Story Archive » Volume 25 » Issue 20 »

Home on sale against senior’s wish?


Alan Viegas, the senior in a battle with the Old Timers Village and his daughter Lisa Wilson over issues of personal freedom and substantial property, said this morning his home is not for sale. PHOTO: Much of the town turns out to raise money for the Old Timers at its annual fete, but the treatment of involuntary resident Mr Viegas casts a shadow over the iconic facility. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Between the sun and the moon, the spirit of David Nixon



David Nixon, much loved family man, friend of many and Central Australian film-maker of great gifts,  was remembered and farewelled at the Ilparpa clay pans on Saturday, as he had asked. FULL STORY »

Locked-in senior scores some runs



Have a string of actions taken about the property of Alan Viegas, 82, involuntary resident of the Old Timers Flynn Lodge, been under legislation that has been revoked? He has now regained control over his money, a past carer and campaigner for his rights discloses. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Questions arose in this office when the daughter of Mr Viegas was on the speaker phone. FULL STORY »

Man robbed, but wait, there’s so much more on FB

A local Facebook site ranges from benign neighbourhood watch stuff to encouragement of violent vigilante action. And what does the dagger at the top of the site signify? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Finocchiaro targets grandstand, pets and booze



Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro raises questions about the economy and population decline as 2020 Parliamentary sittings start. FULL STORY »

Brief moment of hope for locked in senior



Alan Viegas enjoyed a few minutes of freedom this morning. Then the doors slammed shut behind him and he is again locked in, against his clearly expressed will, in the Flynn Lodge, part of the iconic Old Timers Home in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA report. Photo: Mr Viegas serving a legal document on the Old Timers manager, Anoop Thomas. FULL STORY »

New Opposition Leader: Crime was the main topic




In a lightning visit to Alice Springs today the new Leader of the Opposition, Lia Finocchiaro, met mostly with business people and talked almost exclusively about crime. She spoke exclusively with Alice Springs News editor ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

CAAMA must show why it shouldn’t be under administration


The media organisation linked with the TV station Imparja needs to answer by the end of this month. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Family style approach to help troubled children

Territory Families has a new program for young people in state care who “require intensive services to support their return to family, attend school, access health and social activities such as sports, or transition into kinship or foster care”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Old Timers Village resident locked in


An 82-year-old former air traffic controller says he was tricked into signing over Power of Attorney to his daughter and now is being kept a virtual prisoner in Flynn Lodge at Old Timers. He, and two of his former carers, spoke to ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

CLP would return ‘Juvie’ to Corrections. Curfew maybe.




“Every youth offender will, if diverted, undertake community service,” says Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro (pictured). FULL STORY »

Cashless Debit Card will harm: NTCOSS



Another poorly thought through plan from Canberra, there is no consistent evidence to show that it works, says Deborah Di Natale, CEO of the NT Council of Social Services.  FULL STORY »

Kaytetye woman Jean Pepperill in final year of medicine



“I never thought I’d be able to do my entire medical degree in the Territory, let alone spend so much time in Alice Springs,” says the Barrow Creek-born woman. Report by AMELIA SKACZKOWSKI.  FULL STORY »

Getting bogged trying to fix phones


Ampilatwatja and surrounding communities north of Alice Springs are without phone service and every time technicians try to fix it they get bogged on the recently flooded Sandover Highway. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE Thursday 1.30pm: The locals can’t use their cards to buy food so the shop is providing breakfast. FULL STORY »

Woman threatened with weapon, credit card, car stolen


Police have arrested a 17-year-old youth in relation to the aggravated unlawful entry and multiple other charges. FULL STORY »

Lack of consultation on sex services

“Territorians are very concerned by the definition of ‘next to or adjoining’. Does it mean a sex services business can operate opposite a school?” asks Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro.  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 »

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 »

Feds may fund CAAMA even in administration



The National Indigenous Australians Agency “is working closely with CAAMA to ensure the requirements of the funding agreement, including reporting, are met and broadcasting services continue to be delivered,” according to a spokesman for the agency. 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.


