March 24, 2011. This page contains all major reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

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Native title body asked to 'show cause' why it should not be put into special administration. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

The Aboriginal native title body of Alice Springs, Lhere Artepe, has been invited to show cause why it should not be placed under special administration.
The move comes from the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).
It says Lhere Artepe's 2009/10 financial report is overdue.
The Alice Springs News has obtained a 10-page letter dated March 2, 2010 from ORIC to Lhere Artepe.
The letter says ORIC suspects "on reasonable grounds" that Lhere Artepe has failed to comply with several Acts and rules, and lists about 40 occasions when this appears to have taken place.
The alleged breaches relate to keeping registers of members and directors; audits and financial reports and dealings; and the recording and holding of meetings.
ORIC Registrar Anthony Beven said this week a reply has been received from Lhere Artepe but "we have gone back to seek further information.
"It is quite common for us to go back to a corporation before a decision is made."
An ORIC policy document dealing with special administrations says they enable the Registrar "to provide early proactive regulatory assistance when a corporation experiences financial or governance difficulties.
"It is quite different to a receivership or voluntary administration under the Corporations Act 2001 (the Corporations Act), which are usually driven by the interests of creditors.
"Only the Registrar may place an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation under special administration. The Registrar does not need to apply to a court.
"The grounds for placing a corporation under special administration are broad. They are not restricted to insolvency or the inability to pay a debt.
"They allow early intervention once certain risk factors are present and may avoid later corporate collapse.
"For example, a common risk factor is when a dispute between members and the board has escalated to the point of interfering with the operations of the corporation.
"This would be one reason for placing a corporation under special administration and is an important special measure."

The corporation has received substantial income from land sales, having traded the relinquishment of native title for freehold ownership.
Both at Stirling Heights, at the western edge of Alice Springs, and in Stephens Road, between the range and the golfcourse, Lhere Artepe received freehold title over about half the land.
At Stirling Heights the corporation sold to a developer its share of the land, as it is understood, for $2m.
In Stephens Road Lhere Artepe is developing residential land in its own right.
Recently the corporation is reported to have bought the three Foodland supermarkets, each with a bottle shop.
Its diverse interests are reflected on its website.
The corporation's CEO, Daryl Pearce, said Lhere Artepe did not own the businesses but declined to make further comment.
A newspaper advertisement in December by Lhere Artepe Enterprises stated: "Not a cent of Native Title money has been used in the purchase of the supermarkets, rather the funds were raised through the Commonwealth Government's Aboriginal Benefit Account and local benevolent foundation Centrecorp who have a similar vision to Lhere Artepe Enterprises about the potential to alter the balance between food and alcohol purchases.
"Commercial finance was also secured from the National Australia Bank who have been great supporters of the purchase's capacity to bring about positive social change."
Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation was formed in 2002 following the Federal Court decision that native title was recognised to exist within the Municipality of Alice Springs.
Its website says "the organisation now consists of four entities, each sharing a vision for a safer, tidier, culturally rich and sustainable Alice Springs".

Posted at 1830 CST on March 29: Mr Pearce, through a lawyer, this afternoon provided the following statement with respect to this report: "[The Alice Springs News] included reference to Lhere Artepe Charitable Trust, Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd and Lhere Artepe Supermarkets [in an] article about Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation being requested to 'show cause' why it should not be placed under special administration.
"The three above legal entities [are not] a cause of [nor are] in any way, whether financial or otherwise, affected by the 'show cause' notice directed to Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation."
Mr Pearce also notified the News that "there is no such entity as Lhere Artepe Charitable Trust and the [Lhere Artepe] website [from which the News drew its information] is to be corrected".

