing many Burmese to flee to different countries of the world.  Bertha’s mother and sister both left in 1965 for Australia, with Bertha staying behind, taking her final Vows in 1971.  
In Rangoon Bertha was teaching children catechetics, English and maths. 
Her second mission was in Theinzeik, a rubber plantation village near the border of Burma and Thailand. 
This was a very difficult time for there was infighting between the Burmese army and Karin insurgents. 
Bertha continued her catechetics and helping children in their matriculation year.  
Her third mission took her to a boarding-school for poor children in the southern Chin Hills, in south-western Burma, and from there she went onto Maymio near Mandalay. 
In 1974 her mother died in Perth, some two years before Bertha was able to leave Burma. 
She arrived in Australia in 1976, helping out in the FMM’s  Retreat House in Perth for some six months before taking a teaching post in the FMM’s school, St Michael’s, on Palm Island off far north Queensland.  
She left her beloved Palm Island in 1985 to spend a spirituality year in the UK and to do further studies in Catechesis in Dundelk, Ireland. While overseas Bertha had the privilege to visit both Rome and the Holy Land.
In 1987 Bertha returned to Collie in West Australia, teaching also in Wagin and Darkan and coming to love the Noongar people over the 10 years she was there.  
Then onto to Alice Springs where she quickly entered into the life and love of the parish. If only Father Healy were here to share our memories!
She loved especially the children she met through her Catechesis in the State schools, and joined in various ministries, including prayer groups, choir, visiting those in need and prisoners and simply getting to know the townsfolk and they her!
We bid farewell to our beloved Sister Bertha Brown.

Take no prisoners at the Demo Derby. By CHRIS WALSH.

The traditional Demolition Derby will bring the speedway year to a close on December 11, but not before a great family night with Father Christmas, fireworks and racing.
There’ll be sidecars, formula 500s, wingless sprintcars, junior sedans, bombers and streetstocks, although they will be limited to two heats per division.
The club’s vice president, Dave Totani (pictured), says the wingless sprintcar division is hoping to host Saint Goldini and Craig Garraway from Darwin, which will give them a field of five or six.
Dave has competed in a dozen or more demo derbies and won the last two as the car causing the most damage.
Prior to that, he won a couple of prizes for receiving the most damage.
This year he wants to win the prize for the last car moving, which will be the main prize as it used to be.
It’s hoped that the last car moving will still be moving well enough to complete a lap of honour at the end of the derby!
In the control tower, a spotter will be allocated to each car to to make sure it is moving at all times. If the car stops, it has two minutes to get moving again before being eliminated.
Any cars on the infield must return to the track immediately (without speed) to stay in the competition and if a car is deemed to be gaining an advantage from the infield, they will be disqualified.
Dave said the club is hoping for at least 15 or 16 entries and if they end up with 20 cars, the club will match the sponsor, dollar for dollar .
That would mean the winner taking home $2000 – “pretty good money for a night of fun”, says Dave.
With 20 or so cars, the track gets a bit congested and there’s not really a chance to pick up speed.
Some years the track has been really wet and when drivers have picked up speed the big hits have happened. 
“It’s just luck on the night: you can be stopped because of the battery wiring or something stupid like that but it’s all good fun too,” says Dave.
Dave has entered a Valiant, Holdens and Fords but had an especially good run with a Volvo a couple of years ago.
The Holden HQ he used for his last two wins had “a bit of a trademark going with the exhaust stacks coming out of the roof”.
When he used the Volvo it was like the Stephen King novel, Christine, as it “just wouldn’t die”.
“They’re supposed to be the world’s safest car and they definitely are.
“There was no front or rear left on it but once I’d broken the welds off all of the doors to remove the safety cage from inside, the doors all opened and closed perfectly.
“I could have done the demo without any bars in the car at all although there was nothing left of the outer panels.”
Contenders for this year’s event will include Steven Howell, Oscar Taylor and a few of the boys from A Class Airconditioning such as Steve Sanders and Stinky Pete.
Renee Taylor will be in a wagon –  “Renee’s done it before and she’s a really hard hitter”.
Another hard competitor is Gene Gilby who’s coming back to town especially for the event and Ray Tebeck who usually puts in four or five cars.
And as always, there will also be a few that have never competed before.
Dave told me that his most memorable demo derby was when he was was sandwiched between two other cars.
“I had a red XD Falcon which had the exhaust stacks up through the roof. I was getting pushed backwards by a panel van when Gene Gilby came backwards out of nowhere in another panel van and they just sandwiched me in the middle. All three cars, as we hit, were in the air.
“It was savage – my car literally left the ground with the impact and the boot of the old Ford ended up on the back seat, there was nothing left of it.”
The car lasted for another 10 metres and finally stopped! Although hard to find, Dave will be driving another Volvo this year.
The car was donated by the Healy family.
“After Peter passed away, Cath didn’t want to sell the car and she knew I wanted another Volvo for the demo derby, so the car was given to me.
“It was still registered and it was a good runner. I drove it down to Orange Creek and back and did a few jumps in it, to ‘kill it’.
“Cath wanted to see it in the demo – she’ll be stoked about it and I’m sure Peter would have loved the idea.”
The car is an 80-something four cylinder wagon and Dave says it will definitely be the only one of its kind on the night.
“It’ll be fine. I don’t take any prisoners – I don’t care who you are and if I’m better going forward, then that’s what I’ll do”.
The demolition derby is once again being sponsored by Outback Vehicle Recovery who has now been sponsoring the event for about 15 years or more. 
Pick up an entry form from David Sanders at A Class Airconditioning and Sheet Metal on Lovegrove Drive.
Drivers must wear a neck brace, gloves, helmet, covered shoes, jeans and a long sleeved shirt and flammable fabrics such as nylon are not permitted. Vehicles can retain the dashboard but all glass, floor linings and carpet must be removed.
The cars will be scrutineered prior to the event in the pits at the track from about 5.30pm onwards.
The choice of vehicle is yours although full chassis vehicles and four wheel drives are unacceptable.

