Story Archive » Volume 18 » Alice Springs News, Issue 25, August 1, 2011 »

Bushfires a massive threat as warmer season looms

Lots of fires are burning in Central Australia but the danger will get much worse when the hot season starts, says the Bushfires NT’s Grant Allan.

The fires are about on par with the last season of high rainfall, in 2001/02. Again the summer will be volatile and land holders are encouraged to take immediate action to prepare, including undertaking management burns when conditions are appropriate and low temperatures still allow them to be done safely. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 

Colour code for today’s fire map, showing about a million square kilometres: Blue – fires in the past 7 days; red – 6 to 12 hours ago. Green and grey areas are “fire scars” from blazes earlier this year. The arrows show the wind speed and the percentages denote relative humidity. The readings are taken at TiTree, Kintore, Uluru, Alice Springs, Jervois, Rabbit Flat and Lajamanu. Map courtesy Bushfires NT. Up to date map here. FULL STORY »

Lhere Artepe: corporation is the main game




Lhere Artepe member Michael Liddle (at right) has spoken out about what he says is the urgent need to restore order in the Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC).

He says there is an unacceptable lack of transparency in Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd (LAE), a commercial offshoot, whose “heart and soul” is the Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation itself. He raises questions about Darryl Pearce (at left), LAAC’s administrative head. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


NGOs call on Town Council to revisit no camping by-laws


At a time when the massive government efforts are being made in Alice Springs and Central Australia towards the provision of housing, including temporary accommodation options, a number of non-government organisations (NGOs) this morning launched the Right to a Home coalition.

In their sights were, in particular, the Alice Springs Town Council and its public places by-laws, enacted last year. The coalition, through spokesperson David Havercroft of the advocacy body NT Shelter, called on the council to amend the by-laws where they are having “a negative impact” on the homeless, and to develop a “social inclusion” policy. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Car of holiday maker torched


A man who would give his name only as Sean arrived in Alice one night about 10 days ago. He says there was a hole in the sump of his 4WD and he could drive no further. He pulled up in an open area off the Stuart Highway, not far from the Colonel Rose Drive turn-off, and made camp.

The next day he says he began calling mechanics to get help to fix his car but they were all busy. He says he also called camping grounds but, as he was travelling with his puppy, Sharko, they didn’t want to take him.

He says he received a visit from the Australian Federal Police, stationed at the airrport. He explained to them that he was not camping but broken down. In the course of the week he started work on repairing the car himself. Some Alice locals also offered as helping hand.

After a further visit from the police, he was obliged to find accommodation and on Saturday night did find a camping ground that would accept him with Sharko.

When he returned to the car on Sunday, it was a burnt shell. He found the Stillson wrench that he had left under the car on the front passenger seat, indicating that it had been used to break the window to gain entry to the car.

The interior was so completely burned Sean could not tell whether anything had been stolen.

Theft would be one thing, he said, but he wanted to know why whoever was responsible decided to destroy the car. Good question. FULL STORY »

Solar power has bright future in sunny Alice

Private and public solar installations in Alice Springs are now producing the equivalent of electricity needed by about 600 average homes here.

About one-third of this came on stream last week with the opening of the Uterne power station (pictured) on a 4.5 hectare site near the National Transport Hall of Fame. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Reformers triumph in native title group row

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A meeting to sack several prominent members of the influential native title organisation, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation, collapsed in turmoil, according to people attending the closed gathering.

The sacking motions were not put, which was a triumph for reformers who are dissatisfied with the CEO, Darryl Pearce.

They are angry about the sidelining of members with high traditional standing, and financial management which they say lacks transparency.

This follows major investments by the corporation in real estate and supermarkets, benefitting from Federal cash injections.

The Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations (ORIC), a Federal instrumentality, came in for vigorous criticism for not intervening resolutely in the protracted row.

The film clip shows native title holders outside the meeting room, and interviews with – in that order – former Lhere Artepe CEO Frank Ansell; Ian Conway, a leading figure in the reform group; and Janice Harris, a seasoned administrator of local Aboriginal organisations.

Lhere Artepe chairman Brian Stirling did not respond to an invitation to comment.

He had early in the meeting rejected a move for a secret ballot, according to a member at the meeting.

FOOTNOTE: With respect to Mr Ansell’s comment in the film clip, the Alice Springs News knows Mrs Pearce’s mother was an Aboriginal woman. FULL STORY »

We beat Darwin – in crime


In the 2011 March quarter Alice  Springs again had more assaults and break-ins than Darwin, which has three times the population,  and over six years the town has had twice as many murders.

