Story Archive » Volume 25 » Issue 22 »

Big damage, no injury



A woman has walked away uninjured from a single vehicle crash in which a power pole was ripped from the ground on impact in Alice Springs on Stott Terrace just after 6am. FULL STORY »

Top cop says attack on 79-year-old woman’s home is despicable

Police are urging people who have seen two youths in the Nelson Terrace and Blain Street area early on Saturday to come forward. FULL STORY »

Gettin’ hotter again


Get ready for hotter than average temperatures across the NT this week, especially in inland areas, says the Bureau of Meteorology. In Alice Springs yesterday it was 10 degrees hotter than average, with a top temperature of 38⁰C. FULL STORY »

Alice Springs part of Feds’ regional flights network


Qantas, Virgin to fly under $165m Canberra initiative, announced Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack (pictured).


UPDATE 2.50pm Four flights, lights mostly for freight. FULL STORY »

Town camp drunks attack police, ignore COVID rules



Police were dealing with a large group of intoxicated people in Alice Springs overnight at the Hidden Valley Town Camp (at left) who surrounded and threatened police, and damaged a police vehicle by throwing rocks. Commander Bradley Currie (pictured) says “some of our most vulnerable” to COVID-19 infection were involved. FULL STORY »

Waste firm with plans for Alice builds giant air dome

The company preparing to create a toxic waste deposit near Titjikala south of Alice Springs, Tellus Holdings Ltd, has built one of the world’s largest air dome structures at their Sandy Ridge facility in the gold fields region of Western Australia. FULL STORY »

Melky proposes rate reduction as part of virus response


Loss of revenue will be offset by curbing expenditure in areas of “reduced demand”, among them road reserve maintenance with the onus shifting to the owner/occupier, and the climate action plan. FULL STORY »

Deferred start: Residential Tenancies Act

The start of the Residential Tenancies Act will be deferred to allow for further legislative changes that may be required in line with the local and national responses to COVID-19, according to an NT Government media release. FULL STORY »

Only one Qantas flight this week – maybe


“We’re battening down for the long term. We’ve got a six month plan to keep all our staff gainfully employed,” albeit at fewer hours and less pay, says  Dave Batic (pictured), the manager of the airport. Its runways are open 24/7 but the terminal only for flights which are few and far between. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Messages about schooling an avoidable mess: Mills



Territory parents need certainty about Term 2 school plans. Currently messages a bout schooling is an avoidable mess, writes Terry Mills (pictured), Leader of Territory Alliance. FULL STORY »

A touch of light: sculptural giants



“Our town is losing valuable habitat and shade at an alarming rate and the losses are not offset by slender gains,” writes MIKE GILLAM. FULL STORY »

When you mean sacking then say it



Simon Maddocks (pictured), the Vice-Chancellor and President of Charles Darwin University, calls it to “restructure our staff profile”. CHARLIE CARTER gives him a Fail for that. FULL STORY »

Gaping loophole in COVID roadblocks



There are at least two back doors out of Alice Springs enabling people to access bush communities declared “designated biosecurity areas” while avoiding the 14 days quarantine mandated. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Public cut off from MacDonnell national parks


West and East MacDonnell national parks are in effect cut off from visitors as The Centre’s iconic cool weather approaches, and purpose of the COVID-19 facility on the Ross Highway is explained. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE April 9, 1.15pm

South Australian parks are open for locals to visit.


UPDATE April 10 at 11am Some areas in the East MacDonnells near Ross River are open.