POLLY POINTS: Violence condemned as offences soar.

Malarndirri McCarthy
(ALP, Arnhem)
Minister for Women’s Policy

The Henderson Labor Government condemns all forms of violence and that is why we introduced the mandatory reporting of domestic and family violence in March last year.
Since then the number of recorded assaults in domestic violence increased by 22 percent – or by 743 offences – from 3433 to 4176.
For the same period recorded assaults that were not related to domestic violence increased by 6 percent – or by 226 offences from 3514 to 3740.
In 2009/10 financial year of the 612 recorded assaults, 497 or 81 percent were domestic violence related – this is a shocking result and the Territory Government says enough is enough.
I am personally asking all Territory men to swear to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.

Chris Burns
(ALP, Johnston)
Minister for Public and Affordable Housing

Housing Choices Australia and Unity Housing Company will establish an Affordable Housing Rental Company (AHRC) in the NT.
We are supporting its establishment to deliver more affordable rental properties to support key workers. 
It will offer housing at below market rents for low to moderate income earners.
The NT Government will contribute:
• a grant of $300,000 over 18 months to help with establishment costs;
• a parcel of vacant land at 69 Driver Avenue, Driver with an area of 6,520 square metres and potential for the construction of up to 21 dwellings;
• the transfer of title to 35 affordable housing units at the Wirrina redevelopment in Parap which will become available in mid-2012;
• a contract for tenancy management of 10 public housing seniors units at the Wirrina redevelopment; and
• a future invitation for AHRC to participate in the redevelopment of nominated public housing complexes as part of the proposed Unit Complex Revitalisation Plan.

Paul Henderson
(ALP, Wanguri)
Chief Minister
Rob Knight
(ALP, Daly)
Business & Employment

The NT Government is on track to meeting its goal of reaching 10,000 new apprentice and trainee commencements by 2012 under the JobsNT 2010-2012 strategy.
We are ahead of our target with 5,099 people taking up apprenticeships and traineeships as of October this year.
Since 2001, the government has supported the creation of 26,600 new jobs.
We worked hard to reduce the unemployment rate from 7.4% in 2001 to a rate of 3.1% today.
The number of trades apprentices in training has more than doubled from 2001 to 1756 as at October 2010.
Indigenous apprentices and trainees in training have increased from 516 in 2001 to 760 as of October 2010, just under 20% of all apprentices and trainees in the Territory.