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 »

Little progress with $64m management system for trouble kids

It will cost $14m more than the government has set aside for the planned national Aboriginal art gallery in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 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 »

Australian flag stolen from Anzac Hill




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

Dujuan’s moving story and its missing pieces


He is bright, thoughtful, rather charismatic, he has a loving Aboriginal family but he is getting into trouble. Does the film that tells his story really get down to why? KIERAN FINNANE reviews In my blood it runs.   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 »

Film short on answers for trouble in the streets


In My Blood It Runs is propaganda, not a documentary, but a it has a strong message nonetheless: Families must find the solutions because politicians, bureaucrats and NGOs surely won’t, says Elder and collaborator in the movie, William Tilmouth. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. 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 »

Can Alice Springs crime statistics be trusted?



Contrary to current popular opinion, crime against the person in Alice Springs is not worse than ever before, if you take the NT crime statistics as your guide: But are the base data from the police, unchecked by anyone else, reliable? And why does the categorising of NT police statistics not match with that of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which means we can’t compare apples with apples? 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.


Claypans focus on Clean Up Australia Day



No need to register! Just turn up! Bring along your friends, family, neighbours and workmates if you wish, write the Friends of the Ilparpa Claypans. 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 »

Lambley seeks brake on government spending



Private Members Bill seeks special measures if current $7bn government debt is to be exceeded, writes Robyn Lambley Independent Member for Araluen. 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 »

Government pays $800,000 a day in interest


This Labor Government’s fixation on spending money like a kid in a lolly shop is irresponsible, and their red tape preventing private sector investment is killing the economy, writes Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro (pictured). 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 »

Council’s ambitious solar plan: 100% of what?




Does the 100% refer to all of the energy going to all council-owned infrastructure? Perhaps not, though the answer is far from clear. 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 »

Labor gets fracking, gambling, booze cash: Fraser-Adams



All Johnston candidates put Labor last on the how to vote cards, writes Sue Fraser-Adams, president, Ban Fracking Fix Crime Protect Water Party (at left). Labor pretends it is against fracking, she says. 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 »

‘I saw the bombers’



On February 19, 1942, Father John McGrath, under strafing fire on Bathurst Island, radioed a warning about a large number of aircraft approaching. RAAF operations thought that the aircraft were probably American P-40s so no immediate action was taken. Japanese began bombing Darwin some 20 minutes later. By JOHN P McD SMITH. 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 »

Train hoppers hurt

Rail services in the NT and SA were delayed for four hours as youths jump from moving train. 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 »

Anger with out-of-control kids: council needs to step up


Cr Glen Auricht is “fearful that these children are going to be injured by angry people”, that “these kids would be killed”. Cooler heads on council want to act on a resolution of 2017, and meanwhile CCTV proliferates (photo) and the problems remain. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 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 »

Locked in senior: Daughter speaks out



Lisa Wilson, the daughter of Alan Viegas, has sent to the Alice Springs News an image containing two photos of her father (at left). Mr Viegas as pictured by the News last week (at right). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 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 »

Cr Auricht: All the way with USA on fate of Assange



Debate on the matter is “in real conflict with our community” because we have “a very large American contingent in town”, argues Councillor Glen Auricht. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 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 »

Lambley: Gunner Government gives away $5m youth camp



The Gunner Government has decided to give away to the Aboriginal owners of Loves Creek, near Ross River, east of Alice Springs, $5m worth of infrastructure and equipment from the only government owned boot camp in the NT, writes Robyn Lambley, Independent Member for Araluen. Photo: Management of the camp had its challenges. 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 »

Yirara College: Just seven laptops for up to 30 students



Teacher resigns over inadequate IT equipment for Yirara College students. “While I lobbied in vain for the most basic classroom student computers, Yirara bought a high-tech plug-and-ray laser engraver (pictured) that reportedly cost close to $25,000,” writes teacher Ralph Folds. Principal Chris England responds. FULL STORY »

Young thugs assault two men for cigarettes

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

NT Greens say free Assange

The NT Greens condemn the continuing persecution of Wikileaks’ publisher Julian Assange by the US, British and Australian governments, a fundamental attack on all democratic rights, writes Jasmyn Sheppard, Convenor of the NT Greens. 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 »

Uranium in water at three times the safe level: Claim



Drinking water containing uranium at the rate of up to three times the safe level is used in several Central Australian communities, according to the environmental group, Friends of the Earth Australia. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. 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 »