Story Archive » Volume 18 » Issue 37 »

October 13, 2011

There’s more to a curfew than meets the eye


Ald Eli Melky (pictured at left) will move his controversial motion for a youth curfew at Monday’s town council meeting.
He says it’s no big deal, not a bid to change the world, just a logical
move to round off the plethora of existing youth services.
He believes there are 57 of them, counting government ones and NGOs, mostly working 9 to 5.
Now watch it all unravel.
Ald Melky says while it appears there are hundreds of young people about
at night, it’s just “30 to 40 kids who are holding the population to
In a conversation with the Alice Springs News Online he suggests making
it unlawful for them to be on the streets after 10pm will actually keep
them indoors.
Our discussion soon turns to the question: Why should this new law make
any difference to those 30 to 40 kids, given that breaking the law –
pretty well with impunity – is a way of life for them? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO at top: Aldermen John Rawnsley and Samih Habib Bitar at a “get to know you” evening with street kids in early 2009. FULL STORY »

China is waiting – what’s keeping us?


China has more than a million dollar millionaires, their number has swelled by 31% in 2010, according to Bloomberg, they’re within eight hours’ flying and pretty well in the same time zone as us.

That’s the good news. The bad news is we don’t have much of an idea of how to turn them into customers for our ailing tourism industry. Alice photographer Steve Strike is a five year veteran of the China trade, focussing on art and special tours. He says the only way to success in China is the hard, old-fashioned way: Footslogging and nurturing personal relationships.

“They want to deal with the operators direct, face to face, with people they have met and have a rapport with.” ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTOS: Above – Art dealer Sun Kongyang from Shanghai trying a grub. Above right – Jade Yang and Mr Sun with local artists Audrey Nampitjinpa and Doreen Nakamarra on a witchetty hunting trip in The Centre, organised by tourism operator Steve Strike. FULL STORY »

Amnesty rhetoric fails to show the way forward for homelands

The one-day visit last Saturday by Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, to the Utopia homelands generated the usual round of headlines: conditions are “devastating”, comparable to those in the “Third World”, policies amount to “ethnic cleansing” (this last from Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Utopia resident and Barkly Shire President).
What the so-called “fact finding mission” did not do was shed any light on the challenges facing governments and Aboriginal people about the future of the homelands at Utopia and elsewhere. This was done incisively by the outgoing Northern Territory Coordinator General for Remote Services, Bob Beadman (at right), in May of this year. His few pages of analysis provide far more insight into the situation than all of Amnesty’s rhetoric, either in Mr Shetty’s pronouncements or Amnesty’s report, The Land Holds Us, released in August.
Mr Beadman also recommends some immediate (catch-up) steps for governments to take. There’s no sign of the Northern Territory Government doing so. Minister for Indigenous Development Malarndirri McCarthy declined to answer the questions put to her by the Alice Springs News. Amnesty also declined to be interviewed by the Alice
Springs News.

However, a spokesperson for Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says her government “respects the rights of Indigenous Australians to live on their traditional lands and acknowledges the profound connection which many Aboriginal people have with their homelands” but “housing investment is currently focussed on larger Indigenous communities where more Indigenous people live and which are faced with poor housing and overcrowding”.

And the spokesperson says Canberra has provided to the NT Government $80 million for provision of basic municipal and essential services to homelands in the Northern Territory over the past four years but “future funding from July next year will be discussed with the
Northern Territory Government.” KIERAN FINNANE reports.

PHOTO ABOVE: Lenny Jones, 73, and Albert Bailey, 79, Chairperson of  Urapuntja Health both from Soapy Bore, speak with Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty. Photo courtesy Amnesty International. FULL STORY »

Action for Alice apologises for ‘racist’ ads on Imparja

Well known Indigenous singer and songwriter Warren H. Williams has settled a complaint against the Action for Alice Group for a series of advertisements ran last March by accepting their apology and the removal of the advertisements from broadcast and the internet. Shine Lawyers, in a media release, say they together with Human Rights and Cyber Racism expert George Newhouse launched the complaint against the Action for Alice Group and the local television station Imparja in the Australian Human Rights Commission in March. Mr Williams’ original complaint argued the advertisements were racist as they portrayed Aboriginals as criminals. “I am pleased that the Action for Alice Group has accepted that the advertisements were offensive to ordinary Aboriginals like me,” the release quotes Mr Williams. “The outcome we have negotiated means that the Action for Alice Group and Imparja have agreed not to publish or broadcast the advertisements ever again.” FULL STORY »

Letter: Paying rates for nothing?

Sir – Recently we received a rates notice from the MacDonnell Shire for the sum of $788.69 and accompanying it was the statement that if we didn’t pay by a certain date we would be charged interest at 17% per annum, calculated daily. Lyn, my wife, was so annoyed she rang the number on the invoice to see what services the Shire were going to provide us.  A man answered, the accent was Indian. Was he based in India?

He told Lyn we would receive street lighting! Obviously the man had a script to follow and was using the spin that we hear often from the Northern Territory Government. Minister McCarthy then tells us that the government is working to make the shires more empowering.  How?  In the past three years we have never set eyes upon one single MacDonnell Shire employee in our neck of the woods. We generate our own electricity, empty our own bins, take care of the garbage dump, generate our own power, supply our own lighting, grade our own roads and pump our own water – all at an extremely high cost. We, the people of the bush who are self-sufficient should not be paying into this Clayton, obviously revenue raising rate fund. The hub towns too are suffering hardship.

Complaints can be heard every day from people who can barely survive, let alone pay the exorbitant rates.  Empowering the people – I don’t think so. Ian Conway Kings Creek Station

ED – The Alice Springs News Online has asked the MacDonnell Shire for a comment. FULL STORY »

CBD revitalisation: consultation not over yet

In a process that began with the Planning for the Future forum in June 2008, the (hopefully) final consultation phase has arrived: the Town Council has put on display for public comment the proposed plans, although they have already selected the projects they want to implement with the $5m allocated by the NT Government.

Says Mayor Damien Ryan: “Because much of the plans involves public places we really wanted to get the whole community’s views on this. It’s an opportunity to literally help shape Alice Springs!  So if you have some constructive comments on the plans, we’re eager to hear them.”

And if the public doesn’t like what they see or proposes something quite different, what then? Back to the drawing board? That seems unlikely, so why doesn’t council simply get on with it?  – Kieran Finnane


The plans can be viewed at the Civic Centre or via council’s website. For full details go to the connecting @lice site.

All submissions must be made in writing, addressed to the Alice Springs Town Council – Chief Executive Officer, PO Box 1071 Alice Springs, NT 0871 by COB Friday 11 November 2011.


UPDATE: Realistically, revitalisation works could begin in Todd Mall by the middle of next year, says Town Council CEO Rex Mooney. Responses from the public to the current consultation will be considered by Council possibly at its November 28 meeting and if not, on December 12.

Council’s decision to call for further public comment is in line with its public consultation policy, says Mr Mooney. He acknowledges that there has been consultation on the proposals but says when that happened Council had not yet indicated its priorities for implementation – that is, to open the northern end of Todd Mall to traffic and to develop the ‘biodiversity corridor’ in Parsons Street. (See Mike Gillam’s creative brief for Parsons Street, this issue.) FULL STORY »

Revealing the spirit of Parsons Street



I was  commissioned  to provide creative direction for the eastern end of Parsons Street from the ‘ancient red gum’ to the Todd River. Public art and design projects of the scale envisaged provide a rare, perhaps once in a generation opportunity to define our sense of identity and place.

The dramatic natural environment is regarded as the common ground that binds us all together and this is crystallised in the biodiversity corridor proposed for Parsons Street.  I’ve also highlighted the critical importance of distant landmarks and the availability of winter
sun. Too often these public assets  are only valued and recognised, when they are lost to the streetscape: casualties of ‘progress’. MIKE GILLAM writes.

Pictured: Top – Right – Magpie Lark. These birds are frequent visitors at outdoor cafes around town. Photographs copyright MIKE GILLAM. FULL STORY »

The A’vans are coming!

The A’vans are coming! Relax, they aren’t aliens.

They are members of the A’van Club of Australia which will be holding its AGM in The Alice in April next year. About 400 people towing 200 of the cute caravans (pictured) are expected, according to Ald Brendan Heenan.

Then in May the Honda Goldwing motorcycles club will descend in The Alice. A huge gathering – 5000 to 7000 people – will take place here in 2014 when the Ulysses Club for mature-aged bikers comes to town, says Ald Heenan. FULL STORY »