Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 10 »

May 9, 2013

Budget: Public service to work harder, debt not for daily costs

The NT Budget next week won’t cut many more jobs from the public service, but public servants will need to work harder, running unfunded projects left behind by the Labor government, and bringing to reality new ones promised by the CLP.

Borrowed money isn’t a bad thing so long it’s not used for the day to day administration, but rather for assets cranking up employment and the economy.

Some of the flood of Canberra money will continue to be used to subsidise the ailing Power Water Corporation (PWC), but the corporation will be required to massively improve its efficiency. But we will continue to have some of the nation’s lowest electricity tariffs.

So says NT Treasurer Dave Tollner, partly in response to a comment published here on Monday. He spoke to Alice Springs News Online editor ERWIN CHLANDA. PHOTO: Mr Tollner talking to anti-uranium protesters during the Legislative Assembly sittings in Alice Springs in November, 2009. FULL STORY »

Framptons were Carey’s ‘bosses’, took ‘secret commission’, says his lawyer




Framptons First National real estate agency received a “secret commission”, the “lion’s share” out of the first instalments paid by Alice Springs home buyers in a scheme which had Randal Carey as the builder, said Mr Carey’s lawyer Peter Maley (pictured) in the Supreme Court this morning. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


UPDATE, 14 May 2013, 3.51pm: Mr Carey has been remanded for sentencing until next Tuesday, May 21. See FULL STORY.


Further update. FULL STORY »

‘Sentenced to a job and a future’ program needs iron will

Max and Jim (we’ve changed their names) are clearly not the kind of prisoners for whom the visionary “sentenced to a job and a future” scheme of Correctional Services Minister John Elferink is designed. He sees it as a step-up into the broader community for people, mostly Aboriginal, who’ve never worked before. Max and Jim are white and had significant backgrounds in employment and small business before their respective offences, which are in the mid-range of seriousness. But both have embraced the scheme so whole-heartedly that they seem set to have a major impact on its success. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: “Jim” in the supermarket where he now works, serving Clifford Tilmouth. FULL STORY »

Aussie tourists ‘hassled, disappointed, fearful’ in Alice, Uluru

An Australian tourist, a member of a group, emailed Mayor Damien Ryan and all councillors, saying he would be “embarrassed to recommend Alice Springs and Uluru to anyone” and stating in part: “We feared for our safety many times. You may be used to it, but the smell of many of the locals was unbearable. We left shopping, and we left the Casino because we could not bear the smell of some the people. Before you declare us racist, we would be concerned by any people with these issues.” COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. Photo: Drinking and fighting in the town centre. FULL STORY »

Builder Randal Carey willing to assist police

Randal Carey, the builder in the failed Frampton New Homes scheme, has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with further police investigation of another matter, Justice Jenny Blokland heard in the Supreme Court this morning. Crown Prosecutor Stephen Robson said Mr Carey is expected to enter a plea.  KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Budget: Low-key thumbs up from Alice leaders



Chamber of Commerce head Julie Ross and Mayor Damien Ryan had a low-key but positive reaction to the NT’s $5.7 billion Budget handed down by Treasurer Dave Tollner (pictured) today. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Haunting excursion into Alice’s psyche

The cover of The Long Weekend in Alice Springs suggests that the story between its covers will be road trip. And it is one, of sorts. You won’t find these roads on any map but they will lead you into the byways of this desert place, reaching back through history into stories of origin, reaching out through darkness, real and metaphoric, into stories of now. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. FULL STORY »

Builder Carey pleads guilty to reduced charges, talks to police





Randal Carey (pictured), the builder in the failed Frampton New Homes scheme, will today be interviewed by police about “other matters”, having pleaded guilty this morning to nine charges of obtaining benefit by deception. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

The Territory Budget miracle: achieving so little with so much

JOHN ELFERINK: “How are we to deal with the $5.5 billion projected debt left to us by Labor?”


It’s time again for a treasurer to perform the Northern Territory’s annual miracle: achieving so little with so much.

Prepped by all the hand wringing about black holes, the public is fearing the worst. Savage Power Water Corporation (PWC) hikes have already given a taste of what may be ahead.
Yet the NT, with less than 1% of Australia’s population, gets 5.4% of the nation’s GST. More than half the NT Budget, $2.7b, is from the GST. The Feds are also kicking in $3.4 billion over 10 years through Stronger Futures.
Add to that the millions in Federal welfare payments, and massive funding to NGOs performing – some poorly – state and local government-like functions, and we have an administration awash in public money. ERWIN CHLANDA comments. “How are we to deal with the $5.5 billion projected debt left to us by Labor?” asks government frontbencher John Elferink in reply.

PHOTO: Part of the new Alice Springs power station at Brewer Estate – an expenditure of the “black hole” Power Water Corporation. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Alcohol mandatory treatment Bill up for comment

The draft Bill prescribing the Government’s alcohol mandatory treatment reforms has been released for public scrutiny and will be introduced into the Territory Parliament this week and debated during the Estimates sittings on 27 June, writes John Elferink, Leader of Government Business. FULL STORY »

MLA Bess Price on ‘the killing of our women, abuse of our kids’

Bess Price, the Member for Stuart, is a full blood Warlpiri woman, married to a white man, Dave Price, and they have a daughter, Jacinta, who is proud of her mixed ancestry. Ms Price made Territory history last August when she clinched the former blue-ribbon Labor seat for the Country Liberals. Yesterday she made national history when, in the adjournment debate, she crashed through the politically correct barriers, speaking no holds barred about her grief-torn life, and the brutality which remains around her, her day in, day out.

Here is what she said, as reported in the yet uncorrected NT Hansard, to her electorate – and the people of Australia.

She is pictured with Warlpiri elder Tommy Jungala Rice, her brother-in-law. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Alcohol Protection Orders a new tool for police

Orders will be introduced under the Liquor Act which will support the Government’s target of a 10 per cent reduction in crime and further strengthen the tools available to NT Police in responding to alcohol-related offences, including domestic violence, writes David Tollner,

Minister for Business.

[See rebuttal by the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition.] FULL STORY »

Budget way Alice to Melbourne, on Tiger and treadly

UPDATE May 15, 10am: Tiger announced today that Alice Springs once again topped the airline’s voting poll and that both Alice Springs routes will go on sale this week from about midday today.


Tyranny of distance is a matter of pocket as well as mind: you feel helpless if your mum, or your kid at uni “down south” gets sick and it would cost you more than a thousand dollars to give them a hug. Or if your tourism business is running at half steam because people won’t pay through the nose to a carrier that has a monopoly. So when Tiger returned with four flights a week to and from Sydney and Melbourne, Alice became a better place, reports ERWIN CHLANDA. PHOTO at top: The Finke, the oldest river in the world. A majestic view on the flight to Melbourne. RIGHT: Mark Griffiths took his kids Jaidyn and Shanese to Melbourne “to pay our respects” at the Anzac parade and watch the Essendon game.

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it’s missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe. This error may appear if the URL path to the embedded object is broken or you have connectivity issue to the embedded object. Powered BY XVE Various Embed. FULL STORY »

Booze brawl: Old BDR was better than new APO




The government are not being truthful in how they are explaining the new Alcohol Protection Orders (APOs), claiming that the previous Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) only banned people from purchasing take-away alcohol, says John Boffa (pictured), of the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Town council to manage swimming pool

The Alice Springs Town Council will take over the management of the Alice Springs Aquatic and Leisure Centre as of July 1,  Mayor Damien Ryan announced today. FULL STORY »

2013 Bangtail Muster VIDEO: Are you in it?

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it’s missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe. This error may appear if the URL path to the embedded object is broken or you have connectivity issue to the embedded object. Powered BY XVE Various Embed. FULL STORY »

Bush funding: what does the one hand know about the other?

The Remote Jobs and Communities Program was announced by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Julie Collins (pictured left) in Alice Springs. It makes no mention of the initiative by her Northern Territory counterpart, Alison Anderson (pictured right), aiming to subject regional development to “integration and coordination across business, industry, the community and all levels of government”. Both initiatives were announced yesterday and have roughly the same objectives in the same region and are trying to help the same people: But it appears that when it comes to spending public money, one hand, once again, cares little about what the other is doing. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Carey Builders, Frampton New Homes scheme: systemic failure

On December 10, 2001 Randal Carey, a builder with a long record in construction in remote areas of the Northern Territory and Queensland, was declared bankrupt. It was the start of an unravelling that led to his conviction of nine counts of deception in the Alice Springs Supreme Court last Tuesday, leaving major losses to local families in his wake, including Trent and Amanda Abbott and their children, pictured in 2010. KIERAN FINNANE reports the chronology of a local disaster. FULL STORY »

Debate is on again: A cable car, a restaurant for Mt Gillen?


A restaurant on top of Mount Gillen and a cable car to take people up there are being discussed informally, as part of a wish list, by members of the town council, the Alice Springs News Online has learned. The idea has been raised many times in the past 40 years. This time the suggestion has been made to have the starting point at the Desert Park, reliable sources are saying. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The visitors’ centre, with photoshopped gondola, at the Desert Park, suggested to be the lower terminal for the cable car.

UPDATE Monday, May 6, 2pm: Cr Geoffrey Booth says it was he who raised the idea and explains why. FULL STORY »

The long and the short of an accountable council

In a new move towards accountability, councillors at last night’s meeting were asked to provide a verbal report of their activities over the last month. This may be voluntary but it wasn’t a good look for Cr Geoff Booth, attending the meeting by phone, to have taken no notes of his activities and to make no report. Cr Chansey Paech also declined the opportunity. Cr Eli Melky provided a list as long as your arm … KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Pictured: Cr Booth could have said, as others did, that he attended the recent Waste Management Facility media event. There he is, second from the right. From left, Deputy Mayor Liz Martin, Mayor Damien Ryan, NT Minister Alison Anderson, MHR Warren Snowdon, Cr Brendan Heenan, and at far right, Cr Steve Brown.


$160,000 residential blocks at Kilgariff: Giles

Housing blocks will go on the market for $160,000 to $180,000 average in the new Kigariff suburb and its development is 18 months ahead of the former Labor Government’s schedule, Chief Minister Adam Giles told the Chamber of Commerce budget luncheon yesterday. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Kilgariff – the lock will come off 18 months sooner. FULL STORY »

Local men work on $3.2m learning centre

PHOTOS: Top – Local and visiting women from Yuendumu celebrate the opening (from left) Janet Gordon, Maisie Kitson, Wendy Leichlitner, Ann Grace Kitson, Lisa Gordon, Serena Shannon, Julie Kitson and Janelle Ross. Below – the new centre.


Four Willowra men worked on the construction of the $3.2m Wirliyajarrayi learning centre for adults and pre-school children in their community of Willowra, north-west of Alice Springs, clocking up 1400 working hours and picking up skills including brick laying and plaster board fitting.


Marching to the top of the hill and down again





Two news items today are reminiscent of two much earlier events, equally related to each other.