Flood warning system flawed. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Alice Springs police chief Anne-Marie Murphy does not acknowledge official predictions of catastrophic destruction and major loss of life in Alice Springs in the event of a one-in-100-year flood.
Commander Murphy, in reply to an Alice News report quoting local resident and Arrernte woman Margie Lynch, says adequate warning systems are in place for an evacuation.
However Commander Murphy, who is also the Regional Counter Disaster Controller, does not explain how early warning would prevent destruction of much of the town's centre, as predicted by the Power and Water Authority (now Corporation) in its 1990 report.
And now the Town Council has cast doubt on the early warning system itself.
Technical services officer Mark Pierson told the council he had asked Gordon Jackson, from the Bureau of Meteorology, why the early warning radar "seemed to go off-line during critical times" such as from midnight to 6am during a major storm in the Northside about a year ago.
Mr Pierson says: "Mr Jackson replied that the same radar that tracked the storm was required to track weather balloons used for high-level synoptic analysis in the lead-up to a storm event, and that the same radar could not do both tasks simultaneously.
"So the website radar went off-line for about six hours of every 24 hours in the lead-up to a storm event."
Mr Pierson says he asked whether the public and scientists would benefit from a new Doppler radar in Alice Springs, and Mr Jackson had replied that "Doppler radars were good but very expensive."
Mr Pierson was asking questions at a public information session also attended by Margie Lynch and about which she complained.
He says: "I was then asked to keep my questions short."
A request for Federal funding for a new Doppler radar by Mayor Damien Ryan had not yielded any result.
Mr Pierson says during the recent information evening, attended by the NT Emergency Services and the Department of Natural Resources (NRETA), when the exchanges took place, "there was no mention of any sort of flood mitigation dam, levies, weirs or anything of that nature."
In preparation of our report on Ms Lynch's concerns about what she sees as the town's lack of preparedness to cope with a major flood, we put the following, as expressed by Ms Lynch, to NT Emergency Services:
• It’s all very well to say that there’s an evacuation centre at Charles Darwin University – how will people get there, when there’s also likely to be a lot of local flash flooding?
• How many people know what they are supposed to do?
• There’s no information regularly going out to people, no education.
• There’d be a huge panic.
• And how prepared would CDU be to receive people in a sudden emergency?
• What kind of supplies would be in place?
• If the Stott Terrace bridge was over-topped and the Eastside became cut off from the rest of town, how would people such as the frail and aged, the sick, the injured, be evacuated?
• Where would the helicopters come from? And how many people could fit in them, realistically?
• And if the town goes under, what would happen to people on the surrounding communities, outstations and cattle stations?
This is what Commander Murphy says in reply:-
"While it was understandable, given the recent flood events on the East Coast, that some people’s fears of a similar occurrence here might be heightened, Alice Springs has a Counter Disaster Plan which includes a comprehensive flood plan.
"This plan covers all contingencies, including a 1 in 100 year flood, and residents can be confident  they will have adequate warning should they be required to evacuate.
"The Alice Springs Flood Plan identifies evacuation centres, including CDU, and agencies and their roles in the event of a flood.
"All contingencies are taken into account in the Plan, including welfare, health, logistics and resources.
"This plan is regularly tested by the Counter Disaster Committee, whose role it is to monitor such events as the Todd River flowing due to heavy rain.
"This monitoring is done in conjunction with NRETA (whose role it is to monitor rainfall and water flow) and, in fact an NRETA member sits on the Counter Disaster Committee as an advisor.
"Your concerned resident [Commander Murphy is referring to Ms Lynch quoted in our report] is obviously unaware of the existence of the Committee or their role, and I would be happy to meet with her to allay her fears and take her through the current flood plan.
"In the meantime, the Counter Disaster Committee meets on a regular basis – with or without heavy rain events, to ensure our readiness for any event which would require a community-wide response. 
"A comprehensive flood pamphlet  is also available from the Alice Springs Town Council, Police Station or Northern Territory Emergency Service office.
"The Counter Disaster Committee uses local media to provide timely and accurate information to the public during any heavy weather event, and residents can be reassured they will receive any warnings and advice in plenty of time."