UPDATE April 12 at 12.30pm: Simpsons Gap national park is open. FULL STORY »

Ross River battling but providing some services



Cabins, take-aways and short bush walks still available in this iconic East MacDonnells location. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Tennant Creek’s a party town, but the cost is high

Three hosts will have to add $1,099 each to the cost of their bash. FULL STORY »

Delay in Rolfe prosecution: virus, huge brief to blame


Progress in the case being brought by NT Police against Zachary Rolfe for the alleged murder of Kumunjayi Walker has been further delayed, at least in part, by the Coronavirus shutdown. KIERAN FINNANE reports. PHOTO: Demonstration in Alice Springs following the alleged murder. FULL STORY »

Art centres: pushing back, pushing forward


With most Aboriginal art centres in the region in various stages of coronavirus shutdown, the focus of their advocacy body, Desart, is on preparing for recovery. Research showing the centres’ slow but steady recovery since the GFC makes CEO Philip Watkins quietly confident. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Local winners Watch This Space at time of national arts cuts



For the first time, the Space will be able to pay proper wages to its directors, fees and contributions towards expenses for  exhibiting artists, consultation fees for First Nations advisors, and more. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Slashed electricity pay ‘inevitable’


Other states also pay in single digits for power produced by householders with solar arrays, but battery (pictured) offers are attractive, writes Guest Writer MALCOLM DUFFIELD. 


UPDATE April 9 at 4.45pm The Government needs to clarify exactly what the cut-off arrangements are, says the Opposition. FULL STORY »

NT support for business, householders now reaches $300m



Chief Minister Michael Gunner (pictured) announces initiatives on payroll and utilities, urges council to drop rates, mandates longer periods of negotiation between tenants and landlords and fairer terms so that businesses and households can get through the coronavirus crisis. FULL STORY »

COVID-19 lock-up: Room service with a difference



Making the most of having to spend two weeks in a room: “I decided in my mind it is a wonderful room. It’s all a matter of attitude,” says scientist Jocelyn Davies (pictured). Report by ERWIN CHLANDA with JULIUS DENNIS. FULL STORY »

A touch of light: termite alates



“Eventually, with lightning and the ritual fanfare of galahs hanging from the power lines, the rain does come and we all rejoice. Winged termites on their nuptial  journey appear at the kitchen window and I go outside to see if I can locate any nests,” writes MIKE GILLAM. FULL STORY »

Education, youth crime, fracking: Live election issues



“If and only if the national Aboriginal art gallery is really, really good at a national level, the CBD, and everything else will follow. But concentrate first on what is best for art.” So says Maya Cifali (pictured) in our fourth instalment of Alice Votes, produced by JULIUS DENNIS. FULL STORY »

COVID-19 form targets wrong risk group: Cattlemen


The NT Government as part of its Covid-19 strategy is requiring some pastoralists to have a form to travel on their own properties, while people are bypassing police checkpoints, including by traveling along the rail corridor, to reach major towns, writes Ashley Manicaros (pictured), CEO, Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association. FULL STORY »

‘Sneaky’ drop in what govt pays rooftop solar producers



The Opposition says the government “sneakily dropped” by two-thirds the tariff it pays to private solar power producers “while Territorians were still trying to adjust to the biggest changes in their lives with COVID-19”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

The task ahead is rebuilding



As the pandemic is settling in around the globe, Kelly-lee Hickey (at left) and Jocelyn Davies say the next government will have to focus on picking up the pieces. JULIUS DENNIS presents part three of ALICE VOTES. FULL STORY »

Testing better than average but still unanswered questions


The NT is doing better than the national average in the number of people tested for COVID-19 but the government is mum on other questions, including what are the quarantine facilities in Alice Springs at present? How many people are quarantined there? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Halve power, water bills: Mills




And come clean on feed-in tariff changes, writes the Leader of Territory Alliance, Terry Mills (pictured). FULL STORY »

You and the dunny door




Pulling or pushing, that is the question. GUEST COMMENT by PAUL LEWIS. FULL STORY »

COVID-19 calls for straight answers


The first casualty in a war is truth. In the Territory, when there is a crisis, it is transparency that gets the boot. Yet COVID-19 is a matter of life and death, and the public’s vital trust in the people managing the pandemic depends on how they are treating us: So far, so bad. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. Photo: Health Minister Natasha Fyles. FULL STORY »

Government transparency is still essential



The seriousness of the COVID crisis doesn’t give the Government a licence to cut corners with Territory taxpayers’ money, writes Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro (pictured). FULL STORY »

