Story Archive » Volume 25 » Issue 1 »

Government underspends on infrastructure: Opposition




Far from keeping its infrastructure promises the government is spending way less than the “much lauded $1.75b program,” writes Opposition Leader Gary Higgins (pictured). FULL STORY »

$12m for new mountain biking tracks, camps

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Glen Helen by pedal power: $12m investment by the NT Government as part of the $103m “Turbocharging Tourism” initiative by Lauren Moss. FULL STORY »

Better reporting, it’s a PROMIS no longer: Police

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Police to change ageing reporting and recording system. And the new Liquor Commission will have to hit the ground running. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 5:20pm February 16 Liquor licensing complaints confirmed by Licensing NT. FULL STORY »

Emily’s work takes to the skies

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Art of renowned Utopia painter Emily Kame Kngwarreye will be in the skies around the world on Qantas’s newest Boeing Dreamliner. FULL STORY »

Liz Martin says goodbye and good luck




Lack of political leadership that beggars belief has allowed one of the town’s major icons to lose its outstanding manager of 25 years, put in train its likely reduction to a much less prominent museum, with loss of the camaraderie, the corporate knowledge and the character and the compassion of the people supporting it. FULL STORY »

Fracking pipe ‘deformation’ row: The sequel

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Origin Energy explains the structure of fracking wells: A heavily armoured vertical pipe, and deep under ground, a horizontal one designed for being perforated for fracking. The controversial deformed section of the pipe was in the horizontal part and the damage is not much different to the perforations used, says the company. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE February 14, 5:40pm


Statement from Origin Energy: Lock the Gate apologises to the NT Scientific Inquiry.


Jacinta Price reneges on council undertaking

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Town council’s star poller Jacinta Price breaks her promise to see out her four year term after just six months. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Cr Price (centre) in council – not for much longer, if she gets her way  – with Crs Glen Auricht and Marli Banks. FULL STORY »

Transport Hall fiasco may revive pressure groups




Government incompetence climaxing with the possible loss or down-sizing of the National Transport Hall of Fame may trigger the revival of Advance Alice and Action for Alice groups, writes STEVE BROWN. FULL STORY »

Hard choice on fracking for Katherine MLA

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Will Sandra Nelson (pictured) be damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t, asks Bruce Francais, of Katherine. FULL STORY »

And now: Car invasion

63-year-old woman has car taken off her. 28-year-old woman assists police with their enquiries. Man accused of stealing three cars in a weekend. Four teenagers stopped with a tyre deflation device. FULL STORY »

Fracking forum with surprising rules

2514 fracking forum SMNo recorders, no movie cameras, long speeches from the chairperson and the panel: Last chance for Alice Springs for eye-to-eye contact with the NT Government’s inquiry. PHOTO: Chairperson Rachel Pepper addresses last night’s forum. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.   FULL STORY »

Inquiry into Road Transport Hall of Fame

Liz SM



Offers to access various grants and subsidised consulting services have not been taken up to date, claims Department of Trade, Business and Innovation. Ms Martin is pictured with the results of a break-in into her office. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Hot and dry? Stand by for more, tourism.

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The tourism industry is both the most vulnerable and one of the least prepared for the impacts of climate change, says a think tank report released today. It predicts for The Centre 100 days above 35°C every year, 19 days more than now, and by 2090, more than 160 days. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. IMAGE from the report: “Field of Light” installation by artist Bruce Munro in Yulara. FULL STORY »

Lifting the curtain on local lives and memories

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Unknown or little known stories of this place will be the focus of two “live arts” programs intended to generate interest around the centre of town over the coming months. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Lightshows: nature can do it so much better

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Why go to the bother and expense of an artificial light show on the Westmacs when nature can do it so much better free of charge? asks ALEX NELSON, supplying a series of 10 photographs to make the point. FULL STORY »

Signs of the Explorers Way – that’s all so far

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East-west, north-south self drive bonanza waiting to happen – but so far it’s just words. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

UPDATE 1.10pm Feb 6: Outback Way distances sealed, unsealed and about to be sealed. In WA and Queensland local governments “have spent decades building up the roads. The scope left is to seal the road, which costs considerably less,” says the NT department. And deals with traditional owners are commercial in confidence. FULL STORY »

Fracking failure: Now you see it, now you don’t

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Is “well casing deformation” an euphemism for something very nasty? Did the fracking inquiry and the NT Government cover up something? The Frack Free Alliance wants to know why an apparently whitewashed report was published by the inquiry while it and the government knew the truth. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.



Independent: Does the NT misspend Federal education funds?

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Canberra funds the NT on school enrolments and the NT funds its schools on attendance, writes the office of  Yingiya Mark Guyula MLA (pictured), Independent Member for Nhulunbuy.


UPDATE 2:40 pm The Minister explains. FULL STORY »

‘Fracked NT gas = 130 new coal power plants over 40 years’




The NT inquiry “has used a misleading salami slicing approach comparing small elements of fracking to total global emissions, and ignoring large ones, to hide the full impacts from Territorians,” says Australia Institute’s principal advisor, Mark Ogge. The inquiry will be holding its final Alice Springs public hearing on Thursday. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Bottle shop cops may not like it, but are needed




Grog discussion: Point of Sale Intervention must stay until effective alternatives are in place, writes Congress CEO, DONNA AH CHEE (pictured). FULL STORY »

Bully buffel barges into natives’ live and let live harmony

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Native plants in The Centre have adopted a “fair-go” type mechanism, whereby each species has an opportunity to flourish and reproduce without being overwhelmed by every other member of the local ground-flora. Buffel grass brutally interferes with that, writes LINDSAY JOHANNSEN. Pictured is buffel in iconic Palm Valley. FULL STORY »

Chief Justice weighs in on judicial conduct controversy

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The Northern Territory needs access to a judicial commission to deal with complaints about judicial conduct such as those “concerning the conduct of the youth justice jurisdiction in Alice Springs”, says Chief Justice Michael Grant. He details a model that will be put to government. FULL STORY »

Town council’s unanimous ‘no’ to fracking

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An initiative by Cr Marli Banks (pictured) gets full support for urging the government to keep in place forever the current moratorium on the controversial mining practice. FULL STORY »

Prominent Indigenous academic to head up Batchelor Institute

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Steve Larkin (pictured) takes over from Bob Somerville who left under controversial circumstances, but – according to reports the institute will neither confirm nor deny – is still on the payroll. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

‘Profiteering’ industry must act on grog harm: Police Association




Cops at bottle shops: Ongoing and systematic failed government policy on the alcohol industry has resulted in police picking up the pieces on the frontline, time and time again, writes PAUL McCUE, NT Police Association President (pictured). FULL STORY »

Congress call: Put full-time police back at bottle-shops

There has been a large and unacceptable increase in harms since the decision was made to remove the police presence from bottle shops, writes Donna Ah Chee, CEO of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress. FULL STORY »

Councillor Satour threatened at Council meeting

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After making a statement to the Town Council on behalf of Arrernte women, Councillor Catherine Satour says she was threatened with violence. She is working with police to identify the person who made the threat. FULL STORY »

Ailing economy needs on-shore gas, says Opposition




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

$6.2m for Alice sporting infrastructure

Traeger Avenue hockey, basketball, Jim McConville, Ross Park, Flynn Drive, Rhonda Diano and Albrecht ovals to get a guernsey. 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?

OA Regional Scholarship
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 »

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 »

Government lied on liquor, says Lambley, demands poll

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Government lied about cops at bottle shops and floor price for alcohol, writes Robyn Lambley (pictured). FULL STORY »

Road Transport Hall of Fame is saved

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The society has come to an agreement with NT Government instrumentalities: It will become a corporation, the legendary Liz Martin will continue as an advisor and it’s all go for the 2018 reunion. Ms Martin is calling for locals to join up: Currently only 1% of the members are from Alice. EXCLUSIVE by ERWIN CHLANDA.   FULL STORY »

Jim Beam at 7.45am: Businesses, staff bear the brunt




Drunks in Alice Springs street first thing this morning while in Tennant Creek, police fail to prevent drunken mayhem, writes Kay Eade (pictured), Executive Officer, Chamber of Commerce Northern Territory. Ms Eade provides a link to the detailed reasons of the Director-General of Licensing for imposing temporary restrictions on Tennant Creek, which included recent increases of 200%+ in some alcohol-related offences. FULL STORY »

Chamber of Commerce in a grog Catch 22

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Some Chamber of Commerce members make money from alcohol, others have businesses hit hard by grog fuelled crime and unrest. CEO Kay Eade speaks with editor ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: it’s not over yet

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A petition with more than 1000 signatories has stalled the Town Council’s formal vote on flying the Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Starlifter passenger seeks compensation

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He was injured in a US military aircraft landing incident in Alice Springs in 1973, writes Russell Walker.   FULL STORY »

‘Proper’ drinking: elusive goal but how hard have we tried?

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As Alice Springs looks once again at the pernicious problem of excessive drinking in our town – guided by a new Liquor Commission working with a new Liquor Act and a new reform framework – a new book can help inform the inevitable debates. KIERAN FINNANE reviews Maggie Brady’s Teaching ‘Proper’ Drinking.  FULL STORY »

Liquor Commission to ‘implement government policy’

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Public views are to to be considered but “I don’t think this is a democratic process or a process where the average person in the street is consulted,” says commissioner Blair McFarland. He spoke with ERWIN CHLANDA. PHOTO: The Alice Springs watering hole formerly (when this video was shot) known as the Animal Bar. FULL STORY »

Will we say sorry to the Abandoned Generation in 10 years?

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As Alice burns, the town has paid tribute to the Stolen Generation. The focus now must shift to the rising Abandoned Generation. 

PHOTO: Fire crews in Col Rose Drive after a stolen car had been torched and a bushfire started. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.


Liquor Commission: Lawyer, social worker represent Alice

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The new Liquor Commission will give the community a major say on how grog is sold. It has two members from Alice Springs, Russell Goldflam (left) and Blair McFarland (right). Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.   FULL STORY »

Queen’s Baton belongs to Alice for two days

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The Queen’s Baton is in The Alice for two days. Yesterday Greg Reval (pictured) took it up The Mall, and today 21 locals will show it off across town. Follow their progress! FULL STORY »

Multi-pronged effort saves river giant: better late than never

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The efforts of several persistent individuals as  well as the fire brigade contributed to saving the old river red gum at right … but only just. Report by KIERAN FINNANE, photo series by FIONA WALSH who says now is the time to start work and planning for next summer’s fire threat in the river.


UPDATED, 28 February 2018, 3.21pm: Fire service did cut the burning tree in an unprecedented move to save it. 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 »

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 »

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 »

Mulch, wood chips at landfill catch fire

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A fire that started in separated piles of wood chips and mulch at the landfill yesterday was too fierce to bring under control and continued to burn through the night. Our photo was taken at around 9pm. FULL STORY »

You can’t choose your neighbours

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Families Minister Dale Wakefield (pictured) undertook that neighbours would be “consulted” during the establishment of accommodation for youths on bail. That does not apply to assisted accommodation: Residents in the vicinity can voice their concerns after the real estate property had already been acquired for that purpose. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Who pays the bill when fracking goes wrong?




Will the public need to cough up when wells are failing and the companies are “long gone,” writes 1 Territory party president, Braedon Earley (pictured) FULL STORY »

Eight Labor heavies will decide fracking

… and they will do it behind closed doors. Bruce Francais of Katherine comments. FULL STORY »

30 scientists say no to fracking in the NT

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The Fracking Inquiry found a scenario submitted by the NT Government would have emissions equivalent to 18% of Australia’s emissions, writes Tom Burmester of The Australia Institute, Canberra, a public policy think tank established in 1994.


