Story Archive » Volume 21 » Issue 31 »

August 12, 2014

Adam Giles, not Aborigines, raised nuke dump near Alice



It was Chief Minister Adam Giles, not Aboriginal land holders, who raised the possibility of a nuclear dump near Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PICTURED (from left): Matthew Palmer, Benedict Stevens, Russell Bray and Lesley Tickner reveal details.

See update Wednesday 7:30am


OneSteel to close



The town’s biggest steel supplier, OneSteel, will be closing, ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Pilot in Alice balloon disaster goes to gaol again



One of the two pilots in the balloon collision which killed 13 people in Alice Springs on August 13, 1989, received a five year sentence for fraud in the Gympie District Court last week. PHOTO: Image of balloon flights in Alice Springs on the web today.


Western Desert mental health service to continue


The Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas program is set to continue in the Western Desert region of Central Australia following mutual agreement on funding arrangements between the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Australian Government Department of Health and the Northern Territory Medicare Local. FULL STORY »

Native title owners don’t want nuke dump, have brawl over land



A nuclear dump is not wanted near Alice Springs and the Aboriginal people promoting it do not have native title rights to land north of town, says Lhere Artepe, the town’s native title organisation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


When adults turn into kids who make the town famous


Once a year in Alice Springs, dozens of grown-ups turn into kids again and have a ball: they transform into Vikings, pirates, captains, commodores, midshipmen, petty officers, sailors and dozens of other fantastic characters. It’s the Henley on Todd, of course, one of those made-in-Alice events that have made the town famous the world over. ERWIN CHLANDA was there. For story, photos and video


Bess Price hits back on nuke dump

Bess Price 1


Bess Price (pictured) has rejected out of hand Labor suggestions that she may be involved in plans for a nuclear dump in her electorate of Stuart. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Bess Price must come clean on nuclear dump




Parks Minister and Member for Stuart, Bess Price, must come clean about her activities around the possible nomination of a nuclear waste dump site in her electorate of Stuart, writes Gerry McCarthy, Shadow Minister for Resources.


Race relations: where from, where now, where to?



Race relations in The Centre – where we have come from, we are at now, where we are heading. That’s the focus of a conference in late September being organised by author John Strehlow and linguist David Moore. This is no policy digest, nor does it approach the subject as a set of problems. The program suggests that this can be an area of rich encounter and exchange, that it has been that at least in part from the outset and is at present in a phase of unprecedented change. Left: T.G.H. Strehlow with Arrernte informants including Moses Tjalkabota. Courtesy Strehlow Research Centre. FULL STORY »

Two years CLP government: The Mayor’s view


On August 25 it will be two years since the CLP government came to power after 11 years in Opposition. In the first of a series of interviews with community leaders, Editor ERWIN CHLANDA speaks with Mayor Damien Ryan. He is pictured last night with Ian Yarker, vice-president of a Gold Coast Rotary club that meets online. 35 of its members were welcomed at a Council reception. They are in town to help local Rotarians to stage Henley on Todd tomorrow.


Maurie Ryan: ‘I am going to sue’



Central Land Council chairman Maurie Ryan says he will demand a Federal Government enquiry into the council, and sue to maintain his position, so he can continue his mission for transparency of multi-million dollar property deals and the management of the statutory body representing 24,000 Aboriginal people. He spoke this morning to ERWIN CHLANDA.  Mr Ryan is pictured with supporters in a  previous leadership tussle, Marie Elena Ellis and Frank Ansell. FULL STORY »

Watercolour artists earn ‘highly commended’


A work by artists painting in the Hermannsburg watercolour tradition has been highly commended at this year’s Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Knara Nunaka Tjurretja (detail at left) brings together in an innovative collaborative collage individual paintings by artists from the Alice Springs based Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra, Many Hands Art Centre.  FULL STORY »

Mbantua Festival firm suspected to be insolvent, owes $500,000



A firm that staged the Mbantua Festival last year has debts of nearly half a million dollars, according to a report by the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations. Film maker Rachel Perkins (pictured on the set of Bungalow Song, one of the highlights of the festival), is pressing for legal action against the firm’s directors.  ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Desert Fest parade to climax in Anzac Oval




The parade which will start the Alice Desert Festival will finish up on Anzac Oval – contrary to earlier expectations. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Last year’s parade.