Old drive-in to become new residential subdivision. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Planning Minister Gerry McCarthy has rezoned the site of the old drive-in on the Stuart Highway south of the Gap, paving the way for a residential subdivision with a maximum of 74 lots.
The Alice News is making enquiries about the status of the application made by one of the site owners, Philip Danby, to revoke the heritage status of part of the lot (including the screen from the old drive-in).
The rezoning instrument makes some stipulations with respect to the "amenity" of the future subdivision. These include:
• a minimum lot size of 400sqm;
• a minimum of 10% of the subdivision area as public open space, with pedestrian links to that public open space;
• a road and intersection design encouraging low vehicle speeds and a pedestrian friendly environment and a safe connection to Karnte Road (with no vehicle access from the Stuart Highway).
The instrument also stipulates "a feature wall along the boundary with the Stuart Highway providing high value visual and acoustic benefits for residents and the public".
As well a 1.8m high solid screen fence will have to be erected along the boundary with Lot 8051, the Yirara College site. 
Within the subdivision there will be landscaping and no solid fencing between the building alignment and the primary street boundary.
Consent uses for the subdivision include bed and breakfast accommodation, community centre, multiple dwellings and supporting accommodation. 

Don't trust Territory with Federal money. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

The use of Federal money for Aboriginal support programs in the Northern Territory should be under direct control of Canberra rather than being channelled through the Northern Territory Government.
This is a policy under consideration by the Federal Opposition, apparently with support from Territory politicians.
Country Liberals Senator Nigel Scullion (pictured) said today: "Given the history of the waste and mismanagement by the Northern Territory Government, particularly in bigger programs, I would find it difficult to accept you would continue with that process rather than directly funding organizations under some contractual arrangement of delivery."
He says there should be "direct funding of some form rather than channelling funding through the NT Government.
"One would hope the Commonwealth has learned its lessons of the past.
The NT Government has been "notoriously bad in the use of funds and notoriously inefficient," says Senator Scullion.
"You can't just give money to the NT Government and come back next week and expect the job to be done, and the money to have been allocated in the way that you thought is should be allocated.
"All the efforts in Central Australia should have a [Federal] coordinator."
In some areas this policy is already in place.
Senator Scullion says in the $670m SIHIP Aboriginal housing program the Commonwealth, "embarrassingly for the Northern Territory, they actually had to place Commonwealth staff in NT Government departments to ensure the job was in fact being done".
This morning Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, speaking on the ABC, suggested the number of police officers in Alice Springs should be increased from 200 to 300, there should be strict enforcement of drinking laws in the town camps, and school attendance should be enforced.
Senator Scullion says under the Federal Intervention alcohol restrictions are strictly enforced in the bush communities but "have never been applied to the Alice Springs town camps".
Senator Scullion was asked whether the Opposition policies suggest that after nearly 10 years in power, the NT Labor government has not been able to get a handle on the problem, in fact has presided over a worsening of it.
He said: "There is no doubt about that. These are very complex issues and need a sophisticated approach across jurisdictions if it's going to work" and the NT Government "do need a bit of a wake-up in those matters."
Senator Scullion says he was Alice Springs last week for meetings with Independent MLA Alison Anderson (MacDonnell), CP MLA Adam Giles (Braitling) and Indigenous leaders.