Karl Hampton
(ALP, Stuart)
Environment Minister

Karl Hampton today introduced landmark Environmental Legislation on container deposit and plastic bags into the NT Parliament.
The Environment Protection (Beverage Containers and Plastic Bags) Bill 2010 is the first legislation of its kind anywhere in Australia and will establish a cleaner, greener, more sustainable Territory.
The bill once passed establishes:
• A ban from July 2011 on shops giving away or selling single-use, non biodegradable plastic bags;
• A Container Deposit Scheme (CDL) in late 2011 whereby consumers can receive a 10c deposit on eligible bottles, cans and cartons at registered collection depots.
Every year Territorians throw away 40 million plastic bags and recycle only 10% of our beverage containers, creating landfill, killing wildlife and littering our beautiful environment.
This legislation will ban the bag whilst offering a 10c incentive for Territorians to recycle eligible plastic, aluminium and glass beverage containers, bringing these recycling rates up to 70%.
Kerbside recycling is a good start, but it covers less than 50% of the Territory population; CDL will roll out across the Territory providing recycling opportunities for everyone, while creating green jobs in the new waste economy.

Small town technicolour dreams and freak shows.

I have the most vivid dreams, full blown epics where I can fly like a bird and horror shows of the most incredible, terrifying realism.
I even have areas in my dreamscape that I revisit, locations in which I hang out with the same people and where I can do the same stuff (I have a particular place in which I fly). It is great fun and has become a hobby, through something I found out about called “lucid dreaming”.
This is where you are aware you are dreaming and (try) to control what’s happening. I find it easiest to do after I first wake up, usually on the weekends. I go for W.I.L.D trips, that is Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming.
Instead of coming fully awake, you allow yourself to fall back asleep whilst being aware that you are about to enter a dream state – and off you go.
During a WILD session not long ago I was going to jam with Zeppelin but got a case of the fumbles and blew it – some insecurities bubbling up there I guess.
It made me a bit nostalgic when I woke up so I went through some of my old photo albums for a laugh. I was in a Guns and Roses concept band in the early ‘90s, right after Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 came out and the pics from that era are hysterical.
The idea behind a concept band is that you try to copy everything about the band, the clothes and the attitude, not just the songs.
I had a massive head of curly black hair and could play a bit, so I got the gig as Slash. We bought a top hat, I got a Les Paul knock off, and away we went.
It was fun at the start, before the egos and insecurities started to take over. When certain members started to think (and behave, read ‘asshole’ here) they were the people they were copying it was time to go.
In fact if I remember correctly, I warned one chap to lock his door or I would kill him in his sleep just after we had been propositioned by some transvestite hookers staying at the same hotel.
We were all dolled up in our stage gear, though thankfully we didn’t have to wear make up or the girly men might have really taken a shine to us.
The stress was showing – I don’t usually want to murder people in their beds (really!)
It was all about the look and I have to say in retrospect, I may have stepped over the fashion police line on more than one occasion. For instance, wearing purple lycra bike shorts down to the bottlo didn’t go down well with the car full of tradies who thought they were hassling a chick from their car as they went past.
When they realised they had been admiring a bloke’s bum they got all flustered and nasty and then I told them where to go in a most colourful fashion, causing the car to stop and one bloke to get out.  I pulled a stubby from the 6-pack I was carrying and indicated that I would be happy to insert it in him and he decided that he might drive away after all. Silly me.
You don’t see as many hard core fashion fringe dwellers here in Alice as you do in Melbourne for instance. Maybe people here don’t feel the need to dress like a freak show to get noticed.
Perhaps it’s because you know that you will see the same people again when you’re not wearing your Gimp suit – the town is too small to hide in.
So, go to your dream space and get your game on, you can be who you want and no one will know.

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