Getting the crisis psychology right


Among other things, we need staging posts to get through the prolonged shutdown of our normal lives. In the northern hemisphere people, facing their long dark winters, have long understood this. KIERAN FINNANE talks to psychologist Louise Samways, Part Two. FULL STORY »

Aborigines may defy orders, come to Alice for food: CLC


The Central Land Council warns that unless governments ensure food supply in remote communities, residents will defy orders and continue to travel in and out of biosecurity areas to shop in Alice Springs, says CLC chief executive Joe Martin-Jard in a media release. Photo: Hermannsburg / Ntaria, 130kms west of Alice Springs on the banks of the Finke River. FULL STORY »

Make fracking pause last forever: cattle man



Territory pastoralists and Native Title holders welcome the announcement by Santos that it will abandon its exploration and fracking program for the McArthur Basin “beyond 2020,” write Daniel Tapp (pictured), Big River Station and Estelle Fararr, Roper Valley. FULL STORY »

Cafés, restaurants: Not letting go



As COVID-19 shuts down our streets, no industry has had to adapt to the new landscape as quickly as hospitality. JULIUS DENNIS speaks with some of the battlers. (By the way, the photo at right was taken before “social distancing” was introduced.) FULL STORY »

A fourth Central Australian case diagnosed



An Alice Springs woman who recently returned from the Gold Coast is in the care of Alice Springs Hospital after being in self-quarantine since her return.


UPDATE 3 April 2020, 9.45am: Now it’s four. FULL STORY »

Ross quarantine facility: advice to residents today



The facility is expected to be operational by 1 April. Hang on, that was yesterday. FULL STORY »

Feds should use NAIF to lift northern Australia’s economy



Nearly five years on, only $88.5 million has been released for projects in Northern Australia, less than 2% in total funding, write Senator Murray Watt, Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Warren Snowdon MP and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy (both pictured). FULL STORY »

COVID lockdown: Nearby residents not informed


Ross Highway and Ragonesi Road mandatory alcohol detention facility is being be used for suspected and confirmed Coronavirus victims. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. ARCHIVE PHOTO: Accommodation buildings in the grounds.


UPDATE April 3, 11.15am The Member for Namatjira, Chansey Paech, says he has spoken to residents in the area and conveyed their concerns to the government. FULL STORY »

Council meeting under COVID-19 lockdown

Held online for the first time, the formal rules mostly went out the window and a more relaxed atmosphere settled in. It helped that we were variously assembled in our home offices slash bedrooms or sitting rooms, and that to be heard everyone was allowed to but in. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Coping in the CV-19 world: what we can do for ourselves


Our face-to-face social lives, outside of home, have shrunk to contact with just one other person at a time!  And in any case we are supposed to stay at home as much as we can. KIERAN FINNANE asked Louise Samways, a local clinical and health psychologist, about her tips for coping and adapting. FULL STORY »

Government to pay for remote residents’ COVID isolation



The NT Government will pay for the 14 day quarantine – likely to be at a hotel – required by people from remote areas returning to their communities. Independent Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley says she was told this by Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker during a briefing this morning. Meanwhile cops at bottleshops were alerted to the $750 “hardship payment” due today.  ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

A touch of light: totemic caterpillars



After the rain native vines, succulents and button grass carpeted the bare ground. Most prevalent of all was the sticky tar-vine, Ayepe. This important food plant would produce the greatest peak of Ayepe-arenye caterpillars I’d ever seen in Centralia. Story and photograph by MIKE GILLAM.  FULL STORY »

Will 14 day self isolation strand bush visitors in Alice?


No 14-day self-isolation is needed for coming into Alice Springs from a Territory bush community, but it is for getting back. And where are interstate travellers required to quarantine? There are two versions, ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Stuart Highway roadblock between Colonel Rose Drive and the Adelaide turn-off.



US Marines Rotation postponed, but what about Pine Gap?

