Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 12 »

May 30, 2013

Alice’s heart of commerce battles slump




Not all is well in the beating heart of industry and commerce, Alice’s Industrial Area, according to its big players and small, saying business is in a slump. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Taps Tubs and Tiles is taking a glass half full approach. Saleswoman Janet Svikart explains kitchen and bathroom items attracting Alice Water Smart rebates. FULL STORY »

What the Mayor doesn’t want to talk about




Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan is trying to keep the lid on events within the council which occurred since last Friday. Information about the draft Budget was withheld – unnecessarily – from the public for three days, and there are indications that a serious rift has developed between the Mayor and the majority of the councillors. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The draft Budget document – kept under wraps for three days.

6% town council rate rise proposed





Alice Springs Town Council rates are proposed to go up 6%, lower than last year’s rise which was 7%. The proposed minimum rate is $1083. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Mayor Damien Ryan at this morning’s announcement to the media of the proposed 2013/14 town council budget. FULL STORY »

Police review investigation into homes fiasco

Police are reviewing the investigation into the failed Frampton New Homes scheme in the wake of the trial of Randal Carey, ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Secure care facility opened in Alice



The secure care facility initially intended to be built on the Ross River Highway, sparking an outcry of nearby residents, has now been completed near the Alice Springs gaol on the South Stuart Highway. Photo: Yard with gazebo. The cylindrical top of the fences rotates, making climbing over it more difficult. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Breathing new life into the Tanami Desert

On May 27 a team of eight set off with the Tanami Action Group from Halls Creek down the Tanami Road to Alice Springs. Before we left on the trip to film the Tanami Road we had understood that our task was to seal the road. Now we understand that our task is to deliver economic, social and employment opportunities to people along the Tanami and throughout the Kimberley, writes Lara Wilde, of the Tanami Action Group.

Money gets Camel Cup over the hump




Camels will be racing for money for the first time on Camel Cup Day in Alice Springs next month, and their owners are loving it. They will be coming from three states. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Trophies won by Peter Hodge on the Queensland circuit. The jockey is Rachael Woodham who lives in Gembrook, Victoria, and will be coming to race for Mr Hodge in Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Song, story, sovereignty

Music of the first birds at dawn, breath of the wind across the plain, the trembling of leaves, and then a human voice, rich and resonant, rising up like the lone eagle wheeling in the sky above, seeking its “far away home”. From its opening moments dirtsong caught the audience up on its wave of soulful soaring and searching. Little wonder that its performances by The Black Arm Band have attracted such acclaim both in Australia and overseas. The presentation of just part of the work must have been a runaway highlight for the participants in the annual National Native Title Conference, held this year (and this week) in Alice Springs. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Town camp artists do it their way

They are a group of people about whom much is said and written by others, but here is chance to see residents of the Alice Springs town camps express themselves in their own images and words. They tell us about daily life, spirit life, memory, reflection, aspiration. There is humour, affection, yearning, delight, pride. Two Alice Springs art centres, Tangentyere Artists and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, have combined to present this exhibition, Our Way, Their Way, at RAFT Artspace. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.

Pictured: No Trouble Here? by Sally Mulda. FULL STORY »

Local Aboriginal business steps onto the big stage

Locals got a glimpse last night of the spectacle the Mbantua Festival will be presenting on October 9 to 13. The magic of the sun setting on the rocks by the Telegraph Station waterhole was the backdrop for dances (see video on FULL STORY page) by Arrente women and men, to the chants and boomerang clicks from a group of men sitting under a gum tree on the banks of the Todd. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTOS, top: The Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) Dance Group. Centre: Members of the Mpwereingke Anapipe dance troupe, Naree Riley, Ainslie Gorey, Miranda Doolan, Sheena Turner and Anya Riley. FULL STORY »

Finke: The race in which the town is always the winner

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The Finke, that grand fest of competitiveness, local can-do, fun and mateship is over again for a year, a boost not only to the town’s self-esteem – at times short in supply – but also its coffers.

