Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 30 »

November 21, 2013

What makes a patch of dirt a place?



What makes a patch of dirt a place, is that it has been traversed, crossed, marked … RUSSELL GOLDFLAM, President of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association of the NT, opened the Alice Springs outing of the traveling exhibition roads cross: contemporary directions in Australian art. FULL STORY »

Look after town’s ‘heart & soul’: candidate




Council is a business and needs to run like a business, but every business has a heart and soul and in Alice Springs the heart and soul can be found in community events. Council should do its best, therefore, to look after and promote them. It already offers financial and in kind support but it could do more, says by-election candidate John Bridgefoot (pictured). KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

The street is to skaters what the ocean is to surfers




Just as surfers achieve their eloquence by unifying with and conquering the ocean (something that has occurred naturally), skateboarding can only achieve its yearned artistic expression when done in a ‘natural landscape’. Skateboarders define any terrain that isn’t purposefully built to skate as natural. Skateboarding is inherently something done outside of regiment. RAINER CHLANDA (pictured) provides a perspective on what ‘the street’ means to skaters, why skating the street is central to their culture.


The long shadow of violence

One story behind the statistics


The courts are dealing with “at least 10” such cases a day, said Magistrate John Birch, as he sentenced a man for an drunken assault on his wife. Presumably he meant the Alice Springs Courts, where the daily figure of 10 would not surprise anyone used to looking up the lists.

In this case Mr Birch was inclined to impose a harsher penalty than the mandatory minimum of three months but he fully suspended the sentence. After completing the paperwork the man walked free, given a chance to try to get his life back on track. For it had been on track, for 40 years … KIERAN FINNANE reports.

IMAGE: From a powerpoint titled Unnecessary Suffering, presented by Justice Jenny Blokland at the 2013 Bali Conference of the Criminal Lawyers Association of the NT, the graph shows the heavily disproportionate representation of Indigenous women (the red line) in domestic violence assaults.


More sit-down money, fewer answers, as millions accumulate



Communities affected by the Granite Mines (pictured) get $3m a year from their royalty corporation to spend on projects of benefit to their members. Employment doesn’t seem to make the wish list. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Matty Day wants kerbside recycling




Town Council candidate Matty Day (pictured) says he will push for a “Kick it to the Kerb” day when residents can recycle household items. FULL STORY »

Alcohol Protection Orders Bill needs more work, say Aborigines



Sir – The Government should postpone passage of the Alcohol Protection Orders (APO) Bill in order to properly consult and to consider the evidence, writes Jonathon Hunyor of the Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT. FULL STORY »

Andrew Doyle did not hand out how-to-vote cards for Eli Melky


Councillor Eli Melky, via an Alice Springs firm of solicitors, has told the Alice Springs News Online that Framptons First National principal Andrew Doyle did not hand out how to vote cards for Cr Melky during last year’s town council elections. We regret the error and apologise to Cr Melky. We made the statement in a report headed “Frampton New Homes: the dream breaker” which was accompanied by the photograph shown here, picturing Mr Doyle on the left and Cr Melky on the right, outside the council chambers polling booth on March 24, 2012. FULL STORY »

Who’s going to drive Aboriginal resurrection?

Estimated government expenditure in 2012 per head of population was $44,128 for Indigenous Australians, compared with $19,589 for other Australians, a ratio of 2.25 to 1, according to the Productivity Commission. Who or what will put an end to issues which Indigenous Affairs Minister, Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion (pictured), describes as having been intractable for far too long? ERWIN CHLANDA speaks with him, starting a discussion that will run through the summer in this newspaper. Be part of it!  FULL STORY »

Teachers wait on Fair Work decisions

The Fair Work Commission is conducting a hearing today on the situation of 500 permanent teachers across the NT who may not have a job next year due to the NT Government’s cuts to its education budget. Permanent experienced teachers, some of whom have been teaching in the Territory for many years if not decades and who have found themselves not attached to a particular school, now face an uncertain future. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

‘Separations’ no worries for new container deposit operator

A container deposit depot has opened in Alice Springs, doing 28 “separations” after its predecessor shut down when he was required to do 24. Local manager Andrew Lee says the number of separations required is “labour intensive” but the high turnover makes it worth-while. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Depot worker Shaun Thomas lobs a stubby into one of the 28 separation bins as fellow worker Jason Birch sorts a delivery from Tom Buzzacott (at right). FULL STORY »

Aborigines should be free to use their land for creating jobs





The Opposition Leader should explain what she has against Aboriginal people using their land to create jobs, writes Adam Giles, Chief Minister.