The first is that a new speed limit of 70 km/h will commence today (April 29, 2013) from the Tom Brown Roundabout south through Heavitree Gap to just beyond the turnoff to the Commonage Road on the south Stuart Highway. The second story concerns the NT Government’s protestations against the federal Labor government’s apparent threat to withdraw or hold up funding for the NT unless the Banned Drinkers’ Register is re-instated. COMMENT by ALEX NELSON. FULL STORY »

Treasurer quizzed on 000, booze, buying locally, power & water

Given that the Territory’s two most powerful men were in the room, question time at the Chamber of Commerce Budget luncheon yesterday was a sedate affair. The most prickly query came from a builder, Paul, who asked Treasurer Dave Tollner why the government was negotiating with an interstate firm about the $10m redevelopment of the old police housing in Allchurch Street. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The Chamber of Commerce Budget luncheon yesterday. In the foreground is Chief Minister Adam Giles. FULL STORY »

Pedestrians ignore new $300,000 crossing at The Gap

The Federal Government has spent $300,000 on a bid to remove a fatal “black spot” on the Stuart Highway just south of the The Gap. Yet some nearby residents ignore the facility, and cross the highway just a stone’s throw to the south, where they have no protection. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Hot showers, quality food on Larapinta Trail

There will be architecturally-designed semi-permanent campsites on the remote Larapinta Trail. The camps, which are the brainchild of tour company, World Expeditions, provide an oasis in the desert for trekkers – hot showers, quality food and a place to rest after exploring the spectacular red centre, writes Matt Conlan, Minister for Tourism. FULL STORY »

Law enforcement: The bracelets that could save us money


The NT Government, while taking law enforcement to new heights, is moving to make it cheaper, in terms of time as well as money.
Scaled-back paperwork will keep cops on the beat rather than in front of a keyboard.
Defence and prosecution will need to stick their heads together before putting matters before the court.
And tracking bracelets are “a whole lot cheaper than $214 a day” – the cost of banging up people in gaol. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Police keep crowd in check outside the courthouse during the Liam Jurrah trial. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Garrett admits Indigenous education defeat

School Education Minister Peter Garrett has admitted today that the Gillard government has failed to close the gap in indigenous education, writes Senator Nigel Scullion, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Michael Wayne Loy, RIP

Sir – On behalf of the members and friends of the Guillain Barre Syndrome Association of NSW I would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the late Michael Wayne Loy of Alice Springs, writes Mark Kunach. FULL STORY »

NT a ‘bully state’ with new criminalisation of drunkenness

No government politicians came to face their critics at today’s grog issues rally in Alice Springs. Russell Goldflam, speaking as President of the Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory, said the government was “hell bent on jamming as many of its citizens in the slammer as they can”. Particularly in his sights were the proposed new “Alcohol Protection Orders” (APOs) that Minister for Business Dave Tollner announced on Friday. Mr Tollner said the orders will further strengthen the tools available to NT Police in responding to alcohol-related offences. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Pictured: Donna Ah Chee, Congress CEO, addresses the rally of around 80 people.    FULL STORY »

LETTER: Solar eclipse on Friday, March 10




Sir – Get set for a rare and amazing sky event next week for the Annular Eclipse of the sun on Friday morning, May 10.  A fiery solar ring will remain around the moon’s silhouette. Weather permitting, everyone in Australia, except for the western third of Western Australia, will be able to see a partial or full eclipse, writes Dave Reneke, of Astro Space News. FULL STORY »

Tollner’s Budget measure to stop mining royalties minimisation

It’s going to net the Territory Budget only $10m but it seems to be the kind of measure that could have delivered to Julia Gillard the motza in revenue she isn’t getting from the mining industry. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: A Crossland uranium exploration crew in Central Australia. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Development co-ordinator to include all players



The new Regional Development Framework will have an open and transparent link with a cross-agency senior officers group who will ensure that government policies are aligned, that resources are shared, and that regional perspectives are taken into account in government planning and decision making, writes Alison Anderson (pictured), Minister for Regional Development. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Free WiFi in Todd Mall

Visitors to the Todd Mall could now access a total of three hours free WiFi over a 24 hour period, with a maximum of 200MB download available from any Wi-Fi enabled web browsing device, writes Matt Conlan, Minister for Tourism. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Smoke free prisons move a step closer

The NT Government has taken the next step in the implementation of smoke free correctional institutions throughout the Territory, writes Phil Brown, of the Department of Correctional Services. FULL STORY »