Good dialogue, good actors. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Good dialogue spoken by good actors is one of the most powerful things that can be put on the theatrical stage. Writer Luke Scholes delivered the lines on the page, and actors Cameron Boon and Sascha Keet, under the guidance of director Darrell Holmes, brought them to life in the short play For As Long As It Will Matter.
This was one of six short plays staged at Aralunen last Friday for this year's Bite Sized Theatre event. Previously presented by the now defunct Red Dust Theatre – who were rightly thanked in the program for their contribution to Central Australian theatre – this year's event was presented by Red Hot Arts Central Australia.
In Scholes' play a seemingly banal situation intensifies by the minute. The character played by Boon is having a lawn sale (the Alice version of a garage sale) before heading off on a trip to India. The sole customer we see is an old friend (played by Keet – both pictured at right). Little by little through their superficially laconic exchange – of dialogue, objects and money – we come to understand that the old friend loves the woman who has just left the Boon character. In the process of buying the left-over detritus of the couple's life he tries to find out where the woman is now and how he can get in touch with her. But that is one thing that is not for sale.
Boon played his role with the right mixture of despondency and cynicism; and Keet his with the right mixture of naive insensitivity and self-righteousness. Together they were droll and potent and this little production set the bar high for local theatre.
Interestingly the play that followed it in the program, Borroloola by Terri Howison, had a similar theme: the friendship of two men strained by their love of the same woman. This was also an effective piece of theatre, directed by Steve Hodder and very well played by Don Mallard and Felix Meyer. It was slightly marred by a couple of lines delivering bits of information to the audience that jarred the dialogue. And it also lost some energy when Meyer left the stage and Mallard took over in monologue. This had a slackening effect, a writing problem rather than a performance one.
Tighter writing and pacing would lift Franca Barraclough's Car-e-ok (photo at top). Directed by Melissa Kerl, this had some very funny moments, the central zany idea – using karaoke in couples therapy – being trademark Barraclough. She played the counsellor in her very entertaining idiosyncratic performance style and Miriam Pickard, as the young wife who can't shake the habit of sleeping around, was excellent.
The evening ended with the musically and visually impressive Confined, written and performed by Tammy Brennan, directed by Kerzlake. What we saw at Bite Sized was an extract from a  longer work. I will be curious to see how the whole creates some sense of drama. The extract was relentlessly focussed on the pyschic turmoil of the sole character, a young woman. It was hard not to feel a bit ground down by it, as was also the case with Malcolm by Leni Shilton, about the unrelieved misery of a young man's life on the streets.
To conclude with the evening's start, Craig Mathewson's The Futures was a clever idea, held brightly together by Kerzlake's sparkling performance as The Trader, but it went in somewhat predictable directions with its three characters who trade their present for a future they think they want.

My dog loves cheese.

It's true, my dog really loves cheese. She has learned to recognise the rustle of the plastic wrapper, trotting to the kitchen in Pavlovian hope. I cannot deny her, I love her very much and the look in her brown eyes is impossible to ignore. Too much gives her wind however, so the treat is small. Dog farts are nasty.
Writing is a funny game, I’m never quite sure how it’s going to end up. I have read books on “how to write” and they go on about all sorts of tedious sounding plot planning and the like. If I had planned this week’s stuff, dog farts wouldn’t have made it in I’m sure. All I know is that the words come reasonably easily, the process brings me pleasure and there is a lot to be said for anything that satisfies without costing a lot of money or heartache.  I guess for me it’s a bit like playing music, I have a rough idea of what works and what doesn’t and certainly have a good idea of what I like. Hopefully other people like it too but that’s not the reason I like playing so much. It’s just a fun thing to do.
Sometimes people like the music a bit too much and get funny ideas about you as a person. They start to show up at gigs and stare at the person of interest, even if no reciprocating feelings are expressed and this can all get a bit uncomfortable.
There was a strange lady that developed a fixation for me (so I thought) that made my  playing at Bo’s rather difficult a few years ago. She turned up one night we played and stood right in front of me as we got ready to start, waiting. At the first note she went into a frenzy of arm-swinging dance moves, thrashing around and making sultry eye contact the whole while. When the song finished she switched off, had a sip of water and resumed the position. Music starts, off she goes again, right in front of me. I got through a couple of songs with a nervous smile fixed to my dial, waiting for her to give it a rest and go away for a while but she stayed for the whole set.
We took a break and I thought that would be the end of it. Nup, as I headed to the mic, there she was, limbering up like Usain bloody Bolt before the 100 meters. My freaked-outness must have been plain to see 'cos after the first song some wag called out, “Take one for the team Shaun”, and the whole room laughed. Bastards.
The next night she was back in her position down the front but this time she was in a bright pink satin dress that was too small for her, bulging in strange and not entirely flattering places. Security dubbed her “the busted arse hot dog woman” as she resembled a frankfurter that had been on the boil for too long and the name stuck. This went on for a couple of weeks until I finally went to see Chris and pleaded my case for having her removed once and for all. When he finally stopped sniggering he pointed out that she hadn’t actually done anything wrong, made no attempt to speak to me and generally was pretty entertaining for the rest of the punters. Back to the trenches. 
A couple of nights later I went in to Bo’s for a catch up drink when we weren’t playing and imagine my surprise. There was poor old Phil singing away with his eyes screwed shut and the B.A.H.D.W gyrating madly in front of him. It wasn’t about me after all, whoever was up there was fair game. What a relief. I sat with Chris and the boys at the back of the room and had a good giggle. Then she disappeared and I never saw her again.