Central Australian artist wins People’s Choice in Telstra awards




Alyawarr artist Michelle Holmes Pwerla, from Ampilatwatja, has been voted the People’s Choice Award winner as part of this year’s 30th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. The 45-year-old artist received 121 votes of the 1781 votes cast for her painting My Country, acrylic on canvaswhich depicts the country she lives on. FULL STORY »

CLP pursue Tiwi Islands ‘land grab’



Chief Minister Adam Giles announced at the Property Council luncheon that the Government is on the verge of signing off a deal to secure a 99-year lease over 10,000 hectares on the Tiwi Islands. I have deep concerns that traditional owner consultation hasn’t adequately occurred and have called on the Chief Minister to disclose all details of this secret deal to ensure Government transparency and accountability, writes Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie. FULL STORY »

Council by-election: common sense candidate




Local IT entrepreneur Edan Baxter has thrown his cap into the ring for the upcoming Town Council by-election. He’s definitely keen as he was a candidate in the last full council election, when the photo (left) was taken, and also in the last NT Legislative Assembly campaign.


Others are acting on climate change



Claims that nothing of much consequence is being done in the rest of the world about climate change need to be exposed for the bald faced lie they are, writes Richard Bentley, of Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Bonanni has strong lead in council poll




Kylie Bonanni (pictured), with 4223 first preference votes, has a convincing lead over Matty Day (2253) at the close of primary votes counting for the Alice Springs Town Council by-election yesterday. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

By-election campaign takes the pulse of the town


Preference deal jockeying aside, the by-election campaign is a chance to take the pulse of the town mid-term of the current Town Council. On the eve of the vote the Alice Springs News Online asked candidates what they had learned about local concerns and what impression they have taken from the campaign of the mood of the community. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Editor injured in hit and run

UPDATED, November 23, 2013: Operation successful ….


Alice Springs News Online editor Erwin Chlanda was injured in a hit and run accident on Tuesday night. He was evacuated to Royal Adelaide Hospital yesterday where he will be operated on for a broken femur and pelvis. FULL STORY »

Lively week for alcohol reform movement


The alcohol reform movement is moving nationally with a flurry of reports and press statements released in recent days. Let’s take a look at some of them. RUSSELL GUY‘s Alcohol Watch.

Image: Exposing children to alcohol before birth exposes them to serious harms. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder was the focus of a conference in Brisbane on Tuesday. FULL STORY »

The public system is being decimated, say striking teachers

Striking teachers gathered outside Centralian Senior College early this morning to bring their protest against school staffing cuts to the attention of motorists heading to work. They got plenty of honks in support before later joining colleagues in a rally in the town centre. KIERAN FINNANE asked them about the impacts of the proposed cuts, especially in the middle and senior schools. The teachers returned to work this afternoon despite the “lockout” by the Commissioner of Public Employment.


Commissioner revises teacher EBA offer




Commissioner for Public Employment, Ken Simpson, today revised his offer for an agreement covering Northern Territory Public Sector (NTPS) teachers and educators,  give the union an opportunity to secure a pay increase for teachers from 21 November. FULL STORY »

Climate: bicycles, umbrellas, stirring placards, fuzzy feeling

It was a lovely morning: The medium-sized crowd had pedalled from the Old Eastside to the council lawns. Some had umbrellas, as had been suggested for the local manifestation of the national Climate Change GetUp Rally yesterday. The clothing was colourful, the placards stirring and the speeches generated that warm, fuzzy feeling in the tummy. ERWIN CHLANDA today spoke with ALEC’s Jimmy Cocking, one of the event’s organisers. FULL STORY »

Redtails in high-scoring thriller


Tiwi Bombers defeated Central Australia by nine points in a high-scoring thriller at TIO Stadium on Saturday in what was arguably the game of the season to date, scoring 22.11 (143) to 20.14 (134). FULL STORY »

From Somebody Everybody, with artistry and love


Without the love, the artistry might have felt abstract; without the artistry, the love might have felt sentimental. As it was Somebody Everybody, a theatrical performance by the StArts with D ensemble, united both in a deeply satisfying and moving experience. Members of StArts with D are people with disabilities and, as the show reveals, unsuspected depths of ability, writes KIERAN FINNANE. Photos by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Why I started riding my bike




Alice is perfect for bicycle riding, I have discovered this after having lived here for 10 years while driving a car everywhere. Call me stupid and slow and you’re right. FULL STORY »

Police rescue two in house fire



Two police officers entered a burning house and escorted two residents to safety. FULL STORY »

Calling all bush poets



Alice Springs is in the centre of the Outback, so it is no surprise that some good bush verse has come out of the Alice area over the years as well. There has been a bit of a poetry drought around Alice Springs lately, but the committee running the Bronze Swaggie is hoping more entries from the district will be received in 2014, writes Jeff Close, of Winton, Qeensland. FULL STORY »

A make-your-own show



Opening night for an exhibition is not always the best time to experience the art. It’s more of a social occasion and the conversations are often about anything other than the show. Not so the opening night for verisimilitude at Watch This Space, when its creator, Navid Dixon (aka David Nixon) curated not so much his images as his viewers … KIERAN FINNANE was among them. FULL STORY »

A long-term view of the ‘skateable’ Mall furniture




Were the benches just “skateable” or were they meant for skating? If skating isn’t allowed in the CBD, how come skate furniture was included in the $5m revamp of the northern end the Mall? Project manager Lyndon Frearson puts a long-term view of what was put in there, and why. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Outback Way: Why is road building in NT so expensive?


