Story Archive » Volume 21 » Issue 15 »

May 17, 2014

Visions of Utopia


Stories and pictures you won’t see in John Pilger’s film 


Priorities are shifting at Arlparra, also known as Utopia. Traditional owners did not want it to develop as a community, but to rather be a resource centre, delivering services to people living on their homelands. But in a visit to the area this week Member for Namatjira, Alison Anderson, was told that the push from locals is now for “housing, housing, housing” at Arlparra. KIERAN FINNANE travelled with Ms Anderson ahead of the heavily promoted broadcast of Pilger’s Utopia on SBS this Saturday. FULL STORY »

The Centre’s winning literature




Alice Springs author Rod Moss has won the Chief Minister’s Book of the Year Award for his memoir, One Thousand Cuts, while the graphic novel, The Long Weekend in Alice Springs, by Craig San Roque and Joshua Santospirito won the Non-Fiction Book Award. FULL STORY »

Electricity cost still up in the air, cuts by Feds a worry for council



No CPI increase “leaving a hole in our budget for the next three years,” says Mayor Ryan. FULL STORY »

The day the funding died …



… paid consulting work, landscaping contracting, energy audits and donations took up the slack for the defunded Arid Lands Environment Centre which staged the Global Climate March (pictured) in Alice Springs this morning. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Ulysses bikers: On the road again


Exotic bikes, 2500 riders and pillions, thousands of kilometers – it’s all part of the annual meeting of the Ulysses Club in The Alice this week. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: from left, Dianne Reily, Ian Lawley, Tracey Reid, Annette McDougall, John Reid rode from Queensland. FULL STORY »

Spend NT Budget money urgently, says Chamber of Commerce


Restraints in the Territory Budget are possibly necessary, but those infrastructure projects that are included should proceed immediately to aid the ailing economy of Alice Springs, says Chamber of Commerce CEO Kay Eade. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

NT Budget infrastructure spend mostly revotes from 2013/14

The capital works program for Central Australia consists mostly of revotes from last year when the total value was $38m. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The Kilgariff development gets $3.3m – this morning it looked like an Ayers Rock replica under construction.

Budget: Scullion’s Aboriginal Affairs agenda






The Abbott Government’s commitments to Indigenous Australians are getting children to school, adults into work, building safe communities and generate economic and social benefits from effective use of their land, writes NT Senator Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs. FULL STORY »

Plans for new skate facility welcome but flawed


Council’s desire to move quickly towards new skate-boarding facilities is welcome, but Matty Day, youth advocate and leading light of local skateboarders with extensive experience in the industry, says the plans before council are flawed and cautions against haste. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 


Paech: Town Council should ‘combat bigotry’


Alice Springs Town Council should lobby the NT and federal governments on the issue of mooted amendments to the federal Racial Discrimination Act, specifically the repeal of section 18C, Councillor Chansey Paech has urged. Cr Paech surprised council last night with a Notice of Motion on the matter. Cr Eli Melky seconded on the spot. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

More shade for Todd Street North?


Mature shade trees or more shade structures are a possibility for Todd Street North. Complaints about lack of shade in the area ­– redesigned and opened to traffic last year – has prompted council to look at costs of planting mature trees or installing additional shade structures. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Roadhouse suspends selling takeaway alcohol after killing



The Wycliffe Well pub has voluntarily stopped selling take-away alcohol after a woman aged 19 was killed two weeks ago further up the Stuart Highway.  ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Publican Arc Vanderzalm. FULL STORY »

Maralinga on their minds

An invisible catastrophe haunts the winning work in the 38th Alice Prize, which opened on Friday night at the Araluen Arts Centre. In Fallout #56 – Maralinga, photographs by Catherine Rogers from New South Wales, sharply raises questions of legacy and responsibility, concerns echoed in works by a number of other artists in the exhibition. KIERAN FINNANE  reviews. Pictured: Ruth Elvin, president of the Alice Springs Art Foundation with Alice Prize judge, Dr Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. FULL STORY »

Anderson: constituents happy with Palmer United Party




Not a single one of their constituents has objected to the three bush MLAs joining the Palmer United Party (PUP), says their leader, Alison Anderson. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Uncertainties about our water



One of the hottest Northern Territory issues is one of the hardest about which to get useful information: water. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Google Earth PHOTO: Creeks recharging the Mereenie basin, from which Alice Springs draws most of its supply.

See UPDATE May 20, 2014. FULL STORY »

Low demand for Tiger flights sapped viability


Tigerair CEO Rob Sharp has made it clear that “primarily demand and commercial viability of a route” were the most important factors which motivated the airline to cease flying to Alice Springs from Sydney and Melbourne on July 21. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The resumption of Tiger flights was celebrated with grand hoopla in April last year. FULL STORY »

Salvos to seek donations for tough times ahead



Alice   Springs   residents  have  been   asked   to   give  up   a   few  hours   of   their   time   to   collect   for   the  Red   Shield   Appeal  Doorknock  Weekend, May 24  –  25. FULL STORY »

Alice cop on serious criminal charges

Northern Territory Police have charged a police officer with a number of traffic related charges, according to a media release from the police late yesterday. FULL STORY »

Second police officer facing court in Alice Springs

A second Alice Springs police officer has been suspended from duty for breaches of discipline, according to a media release from the police. FULL STORY »

Multi-generational approach to social dysfunction



Poor Alice! She really is becoming the NT’s stepchild, isn’t she. FULL STORY »

Neil Murray: Bring Thunder and Rain



Neil Murray has a huge future as a concert artist. He could fill the Opera House with his songs and I hope one day to see it. Review of his new album by RUSSELL GUY. FULL STORY »

Industry ‘perplexed’ at Tiger pull-out



The decision to cancel Tiger flights was sudden and unexpected from all parties in Central Australia, says Jaclyn Thorne (pictured) General Manager of Tourism Central Australia. FULL STORY »

Jurrah: gaol, rehab and banned from Alice


When former football star Liam Jurrah gets out of gaol for assaulting his wife, he will have to undergo drug and alcohol rehab, and for 12 months will be banned from consuming drugs and alcohol, will not be allowed to leave the Territory without permission but will also not be allowed to come into Alice Springs except for a personal medical or dental emergency. FULL STORY »

Tiger flights chop out of the blue

The announcement that Tiger flights to Alice Springs will cease again came out of the blue, and follows Tourism NT spending about $700,000 in the past 12 months promoting holidays in Central Australia with Tigerair. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Bicycle riding and narcissism




I once bought a Jeep with leather seats just to impress a man. It worked. But not for long. FULL STORY »

Law enforcement leads changes to CBD




Location, location, location. I think that real estate mantra sums up why the former video shop then Government’s Alcohol Courts opposite Billy Goat Hill will not be converted into a Supreme Court. FULL STORY »

Ask Lisa for the secret of growing a business in Alice


Message to the “we’ll all be ruined” brigade: There’s plenty of scope in Alice Springs for growing a business – and quite without government handouts. Just ask Lisa Perry. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO by TAYLOR CHALKER.

Why Alice Springs’ own ocean beach is doing so well

When looking at wealth creation and managing lifestyle, the score cards of Alice Springs and Streaky Bay are vastly different. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Dogs to scare kids as cops are busy at bottleshops




Bottle shop watch takes cops from street patrols – and do the kids know it! COMMENT by HAL DUELL.


My sister was killed, allegedly in an alcohol fueled incident




Yesterday I woke to a phone call telling me my sister had been killed. I am devastated, writes Bess Price (pictured), MLA for Stuart. FULL STORY »

Huge budget cuts for environmental lobby



Governments have inflicted “significant” budget cuts on the Alice Springs based Arid Lands Environment Centre, says its CEO Jimmy Cocking (pictured). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

I have the confidence of the land council: Maurie Ryan


“I have the confidence of the Central Land Council and a mandate to run it,” says Maurie Ryan (pictured) after a general meeting of the CLC in Tennant Creek. FULL STORY »

Mysterious interference with Alice mobile calls



A mystery source of interference is causing disruption to mobile phone calls in Alice Springs and also to internet users linked to 3G and 4G access for browsing and emails. FULL STORY »

Desert Knowledge direction unclear: Giles



“There seems to be no direction about where the organisation is going to go in the future,” says Chief Minister Adam Giles (pictured) about Desert Knowledge Australia. ERWIN CHLANDA reporting. FULL STORY »

Ryan’s agenda to reform land council: broad support from members?

UPDATE May 24, 9:30am: Major comment from challenger Michael Liddle in comment box below this report.


The re-election yesterday of Central Land Council chairman Maurie Ryan indicates that his agenda to reform the organisation has broad support from its members. A letter (excerpt pictured) to Senator Nigel Scullion, which sparked Mr Ryan’s recent standing down, has been leaked to the Alice Springs News Online. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Public drinking: town council staffer stands his ground




Town council Community Services Director Craig Catchlove (pictured) stood his ground last night when he came under fire over statements on illegal public drinking. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Chief Minister: ‘Not enough investment in culture’


Aboriginal culture “is the heart and soul of the Northern Territory” and “I don’t think we put enough into investment in culture”, Chief Minister Adam Giles told the Arrernte traditional owners, their families, friends and well-wishers who gathered on Wednesday to launch a book and a short film about the work Akeyulerre Inc is doing. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Pictured: Arrernte elder Amelia Turner with children at the launch. FULL STORY »

Can you get mining royalties plus the dole?


Do people receiving mining royalties, whose distribution are high points in the lives of local used car salesmen, have their Centrelink payments canceled or suspended? The Department of Human Services, doesn’t keep records of that, ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: A “powder monkey’s” rig underground in the Granites mine north-west of Alice Springs, source of millions in mining royalties. FULL STORY »

Desert Parasite?






Desert Knowledge indeed! It appears that despite all the early promise the only expertise DK has mastered is in the art of filling out grant application forms and the gross over production of supporting propaganda, writes STEVE BROWN. FULL STORY »

Tollner gets a free lunch in more ways than one





Budget: Treasurer Dave Tollner gets it easy as in Alice the movers and shakers don’t move nor shake. PHOTO: Four star wilderness lodge at Redbank Gorge: Wouldn’t it be nice! COMMENT by  ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Alison Anderson: rebel with a cause




Alison Anderson has long operated under the motto: If you can’t join them, beat them. She gave an exclusive interview to ERWIN CHLANDA. She is pictured with Kathy Satour (left) in Alice Springs this morning. FULL STORY »

CAT: ‘We’ll grow again once the chaos subsides’


In the shadow of the federal Budget, friends of the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), board members and staff, past and present, gathered last Friday to celebrate the publication of Alan Mayne’s Alternative Interventions, a book that charts CAT’s history to 2010, when it had 130 staff on the books and was turning over $25 million. Today the picture is somewhat different and their survival strategy can be summed up as this: “Pull business back now and grow again once the chaos subsides.” KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Mining royalties and welfare payments: the government view


Rent, royalties and other land related payments are treated as income for social security purposes if the monies are paid to a member of an Indigenous community, according to information obtained by Tina MacFarlane. Royalty issues are also likely to be raised in a meeting of the Central Land Council (CLC) which will consider the future of CLC chairman Maurie Ryan (pictured). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Dave’s dilemma



Who’s in charge: Treasurer Dave Tollner or fatcat bureaucrats? That is the question. FULL STORY »

Government handing out water licences at alarming rate: Labor




The CLP Government is jeopardising the future of developing Northern Australia by handing over water licences at an alarming rate with no regard for future planning or science, writes Kon Vatskalis, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure & Transport (pictured). FULL STORY »

New post office shed to cope with online shopping parcels


A large shed is being added to the southern side of the post office building to cope with the increase in mail order posting. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

5% council rate rise proposed





The Town Council is proposing a 5% rate rise largely to cope with increases in electricity costs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Mayor Damien Ryan. FULL STORY »

Massive drop in crime, Ministers claim

Assaults have been reduced by almost 20% Territory wide and 32% in Alice Springs by “tough new alcohol policies including Alcohol Protection Orders and intensive Temporary Beat Locations” outside bottle shops, claim Chief Minister Adam Giles and Minister for Justice John Elferink in a joint media release. FULL STORY »

Fiddling while buffel is burning


Under the shrubs and trees of the West MacDonnell National Park lurks thick, dense buffel grass, square kilometers of it, healthy and in seed, a tinderbox in the making. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The glorious view from the Larapinta Trail about three kilometers east of Simpson’s Gap: bottom left of the photo shows buffel grass.

Bye, bye bikers!


“Missing you already” is bound to be the message of Alice Springs to the 2500 departing Ulysses Club members who spent $5m in town. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Want to be a bigot?






Bigot strikes me as a lousy word to hang one’s hat on, although if worked into a political slogan it might have legs. FULL STORY »

Amanyi’s story

p2138-amanyi-gun-smThis righteous desert babe left us 10 days ago. Her life was not a procession of unparalleled, certifiable, gold medal, high-achieving wins, but an impressive battle scar and zesty tribute to the vitality of soul-force, writes BETH SOMETIMES. She was seventy-five, and taken out suddenly by a massive stroke. While she was in hospital five years ago after the first stroke, we hung out and talked extensively and I wrote something of a story of her life. Here is a much abridged version, published with the permission of Amanyi’s daughter, Linda Stanley. She also gave permission for photos of Amanyi to be published. FULL STORY »

No need to declare interest: Paech

Cr Chansey Paech says there was no need for him to declare an interest as a paid adviser to Senator Nova Peris when he moved a motion in town council opposing changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Part of a letter from Sen Peris with a message very similar to Cr Paech’s motion. FULL STORY »

Tollner exploiting other people’s misery, says Anderson

Local Government Minister Dave Tollner has been accused of gross insensitivity by Alison Anderson, the head of  the Palmer United Party (PUP). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Skinny latte with daring texts and probing photos



Owner Kam Buckley (at right in the photo), owner of KafeGonzo which in its new location still has the same trendy vibe. But it is now packed to the rafters with paintings, pictures, books, novels and magazines in organised chaos. Kam is pictured with artist James Tudor. JENNIFER RAJHER reports.


Skatepark ‘mudmap’ is not a final design

The existing drawings for extending the skatepark in Speed Street are only a “mudmap”, says Alice Springs Town Council Director of Technical Services, Greg Buxton. Asked by councillors to review his costing for that “basic concept”, he has gone to the skatepark specialists CONVIC Constructions and asked them to “estimate a price for our two options”. At this stage he says CONVIC have not been asked to do any design work. Right: What’s possible: the skatepark at the small inland town of Collie in WA, built by CONVIC. 

Federal Budget to hit Centre hardest



NT Labor Senator Nova Peris says the Federal government’s “broken promises” and budget cuts will hurt particularly the Northern Territory and Central Australia. FULL STORY »

Youth activist, businessman joins PUP



The opportunity of being in on the ground floor on policy formulation is a strong reason for him joining the Palmer United Party (PUP), says youth activist and businessman Matty Day, pictured doing a skateboarding trick in the CBD. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Immersed in metal


Central Australia is making a serious name for itself in the metal music scene. Leading the way is Uncreation, who come under the Black Wreath label, a local outfit, five larrikin lads all hailing from Alice Springs. JULZ WILLSON got an earful – and liked it. FULL STORY »

EXCLUSIVE: Desert Knowledge: management, board to be replaced after crushing report




The hype was huge when nearly five years ago, a $10m Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) project linking businesses across the outback was launched in Alice Springs with a video link across much of the nation.
Not much is left of that today as a report commissioned by the NT Government has little good to say about the organisation that, the report claims, “myopic optimism that … is further demonstrated in the self-referential nature of the Board, the senior management and those with whom it decides to engage.”

In September 2009, DKA CEO John Huigen (blue tie) and NT Minister Chris Burns (on the screen at left) in Darwin joined Federal Parliament and nine towns in Desert Australia via a video link on Monday to launch an initiative that will make the buck stop in the outback. Joy Taylor, DK Network Development, did the talking in The Alice. Ron Saint (seated at right), from project partner Telstra, was in the launch audience. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

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