Story Archive » Volume 20 » Issue 13 »

June 6, 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.

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 »

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.

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.


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 »

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

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.

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.


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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »