Story Archive » Volume 25 » Issue 19 »

War on Iran must be prevented


Concerned locals last Saturday joined a Global Day of Protest on the heightened risk of a US war with Iran, following the arguably illegal assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in early January. The killing was ordered by US President Donald Trump and carried out by a US drone. Comment by JONATHAN PILBROW FULL STORY »

Why not us?



Most of the NT received good rain but why not The Alice? And it’s just a slim may-be next week: 5% chance of rain on Monday, 20% on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 30% Thursday. FULL STORY »

Higgins to step down as Opposition Leader


Personal reasons and “a number of health issues” prompted Gary Higgins (at left) to hand over the reins to Lia Finocchiaro (at right), the only other CLP member of Parliament. MARK J SMITH reports.


UPDATE 3.45 pm: Ms Ms Finocchiaro says an elected CLP Government would not sell or lease assets, fix residential power and water prices at 2020 levels for four years and public servants’ jobs are safe. FULL STORY »

Stuart Highway job dearer, delayed

“Un-identified underground services” delayed work. The new costs are yet to be calculated, says the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Man jumps from court dock to freedom


Corrections officers gave chase but lost him in the Todd River. Pictured: The escapee, Jonah Mitchell.


UPDATE 11.40am January 20: Mitchell arrested. FULL STORY »

‘Price gouging council’



The Katherine council is likely to be charging higher rates for properties dropping in value, writes Bruce Francais (pictured), of Katherine. FULL STORY »

Aggravated assault in Alice hospital

Man strikes woman with sharp object and flees: Allegation. FULL STORY »

Fracking well ‘unstable’

Origin’s joint venture business partner Falcon Oil and Gas released a statement overnight admitting “operational challenges”. The NT public deserves more than the scant detail and industry-speak, writes Graeme Sawyer of the NT Protect Country Alliance. FULL STORY »

Fracking problems no surprise

They became clear in the 1982 railway track survey, writes Evelyne Roullet, an Alice local who worked there. FULL STORY »

‘Sneaky’ Christmas present from Environment Minister




We condemn the sneaky – but not surprising – decision by NT Environment Minister Eva Lawler  (pictured) to sign off on Origin Energy’s Beetaloo Basin fracking plans just two days before Christmas, writes Dan Robins of the Protect Country Alliance. FULL STORY »

Early hours joyride in CBD in stolen cars

NT Police are investigating following unlawful entry of two Alice Springs homes from which the three cars were stolen. FULL STORY »

Crims terrorise Gillen, three cops attacked

Police say the “community are our eyes and ears”.    FULL STORY »

Green government, sacred sites, RAAF base: 30 years




NT Cabinet records revealed after 30 years: You’ll be able to contain your excitement. FULL STORY »

NT politics: Seen it all before?



Yes, you have. 30 years ago, historian ALEX NELSON writes. Photo: Marshall Perron. FULL STORY »

Three killed in road crash


Police say it appears the driver of one vehicle evaded an attempted police traffic stop, drove away at speed and later crashed.


UPDATES 2.12pm December 26 and 6am December 27.


UPDATE 2pm Dec 30: Police are seeking drivers and occupants of two cars who may have witnessed the crash. FULL STORY »

Chance for NT Government to get cracking on fires

Feds present opportunity for the Gunner Government to start meaningful action in bushfire prevention and fighting. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTOS: The Staircase to Heaven near Standley Chasm, before and after the January 2019 blaze in the West MacDonnell National Park. FULL STORY »

Kids & cops: All roads lead to Wakefield



Assistant Commissioner Narelle Beer explains initial interventions by the police are usually diverted to Territory Families and its Minister, Dale Wakefield (pictured). Report by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

$1m from Feds to deal with Central Desert water issues



Yuendumu and Engawala are “communities under threat,” according to Dianne Hood (pictured), CEO of the Central Desert Regional Council. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Big role for tiny Boulia in Outback Way project

The Outback Way traversing the continent east-west will be a boon for Alice Springs. But for the tiny Boulia, population about 250, this road is vital. ERWIN CHLANDA took the trip along the Plenty and Donohue highways to meet the outback battlers, on a path to the future that most local governments would fear to tread.