Melky accuses Brown of conflict of interest




Councillor Eli Melky (right) has accused Cr Steve Brown (left) of having had a conflict of interest at a recent Seniors Coordinating Committee meeting which he chaired. Cr Brown rejects the accusation as mere grandstanding. In other council news, an in-house tree farm for growing street trees is being considered, and councillors raised no objection to an application by the Alice Springs Cinema for a seven-day a week liquor licence. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

NT tour bus industry self-regulates on fatigue



The Territory and WA, unlike all other states, do not have fatigue management regulations for drivers of tour buses. But Wayne Thompson (pictured), who chairs the transport sector of the industry body Tourism Central Australia, says NT Work Safe requires operators to provide a safe work place for their staff. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Rock tour report stirs hornet’s nest


The magnificent West MacDonnells: Central Australia’s beauty spots, how do we get there and what should it cost?

We are right and our paying customer is wrong: is that, judging from the reaction to issues we raised last week relating to a tour company, the bizarre business model of our tourist industry? ERWIN CHLANDA follows up.


Thousands at Old Timers Fete




Thousands came to the Old Timers Fete today to yarn, watch, buy and eat as youngsters helped residents to celebrate their special day. ERWIN CHLANDA took his camera.


The only thing that was ‘way out’ was the price



What Alice Springs needs to resuscitate its tourism industry is people like Jeff Burden, an academic at an American university. He is a friend of local artist Rod Moss, has been repeatedly to The Centre and loves it. However, he says on a recent fourth visit he found a commercial camping tour was a fiasco. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

UPDATED to include a response from the tour company.


Giles got Alice included in northern development: Chamber

p2143-office-northern-austThe Giles Government must be given credit for the work done in promoting the Territory to potential investors as part of the Northern Australia Development Plan, says Neil McLeod, vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce. ERWIN CHLANDA reports in our Two Years of CLP Government feature. FULL STORY »

Tollner resigns as Deputy and from Cabinet



Dave Tollner has resigned as Deputy Chief Minister and from the Cabinet. This comes in wake of homophobic comments he made to a staffer. Chief Minister Adam Giles, under intense pressure inside the parliament and out since the comments were revealed on Thursday, has accepted his resignation. FULL STORY »

Another day for living



A smiling acquaintance passing in the street, mother of boy child, a presence in community meetings, occasionally on stage with others and her guitar – this was all I knew of Ruth Apelt until I made the connection one day between her and her partner, and the sad fact that he was dead, too young. Last month Apelt told something of his, her, their story in a moving one-woman show. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. FULL STORY »

NTG still looking to Cape York schools

p2131-Cape-York-frLETTER TO EDITOR


Minister for Education Peter Chandler will return to Cape York Peninsula to visit schools getting great results, joined by Minister for Community Services Bess Price and three Indigenous educators from Territory Schools. It is crucial that the views of these influential educators are canvassed while reforms for remote schools are being developed, writes MR CHANDLER. FULL STORY »

Winners announced at national Telstra art award



Queensland artist Tony Albert has been awarded the top prize at the 31st Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Straiit Islander Art Awards for his for his work We Can Be Heroes (detail left), which was inspired by events that took place in Sydney’s Kings Cross in April 2012 that involved a non-fatal police shooting of two Indigenous boys. Meanwhile a young Territory artist, Kieren Karritpul, from Daly River has taken out the inaugural Telstra youth award. FULL STORY »

The Telstra mobiles, web access mess (continued)


Information is seeping out on how Telstra can deliver to customers a fraction of what they are paying for, and get away with it: At the show, the Finke and other events, and for residents generally, mobile and internet services south of the range are grossly inferior because transmitters on the towers (yellow circle) are mostly pointing the wrong way. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Govt probe: Were they drinking seated or standing?




