Tag Archives: real estate

Sales of dwellings numbers nosedive, prices down slightly

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“This is the highest number of vacancies that we can recall,” says veteran real estate salesman in Alice Springs. But planning and construction of more accommodation is in full swing, including at Kilgariff (pictured). ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

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Bring back first home grant: Real estate agent

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A prominent Alice Springs real estate agent, Justin O’Brien (pictured), says the NT Government should reinstate the first home owners grant for existing homes. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Real estate market ‘crashing and burning’

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The real estate market is “crashing and burning” at least in part because of the NT Government’s restriction of its grants for new home buyers to new dwellings. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. ABOVE: A scene from the boom times.

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Of real estate, roses and living in the CBD

 

 

They left Alice Springs in 2009, after having lived here for more then a decade, because they wanted to buy a house and were disgusted by the prices which had just gone up again, this time by 40%. Now they’re back, renting in the CBD – and life’s good. SUZANNE VISSER, pictured with partner Mike, tells their story. FULL STORY »

Any footy weekend troubles: don’t look to native title body for help

As Alice Springs is dreading yet another tumultuous footy weekend, some may look to Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC) to help keep in line marauding drunks and out of control youths trashing homes, cars and businesses, anti social behaviour perpetrated disproportionately by Aboriginal people.

The organisation’s purpose is to manage the “rights and interests” of native title holders, as the Native Title Tribunal puts it. And LAAC has frequently claimed that its interests include upholding the image of the native title holders as people of high principles, concerned with maintaining an ancient culture and promoting respect for their traditional lands.

Reality check, please. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Announcement of the Alice Springs native title claim decision by the Federal Court sitting in Alice Springs in 1999: The organisation it spawned has led to bitter division in the town’s Aboriginal community. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Plenty in store for The Centre, writes Lambley

Central Australians have several projects to look forward to in 2013, writes Deputy Chief Minister Robyn Lambley. FULL STORY »

Was Framptons real estate agent David Forrest considering a career change?

 

 

A decision on costs yesterday – awarded to the plaintiff as expected – brought to a conclusion the defamation case Framptons’ principal David Forrest (pictured) brought against me related to an article I published in September 2010. But the story’s not over. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Kilgariff: housing for the people or a motza for developers?

The Territory elections are six weeks away with the price of real estate and housing, although falling, still one of the main issues.

Yet the development of the new suburb of Kilgariff, up to 1200 blocks south of The Gap, except for the head works, is still little more than a sign by the side of the Stuart Highway. FULL STORY »

Native title group Lhere Artepe: bombshell briefing note – and fresh hope

 

An internal document details exhaustively the events over the past several years which tore apart the native title organisation, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation, and threatened the commercial entities linked with it.
The document, briefing notes for the directors of the corporation and Lhere Artepe Pty Ltd, the ultimate owners of the group’s assets, was obtained exclusively by the Alice Springs News Online.
It details efforts to stabilise the group’s finances and business dealings, and forecasts a brighter future.
But it also confirms what has been reported by the Alice Springs News Online investigation for over a year, drawing on a range of sources – and a lot more.
The conduct of the person referred to as the “former CEO” – Darryl Pearce – rates a frequent mention.
The document reports:-
• An estimated $7m loss arising from a failed investment in a civil engineering firm, CDE, arranged by Mr Pearce.
• A $3.5m loan, negotiated by him with an Adelaide company, ACA Finance: “The former CEO apparently negotiated a deal by which this loan would be reduced to $1 million in return for transferring three of the Mt Johns blocks to Guistozzi [the head of the company], but the agreement for this deal was not signed. As a result, the full $3.5 million remains payable and is in fact overdue,” the briefing note says.
• Delays with the Mt Johns residential real estate development pushed it to the brink of the National Australia Bank taking control of the project.
• At the time of the briefing only seven buyers were left (of the touted near-sellout) who hadn’t claimed back their deposits.
• The mess Mt Johns turned into was secured by the three IGA supermarkets (Flynn Drive, Hearne Place, Eastside) bought for about $14m in part with a Federal grant: “These arrangements were also negotiated by the former CEO and we have been questioned by Commonwealth public servants whether this is contrary to the terms of the Federal Government grant that partially funded the purchase of the supermarkets business.
“The former CEO did not inform the Lhere Artepe Enterprises board of any of these proposals in advance, nor seek the board’s views or approval.”
• “An additional mortgage was placed on the supermarkets unbeknown to Commonwealth Government which put the grant funds in jeopardy,” says the note.
• A deal over maintenance required in one of the supermarkets, involving blocks of land provided by the vendor, also apparently went pear shaped: “Without reference to the board of Lhere Artepe Enterprises, the former CEO arranged to transfer the land, for no payment to Lhere Artepe Supermarkets, to Lhere Artepe Services Pty Ltd. It is therefore apparently no longer available to Lhere Artepe Supermarkets to fund the maintenance work.”
• The Board and members were being kept in the dark, it is claimed. There were just two meetings between April and August 2011.
The note says: “At neither of these meetings did the former CEO provide a proper written report to the board to explain the significant obligations and expenditures he had negotiated over the previous several months without reference to the board.” ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

 

PHOTOS: Top – Publicly funded supermarket acquisition props up Mt Johns development. Above right – Darryl Pearce. FULL STORY »

Alice Springs News defamation case needs to be put into context, says prominent author

COMMENT by BARRY HILL

 

When historians come to write the history of central Australia, the archive of the Alice Springs News will be uniquely invaluable. For the last 19 years it has been the most intelligent and fearless of the newspapers, one that goes after the news—political AND financial— in ways that its rivals, almost invariably owned by Rupert Murdoch, do not. It is also a paper with a special touch for the cultural life of the community in and around Alice. It is therefore lamentable that the paper has received a judicial heavy body blow.
I am in no position to challenge the details of the judgment except to say that paper’s professionalism has in the past impressed me, as has the quality of its motivation with regard to whatever it is reporting. If the paper was in the wrong, legally, I feel sure that one should also take into account its previous general demeanor and its tenacious regard for the public good. Those who know and like the paper will of course be able to put this moment in the necessary historical context. Those who do not, or those who feel they have their own reasons to even be pleased with the judgment, will probably be indulging resentments that have little to do with the public interest. We might want to say, for argument’s sake, that this was a case of fearless reporting that got carried away with itself and deserved punishment, but not punishment at the top of the range, which this seems to have been. What we can’t say is that the paper is one of those that has at last got what was coming to it. On the contrary, it has long deserved prizes for its achievements in journalism.
I should also add, in the interests of transparency, that I am a friend of the paper’s editors. Is also crucial to say that I became their friend very much out of admiration for what they have been doing in this wretched period of Central Australian history.
One last point. As things stand a poorly resourced paper, one that created itself out of grit and social conscience, is in massive debt to a flourishing real estate agent. What is the paper’s future? A deadly question created and left hanging from this case is this: would the Territory be better off if the likes of an Alice Springs News were owned by real estate agents?

Dr Barry Hill (pictured) is the award wining author of Broken Song – T G H Strehlow and Aboriginal Possession. His books The Rock: Travelling to Uluru and The Inland Sea (poems) also arose from a decade of work out of Central Australia. FULL STORY »