UPDATE December 28, 2019 FULL STORY »

Mayor’s ‘conflict’: council to ask for independent legal opinion



Council’s in-house legal advice had not adequately dealt with the perception of a conflict of interest, argued councillors. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Street kids: What cops can do


Moving children to a safe place, engagement with parents and families, referral them to Territory Families via identified referral systems or direct engagement with Territory Families, says Assistant Commissioner Narelle Beer. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Mayor’s ‘conflict of interest’ issues need more work

The decision by the majority of town councillors – to seek a second legal opinion on the potential conflict of interest in Damien Ryan being a political candidate while he is still the Mayor – needs more work. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.


Government corporation bids for Kilgariff Two



Government’s Land Development Corporation bids for Kilgariff Stage Two. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Image  from the Alice Springs News archive. FULL STORY »

Epistle from the inferno



It has been a long and harrowing relly run for Deb Clarke and me this summer, dodging bushfires and following dying relatives, writes CHARLIE CARTER. FULL STORY »

CLP candidate Mayor puts demands to Labor CM



Mayor Ryan’s demands for measures “to ensure the short and long term safety and healthy future of the community” may have a stronger impact if it had come from a more independent or impartial local government leader rather than one who has declared his hand as a candidate to run against the current Gunner Labor Government at the 2020 election, writes Mark Smith (pictured). FULL STORY »

Curfew: sixth time lucky for Cr Melky?



It will be by way of a public places by-law, “staring us in face all this time”.  Kieran Finnane reports on this and other council news in brief.  FULL STORY »

Transport Hall: No details of the cost for appointed manager



Government silent on details of the National Road Transport Hall of Fame statutory management, but no public funds are being spent. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Australian flag stolen from Anzac Hill




Council confirms the theft on Australia day. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gas and solar: Still uneasy bedfellows



The current upheaval in the Territory’s electricity business clearly has some of its roots in the drawn-out and largely inconclusive pursuit of getting 50% of the power we consume from renewable sources by 2030. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Big demand for camels as drought harms beef industry



Catching, farming camels are great opportunities for Aborigines in remote areas where few other economic opportunities exist, writes industry expert, Alan Keeling. FULL STORY »

Fire, climate change: Where are our leaders?

Increasing climate change disaster is becoming ever more obvious:  Do our political leaders have the required social nous to act sensibly?  Aye, that’s the rub; and our disquiet, writes Dennis Nicholls of Scullin, ACT. FULL STORY »

Government cash for heritage projects

The St Mary’s Chapel, Chapman House, Araluen Homestead and the Seven Mile Control Tower at the Airport are included in lice Springs. FULL STORY »

Increased fire prepared? Not the NT Government.



Use of big water bombers still ruled out and the review of how the 17 day blaze in the West MacDonnells was handled last January is still not public. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Assange must not be abandoned



People need to mobilise in order to free this man as journalism is not a crime, writes Margaret Grace Richardson, founder of the Julian Assange Supporters Alice Springs Action Group.


Sex work would devalue people’s homes



It should be carried out only in industrial areas, says Sue Shearer of the Council on the Ageing. FULL STORY »

Gunner demands council deal with Mayor’s ‘conflict of interest’


Council’s solicitor, examining the legislation, finds no conflict; he says the Mayor’s CLP views are his right. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Minister Fyles gets her facts wrong on sex industry



Putting an end to the exploitation of prostitution of women is the primary standard for measuring the compatibility of the NT Sex Industry Act with human rights. The NT law fails even to aim at this standard, writes Simone Watson (pictured), National Director, Nordic Model Australia Coalition “NorMAC”. FULL STORY »

Real young people, not the faceless offender


“They are warm, caring, inquisitive, fair, funny, but somehow they are all getting into trouble.” In the wake of the tragic shooting of Kumunjayi Walker in Yuendumu, youth worker RAINER CHLANDA tells the story of a five day camp out bush with young Warlpiri people who are in contact, as Walker was, with the justice system. He asks, “How do we change whatever has led to these good kids behaving so badly?”  FULL STORY »

Curfew: What else could fix youth crime?


The Town Council has rejected Cr Eli Melky’s fifth attempt to introduce a youth curfew. One reason: Police say there is no law for such a move and so their hands are tied. Now Cr Melky is looking at introducing a curfew as a council by-law which would bring the cops into play. Meanwhile fellow councillor Jimmy Cocking is doubtful a curfew would work. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Former Alice youth advocate gets Oz Day honour


The 2020 Australia’s Local Hero award was presented to youth advocate Bernie Shakeshaft of Armidale, NSW, a former resident of Alice Springs. The documentary “Backtrack Boys” explores his achievements and was reviewed in theAlice Springs News.