Booze kills one out of 10 people dying in the Northern Territory. Meanwhile the NT government’s body controlling the alcohol trade is conducting an enquiry into, in part, whether patrons at Monte’s were drinking sitting down or standing up. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Sad passing of former CLC Chairman


We pay tribute to the former Chairman of the Central Land Council Mr Bookie who passed away on his country this weekend. He was a proud Alywarra- Eastern Arrente man who worked hard to improve his people’s lives. He won respect through his knowledge of traditional law and culture, and fought to keep both alive. His leadership and strength will be sorely missed, write Chief Minister Adam Giles and Community Services Minister Bess Price. FULL STORY »

Alice Desert Festival: big league on the agenda


“I want to get the festival up to a national level where it is considered on par with the Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane festivals, not in terms of scale but of content and programming.” That is the mission, as she describes it, of Mary-Jane Reynolds, the manager of the Alice Desert Festival. For the moment, bigger funding and closer ties with Aboriginal artists are still works in progress. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Katlend Griffin and Robbie Hoad.


Fracking key to immense NT resource wealth: Santos


Fracking can play a critical role in making the Northern Territory one of the world’s largest natural gas exporters, unlocking an estimated 240 trillion cubic feet of gas, 10 times more than the Ichthys project and Mereenie combined. This much cleaner energy source would replace the need for 30 million tonnes of coal, says mining giant Santos. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Protest at last night’s council meeting.


Alice Plaza mural completed




The mural in the Alice Plaza shopping mall was completed today by artists including Lenie Namatjira and Peter Taylor (pictured).


Racial vilification law change: Council adopts policy




A stance on proposed changes to racial vilification laws, approving $25,000 for a master plan for public arts such as the Gathering Garden (pictured) and Cr Melky being coy about a motion of confidence in the Mayor – all in a night’s work for the town council. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Enigmatic, present in the moment, with grunt on Thursday nights



It’s a Thursday evening and as Todd Mall prepares to close for trading, Anthony ‘Tilla” McIlwain and local musician Darcy “D-Day” Davis (at right), set up for a new venture, Thursday’s Late Night Shopping. RACHEL McFADDEN reports.


Fracking company says it has deals with Central Land Council



The Norwegian oil company StatOil says agreements it has with the Central Land Council disprove claims by the Arid Lands Environment Centre that the firm has “no fracking social license in the NT”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: StatOil facility in North Africa.


Gas is coming, for better or worse

Hal Duell Vision



Gas rules. Just look around the world. I suspect that our Governments have already been swayed. Alice’s future may well lie in gas mining. That this industry may use most of our water and contaminate what’s left – well, prove it, is what they’ll say.


Telstra service horrendous, says Alice farm area resident




Telstra’s service in the southern part of Alice Springs is clearly close to collapse as internet browsing, increasingly, is mostly slow or not available at all. PHOTO: Using Tourism NT’s free WiFi in Todd Mall as Telstra service in the farm areas is letting locals down. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Bring in open and fair planning appeal rights

Here is an outline of what we’re proposing to Planning Minister, Peter Chandler, in a bid to to have planning regulations changed in favour of open and fair planning appeal rights. He answered quickly and reassuringly that he was looking into the matter, write Diana Rickard and Greg Chapman.


Central Land Council retreats deeper into its bunker


The Central Land Council (CLC) is dealing with the bitter conflict between chairman Maurie Japarta Ryan and director David Ross by retreating deeper into its bunker. According to a document (partly shown above) leaked to the Alice Springs News Online people making statements to media on the issues face expulsion. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 


Canberra, Darwin – hand in hand getting it wrong



The railway overpass outside Alice Springs and the Arlparra (Utopia) police station (pictured) have three things in common: They are useless (given far more pressing needs), are paid for by Canberra yet are touted by the Giles spin doctors as something which the NT Government is doing for the local economy. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.


Government cuts to curtail family daycare



Families in Alice Springs could feel the impact of funding cuts to family day care, as the far-reaching consequences are realised around the country, writes Erica Johansson of Alice Springs Family Day Care.


A big trek for a big cause




As the world capital of swags Alice Springs is a fitting place for three people to embark on an epic journey – and so is their mode of transport. They are setting out to raise money for swags to be donated to homeless people around Australia, and they’re doing it in a camel wagon. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Law & order success; less Rock in tourism pitch



Full marks for law and order, but the tourism promotion focus needs to be shifted from the Rock to the Alice, and lots more work is needed on cranking up the economy. That’s the view of Daniel Davis, vice-president of the CLP. ERWIN CHLANDA reports in our Two Years of CLP Government feature. PHOTO: Police officers checking people entering the Todd Tavern bottle shop.


Small is good in boosting Alice economy



Jimmy Cocking, CEO of the Arid Lands Environment Centre, says Alice Springs should start a string of eco-style small enterprises to give the local economy a shot in the arm, and residents should generate their own electricity as a buffer against inevitable price rises. ERWIN CHLANDA reports in our Two Years of CLP Government feature. Mr Cocking is pictured with environmentalist and science journalist Tanya Ha. FULL STORY »

Not so happy birthday for CLP government



Speculation that its second Leader in as many years may get the chop will mark the CLP Government’s birthday tomorrow. As uproar over remarks seen as homophobic forced the Treasurer to resign and the party is in turmoil, we publish today the views of community leaders about how Alice Springs has fared since the August 25, 2012 election (scroll down to separate reports). And ERWIN CHLANDA comments on his reporting on a government that promised transparency but is too often palming off enquiries to minders, and is led by a Chief Minister increasingly thin-skinned and short tempered.


Cops at bottlos a winner, says Congress



Cops at bottle shops have contributed dramatically to a reduction of alcohol consumption, according to new data collected by the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress CEO Donna Ah Chee (pictured). But, she says, the Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) should be brought back. ERWIN CHLANDA reports in our Two Years of CLP Government feature.


‘Giles government worst in nation’



The CLP Government is the most dysfunctional administration anywhere in Australia, writes Ken Vowles (pictured),
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability.


‘Felicity ain’t moving’

p2142-Whitegate-Rod-1SM“She is not moving. She is fighting mad.” She is Felicity Hayes (second from right), and the place she’s not moving from is Whitegate where her extended family has lived for generations although by white law it is still no more than a squat. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Rod Moss.


‘What holds you, the beauty or the damage?’



A show at Raft Artspace takes us on a depth journey into landscape painting in the hands of a fine artist, Jennifer Taylor. Her enquiry over three years, conducted in Eastern Arrernte country around the present-day Ross River Resort, led her to think about the possibility of painting landscapes as portraits. Could a landscape painting be “as searching and intimate, as full of life and empathy as a good portrait”? KIERAN FINNANE  reports. FULL STORY »

Giles evades question on Alice nuke dump



Chief Minister Adam Giles (pictured) yesterday evaded a question from Namatjira MLA Alison Anderson about a proposed site for a nuclear dump near Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Residential land needs to get cheaper, much cheaper



The myth that the provision of affordable land will in some way have a negative effect on those who own existing property is much to the detriment of our community, its economy and the future of its children. Ask yourself this: What would your house be worth if Alice Springs turned into a ghost town, a FIFO mining camp, or a mere welfare institution? FULL STORY »

We were tricked into signing letter: Native title holders



Two directors of Lhere Artepe (LA) say they were tricked into signing a letter by the native title organisation’s chairman, Noel Kruger. LA is denying the allegation. Benedict Stevens (left) and Matthew Palmer (right) signed the letter to Chief Minister Adam Giles, with copies to Senator Nigel Scullion and MHR Warren Snowdon, as directors of LA. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Unstable CLC: Maurie Ryan stood down again




Central Land Council chairman Maurie Ryan says he has been stood down again but stressed “I am not giving up, I am not standing aside”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.