UPDATE 5:40pm Matthew Doman, of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, provided a reply. FULL STORY »

‘Resetting the button’ of Aboriginal men’s identity

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Disturbing events in Tennant Creek this week, including the alleged sexual assault of a two-year-old girl, are an extreme example of a more widespread lawlessness engulfing the lives of too many Aboriginal people. This is what a program called Codes for Life is attempting to confront.  KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Alleged toddler rape: Why she hadn’t been taken from her family



Territory Families cites 10 quotes from the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children report, including this: “Removing a child from their family and placing them in out of home care should be undertaken as a last resort. It should only be used to ensure the safety of the child.” PHOTO: Commissioners, Margaret White AO and Mr Mick Gooda. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Chance for elders to help cops fight youth crime?

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Could the bail process offer new opportunities? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

$3m boost for Hermannsburg historical precinct

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More visitors are expected following the completion of the Inner Loop road sealing, writes Lauren Moss, Minister for Tourism and Culture. PHOTO: Building in the precinct needing repair. FULL STORY »

Opposition ‘confused’ on infrastructure spending




The “$1.75b job-creating cash budget” is on track, writes Treasurer Nicole Manison (pictured). FULL STORY »

Sweet Country shines at the Alice box office

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Local movie buffs flocked to the Travelling Film Festival as well, writes Paul Darvodelsky, owner of the Alice Springs Cinema. FULL STORY »

Too hot? Try laying bricks.

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Sick of the heat? Try laying bricks. “It’s easy,” say Curtis Brown and Adrian Glover. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Offenders bailed to ‘country’: An option, says police

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Trouble makers’ bail could include sending them to their communities, says Police Commissioner Kershaw (pictured with Commander, Domestic and Personal Violence Command, Kris Evans and Acting Commander Bradley Currie (centre). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Offences against the person went up 16% in December

Crime stats: Offences against the person went up in December, most looked to alcohol, but there were fewer against property, when compared to December 2016. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Kids in the justice system: The stark numbers

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Youth detention is rising in Alice Springs (graph), according to figures of Territory Families. Boys behind bars vastly outnumber girls, and Aborigines outnumber non-aborigines by up to 100 times. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Fracking inquiry left me thankful, fearful, focused

The terms of reference deliberately ignore the big  issues, writes CHRIS HAWKE, of Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Desert Knowledge precinct preferred for youth detention facility

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Through local NGOs the site would offer “culture and connectedness to family, along with education and training, while leveraging the expertise available at the precinct,” says Family Minister Dale Wakfield. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Part of the current facility adjacent to the adult prison. FULL STORY »

APY artists set to open gallery in central Sydney 

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The gallery will show young and emerging artists alongside the stars and looks to benefits beyond income, such as the partnership between art centres and the National Art School. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

‘Dangerous, alarming’ property tax strongly opposed by council

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The Territory Government’s proposal of a property tax received a big thumbs down at last night’s Town Council meeting. It was one of a number of areas of agreement among councillors, in contrast to the debate around flying the Aboriginal flag from Anzac Hill.  KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 

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The five conservatives on council last night indicated that they will vote down the compromise motion that council permit “on ceremonial occasions” the Aboriginal flag to be flown on Anzac Hill. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Stolen car torched, youths arrested, bailed

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UPDATE February 13
Boys arrested in rural area a short while ago after stolen car was destroyed by fire. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Bailed juveniles next-door to you soon?

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A multi-million dollar scheme for juveniles on bail is believed to be buying suburban homes to accomodate them, but Minister Wakefield (pictured) is not answering questions as residents express concern about the program. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE February 13: Ms Wakefield, department answer questions. “A young person can’t ‘escape’ or ‘abscond’ from bail support accommodation. They are able to leave at any time … voluntary departure however may result in the young person breaching their bail conditions. FULL STORY »