There is no such clarity on the movements of personnel in and out of Pine Gap, although on the face of it incoming personnel should be going into mandatory 14-day quarantine.


COVID-19 news: Alice Springs woman diagnosed



COVID-19 updates. Blow-by-blow, as the pandemic unfolds in The Centre. Photo: Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker (left) and Chief Minister Michael Gunner. FULL STORY »

Barkly Council adopts COVID-19 relief measures



Rates and charges reviewed, rates debt moratorium, civic projects brought forward to “keep the Barkly strong,” writes Mayor Steven Edgington (pictured). FULL STORY »

Council’s ‘buy local’ policy extended in favour of local traders

And rate payments deadlines are eased. FULL STORY »

Territory Alliance looking beyond COVID-19



We believe the Commonwealth Government, in working with financial institutions, should provide a business rental rebate of 75% which can be paid to landlords who accept 75% of rents as full payment, writes Terry Mills (pictured), Territory Alliance. FULL STORY »

COVID-19 infected is Harts Range police officer



He and his spouse drove 590 kms from Yulara to the remote community north-west of Alice Springs, refuelling at a location Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker would not reveal. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Do what I do: a lesson for the government, police


Beyond the distress to Atitjere (Harts Range) community, significant damage has been done to the credibility of the government’s messaging and the community’s trust in its ability to play by its own rules. COMMENT by KIERAN FINNANE FULL STORY »

When online shopping could be a life saver



As most places where people normally congregate are now out-of-bounds because of COVID-19, the supermarkets are one of the most likely places to contract the illness. But there is no need for that. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Return to community scramble to beat ban

If they do not leave today they will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. That would mean being alone and having no contact with family, they are being told.  FULL STORY »

Concerns for lost man with dementia



Daniel Plain is believed to have been last seen walking around Lyndavale Drive, say police. FULL STORY »

COVID-19 pauses Origin’s Beetaloo activity

Origin remains committed to the project, rescheduling further work to the second half of the year.  Their decision follows concerns raised about the safety of remote communities potentially exposed to COVID-19 infection from FIFO sources. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

UPDATED 26 March 2020 2.37pm.  FULL STORY »

Convention ignored in vote on Opposition



Terry Mills and Robyn Lambley (pictured) are no longer heading up the Opposition: “The collusion in the Chamber between the CLP, the ALP and the Speaker was nothing short of disgusting,” says Mrs Lambley. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

COVID-19 ‘ignorance’ as large crowd attacks police



Commissioner Jamie Chalker (pictured): “Frontline responders are leading the way to ensure the safety of people and to save lives. Mass gatherings go completely against the national messaging. There is a vulnerable cohort living in the NT. We are taking many steps to ensure that those people have a significant likelihood of surviving COVID-19.” FULL STORY »

CLP wants relief from payroll tax, power & water charges



This would create immediate cash flow, writes Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro (pictured). FULL STORY »

A touch of light: shield shrimps



These cartoonesque shield shrimps provide some distraction from the awful realities of the wider world, writes MIKE GILLAM who photographed them at the Ilparpa Claypans. This is the first in a series for the duration of the current pandemic. FULL STORY »

Gunner the statesman short on facts for Centre

While emulating Churchill with lines such as “I’ll have to ask even more of you” vital questions remain unanswered about how the Chief Minister will deal with the pandemic. And as far as the flow of information to The Centre is concerned, the Berrimah Line attitude is alive and well. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

UPDATED 24 March 2020, 3.52pm: Risk in testing only the sick. FULL STORY »

Amidst the turmoil, rentals stay the same

And you wonder why people are leaving? If there is lack of work and lack of jobs and high rentals why would they stay, as well as the problems in town that haven’t changed, writes Anna Ponder.