UPDATE 10.30am: The the 2020 Centralian Awards. FULL STORY »

Gallery: Anzac Oval still the sticking point



Government welcomes council’s support for Anzac precinct location but insists the rugby oval is still part of the “vision”. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Trashing and rebuilding: “Investing” by NT Government



The NT Government, widely regarded as being bankrupt, has just spent $2m demolishing the Anzac Highschool (the photo shows the empty site). Minister Uibo announces she will now “invest” $5.2m “in specialist infrastructure to help support NT students with additional needs to reach their full potential”. That was one of the functions of Anzac High. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Bearing witness to a mostly invisible world


Leni Shilton’s Malcolm “is a remarkable book, in both portraiture as well as plot. Every word counts and every poem builds character and community, at the same time feeding the unfolding narrative,” writes DANI POWELL. FULL STORY »

Solar cars are more than silent, fast and cheap to run



Electric cars are the future, and in the Alice – with all our sunshine – they are a no-brainer, says local businessman Hunter Murray (pictured). He has four of them, ranging from two town runabouts to a luxury Tesla 3 that’s the closest thing to a driverless car I’ve been in. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gunner’s gas offset policy ‘flimsy’



The Chief Minister is attempting to avoid scrutiny by releasing this contentious policy, which lacks critical detail, on a Friday close to the Christmas holidays, writes Lauren Mellor (pictured) of the Protect Country Alliance. FULL STORY »

Youth curfew petition the government cannot ignore



Independent Member of Araluen Robyn Lambley says she is launching her own petition in the format required by the Legislative Assembly after one on Facebook was taken down. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Government millions spent outside tender process



Housing usually tops the list of Aboriginal disadvantages and it gobbles up much of the Closing the Gap government spending. But the money doesn’t benefit the right people. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

The elusive goal of deep shade in Alice



“One morning this week I counted 42 dead or dying big trees along this lovely walkway, non-natives. So are we to abandon non-native trees and the dense shade canopies they afford in the face of long summers which appear destined to be hotter and drier?”asks PIP McMANUS. FULL STORY »

Doomsday Clock now 100 seconds to midnight



The international security situation has never been more dangerous, with the threats of nuclear war and climate change amplified by information warfare undercutting society’s ability to respond.  FULL STORY »

Unchecked fracking may create salty wasteland




Lake Woods, Roper, Hodgson, McArthur and Daly river catchments at risk as “Gunner government is ignoring perhaps the most important piece of the Pepper Inquiry,” writes Graeme Sawyer, of the Protect Country Alliance. FULL STORY »

Alice pips Rock in tourism earnings



The desert capital earns close to half a billion dollars from visitors in the year to September 2019, according to statistics from Tourism Research Australia. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Trekking the Larapinta Trail in the West MacDonnells. Tourism NT / Allan Dixon. FULL STORY »

St Philip’s College students shine in NTCET




Tryphina Reu (pictured) is in the NT’s top 10, and the college was named as one of five schools in the Territory to have the highest number of students complete the NTCET, writes Jill Jansons, St Philip’s College Director of Community Relations. FULL STORY »

10,000 international student target ‘unrealistic’



“CDU’s international student numbers actually dropped significantly in 2017/2018 and there is nothing persuasive coming from CDU or the Labor government to suggest that the downturn will soon be followed by a massive increase,” says Territory Alliance party secretary and CDU lecturer Dr Danial Kelly (pictured). Report by MARK SMITH. FULL STORY »

PowerWater, Territory Generation CEOs sacked


“There was an unacceptably low level of preparedness by the Power and Water Corporation and Territory Generation” to the system-wide power outage in Alice Springs on October 13, says Dale Wakefield (pictured), Minister for Renewables, Energy and Essential Services.


UPDATE 15.45pm: Comment from the Electrical Trades Union. FULL STORY »

A troubling snapshot of disadvantage



There are massive gaps in the quality of health between the most disadvantaged areas of the Northern Territory and those in the nation generally. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Power problems: Reporting inadequate, warnings disregarded




Firing bosses won’t fix root cause of power problems, writes Monica Tan from Repower NT Manager for the Environment Centre NT: “Solar energy is not to blame here.” FULL STORY »

Young thugs assault two men for cigarettes

“Stealing with violence” at 2am on Sunday. FULL STORY »

Flood control: Don’t hold your breath


Despite warnings that climate change will make catastrophic flooding of Alice Springs more likely, the NT Government is in no hurry to act meaningfully about something that has killed people. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Junction Waterhole, where a controversial dam across the Todd was proposed.