The latest NT Department of Justice statistics released for the March quarter for 2011 show offences in Alice Springs against the person (464) were down on the March quarter of 2010 (485) but still higher than in the March quarter of 2009 (420). PHOTO: A CCTV camera overlooks the Mall. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Years in gaol for six perpetrators of alcohol-fuelled killings

ABOVE: Google Earth image of Laramba, a bush settlement north-west of Alice Springs. The killings happened in the vicinity. BELOW: One of the convicted, Travis Gibson. Having had his jaw broken was one of the triggers of the drunken payback raid.


Five out of six were drunk on the night.

One out of six is a reformed heavy drinker, sober on the night.

Two out of six are alcoholics.

Four out of six had parents who were alcoholics or heavy drinkers.

Two out of six are married to alcoholics and these couples have had children.

The two victims of the six were drunk at the time of their deaths.


In the evening of December 22, 2009 six men left Alice Springs in a red Ford Falcon, bound for Laramba, a small settlement of some 300 people, around 200 kilometres to the north-west. Four of the men were armed: one had a large military-style knife, another a tyre iron, and two had nulla nullas (clubs). They were also travelling with grog: on a trip that takes around two and a half hours, they drank one and a half cartons of VB beer and a cask of Moselle between them, all but the driver. This was on top of grog that at least some of them had consumed during the day.

There was a purpose to the trip:  the six intended to confront men at Laramba over a long-running dispute between their family, the Gibsons, and the Dixon-Stafford family. In particular, they were going to look for brothers Adrian and Watson Dixon and another person, who were seen as responsible for the assault on one of the Gibsons some months before, breaking his jaw.

By midnight two men in Laramba, not the Dixon brothers, were dead, as a result of stabbings to the thigh. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Melanka block on the market again

The site of the former Melanka hostel in Todd Street is on the market again, for an asking price of $7.5m plus GST, this time complete with an exceptional development permit for a five storey “tourist and residential complex”.

The land was bought in 2006 for $6.12m. The hostel was still in place but has been demolished since.

The land’s unimproved capital value in July, 2009 was $4.5m.

The raising of the height limit from three storeys to five was opposed by some sections of the community.

L J Hooker’s Doug Fraser says the fresh advertising of the property has only just started, and although there have been a couple of enquiries, it’s likely to take some time for a sale to be achieved.

Mr Fraser said in June that the developer, Christian Ainsworth, a member of the poker machines dynasty, had commissioned Deloittes to assist in the development and that “the building costs will need to come down”.

The total area is 1.3 hectares and “architectural plans will be passing with the sale,” says the promotion.

The agency says this is a “prime corner allotment with three street frontages and adjoining parcel at rear … and numerous fully established trees on site”. FULL STORY »

Six years’ gaol for waterhole shooter

For “effectively wrecking” a man’s life and that of his partner, Reuben Nadich, who shot his victim in the back at Junction Waterhole on May 29 last year, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.  The shooting was at close range and without provocation or reason.

Mr Nadich’s “moral culpability” was equivalent to that for murder, said Justice Judith Kelly in her sentencing remarks last Thursday. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Karting: speed and tumbles


Now that the dust has settled from the NT Karting titles, won by long-time Central Australian motor sports identity Tony Connor in the Statesman Class, the Dirt Kart fraternity is gearing up for the Alice Springs titles on September 18.

Club President Gary Burns says several new drivers were planning to come out and have a go this weekend.

“The NT titles have created some excitement and energy so we’re expecting to see some new faces at the track,” he said.

In the NT titles Connor scored 116 points from his eight heats to edge out Port Pirie’s Dale Afford by one point. PICTURED: KT Medium driver Adem Mahomet takes a tumble at the Territory Titles in Alice Springs on 17 July. Photo and story by PATRICK NELSON. FULL STORY »

Kalua, we’re not on the East Coast anymore


Sometimes I feel like Dorothy looking down at her little dog and saying, ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore’. Except I’m saying to my little black cat, ‘Kalua, we’re not on the East Coast anymore’. With this past week’s sunny days and warm dry winds I’ve several times thought myself to be near the beach. I don’t know what it is exactly, the smell of sunscreen, the fact that it’s miles away or the Buffle grass rustle like waves to the shore.  Either way as pleasant as this has been it has also induced a sort of panic at the thought of what am I going to do when summer really does hit? I realised it was deadly necessary to try and scope out swimming spots in Alice Springs. FULL STORY »