UPDATE March 26, 8.40am: Tasmania has announced a 120-day moratorium on evictions. FULL STORY »

COVID-19 testing in Alice: It’s a secret

Cloaking the location of a Coronavirus testing facility in Alice Springs in secrecy (if we have one at all) exemplifies the arrogance of a government out of its depth on many issues, now deplorably including one that is going to cost lives. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE March 26, 11.15am ABC: “The NT does not report testing numbers.” FULL STORY »

Central Australian survey to launch grassroots polling app



The general inaccuracy of polling leading into the 2019 Federal Election inspired a team, including Alice Springs News editorial contributor Mark J Smith, to create a tool for the public to analyse what voters may do on polling day. FULL STORY »

Jury trials suspended until at least June 5

Current trials where a jury has already been selected and empanelled will continue, according to a media release today. FULL STORY »

Workers on visas in trouble as businesses close




Red Cross has received more than 50 requests for financial help from Alice Springs residents travelling on temporary visas in the fallout of COVID-19, says Laurel Duffell (pictured), a spokesperson for the organisation. JULIUS DENNIS reports. FULL STORY »

‘Social distancing’ is the wrong term

Governments and social media are using the term “social distancing” when what they really mean is “physical distancing, writes  Patrick Nelson, Regional Public Relations Officer, Charles Darwin University. FULL STORY »

Town library, pool close; non-essential Council events cancelled


Council has acted on the advice of the Australian Government, the Northern Territory Department of Health, and the Northern Territory Chief Minister responding to COVID-19. FULL STORY »

Gunner government to hide fiscal facts

Voters will go to the August election short on Budget information. FULL STORY »

Life without COVID, flies and heat


Sick of COVID? Move the continent where there is none. Former Alice Springs doctor Rhys Harding did. He’s now the medical Jack of All Trades for the crew of 24 at the Davis Station in East Antarctica, one of Australia’s research stations. This is his story.  FULL STORY »

Last drinks, and Henley on Todd cancelled


A few people (pictured) enjoyed drinks at Sporties in The Mall last night but as of noon the bar and restaurant and all of its ilk will be closed. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

COVID: ScoMo not here to tell Gunner what to do



The Gunner Government is happy to try and slam through legislation with minimal scrutiny. It will do everything in its power to cover-up and squash debate. It’s just not on, says Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro (pictured). FULL STORY »

NT closing borders to interstate arrivals

From 4pm Tuesday 24 March, strict border controls will operate at all access points – by road, rail, air and sea.


A lonely ANZAC Day, but no less heartfelt


The dawn service, the march, the two-up, the beers (in a group of mates): The pandemic has put paid to these, for the time being. But LYNNE SMITH found a way to keep alive the spirit of ANZAC Day with a story about her grandfather who made history in a very surprising way. FULL STORY »

Fix the kids problems and our roads



Cr Eli Melky (at left) wants some parents brought to task for the trouble their kids are causing, and Ashley Manicaros (at right) says cattle roads need attention. JULIUS DENNIS continues his Alice Votes series. FULL STORY »

COVID: Trouble in the bush

High prices, scarceness of food, grog running, breaking of biosecurity laws: The part of the country the NT Government has clearly forgotten in its COVID responses. Now there’s a call for the Feds to bring in a 20% point of sale scheme, the CLC’s Joe Martin-Jard, supported by Congress CEO Donna Ah Chee, announced this morning. They are pictured above – observing physical separation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE April 23, 4pm: Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt says the Government does not support a direct subsidy or rebate on groceries at this time.


UPDATE April 24, 10am: The National Indigenous Australians Agency to revoke a store licence if pricing and quality expectations are not met, however this power has not been used.


UPDATE April 24, 3.25pm: Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, says food insecurity and unreasonable pricing is severely undermining the public health response to COVID-19.


