Story Archive » Volume 24 » Issue 8 »

Most youth crime down to locals, not bush visitors

p2497 ASTC Danny Bacon SM
And youth crime is not necessarily Alice’s biggest worry: “We do have a large percentage of adult crime,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Danny Bacon told the Town Council in his last address to them before leaving Alice Springs. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Police search for man

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Police seek information about a man (pictured) and warn the public not to approach him. FULL STORY »

Massive downturn of home starts in NT




Territory dwellings nearly a third down in the June quarter, figures show. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Painting and dancing pictures of their worlds

p2497 Alice Can Dance wide SM
It was called Alice Can Dance but dancing doesn’t happen without ideas and so it was also Alice Can Think, Alice Can Speak, Alice Can Tell a Story. And Alice, in this case, was a big group of school children and a team of artists and choreographers. KIERAN FINNANE went along to the show. FULL STORY »

Why solar racing is a brain sport

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Weather boffins take over as solar race team leaders, says founder of the race, Hans Tholstrup (pictured), who is in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Master plan for town, reconciliation plan for Australia Day

p2496 ASTC Satour & Cocking SM


New councillors Jimmy Cocking and Catherine Satour had wins on their first motions in the new Town Council. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

How 50% solar in the NT by 2030 can mean 100% in Alice

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With an eye on Port Augusta where solar power dreams have become spectacular reality, RePower Alice Springs is starting to focus on how and when to make practical use of The Centre’s abundant resource, sunshine. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Batchelor Institute dodges performance comparisons

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The data exist but the VET provider is blocking their release. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Batchelor staff at the recent presentation of certificates in Alice Springs.


Clouds for Solar Challenge – but they have a silver lining

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Rain and clouds but the cars in the 2017 Solar Challenge – arguably the most efficient electric vehicles in the world – are pushing ahead nevertheless. The Australian Clenergy Team Arrow (pictured) will spend the night in Alice Springs but the leader is between Alice and Kulgera on Day Three.


Gap Centre is the centre of The Gap

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Thousands of kids have gone through the Gap Youth and Community Centre in its four decades. It still has its work cut out. ERWIN CHLANDA went to the party on Saturday. PHOTO: Di Sandford with Lanai Thackeray as she cuts the cake for Chelsea, Lakarsha Connie, Zara, Ollie,  Angus and others.


Youth justice, detention goes to Territory Families

2466 Dale Wakefield SM



Children are different to adults and much more likely to respond to therapeutic interventions, education and re-engagement in the community. It gets better results and helps get kids on the right path, writes Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield (pictured).


Hundreds of empty plastic wine bottles in Todd

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Hundreds of plastic wine bottles are strewn across the dry bed of the Todd River, just south of The Gap causeway. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Saving, reopening Pitchi Richi: another step forward

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Critical to reopening the Centre’s first man-made tourist attraction is the conservation of its surviving ceramic sculptures created by William Ricketts, a frequent visitor to Central Australia in the mid- 20th century.  A locally-based conservator has been funded to assess what is required. Reopening is the ultimate goal of caretaker community group, Heritage Alice Springs. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

‘More red tape after dual occupancy move’

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Now we have 300 square metre blocks of residential land but the government is making it hard to build a second home on a 1000 square metre block, says housing industry. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Google Earth image of the Old Eastside, ideally suited for dual occupancy because its blocks are generally big.


Tourism, cattle, mining, oil, gas: The world’s your oyster, Stuart.

2482 Aboriginal stockman SM2483 Scott McConnell SM“It is an asset that Indigenous people, predominantly men, still aspire to work in the pastoral industry,” says Scott McConnell (at right). He decidedly takes a glass-half-full view of economic developments in his sprawling electorate of Stuart during a conversation with editor ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Long term: Houses flat, units down, but current vacancies low




The vacancy rate has dropped to 2% and the Housing for Real Growth Scheme was a winner, says prominent real estate figure Doug Fraser (pictured). But more government funds are needed to satisfy the increased demand for subsidised rentals.   ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 


On youth prisons: grandmothers, reformers, revolutionaries

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p2495 Prisons Christine Palmer, Debbie Kilroy 430


Police violence and arrests, particularly of Dylan Voller and his mother Joanne, at last week’s Shut Youth Prisons protest have overshadowed the group’s broader messages. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


UPDATE, 6 October 2017, 4pm.