UPDATE January 18, 2020 Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley says she put questions on flood mitigation to the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, on December 19, 2018, and they were answered by the Minister on January 24, 2019. FULL STORY »

Shooting, not selling feral camels



Philanthropist organisation’s $2m spent on shooting camels on Aboriginal land while locals are clearly making no effort to turn the feral beasts into an income earning venture. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Transport Hall manager takes Liz Martin to court



The NT Government appointed manager of the National Transport Hall of Fame is taking to court Liz Martin, the co-founder of the iconic tourist attraction and for decades its driving force. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Volunteers are pictured on Liz Martin’s Facebook site. FULL STORY »

Adaptive ingenuity: lessons for nation from Aboriginal artists


Against the backdrop of the raging country-wide bushfire crisis that has dominated this summer, Kieran Finnane takes a journey for mind and eye into hope at the Tarnanthi exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in Adelaide.  FULL STORY »

Newmont gold mine: Aboriginal jobs, still trying

Employment of local Aboriginal people at Newmont’s Tanami operations appear to be mostly in positions peripheral to the actual gold mining that requires a highly-paid and readily transferable skill set. Yet traditional owners are the major beneficiaries of the royalties worth tens of millions of dollars while their communities are plagued by enduring unemployment. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. IMAGES courtesy Newmont.


UPDATE January 15, 2020
Royalties are considered as income when paid to an individual, a spokeswoman for the Australian Government Department of Human Services stated today in response to enquiries from the Alice Springs News. FULL STORY »

Party full throttle in battle against fracking



Unlike our competitors, we have never taken any donations from gas and mining companies, big business, alcohol makers or distributors and unions, writes Sue Fraser-Adams (pictured), president of The Ban Fracking Fix Crime Protect Water Party. FULL STORY »

2020 poll: Can Territory Alliance be a political force?



Can the Territory Alliance, led by former CLP Chief Minister Terry Mills (at right), become a real third force or is it just another minority party protest that is destined to join the historical spicks and specks of political parties left far behind? By MARK J SMITH ponders the question. FULL STORY »

No Medevac when climate disaster starts



Fire that’s eating up everything is more horrible than bombs and shells. Just another kind of a World War III as a gift from mother nature, writes Dr Harald Schaetzle, Walldorf / Heidelberg, Germany. But an Alice Springs reader comments that “the good doctor” may be as qualified as Beyoncé (pictured) to lecture us on this topic. FULL STORY »

When 20% royalties shrivel to as little as 1%


The 20% mining royalties for the NT Government sound like a bonanza – until you deduct production cost which may leave the public with as little as 1%. Aboriginal royalties are bound to the same calculations. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Image from the acclaimed blog of Michael West (at left): Is the tax performance of Santos, a major NT player an indicator of their royalties performance? FULL STORY »

Fire tragedy: Time for Aussies to look inland



A re-think of what’s a comfort zone in Oz needs to get under way after the horrendous fires, while solar electricity generating in The Centre is offering global opportunities. Meanwhile, will the armed forces get an honourable discharge for their efforts to evacuate victims? ERWIN CHLANDA comments. FULL STORY »

Aboriginal royalties: A golden deal?


The annual multi million dollar mining royalty payments will be boosted by about 35% when the Granites gold mine expands production from 2023. But what do the people on the ground get out of it, asks Jane Blunden (at right). Report by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

What will business say to Gunner about the economy?



The Chamber of Commerce is formulating its position vis-a-vis a government that hav dumped the NT into record indebtedness. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Chamber CEO Greg Bicknell. FULL STORY »

2020 NT election: A hung Parliament is possible.



Alice Springs seats are critical, comments MARK J SMITH (pictured). Central Australia delivered enormous swings in 2016, including the largest in the Territory. FULL STORY »

Unfinished business



A Top End focussed Opposition Leader. Two-wheelers could put a stop to plans for a ghastly multi-level carpark in the CBD. Wait, there is more. ERWIN CHLANDA comments. FULL STORY »

‘Safe nuclear power known since 2009’




Uranium-rich Central Australia and the rest of Australia could have started to benefit from safe recycling used nuclear fuel to both dispose of “waste” and supply steam energy to turbines currently fired by coal, writes Jim Stewart, of Queensland. FULL STORY »

Hermannsburg Mission: questions of survival



“This massive work is bound to be labelled contentious, but there is no doubting its quality and value,” writes TED EGAN AO of John Strehlow’s  The Tale of Frieda Keysser, Volume II. FULL STORY »