UPDATE April 24, 3.40pm: No comment from the CLC to Mr Wyatt’s statements. FULL STORY »

Youth curfew no longer an option, a necessity: Lambley



Coronavirus is a threat to the large groups of kids who are still roaming the streets at night, writes Robyn Lambley, Deputy Opposition Leader. FULL STORY »

Waive rates for a quarter says Cr Marli Banks

Now is the time, given the unprecedented Coronavirus shutdown, that people are finding it hard to meet their bills and they are looking to council to help, she says. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Cr Banks is pictured at council’s last Zoom meeting. FULL STORY »

Virus risk: US Marines should not deploy to Darwin


The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has written to Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds,  pointing out the risk of allowing 2,500 USA marine personnel to start arriving in Darwin next month. FULL STORY »

COVID spitters are grubs, idiots, and lowlife: Gunner


Chief Minister Michael Gunner in a statement less than an hour ago announced police powers to impose on-the-spot fines of $5495, and he called alleged offenders grub, idiot, and lowlife. Power and water prices for Territory businesses will be slashed by 50% and mandatory quarantine arrangements will be formalised. New measures will be brought in during a special session of Parliament on Friday, with some Members attending remotely. FULL STORY »

Are frackers immune from COVID-19 rules?



The Chief Minister should have put more money into our local clinic. I don’t know why they’re pumping money into fracking companies, writes Gadrian Hoosan (pictured), of Borroloola. FULL STORY »

Aggravated assault in attempted handbag snatch

Police hunt for two youths. FULL STORY »

A touch of light: at home among the corkwoods

“A quick survey of the town’s street trees reveals a landscape architect’s worst nightmare. It took a century of effort, mostly uncoordinated, of overlapping Government departments, Federal, Territory and Local to provide this expensive, high maintenance, botanically weak sense of place,” writes MIKE GILLAM.

Big lay-offs at Lasseter complex



The casino, hotel accommodation, restaurant and convention centre, has laid off 155 casual employees, 45% of its workforce. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Alice Prize: online but undaunted


Although claiming our attention gently, the winning entry is a lovely work by the early career Thea Perkins and its acquisition as part of the Prize will be an important addition to the Alice Springs Collection. KIERAN FINNANE reviews the exhibition, after a privileged visit to the gallery in this time of coronavirus shutdown.  FULL STORY »

Does non-citizen travel ban apply to US personnel at Pine Gap?



Department of Defence has not provided a clear answer to the question. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

UPDATED 2.44pm.



Government looking for private developer of seniors village



Dale Wakefield (pictured), Minister for Territory Families and Member for Braitling, suggests Mout Johns location. FULL STORY »

Work on six storey accommodation complex to start in May



A six-storey accommodation building which will stretch from Todd Street to Leichhardt Terrace will create 150 jobs during construction. It is planned to start in May and be complete in November, says part-owner, Michael Sitzler. FULL STORY »

Visa holders likely to fall through the COVID aid cracks



Governments are promising to keep people and the economy afloat but anyone on a temporary visa — that’s anyone on a holiday visa or even a sponsored worker on a temporary visa are likely to miss out, says Alice Springs migration agent Anke Nagel (pictured). Report by JULIUS DENNIS. FULL STORY »

Gunner’s native title deal merely ‘flagged’: Lhere Artepe



Graeme Smith (pictured in his football days), a member of the native title organisation Lhere Artepe, says the acquisition of five areas of land in Alice Springs has been “flagged” by the NT Government, but there are no signed deals nor an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA). FULL STORY »

Coles milk sales limit puts Uncle Edy’s at risk



The jobs of eight workers are threatened as Coles is providing Uncle Edy’s only a fraction of the 140 litres of milk a week it needs for making coffee and icecream. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

‘Affordable land’ in a man-made desert


Kilgariff Stage 2 will cost $4.1m at a time when the NT’s population is decreasing, house prices are falling and a big question mark hangs over the past COVID-19 era. And why was the natural scrub turned into a wasteland? ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 12.55pm: In the denuded areas, landscape architects have been engaged to return some of the native vegetation, says the CEO of the government’s Land Development Corporation, replying also to other questions from the News. FULL STORY »

Woollies brings back Pick Up of online orders

Woolworth says they have reinstated Pick Up at both Alice Springs and Darwin stores. FULL STORY »

Robyn Lambley to join Territory Alliance


“I got to a crossroads.  I’m watching the town crumble around me … and couldn’t deliver as an Independent,” says Mrs Lambley. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATED 18 March 2020, 11.58am: Terry Mills has formally made the case to Speaker of the Legislative Assembly for Territory Alliance to be recognised as the official NT Opposition.


UPDATE 18 March 2020, 3.55pm: Territory Alliance is now the official NT Opposition. FULL STORY »

Bush towns making their own Coronavirus plans is ‘nonsense’



“Those lines around local decision making are government rhetoric. It is the normal rubbish that they peddle out. The reason why they are not making plans for remote communities is because it is not their priority.” Scott McConnell (pictured), the Member for Stuart, the vast and mostly remote electorate in Central Australia, is scathing about the Chief Minister’s approach to dealing with the threat looming in the bush of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic. FULL STORY »

Melky’s plans for smoothing the road to recovery



By his calculations, extensive rate relief can be offered without putting council’s budget in the red, leaving its $20m worth of reserves intact. This would lay the ground for council entering a new entrepreneurial phase. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

CBD revitalisation no show all council’s fault?

“I don’t recall at any stage [council] being approached to invest” in the revitalisation project, says Deputy Mayor Matt Paterson. Meanwhile, Cr Eli Melky calls for council to fight with legal action any move to compulsorily acquire its assets for the national Aboriginal art gallery. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

UPDATE Friday 20 March 2020, 10.40am:

Council CEO Robert Jennings has provided clarification on council’s contribution to the revitalisation. FULL STORY »

Cancellation of fireworks is disappointing: Oppsition



On the whole, Territorians have responded responsibly and quickly to COVID-19 restrictions and in our view are responsible enough to comply with physical distancing and gathering restrictions if cracker night was to go ahead, writes Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro (pictured). FULL STORY »

Custody on communities for remote area arrestees refused bail


Their next court appearance will be on the next business day via telephone or video-link, in an effort to reduce unnecessary movements in and out of remote communities in response to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. FULL STORY »

Who will benefit from Paterson’s $2.8m voucher scheme?

Those most in need or investors and business, with an assumed trickle-down effect? KIERAN FINNANE reports on the Town Council debate. Pictured: Deputy Mayor Paterson. FULL STORY »

Remote Coronavirus: Each community to work out a plan


Meanwhile the Police Association complains about “incredibly slow official response and lack of communication”. Google Earth Photo: Yuendumu, a remote community 300 km north-west of Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 4.30pm Roadside breath testing suspended. FULL STORY »

Oval for gallery back on table – as bone of contention

With compulsory acquisition hanging over their heads, Councillors were not exactly primed to give a sympathetic hearing  to Minister Wakefield and Moss’s latest pleas. KIERAN FINNANE reports on this and other council news, including the live-streaming of funerals.  FULL STORY »

Gunner’s native title deal not what it seems to be



Serious doubt is being cast over statements from Michael Gunner, in his “2020 – The Year Ahead” speech, by Fabian Conway (pictured) who chairs Irlpme, one of the three estate groups that make up Lhere Artepe. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

This crisis can’t look to natural gas for relief




Unlike during the GFC, when massive spending on gas development prevented more serious problems for Australia, for the current crisis there is no similar fistful of dollars, says EnergyQuest Chief Executive Graeme Bethune (pictured). FULL STORY »

Incoming Pine Gap personnel to self-isolate like everyone else



They are “subject to the same checks and requirements imposed by the Australian Border Force as all other international arrivals,” says a Department of Defence spokesperson. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Petitioners, scrutiny miss out in ‘arrogant’ Gunner Parliament



Other Parliaments allowed questions on COVID, says Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro (pictured). FULL STORY »

Coronavirus strategies in the bush still a work in progress


Overcrowding, poor hygiene and inadequate health facilities in remote communities are likely to present challenges. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE March 15 Northern Land Council ceases to issue entry permits.


UPDATE March 15, 4.50pm Gunner to release event assessment tool. Schools will stay open.