MOZZIE BITES with RONJA MOSS: Proper desert boogying.

Dusty Feet Dance Collective – the name speaks for itself. Wild and enthusiastic movement here in the centre of Australia, proper desert boogying! Everyone can get down and dirty, when the Dusty Feet Flash Mob spring into town!
OK! OK! Before I get too ahead of myself, let me explain. Set up by two local dancers, Miriam and Sila, about two years ago, Dusty Feet is a dance company for professional and amateur dance artists. Their styles include Indigenous-inspired dance, cabaret, Broadway, musical theatre, jazz, funk, contemporary, and hip hop. I'd been hearing all kinds of confusing titles for this group of groovers over the past year – The Collective, The Crew, Flash Mob. “What? What? What?!” I wanted to yell. “Who is who? Is it all the same thing?” Luckily I had to write this article, so I actually did some research and found out!
There are many parts to the company's whole and the reason for this is the creators wanted all Alice dancers to have a situation where they would be able to progress at their own level. So they came up with an ingenious system of having individual groups and classes of skill, but all under an umbrella title. Firstly there is Dusty Feet Collective, the professionals who choreograph pieces for corporate happenings like the races, Convention Centre events  and the Alice Desert Festival. There are also Dusty Feet Kids who perform at occasions such as The Eisteddfod, and the Dusty Feet Crew who perform hip hop pieces all over town.  Then there is the Dusty Feet Flash Mob, a particularly interesting branch-off in my opinion.
After the death of the great Michael Jackson, the movement of flash dance to the tune ‘Beat It’ launched all over the world (Stockholm and Tokyo just to name a few cities involved.) Members of the public met in secret to practice the dance and then organized a surprise public show where they could perform on mass to honor the King of Pop. Dusty Feet Flash Mob was created to bring Alice up to speed with the demands of the global dance community!
For years now I've wanted to be able to express myself through the movement of my body, but I’d never had the guts to join a class. Born with two left feet and an uncanny disposition to move whatever I’m being told not to, the idea of stepping in front of that too closely mirrored bar, and trying to frolic with grace brings tears to the eyes.
However, I had been told that The Dusty Feet Adult Beginners lessons, at the Alice Springs Youth Centre, were totally approachable and easy to step into. So on Tuesday I decided to stop being such a scaredy cat and joined the inclusive class. I did not regret it! Elspeth Blunt, the class coordinator cheered me on, “Don’t worry! This is the class for the wall flowers!” By the end of the night I felt comfortable. I think at one point I was even in time to the music!
The Adult Beginners classes are held always on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm. They run in four-week themed periods. This past month was dedicated again to MJ, King of Pop and the next session, starting on April 12, will be a Beyonce special for woman and girls only. If you have a drive to learn dance, but have always felt too unco, or embarrassed here is your opportunity to live out your dreams!
Dusty Feet Crew will also be performing at Harmony in The Youth Hub on the April 1, so keep your eyes peeled and shoes a-tappin’ for that!

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