Rock climb mostly closed




If you see someone in a T-schirt emblazoned with “I climbed the Rock” it’s probably a fib. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Conflicting stories for Parrtjima’s lights on the hill

p2495 Parrtjima wide 660p2495 Parrtjima lights on hill 660At Parrtjima four Arrernte custodians gave a big thumbs up to the festival for respecting their culture, and thanked organisers for speaking to all the right people. But keeping well away, apmereke-artweye Doris Stuart said the lights on the range disrespect it as a sacred site. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


UPDATE Oct 4: Elders speak about the payment they received. FULL STORY »

The APY saga: Evidence suggests dysfunction

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Records from a special general meeting and an executive meeting note motions to terminate the appointment of the general manager but he’s still there. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Watarru community about 200 km south west of Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the APY Lands of South Australia.


Helping offenders on probation and parole stay out of gaol

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Although the NT Government is putting the emphasis on “tough” sanctions for breaches, its new parole program is as much about supporting prisoners released on parole to stay out of gaol. It is based on a program already being trialled for offenders on probation, which after a year is showing “very promising” results. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Police clash with protestors

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Protesters allege police kicked a photographer to the ground during a demonstration in Alice Springs today. See video. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 5:13pm


NT cost of living $1700 a week




Gas development is a must, writes Gary Higgins (pictured), Leader of the Opposition.


The hidden costs in the switch to solar

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Going solar seems to be a no brainer, but the devil may be in the measures the government will take when it faces massive losses of earnings from its power generation and distribution assets. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Alice Springs power Station in Sadadeen Valley, 1944.


Rock gets big spenders, does it need taxpayer’s help?

p1844ayersrockresortSMp2228-Macs-Serpentine-2SMUluru and King’s Canyon generate the same earnings from visitors as do Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges, but from half the number of visitors. International visitors to The Rock spend three times as much a day compared to those who visit Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


NATS benefit to economy open to question

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As NT debt snowballs the government continues to spend millions on “bread and circuses” events: Claims that they are a shot in the arm for the town’s economy are based on attendance figures provided by Major Events chief Andrew Hopper (pictured) which are open to question. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Same sex marriage campaign in the bush takes to YouTube

p2495 SSM Vaughan Hargraves SMp2495 YES Chansey 430SSM will “destroy our culture” and “we do not want it”, says Vaughan Hargraves, a senior Warlpiri man from Yuendumu, speaking in a video clip on YouTube, where there are several NO clips by other Aboriginal people. These views are put to bush MLA Chansey Paech, who is openly gay and pro YES. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

SA Government mum on cattle deals in APY Lands

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Cattle are being agisted on Aboriginal lands in the top end of South Australia, but the SA government will give no information about any involvement of an organisation which it funds. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Dust cloud rolls in over Umawa, the Canberra of the Pit Lands.


Dreamtime stories in the palm of your hand

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A tour guide from the horse’s mouth: Custodians produce App to tell the stories of their sacred site, its animals and plants. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 


You can vote No with love: Alice priest

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To vote Yes is to deny the inherent procreative nature of marriage and therefore changes its definition. It also voids it, writes Alice Springs Catholic parish priest, Father Asaeli Raass SVD (pictured).


Song injects life into lights on the hill

p2493 Parrtjima Japanese SM
The outstanding artistic achievement of Parrtjima 2017 is the song “Apmere Ahelhe Itethe”, which means “All Country Is Alive”.  It brings heart, meaning and life to this light festival, moving it more towards a celebration of Arrernte culture on Arrernte country, even if it remains something of a fairyland version. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. FULL STORY »

Partition off Darwin to fix NT’s urban bias: Professor

2482 Rolf Gerritsen SM



“We could establish Darwin as a city-territory in a fashion similar to Canberra and the ACT. With greater access to politicians and ministers, people in Darwin are much more readily able to influence decisions than the people in a place like Yuendumu, for example, who rarely see a politician,” says Professor Rolf Gerritsen (pictured). Report contributed by Patrick Nelson, Charles Darwin University.


Is it dust? Is it smoke?

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It’s a bit of both, says the Met Bureau as strong north-westerly winds are pushed ahead of a trough in WA. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Celebrating sunshine with a 3000 km race

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The birthplace of solar cars, or at least where they began to be taken seriously: Hans Tholstrup’s Solar Challenge turns 30 in a couple of weeks, and the famous Alice Springs sunshine will again be centre stage. Photo: GM’s Sunraycer, which took out the first event with a two-day margin. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Alice’s upbeat YES campaign for marriage equality

p2492 YES meeting SM
They may lament the waste of public funds on the Australian Government’s non-binding same sex marriage postal survey, but nonetheless the local LGBTQI+ community are throwing themselves into campaigning for YES, confident of success as long as people make sure to complete and post their form. KIERAN FINNANE speaks with two campaign supporters. FULL STORY »

Another river giant goes up in flames

p2492 Tree fire call SM
Our photos were taken yesterday at midday as the call was being made to 000. Passers-by had stopped when they saw smoke coming out of the hollows of this river giant. This follows the an unprecedented loss of mature trees  to apparent arson attacks over recent months.