Why does road sealing cost twice as much in the Territory as does in shires across the borders on either side? “That’s the question that needs to be asked,” says Patrick Hill (at left), the president of the Laverton Shire and chairman of the Outback Highway Development Council Inc. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE Nov 19 at 4:30pm

The NT Government has just released figures showing that road building in the NT is up to three times as expensive when compared with adjoining states. FULL STORY »

Judge: common sense will do!



Justice Dean Mildren (pictured) today scoffed at a reference to the maximum penalty stipulated by the Sentencing Act, suggesting “common sense” would do better in considering submissions on sentence in the case of a young man accused of aggravated property damage. He was told by the Crown prosecutor that the maximum penalty for the offence was fourteen years’ imprisonment. “Fourteen years!” exclaimed Justice Mildren. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Changing face of Alice



More than half – 54% – of the Alice Springs population do not speak English as their first language. Rather they grew up speaking Arrernte, Pitjantjatjara and Warlpiri, or Malayalam, Mandarin and Punjabi. This is something I learnt this morning on the way to the post office, in an interesting public space exhibition about the changing face of Alice Springs. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Minister: school staff allocations released

‘Money not the answer for better outcomes’


Education Minister Peter Chandler says all Territory Government school principals were issued yesterday with their overall school staffing allocations for 2014.

SOURCE: NT Government media release, issued 6pm, November 14, 2013. FULL STORY »

Teacher allocations for your school in 2014 …

UPDATE, November 15, 2013, 8.41am: Allocations released to schools yesterday. See post below.


All primary schools in Alice Springs will be at least marginally better off in 2014 compared to 2013 in so far as their teacher allocation is concerned. This is revealed in a departmental document obtained by the Alice Springs News Online. It shows the Teacher Staffing Allocation Model for 2014 School Year. This is in contrast to the situation for Centralian Middle School and Centralian Senior Secondary College. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

‘Underdog candidates’ have vision to join the town together

Town council candidates Colin Furphy (at right in the photo) and Edan Baxter, who describe themselves as the underdogs in the poll, have teamed up to call for commitment to increasing investment in bike lanes and pathways. PHOTO (provided by the candidates): The candidates in an area of town they say could be part of bike lane improvements, with a long term view to joining all suburbs in town.


Anderson: confusion in the bush on school staffing



UPDATED, 2.33pm & 8.08pm: , see FULL STORY: Shadow Minister for Education Natasha Fyles says the government is “lurching from crisis to crisis” while Education Minister Peter Chandler is saying that Ntaria will be receiving an increase in teaching staff allocation.


Original story: Member for Namatjira Alison Anderson says her office is being inundated with enquiries about what is happening to the staffing of bush schools. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Council candidate well placed to boost tourism




Council candidate Kylie Bonanni (pictured) is a member of the Tourism NT board and says as a councillor she would be in a good position to re-direct the focus of government promotion form Darwin to Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA spoke with her. FULL STORY »

Drubbing for Redtails


The Redtails’ woes continue with another loss in Darwin last weekend. FULL STORY »

Cr Paech: disappointed at council back flip


‘How can we make our town inclusive, with real shared space, not empty seats and empty footpaths?’


Councillor CHANSEY PAECH, who championed the now overturned skateboarding trial in the northern end of Todd Mall, comments. FULL STORY »

Skate trial in the Mall: council turns its back on the kids

The Town Council’s brave new policy of enticing young people into Todd Mall came crashing down at the council meeting last night. In the latest backflip on skateboarding, the trial approved two weeks ago to permit the sport for three months has been scuttled on the vote of all members except Councillor Chansey Paech, who initiated the trial and stuck by his guns. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

PHOTO: Part of the public gallery at last night’s meeting: Most are members of the anti-skateboardig deputation. In the back row, left, is council candidate John Bridgefoot. He says he is in favour of a trial but believes that the amphitheater solution is better, and “would make it safer for both the skaters and the people in the northern end of the mall”.


Alice salt mine: new $6m drilling program

UPDATE Nov 15, 6:45am: See comment from Tellus


The mining company Tellus has awarded to Mitchell Services a drilling contract, worth $6.5m, as part of the planning activities at the Chandler salt mine project, 120km south of Alice Springs. The company has confirmed a 4.5 to 5 billion ton multi-mineral salt deposit there. PHOTO: The diamond core drilling rig to be used in the further exploration of the salt deposit south of Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Funding back for people responding to native title claims






I welcome the Commonwealth Government’s funding commitment of $2.2million over two years to reinstate the Native Title Respondent Funding Scheme, writes Attorney General John Elferink (pictured). FULL STORY »