VIDEO: Hayden Bentley from South Australia limped home with a sick engine but still became the outright winner of the cars and buggy section of the 2013 Tatts Finke Desert Race.
The solo driver’s time over the 226 km day two section was 01:52:49, a minute and 10 seconds ahead of Victorians Shannon and Ian Rentsch.
Mark Burrows and Colin Hodge, from NSW, were in third place in 01:56:27.
The first locals across the line were Andrew Moles and Matthew Ryan, in 9th place, coming second in the Prolite class in 02:00:48.

Trouble at the turn-off



Cars, grog, jealousy, death


After a long day’s drinking four carloads of people ended up at the turn-off to Ali Curung on the Stuart Highway, south of Tennant Creek. Most of them lived at Ali Curung and were family or knew one another. Most were a bit drunk, or very drunk. Grog was running low, arguing and jealous fights broke out. And a woman died. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Pictured: A roadside drinking camp. The inscription on the cross-piece reads, “Let there be light in the darkness.” Photo Courtesy Russell Guy.


Builder Carey gets 3 years in gaol, suspended after 12 months

Discount given for cooperation with authorities on further enquiries


Randal Carey, the builder in the failed Frampton New Homes scheme, was sentenced this morning to three years in gaol, to be suspended after 12 months. Mr Carey, who has been in custody since last Tuesday, did not show any visible emotion as guards led him away. He appeared to have no friends or family in court. His lawyer was appearing by video link from Darwin and said he would talk his client through the sentence by phone. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photo: Victims of the scheme, Amanda and Trent Abbott, and the youngest two of their six children, Ruby, 2, and Ashton, 4, were in court this morning. FULL STORY »

A place to go to be made well again





A gripping inma – dance – by traditional healers  – nangkaris – today opened the $25m new hospital emergency department in Alice Springs with a story that will unfold there many times in reality: Mothers bringing their sick children to a place where they can be made well again. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

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 »

Housing scheme victims speak after Carey is sentenced





It’s been a long time coming – three years – but there was only partial satisfaction for victims when Randal Carey was sentenced to gaol this morning. KIERAN FINNANE reports. PHOTO: Victims Alan Fisher and Denyse Thornton leave the court.


Builders want home buyers guarantee scrapped

It spells the end of small builders in the Northern Territory, blocks young builders from entering the industry, opens the door to construction giants from interstate, harms local suppliers, it is intrusive, undemocratic and doesn’t do for the home buyer what it claims to be doing. That’s what 30 builders and builder suppliers, at a meeting last night, thought about the Master Builders NT Fidelity Fund. They called for the repeal of legislation that set up the scheme. ERWIN CHLANDA reports from last night’s meeting (pictured). Jamie De Brennie is addressing the gathering. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Former CEO of Yuendumu Women’s Centre jailed

A former CEO of the Yuendumu Women’s Centre Aboriginal Corporation, Pamela Malden, was yesterday sentenced to an aggregate of 15 months imprisonment, writes Patricia Gibson, of the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations. 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 »

Master Builders rejects claims from Alice members

Graham Kemp (pictured), the Executive Director of the Master Builders NT, has made a comprehensive statement rejecting claims made at last night’s meeting of Alice Springs builders and suppliers of construction materials. He says “no builder, large or small has been asked for personal guarantees” and that fraud is covered by the Fidelity Fund:  “If the houses built by Carey Builders were covered by the Fidelity Fund the owners would have been able to have their houses finished, to a maximum value of $200,000 each, depending on what needed to be done.” The Carey homes were built before the fund came into existence. FULL STORY »

LETTER: 600 competitors, 12,000 campers, millions of Chinese


This weekend’s Tatts Finke Desert Race is an opportunity to promote tourism in the region and this year I am pleased to see the Chinese Guangdong Wolf Pack Motor Club competitors and supporters return to the race. The club has 30,000 members and is based in China’s most-populous province just north of Hong Kong with an estimated 110 million people, writes Matt Conlan (pictured), Minister for Major Events. FULL STORY »