UPDATE, Friday 22 September, 12.55pm: A prompt phone call to 000 and effective action by the fire brigade looks to have saved this tree. FULL STORY »

Grass fire close to rural suburb

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Fire threatened rural blocks in the south-eastern part of the town. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


The magic Certificate III: How does Batchelor stack up?

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Biggest enrolment in a course providing the most basic level of education, but students come “from the some of most disadvantaged and disempowered communities and regions in Australia, possibly even the world,” says Acting CEO Kim Jenkinson. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Looking for her granddaughter

I may have a granddaughter in The Alice and I would like to see her, writes Shirley Symons. FULL STORY »

New youth justice regime gets busy

2479 juvenile detention 2 SMNew youth outreach workers, refurbishment of the detention centre at a cost of $1.3m, NGOs helping with bail accommodation – the new broom is sweeping to ensure facilities are “as appropriate as possible” even before the Royal Commission hands down its findings. When that happens on November 17 planning will start for a purpose-built facility. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Voices call, Nature responds: Desert Song in the gorge

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What better place could Desert Song’s assembled choirs have sung their songs of blessing, for peace, and of the strength found through acting together for change. KIERAN FINNANE and ERWIN CHLANDA were at Ormiston Gorge for Sunday’s concert. 



Have Minister, Tourism Central Australia acted on tragedy?




Taxpayer funded TCA ignores questions, and Lauren Moss will not comment on how to avoid a horrendous event such as  the deaths of German Tourists Wilfred and Gisela Thor, who perished Trephina Gorge (pictured) in February. The Minister says her hands are tied until the coronial which is not due to start until January next year.


Namatjira Project: a story of triumphs and false hopes

p2491 Namatjira palace SMp2491 Namatjira kids SM
In this film of the project the “remarkable triumph”of Albert Namatjira’s friendship with Rex Battarbee and what they achieved together takes second place to the story of the artist’s financial legacy, which also seems to have raised false hopes amongst the descendants.



CLC wants say about Indigenous voice to Parliament

2480 CLC council 1 SMCLC delegates want to be part of designing an Aboriginal body advising the Parliament to ensure it represents remote communities and acts against racially discriminatory laws. FULL STORY »

Getting kids off the streets and onto a better path

2466 Dale Wakefield SM



Government and NGOs combine to create holiday activities, writes Dale Wakefield (pictured)Minister for Territory Families. 


Lambley: Asbestos just one problem in hospital




Lambley says asbestos removal would cost $500m and renews her calls for a new building by 2030.


Burst of desert art and life in Sydney CBD

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As commuters move through the underground corridors of Sydney CBD’s busy Wynyard Station this month, a burst of life and colour from Central Australia greets them: on a huge wide-format screen (23m x 3m), a video-installation by Yarrenyty Arltere Artists and Leonardo Ortega. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

From the executive suite into the saddle

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Swapping laptops for pushbikes: 4000 klicks for a good cause as the latest continent crossers arrive in The Alice. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Huge fence around Parliament is OK: Scullion

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Is an underground bunker such as Churchill had in WWII next, asks commentator. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


‘Territory Labor fails to enact its own fracking policy’




When is Resources Minister Ken Vowles (pictured) going to implement a decision from the 2017 Territory Labor Conference that no fracked gas is to be carried by the Northern Gas Pipeline, asks Pauline Cass, of the Territory Frack-Free Alliance.


Desert Mob: next generation always on their minds

p2488 DM photo winner SM
As an emblem of the driving force behind desert Aboriginal art, the photograph by Ikuntji Artists’ Roseranna Larry, winner of the 2017 Desart Photography Prize, is eloquent. In whatever medium they are working, artists are making their art primarily for their children, “for our next generations”: this is the most repeated statement about what motivates them, as simple as it is profound. KIERAN FINNANE reports on the annual Desert Mob. FULL STORY »

Journalists as prostitutes

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Advertising in exchange for a good story: Corrupt journalism is OK with the Gruen panel on ABC TV (Dee Madigan and Russel Howcroft are pictured). Comment by ERWIN CHLANDA.


UPDATE September 15, 12:47pm


Bush Bands Bash: music, language, country, fun!

p2490 Bush Bands young crowd SMp2490 Bush Bands Lonely Boys SM
For the best of Indigenous music in Central Australia, in front of stage and back, RONJA HONEY MOSS and DEON M. SORTINO were at the annual Bush Bands Bash. FULL STORY »

Top scorer knocks back Deputy Mayor job

2476 councillors 1 SMCouncillor Jacinta Price says she is too busy to take incumbent Jamie de Brenni’s job but makes a firm commitment to serve a four year term. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO The 13th council. FRONT ROW: Marli Banks, Jacinta Price, Mayor Damien Ryan, Catherine Satour, Matt Paterson. BACK ROW: CEO Rex Mooney, Jamie de Brenni, Jimmy Cocking, Eli Melky and Glen Auricht.


CLP pushes for oil & gas, including fracking




The industry should be “governed by world’s best practice and science-based regulations to protect agricultural, water and biodiversity values of the land,” writes party president Shane Stone.


‘CLP rehashes fracking policy that caused its wipe-out’




Shale gas produced in the NT would be some of the world’s most expensive, and would do nothing to bring down domestic prices which have trebled in recent years, putting jobs and households under pressure, writes Lauren Mellor of the Territory Frack-Free Alliance. PHOTO from the Alice Springs News Online archive.


Ancient stories meet government silence in the Lands

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Keeping the traditional law alive while moving his people out of welfare dependency, that’s what Frank Young – lawman, artist and administrative leader – sees as his mission in the sprawling APY lands. He spoke with ERWIN CHLANDA.  FULL STORY »

Alice wants substantial increase in solar: survey

2476 RePower Alice Springs SMLocals want 70% to 100% of electricity to come from renewable resources, finds RePower Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Trouble in the Lands: Chairman, CEO clash

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Fear that an amendment in the SA Parliament will destroy Anangu property rights in the “Lands” brings toxic relationships between APY board chairman and celebrated artist, and his CEO, in the state’s top end to the boil. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Batchelor probe into just two of 65 qualifications

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Recognition of prior learning under Federal scrutiny as interim CEO takes charge. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Deputy CEO Dorothy Morrison with Defence Indigenous Development Program graduate Private Breana Miller. 


Raising the bar: the art of keeping your shop safe

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Grilles on shop windows that are things of beauty in themselves, from inside and out; gates at the shop entrance that are a work of art: instead of deadening the street with blank roller doors, they enliven it, while delivering the same security or better. It’s happening here in Alice Springs. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Is the Stuart statue next?




History denial may be on a return trip to Alice Springs, fears Hal Duell.


MLA MIA: The drover’s dog for Katherine?

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Government members show distain for Katherine, writes Bruce Francais. PICTURED: Sandra Nelson MLA


Ms Nelson replies.


No plans to stop NATS: Gunner

2473 Nats Gunner & officers OK

Work Safe will be investigation yesterday’s “mass casualty incident”. Flames penetrating mesh fences and the crowd being close to the competition will be among the among the issues examined. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Mr Gunner with hospital superintendent Dr Sam Goodwin, Police Superintendent Bradley Currie and Andrew Everingham, heading up the St John Ambulance, this morning in Alice Springs.

UPDATE September 9:
All four patients who were transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital are now in a stable condition, according to the Senior Media Adviser of South Australian Health.


Eyewitness of NATS blaze praises helpers

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Eleven people injured, four flown to Adelaide as burnout car sprays burning fuel into crowd during Red Centre NATS. Photo courtesy ABC TV Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Bashing of boys: Arrest warrant for accused

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Man charged fails to appear in court. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Home from the fire front

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Alice Springs fire chief helped fighting the worst blaze in the history of Canada’s British Columbia. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


NT pampered by the public purse




In the Territory, government spending per person is streets ahead of the national average, especially if you’re Indigenous, shows a Productivity Commission report released last night. But NT Treasurer Nicole Manison (pictured) ain’t happy. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Council buys property next to its depot

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Land costing three quarters of a million dollars to be on short term lease to recyclers. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Police: We do not condone vigilantes

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Police reject allegations of misconduct in an investigation of bashings of two boys last week, and say they “do not support or condone any vigilante activity”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Ratepayer, do you want your money back?



In a surprise turnaround a majority of councillors have supported Cr Eli Melky’s motion. It suggests a shift in the balance of power on council. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Bottle shop cops ‘security guards, paid for by the taxpayer’




Police Commissioner appears to succumb to political pressure, ordering cops to be “standing at a privately-owned bottle shop as a pseudo security guard,” writes Paul McCue, NT Police Association President (pictured). FULL STORY »

Cranking up the economy while having a ball

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Volunteering is a great part of the social life in Alice Springs while pumping millions of dollars into the town. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: The sea battle of the Henley on Todd is the climax of an annual event that attracts a crowd of 4000.


