Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 14 »

June 20, 2013

Council’s next gig: rubbish dump in town’s centre



And now for the next council project: Have the rubbish dump in the middle of the town. To be sure, the “landfill” (pictured) isn’t moving – although it clearly should be. But the town is, with significant development to the south. Yet the council, very quietly, is negotiating to acquire land adjacent to the dump, locking it into position forever and a day. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

DASA mum on sudden resignation of CEO

The Drug and Alcohol Services Association (DASA) is not answering enquiries from the Alice Springs News Online about the sudden resignation of its CEO, Paul Finlay (pictured), last Friday. The News has left messages with the organization, whose funding comes mainly from government sources, with most senior staff members and the management board. One reliable source  confirmed Mr Finlay’s resignation and that Eloise Page is the acting CEO. And board treasurer, Miranda Daniels, said “DASA will make no comment on the issues”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. See UPDATES.

Hardware giant gives vote of faith in Alice





The huge, 12,000 square meter Bunnings hardware store, costing $23m and employing a staff of 75, was officially opened on the North Stuart Highway this morning as a beacon of faith in the future of Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PICTURED is manager Annmarie Beech. FULL STORY »

Alice Solar City – over to you


Alice Solar City has closed its doors for the last time after five years but the journey has only just begun, says the NGO’s general manager, Sam Latz: “What’s next is up to the collective vision of the community.” And Mayor Damien Ryan says the enthusiasm and momentum created by the project are an opportunity “to grow our use of solar and smart energy technologies.” PHOTO: At the opening of the Uterne solar power station in July 2011: Mr Latz (at right) and Mayor Ryan (third from left). FULL STORY »

Government to increase Alice water allocation



The Alice Springs Water Allocation Plan is back to the drawing board following comments by Councillor Steve Brown in the Alice Springs News Online and the Council Chambers in April, with large allocations for industrial purposes and a reduction of the current projected life of the aquifer from over 300 to 200 years, writes Jimmy Cocking (pictured), of the Arid Lands Environment Centre.

Jurrah pleads guilty to assault, gets six months

Liam Jurrah, former star AFL footballer, was led from court in handcuffs this afternoon after receiving a sentence of six months for his part in the joint assault on Jillian Brown outside the 24 Hour Store in the early hours of March 28 this year. The sentence will be suspended after he serves three months. Two other charges of aggravated assault against Mr Jurrah were withdrawn, as was a charge of causing serious harm. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

PHOTO: Liam Jurrah is pictured with his grandmother, Cecily Granites, waiting outside the court today, ahead of  his sentencing. FULL STORY »

Vote ‘yes’ in referendum or face higher rates: Mayor

Vote ‘yes’ in the coming referendum on constitutional recognition of local government or definitely face increased rates in the future and risk loss of direct funding from the Commonwealth, such as money for local roads through Roads to Recovery and other community infrastructure grants. This is the message that Mayor Damien Ryan wants his fellow councillors to take to the electorate. With apparently more than 30% of voters making up their minds on polling day, he urged them, at last night’s end of month council meeting, to all be present at the booths on September 14. KIERAN FINNANE reports on this and other council news, including more CCTV and solar lighting along the river.


Town Council black spot mad dash for cash?

How interesting that councillors are critical about the safety of the new pedestrian crossing near Heavitree Gap but have called for tenders to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Sturt Terrace and Undoolya Road, which also has obvious flaws, and is also to be funded to the tune of $300,000 from the Federal Black Spots program. COMMENT by ALEX NELSON. PHOTO: The troubled Milner Road roundabout, being repaired after an accident. FULL STORY »

Someone is going to die at this crossing, say councillors

UPDATE, June 12, 2013, 4.40pm: Go to FULL STORY to read an extract of the emailed account of a “near fatal accident” Cr Martin sent to her fellow councillors on the night of June 6.


It is only a matter of time before someone will be killed at the new pedestrian crossing just south of Heavitree Gap, councillors told MHR Warren Snowdon last night. Deputy Mayor Liz Martin said she has seen children jumping from the top of the ramp wall onto the highway and also observed a “near fatal accident” involving a triple road train, which could have claimed many lives. KIERAN FINNANE reports on this and other council news.