Centre 4th out of 7 in per capita capital works spend

Central Australia is in fourth place among the Territory’s seven regions when it comes to per capita expenditure for capital works in the 2013/14 NT Budget. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. More and detailed table at FULL STORY »

LETTER: Not one Federal dollar for Territory highways


Territory and Federal Labor should stop playing games with road funding and the lives of Territorians. In the past 24 hours we have witnessed a lack of respect and money for supporting safe highways in the Northern Territory from Labor. Federal Minister Anthony Albanese knows full well that his dying Labor Government has provided not one single dollar for national highway upgrades in the Territory for the next five years, writes Adam Giles, NT Chief Minister. FULL STORY »

Prickly invaders in the Telegraph Station put up a fight



A new assault on prickly invaders into the Telegraph Station National Park is under way.
The coral cactus (Clyindropuntia fulgida), also known as the boxing glove cactus, has infected about 12 hectares of the park, and a treatment trial has brought limited results. The kill is taking twice as long as a similar treatment in Queensland, where the method has been pioneered. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

LETTER: Pedalling doctors

A group of Royal Flying Doctor Service staff and supporters will swap aeroplanes for mountain bikes as they ride 1,400Km off road from Timber Creek, NT to Alice Springs through some of the Territory’s most remote locations in aid of the iconic Australian medical organisation writes Dr Andy Killcross from the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Port Augusta. 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 »

Aborigines and the economy: where to from here?

Indigenous economic development was front and centre in Alice Springs this week. A large group from local business and public service were at the launch this morning (photo above) when Territory Minister Alison Anderson put out for public comment her draft strategy for 2013 to 2020: a “simplified framework to complement Territory and Commonwealth programs” with “entrepreneurship, self-reliance and resilience” as the objectives. The town also hosted this year’s National Native Title Conference at which ways were examined of how Aborigines can not only get a slice of the resource action, but put in their own contribution as well. Rangers looking after the treasures of nature, and earnings from carbon farming were high on the agenda. Jon Altman (at right) was one of the speakers. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. The heading on the slide says: Illegal Indigenous dispossession, 1788 to 1965, and legal repossession, 1993 & 2013. FULL STORY »

$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 »

Work snags: Rock star expectations instead of proving themselves

With 65 employees, nearly 70% of them Aboriginal, Ingkerreke Commercial is on the leading edge of Indigenous business.

“Aborigines are an integral part of our community and that means they are an integral part of our workforce,”  says manager Scott McConnell (below) . Aborigines want work but are looking for respect: “They don’t need wash-down stations” on the approach roads to Alice Springs – a swipe at Councillor Steve Brown’s proposal for “Welcome to Town” centres. On the other hand, young job seekers have expectations like Rock stars, says Mr McConnell. ERWIN CHLANDA reports from the launch by Regional Development Minister Alison Anderson of the draft Indigenous Economic Development Strategy 2013-2020. Ms Anderson (at right, centre) is pictured with Kym Nolan, Director, Indigenous Economic Development, and Bridgette Bellenger, Executive Director, Regional Development. 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 »

LETTER: Will compulsory rehabilitation stand up in court?

Lynne Walker, Labor Shadow Attorney General, writes she called on Attorney General John Elferink to release the legal advice that his alcohol laws will stand up to an appeal. 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: The kindness of Alice Springs to a stranger

My overwhelming sense of Alice Springs will be that it is filled with kind strangers – you should be proud, writes Di Websdale-Morrissey of Melbourne. 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 »

Police Strike Force Vega targets property offenders

Police Strike Force Vega has made 145 arrests in relation to property in its 14 weeks in Alice Springs, says Detective Superintendent Brent Warren. FULL STORY »