UPDATE March 17, 5.30pm Parrtjima rescheduled.


UPDATE March 17, 2am The Central Land Council has “appealed” to everyone to suspend all non-essential visits to remote communities.


UPDATE March 18, 4am Congress has 8000 masks. FULL STORY »

Special COVID permit to attend CLC meeting, go shopping


On the one hand the Central Land Council successfully lobbied early for closing the NT’s borders in order to protect remote communities, on the other they scheduled a meeting in Alice Springs that require a man from a designated biosecurity area to come into town. Telephone and online communications facilities are available in the man’s home community. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Google Earth photo of Papunya. FULL STORY »

Five generations together in the one room



At a time of anxious news from around the country and the world, the story of a new life, a baby girl, and the great-great grandmother there to welcome her. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Alice Springs boys first Indigenous players for Port Adelaide



Indigenous talent has thrived at the Port Adelaide Football Club which has had 54 Aboriginal players since 1953. Richie Bray (pictured on the wing) was one of them. The club is turning 150 years old in 2020. Story by JOHN P McD SMITH. FULL STORY »

Corona bush solutions: Health workers from interstate



Decisive and urgent action is needed to prevent COVID-19 spreading to remote Australian communities, the council of the Central Australia Academic Health Science Network decided yesterday, writes its Executive Director, Chips Mackinolty. FULL STORY »

McConnell to Gunner: Stop name calling

A crude Chief Minister (at left) with the worst budget management on record, since well before COVID: Welcome to the Northern Territory. While Michael Gunner takes kudos for achievements arising from the National Cabinet, Scott McConnell (at right) says there’s too much self-congratulation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE April 23, 10.10am: Strategic Communication COVID-19 explains “back to country” quarantine. FULL STORY »

Ask Pine Gap for help to stop breach of COVID rules: Lambley

MLA for Araluen Robyn Lambley (pictured) says the space base has “geo surveillance” facilities that can detect people breaching mandatory quarantine by going to biosecurity designated areas on remote bush tracks, avoiding police roadblocks. EXCLUSIVE by ERWIN CHLANDA.


UPDATE 11.30am April 11 Mrs Lambley says the Police Commissioner responded saying that essentially they have this problem under control and it is not a big as what people say.mHe did not comment on the idea of working with Pine Gap to provide more comprehensive surveillance. FULL STORY »

Pine Gap traffic and COVID-19


My questions on this issue have been placed at number 87 in the queue and will be answered in due course, reports KIERAN FINNANE.


UPDATED 13 March 2020, 5.24pm.


UPDATE March 14, 1.20am: No spectators allowed today at Traeger Park footy. FULL STORY »

Pine Gap and Five Eyes: what did they know about COVID-19?


Foreign Minister Marise Payne (pictured) has called for an independent review, mentioning in particular the role of China and the World Health Organisation. But what about the intelligence agencies? KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Stick it on your fridge. It’s downhill from here.



This will be the high point in tourism earnings for possibly a long time to come. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Sun Cable to power on despite virus uncertainty



The whirlwind of global financial uncertainty triggered by coronavirus will not delay the ambitious multibillion-dollar Sun Cable project to supply electricity to Darwin and Singapore according to Atlassian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes (pictured). Report by MARK J SMITH. FULL STORY »

Lock down Aboriginal lands but get the rest back to work

The NT is in two parts: The 50% where 70% live and work and the balance held as inalienable land trusts under Federal Government stewardship where most of the remaining 30% live. That is the area where the greatest concern for COVID infection is. These and other lands with the word Aboriginal in their title must be kept under lock down by whatever means, but let some light into the rest, writes Graeme Hockey of Bayview, an NT resident since 1977. FULL STORY »

Lucky the Town Council isn’t in the forestry business



This little tree (1.2m) and recently denuded by processional caterpillars, on a suburban nature strip, is the subject of an extraordinary and costly campaign by the council to remove it. Guest Writer RALPH FOLDS tells the story. FULL STORY »