Barkly needs a master plan, says Mayor

2491 Mayor Steven Edgington SM


It would pull together opportunities from the gas pipeline, re-opening of mines, and the council recently creating a cross border economic alliance with Mt Isa Town, writes Mayor Steven Edgington (pictured).


UPDATE 8:50am: Statement from Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles.


Harts Range garnet mine in trouble

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The project, which employs about 20 staff on-site, has been put on care and maintenance, reports The West Australian.


Fuel firm on warpath with Alice upgrades Katherine site

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A service station with Pie Face restaurant offering “artisan roasted coffee” for Top End town while three proposed projects in Alice are subject to a wrangle with the town council. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

NT lags on locator devices for people lost in the bush

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Satellite gadgets for locating people lost in the bush are a no brainer these days, but in The Centre the wheels are turning slowly, as the “help, we’re lost” message from an American couple last week emphasised again. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


How much of Parrtjima’s $2m goes out of town?

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Well, the government isn’t saying. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Passing of the Namatjira matriarch

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Just six short days after the Namatjira copyright victory, one of the principal figures in the fight for its return to her family passed away. FULL STORY »

CDP work for the dole scheme gets a hammering

2463 Chansey Paech SM


The Community Development Program is a product of inadequate consultation, has bureaucratic processes many don’t even understand, is punitive without benefits and ignores private enterprise as an alternative: That’s what academics and politicians, including Chansey Paech (pictured), are telling the Senate’s Finance and Public Administration Committee. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


Only 3 of Turnbull’s 38 northern roads started, all in Qld

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There is a massive underspending on Northern Australia infrastructure projects by the Federal Government, says Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism. FULL STORY »

Cattlemen support Pastoral Land Act amendments

2490 Tom Stockwell SM



The Northern Land Council needs to stop running interference on every single improvement that both governments and industry make for the good of all Territorians, writes Tom Stockwell (pictured), President Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association. FULL STORY »

How will you keep me out of the camps, Walter?

2472 Jacinta Price SM



Town councillor Jacinta Price elect hits back at Tangentyere boss Walter Shaw.


Solar centre breathes new life into Desert Knowledge

2489 DKA solar centre SMThe precinct’s 39 sun-powered electricity generators illustrate much of the industry’s short history and is a research facility used the world over. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Town council denies blocking new servos

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A fuel company alleges the Town Council is blocking the construction of three service stations in Alice Springs. The council is due to issue a response shortly. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE from council at 4:10pm FULL STORY »

We’ve got the sunshine, they’ve got the people

2489 solar density SM



Add this one to the assets of your home in Alice: Lots of cheap electricity, independent from the big end of town.  ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Let the gas flow, says Nigel Scullion




Even Michael Gunner’s Federal leader says so, writes the NT’s CLP Senator.


When NT was officially ‘a country for the White Man’

p2498 Ted Egan SMp2498 Ted Egan Gilruth SM


The White Australia Policy was the official line for development of the north when the Territory’s first Administrator, John Anderson Gilruth, took up his post. Ted Egan AO tells the story his latest book. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Booze report: What the government is likely to do.




Bring back an independent liquor commission, lobby the Feds for a volumetric tax, law for 400 square meter floor limit to go, and a floor price on alcohol products to prevent alcohol related harms, writes Natasha Fyles, Attorney-General and Minister for Health. FULL STORY »

Namatjira copyright breakthrough: family, galleries celebrate

p2497 Namatjira Gloria & Louina w Mark Crees SM
After years of campaigning by descendants and Big hArt, 100% of the renowned artist’s copyright has been transferred to the Namatjira Legacy Trust, with entrepreneur and philanthropist Dick Smith helping clinch the deal. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Four more years of same-same

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Council elections: So much for the need of fresh blood to make the town tick: Headed up by re-elected Mayor Damien Ryan the conservatives seem to have it in the bag, what’s more, with a succession plan in place. ERWIN CHLANDA comments.


Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores

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The role of our spy base under Trump who wants to increase the US nuclear arsenal tenfold. Local peace activist RUSSELL GOLDFLAM comments.


Warrant for police search of construction firm office

Police say they have a warrant to search the premises of MPH Constructions in Alice Springs but will give no further details. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE October 13, 2:39pm. FULL STORY »

CBD planning: The vibrants are at it again

2472 Todd Mall busy SM



Another town plan in the making: The public is invited to have its say but it appears much is already set in concrete. It seems the government is hoping it will get leave to squeeze the town’s future into a template already cast. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.