Gillard encourages harmful drinking



The Federal Labor Government is failing Territorians by refusing to allow welfare quarantining provisions that would restrict supply for problem drinkers after Alcohol Mandatory Treatment. The Commonwealth’s decision is political, will hurt vulnerable Territorians and fails families and communities, and gives problem drinkers a license to drink after Alcohol Mandatory Treatment, writes Robyn Lambley,

NT Health Minister. 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.

Across the world, through time: a search for meaning




Not many of us own up, in our private domains let alone in public, to our searches, our longings for deep meaning in our lives, yet here is a book that goes in and out of our part of the world that does just that. It is a sustained quest for the core of things, for the shape of life, that “reaches down pathways of used time”, but also loops, seemingly effortlessly, around the globe, from the northern reaches of Russia to deep in the western deserts of Australia. KIERAN FINNANE reviews Nicolas Rothwell’s Belomor. 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 »

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 »

Yuendumu Sports Weekend is back on 50th anniversary



Yuendumu will once again come alive to the sounds of leather on leather, bat on ball, the swish of the basket, cheering crowds and healthy rivalries with the announcement that the community will hold its first Sports Weekend since 2011 writes Adrian Dixon, Central Desert Shire President.


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 »

COMMENT: Alice is not sad, Alice is real

This is just what we need: the traveling bible Lonely Planet calling Alice “a bit sad”. Empty shop fronts in Todd Mall are given as an example. While Europe and the USA are falling apart in an ongoing economic crisis, those who still can afford to travel are warned against empty shop windows. That makes me mad, comments SUZANNE VISSER. FULL STORY »

Government to boost help for alcoholics




A series of amendments to the Territory’s Alcohol Mandatory Treatment legislation will strengthen and re-enforce the Government’s ground-breaking measures to help problem drinkers fight addiction, writes Robyn Lambley, Minister for Alcohol Rehabilitation. FULL STORY »

Stronger Futures, as seen from poles apart


The Aboriginal affairs battleground shows how far apart the two major parties are in the lead-up to the September 14 Federal elections, as Territory CLP Senator Nigel Scullion (at right) and Labor Member for Lingiari (at left)  are slugging it out. FULL STORY »

Chief Minister fails to answer critics of alcohol reform



The NT Chief Minister has again revealed his ideological rejection of evidence-based alcohol policy in the NT. Adam Giles’ failure on the ABC’s Lateline last Thursday to nominate a single expert who supports the CLP’s Alcohol Mandatory Treatment (AMT) Bill, particularly the criminalisation of drunkenness, shows an astonishing resistance to evidence, writes Dr. John Boffa (pictured), of the People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC). FULL STORY »

Old meets new – and is transformed


Sustainable Couture proved itself again last night, with renewed inspiration from its core group of designers and inspired new designers entering the fray. The group’s commitment is to making wearable garments with flair, using recycled materials. First time exhibitor at the event, Jen Standish-White, wowed the crowd with this elegant trio, her sleek male models getting a particular welcome. KIERAN FINNANE was there.

Click FULL STORY below YouTube box.


Pictured: Hayden, Nathan and Megan  modelling; Jen Standish-White at the rear, far left, with MC Meredith Campbell.



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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 »

Gonski dollars don’t add up for NT schools



It is obvious the sums do not add up in favour of the Territory signing up to the Gonski education reforms, writes Chief Minister Adam Giles. 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 »

Giles “unconscionable” on education



We are angry that the Giles government is cutting schools budgets, as revealed in The Australian today. We are appalled to learn today that not only is the Giles government prevaricating on Gonski, they are also planning further cuts in their own state budget, writes Angelo Gavrielatos, Federal President, Australian Education. FULL STORY »

NT has most secretive government in Australia



The CLP promised they would be open and accountable. Gagging the Auditor General makes them the most secretive Government in  Australia and the Northern Territory’s history, writes Michael Gunner, Shadow Minister for Government Accountability. FULL STORY »

Territory, Federal Opposition on the same page



The new policy commitment for Northern Australia by the Federal Coalition is totally consistent with the vision of the Northern Territory Government, writes Chief Minister Adam Giles. FULL STORY »

Elferink rejects “gagging” claim



Attorney General John Elferink (pictured) has rejected Opposition claims that the Government had “gagged” Auditor General Frank McGuinness and says Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Michael Gunner, had “removed himself from the domain of rational debate” by using emotive language in a media release last week. FULL STORY »

Private home ownership for town camp



Home ownership is a step closer for the residents of Ilpeye-Ilpeye town camp in Alice Springs, with the Australian Government reaching a landmark agreement including a compensation package with Ilpeye-Ilpeye land owners that will provide the means for residents to build their own homes, writes Jenny Macklin (pictured), Minister for Indigenous Affairs. FULL STORY »

Salt mine south of Alice Springs a step closer





A proposed underground salt mine near Titjikala, 120 kilometers south of Alice Springs, is a step closer to becoming reality. FULL STORY »

Is town council use of “in confidential” going too far?


Current Town Council dealings behind closed doors about the future of the landfill gives new fuel to controversy over business the council is doing “in confidential”.

The default position under the law is that all matters should be dealt with in open meeting, except a small number of issues that are defined.

But it seems the public is being shut out for reasons decidedly not provided for under the law. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

PHOTO: Mayor Damien Ryan (second from left) with MLA Alison Anderson and MHR Warren Snowdon (middle) and (from left) Councillors Liz Martin, Brendan Heenan, Geoff Booth and Steve Brown at the construction site of the landfill transfer station. FULL STORY »

View from the air




How right artist Deborah Clarke is to focus on the view from on high, where we’re no longer seeing to our measure but momentarily can take in something of the spaciousness and grand movements of the landscape.  Ancient (diptych) and the handmade books, Above Ruby Gap, and Above Ormiston Gorge, encompass these very large views, with a beckoning perspective. KIERAN FINNANE reviews Clarke’s exhibition Up in the air. FULL STORY »

What’s happening with the landfill?

Mayor Damien Ryan is not saying whether the public has been informed about the Town Council’s current negotiations for land to expand the rubbish tip in its present location, and if so, when and how that disclosure was made.

The negotiations were reported by the Alice Springs News Online as discussion is resuming about shifting the landfill from a location where it will be in the middle of the town, given its growth pattern.


AERIAL PHOTO at right: Lot 7902 is the existing landfill.

It it understood that the town council is negotiation for the lot to the west (left) of it, number 8097.


Feds say no to Alice Springs CBD project funding


Alice Springs Town Council and the Uniting Church say they will explore new avenues for funding the proposed meeting place and commercial development in the CBD after receiving notification the bid to secure a grant from the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) was unsuccessful. The $60m project was first reported by the Alice Springs News Online. Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon (pictured) did not respond to a request for comment today. FULL STORY »

Child protection to start in the womb



Changes to the Care and Protection of Children Act (the Act) will include enabling of pre-natal notifications and investigations and introduction of therapeutic orders to enable the admission of some children with high needs into a secure care facility, writes Alison Anderson, Minister for Children and Families (pictured). FULL STORY »

Education changes should ring alarm bells for parents and students



Recently announced changes to funding for the education system should be ringing alarm bells for parents and students alike. While the NT Government’s commitment to further investment in the early years is highly significant and crucial to improving educational outcomes for many children in the NT, such investment should not be at the expense of older students, writes Jonathan Pilbrow, Parent of a Centralian Senior College student, Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Beanie Fest: Quirky Centre head gear takes world by storm

What’s a beanie? How long have you got? “Everyone, no matter who they are, needs a beanie to enjoy the outdoors during our crisp, cold winter nights,” says organiser Jo Nixon. “There is no limit to the shapes, textures, colours and patterns that are evolving.” ERWIN CHLANDA reports.



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Mandatory treatment for alcoholics at facility near gaol

Under the roll-out of Alcohol Mandatory Treatment across the Territory, the Alice Springs assessment centre will be located at the secure care facility (pictured) adjacent to the Alice Springs gaol, on the South Stuart Highway, says Health Minister Robyn Lambley. FULL STORY »

The politics of love



At the launch of her new novel, From Alice with Love, Jo Dutton spoke of fiction’s power to change the way we think. By this measure, the achievement of her book is to tell an emotionally textured story of lives lived in and near Alice Springs. If it changes the way we think, it’s by getting in under the usual glosses of the social landscape of The Centre and letting love propel her story, love between particular people, black and white, living in recent times, and love of the country. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.


MODIFIED 11.05am, July 1, 2013. See note at the end of FULL STORY.


Chandler to set up enquiry into builders’ insurance



Housing Minister Peter Chandler (pictured) is setting up an enquiry into the home buyers’ insurance scheme, the Fidelity Fund, which he says appears to be “not as good as we had first hoped”. He says he is responding to builders, especially small ones, who have voiced strong concerns, including many in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »