Story Archive » Volume 24 » Issue 11 »

Ailing economy needs on-shore gas, says Opposition




Gary Higgins says construction slumped from 21% to 11% in Territory output. FULL STORY »

What will our cultural celebrations look like in a generation?

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The current social contest over the symbols and meaning of our nation will likely be resolved over the next generation, writes ROLF GERRITSEN. FULL STORY »

Story Wall, buffel and Jacinta




Story Wall is back, buffel grass is here to stay and may save the town, and Jacinta (pictured) is coming, write – respectively – Chris Hawke, Lindsay Johannsen and Richard Burnett in Letters to the Editor.   FULL STORY »

Let’s have an Australia Day when we are ready for it

Following the passing of our reigning monarch, when we, as a people, can hold a referendum to determine the kind of government we want for our nation, guided by a new Constitution that includes and respects the voices of our Indigenous peoples – now THAT would be an Australia Day worth celebrating, writes Domenico Pecorari. FULL STORY »

A say for rate payers shoved into ‘confidential’

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A supposedly transparent town council, under pressure from the Department of Local Government, drops a proposal to let rate payers have a say on how $528,000 a year, no longer needed for paying off the civic centre, could be spent for the community. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Cr Paterson (left) and Cr Melky. FULL STORY »

29 become Aussies in The Alice

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… and four people plus an event were chosen to be Centralian achievers for 2018.


If society withholds social licence, would that stop fracking?

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In the row over fracking, what does “social licence to operate” mean? A Social Impact Assessment doesn’t make it clear, says NT FrackFree. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. VIDEO: Consultation with a surprise in Alice Springs last year: Anti fracking campaigner Jimmy Cocking moved an unscheduled motion during a meting called by Judge Pepper.  

UPDATE 4:45 pm: Replies from the Hydraulic Fracturing Taskforce, Department of the Chief Minister: The social licence is symbolic and has no legal power. FULL STORY »

Fracking consultation meaningless charade

The candid response from the Chief Minister’s Department yesterday to questions from the Alice Springs News Online has made two things crystal clear. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.  FULL STORY »

Sweet Country, a voice demanding to be heard

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Sweet Country, Alice Springs film maker Warwick Thornton’s second feature shot in Arrernte country, is both beautiful and disturbing, taking a resolute stance around the significance of “witness”, writes PIP McMANUS who was at the Alice Springs preview. Pictured is actor Hamilton Morris. FULL STORY »

Architecture – with a side of red dirt

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Remember the architecture students who came through Alice in July on their coast-to-coast cycling trip across the country? Well, they made it. OWEN KELLY and BOBBIE BAYLEY give us an overview of the lessons learned on this odyssey. FULL STORY »

THE TROLL by Blair McFarland

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See the cartoon! FULL STORY »

Gunner re-opens the Rivers of Grog floodgates




Alcohol related crime in Alice Springs has sky-rocketed: The Banned Drinkers Register is useless and cops at bottle shops need to be brought back, writes Robyn Lambley, Independent Member for Araluen. FULL STORY »

Focus on the killing now, not 200 years ago




Are we being distracted from the real issues by the LGBT thing, the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and maybe the next taxi off the block is going to be a recycling of the monarchy or republic debate, asks HAL DUELL (pictured). FULL STORY »

How does a future in opera sound?

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Leah Bateman, a 17-year-old Saint Philip’s College student, is one of four young Australian singers who have just spent a week at the Sydney Opera House, after winning a highly sought after Opera Australia Regional Student Scholarship. FULL STORY »

Fighting youth crime, not just in office hours

2507 Tjupi -Tjala Team 2 SMAs the second summer of youth offending is unfolding on the watch of Families Minister Dale Wakefield, a team (pictured) from her department is conducting a pilot program with street kids. But it won’t be evaluated before March, and the Minister has still not disclosed crime figures for December 2017. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Fracking probe boss gets facts wrong, says Australia Institute

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Fracking Inquiry Chair Justice Rachel Pepper either got a gas industry job estimate wrong by a factor of 60 or the magnitude of possible gas industry employment was completely ignored or misunderstood by her or her staff, writes Rod Campbell, Australia Institute Research Director. FULL STORY »

Open doors, not flogging, will reduce juvenile offending




Taking away resources from all kids to punish that small number of naughty ones helps the naughty ones recruit as it engenders a feeling that the town is unfair on kids, and that being good does not result in opportunities, comments seasoned youth worker BLAIR McFARLAND (pictured). FULL STORY »

What REALLY goes on in our streets: Youth worker

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As Michael Gunner, Dale Wakefield and the police maintain an information black-out on summer crime, a youth worker with decades of experience, speaking with ERWIN CHLANDA, says offending by kids is rampant. ARCHIVE PHOTO: Aftermath of a ram raid by juveniles last year. FULL STORY »

Another prison escape covered up, says Higgins



The Chief Minister has “compromised the safety of Territorians yet again” by covering up another escape, this time from December 2017. “This is a major public safety concern,” writes Gary Higgins (pictured)Leader of the Opposition.


UPDATE January 22:


Ram raids in Alice Springs

Early this morning two youths were arrested following two ram raids, and in a separate incident, two were taken into custody after their allegedly stolen vehicle was stopped by deploying a tyre deflation device, according to police reports. FULL STORY »

15-year-old charged with assaulting police officer

15-year-old boy charged with assaulting a police officer in Alice Springs resulting in a head injury requiring hospital treatment. FULL STORY »

NT News interfered with reporting to protect ad income from NT Government: Allegation

2507 NT NewsA sacked senior political writer for the Murdoch paper is seeking re-instatement and makes allegations about the management’s interference with editorial work to protect advertising income from the NT Government, the Fairfax Melbourne Age reports. FULL STORY »

Do you know Charlie Hosking, aka Charlie Like?

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TED EGAN is writing a book about him and looking for photos. FULL STORY »

Town Council members’ assets remain a secret

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Who’s got a bike like this and what does it prove? Politicians elected to the Federal, state and many local governments have to publicly declare their assets, interests and incomes. Alice Springs Town Council elected members get to keep theirs secret. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Still no answers on site for national Indigenous gallery

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Minister for Arts and Culture, Lauren Moss, today has failed to satisfactorily answer questions I submitted on December 12 about the process the government used to short list Anzac Oval and the Desert Park as the site options for the National Indigenous Art Gallery, writes Robyn Lambley, Member for Araluen. FULL STORY »

Fast-tracked police recruits begin in Alice Springs



Experienced interstate cops on fast-tracked course in Alice Springs, writes Chief Minister MICHAEL GUNNER.  


To die for country

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In the Australian War Memorial a new exhibit in pride of place takes steps towards a reckoning with Australian colonial history, despite the massage of the message around it, writes KIERAN FINNANE. FULL STORY »

NT road sealing costs threat to Outback Way?

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Road sealing costs in the NT are close to three times as much as those in the jurisdictions which are partners in the World’s Longest Shortcut. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTOS: Wildflowers along the Outback Way. The grader at Giles weather station of the legendary surveyor, Len Beadell.



Turn from endless consulting to making it happen

2472 Todd Mall busy SMMore vigorous promotion of tourism, cheap flights, a “yes” to fracking if it’s “sustainable and environmentally friendly,” getting the national Indigenous cultural centre out of the starting blocks after seemingly endless consultation and better luck with the latest CBD upgrade. All that’s part of the town’s 2018 agenda as seen by Kay Eade, Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

The eternal chase: songlines of the Seven Sisters

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In this moment when, in the Western world at least, the tide is turning on what is permissible in men’s sexual approaches to women, it is fascinating to be taken into ancient scenarios in exactly these gender borderlands, writes KIERAN FINNANE, after her visit to the National Museum of Australia’s major exhibition, Songlines, Tracking the Seven Sisters. FULL STORY »

Lasseters private enterprise beacon in stagnant town

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The casino provides most of the revenue for Lasseters which re-invests profits in its hotel. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.   FULL STORY »

No police, no drunks, everyone enjoying themselves

Let’s follow the example of the tourist town Robe, South Australia, writes Bronte Zadow. FULL STORY »

Getting screwed




It’s a year since Trump became president. HAL DUELL writes.


Mine gets provisional OK from environment regulator

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A rare earths mine north of Alice Springs employing 300 people during operations and up to 500 during construction is getting closer to reality but potential contaminants and radioactive materials warrant “independent technical review and operational oversight,” says the NT Environment Protection Authority. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Crime: How are all the dollars spent?

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Police, minister mum on hype about youth crime initiatives as the usually incendiary January unfolds and Facebook vigilantes try to fill in the gaps. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Real estate: Desert Springs up, Larapinta down

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There were some significant fluctuations in median house prices in the December 2017 quarter, and a whopping 28.7% drop in the price of Rural Area properties. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Keep the doona in the wardrobe

More heat: BOM’s heatwave service is indicating a low intensity heatwave for parts of the southern NT from this weekend and into early next week. FULL STORY »

Woman killed in The Gap: Man charged with hit & run

Police are looking for white ute. – Media release.


UPDATE January 6

Police have charged a 50-year-old man and remanded him in custody, to appear in court on Monday.


Mayor Ryan short on answers on top issues

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He also resorted to abuse rather than answer questions, labelling them as “rubbish”and asking that “we stop playing funny buggers here”. He had nothing to say about recent approaches to council from senior Arrernte men (pictured); latest tourism stats; summer crime to date; flood mitigation and more. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Lightning kills man at King’s Canyon




Aussie tourist in family group of five killed by lightning at popular rim walk (pictured). Police report. FULL STORY »

New attraction while we can’t look after the ones we have?

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Will a national Indigenous art gallery go the same way the National Transport Hall of Fame is likely to? Let’s get the foundations laid properly first before building castles in the sky, comments ALEX NELSON. FULL STORY »

Alice could be close to 100% solar right now




Instead of the massively expensive Owen Springs electricity station upgrade, cheaper solar generators, energy efficiency measures or other stuff like an Energy from Waste plant at the tip could have put us twice as far on the road to renewables right now than the government wants us to be in 2030. ERWIN CHLANDA speaks with engineer Paul Darvodelsky. FULL STORY »

With Gunner and Scullion, Batchelor doesn’t need Santa




Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s claims that his government honours transparency are hollow while he gives millions to an organisation which treats that principle with contempt. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

José Petrick tells the story of her long life, well lived

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“She has relished her experiences, great and small, and always gone forward to meet them or seek them out, not driven by a singular ambition but by the desire to live a life of meaning and value, to herself and others,” writes KIERAN FINNANE after reading her recently launched memoir. FULL STORY »

The Centre’s landscape brought into a castle in town

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Two Dutch artists celebrated The Centre’s natural wonders in a stunning cylindrical painting. Sadly, after 30 years as a major tourist attraction, Panorama Guth burned down 2005. Historian ALEX NELSON remembers. FULL STORY »

No Turnbull Christmas present for CDU




Charles Darwin University expects to lose $5.5m in funding over the next two years, write Warren Snowdon (pictured)Luke Gosling and Malarndirri McCarthy. FULL STORY »

Santa’s big day: Hot and maybe wet

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Temperature could be a record but rain is not very likely. PHOTO: It won’t be anything like this. FULL STORY »

Police officers targeted by rock throwers

Police seek witnesses of the incident involving an orange Holden. Police media release.  FULL STORY »

Horror numbers in tourism stats, with a hint for a solution



When will promoters of the industry wake up to the crass funding inequalities and harness the assets on the doorstep of Alice Springs? ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

UPDATE Friday, December 22 at 3:40pm in which Tourism Minister Lauren Moss emphasises a new Business Events Support Fund “which will allow the NT to more aggressively compete for lucrative business events” and “more in marketing [of] our festivals and sporting and cultural events”. FULL STORY »

NT’s top Aboriginal Year 12 student from OLSH in Alice

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St Philip’s College student Kai Simpson (at right) received an ATAR of 99 which placed him amongst the Top 10 students in the NT, a record field of 1430. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


The grass is greener on the other side of the border

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Police allege seized cannabis would have been worth $300,000 on the street. FULL STORY »

Ridesharing to start in February




Government licence fees for commercial passenger vehicles to drop sharply, writes Nicole Manison (pictured), Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics. FULL STORY »

Council to introduce kerbside recycling




A year in the making, the initiative will reduce what goes into the landfill (pictured), writes Mayor Damien Ryan.  FULL STORY »

Local government: A lot of action beyond the 3Rs

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People who are saying a council should do more than “rates, roads and rubbish” can point to the Rural City of Murray Bridge for a shining example. ERWIN CHLANDA talks with its Mayor. FULL STORY »

Inquiry into fracking: Giving it the green light?

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Chairperson Rachel Pepper says “it is not the role of the Inquiry to make a recommendation whether or not the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the NT should be lifted. That is a matter for Government”. But she also says “the conclusion of this Inquiry is that the challenges and risks associated with any onshore shale gas industry in the NT are manageable”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 7am December 14: Arid Lands Environment Centre and Health Care Professionals Against Fracking. FULL STORY »

Town still upset with Stuart statue, say researchers

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A public arts engagement project that centred on a statue of the explorer has tapped into a vein of powerful emotion and resulted in the production of a collection of thought-provoking artworks, say Dr Judy Lovell and Dr Al Strangeways. FULL STORY »

What kind of world is this?

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Themes of desire, fate, transcendence and cycles that won’t be broken recur throughout Michael Giacometti’s first collection of stories and become what bind together its seemingly “unconnected impressions”, writes DANI POWELL who launched the book last week in Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Renewable research: $5m over three years

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The Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy housed at the Desert Knowledge Precinct (pictured) in Alice Springs will  position Alice as the Solar Capital of Australia and lead the way in research, development and implementation, write DALE WAKEFIELD, Member for Braitling, and LAUREN GANLEY, CEO. FULL STORY »

Hazardous waste facility near Alice recommended by EPA

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A temporary hazardous waste storage facility, an underground salt mine, a permanent disposal facility for hazardous waste (in the mined out, underground salt caverns), and associated infrastructure such as salt stockpiles, haul roads and access roads should be permitted, writes Dr PAUL VOGEL, NT EPA Chairman.


UPDATE 5:15pm Dec 12: ALEC comments.


UPDATE 7:00am Dec 13: “No consent from TOs.” FULL STORY »

Keith Lawrie Flats – people have had enough!

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Relentless violence, drinking and rowdy conduct: The answer from the government is a lick of paint and more lighting, comments ROBYN LAMBLEY, independent MLA for Araluen. PHOTO: The flats in 2006, by ALEX NELSON. FULL STORY »

Alice Beat Festival no longer wanted?

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As Artist in Residence with the NT Music School choral program and leader of the Alice Beat Festival in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Markus Kuchenbuch bids a regretful farewell, one that he did not seek. FULL STORY »

Judge Borchers: no misconduct but inappropriate conduct

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Judge Greg Borchers (left) did not accuse a youth of taking advantage of the recent death of his mother in explaining his offending in the Alice Springs Youth Justice Court, but he has been found to have “engaged in inappropriate judicial conduct” and will be removed from his duties at the youth court, says Chief Judge of the Darwin Local Court, Dr John Lowndes. FULL STORY »

Centre art stands out in SA festival

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Like familiar faces in a crowd, the works of Central Australian artists jump out as I visit Tarnanthi, billed as a Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide, writes KIERAN FINNANE. FULL STORY »

Hermannsburg historic precinct gets cash injection

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Government cash will go to Hermannsburg for restoration, development, writes Lauren Moss, Minister for Tourism and Culture. FULL STORY »

Pollution? High fliers get it easy.

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Jettisoning fuel in flight – why all the secrecy? The Federal authority says it hasn’t got the answers about an Emirates jet dumping fuel over Central Australia and the airline says it won’t give them. ERWIN CHLANDA investigates. FULL STORY »

Pay up, and you’ll make the news, inquiry is told

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Professional rules of journalism were routinely flouted by some Territory media in grubby cash-for-comment policies during the lead-up to last year’s NT election, according to 1Territory Party president, Braedon Earley (at right). He is giving evidence to Commissioner John Mansfield (at left), who is conducting the Political Donations Inquiry in the Territory. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

UPDATE Dec 8 at 12 noon: Categorical denial by Pangaea and Tim Radburn. FULL STORY »

No gaol for Peace Pilgrims: sentence

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Justice John Reeves has rejected the Crown’s call for custodial sentences for the six Pine Gap Peace Pilgrims, sentencing them in the Federal Court in Brisbane today.

UPDATED, 4 December 2017, 1.55PM.

UPDATED 5 December 2017, 10.41 am, with links to all our reports from the trials. FULL STORY »

Flair, imagination, vitality: Watch This Space in 2017

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The annual award of the Lofty, to Elliat Rich for high endeavour in the arts, capped off a big year for Watch This Space as it heads towards its 25th anniversary in 2018. 25 years is long enough for a new generation to emerge and so it is at the Space. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »