Story Archive » Volume 25 » Issue 24 »

A touch of light: crows



“Perched in a native pine, turning in the filtered top light, its black plumage acquired a new radiance. Silver highlights found the crow’s broad back and flat reflective tail, glancing across strong and contoured shoulders. This is the light that truly reveals the crow’s mojo,” writes MIKE GILLAM. FULL STORY »

Library no go for unaccompanied Alice teens


As Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed, under 15s for the time being can only gain entry to the Public Library if they are accompanied by a responsible adult. There is no such restriction in Darwin City libraries. A responsible adult is only required to be with children aged 10 and under. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

Masters Games this October, not 2022: Lambley



The Masters Games should have been held this October for Territorians, and others if the borders are open, not postponed to 2022, writes Robyn Lambley. FULL STORY »

Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery



The party’s reliance on the recommendation of the Desert Park by the original steering committee overlooks the careful wording of that recommendation, that it is “subject to the endorsement of and legal agreement with” Arrernte custodians. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

New government: Will you have what it takes?



Alice has relatively unspoiled natural beauty, is home to some real true-blue types, and is pretty much the only place I’ve been to in Australia where you’re totally surrounded by the truth of living in a post-colonial society, writes STEPHANIE HARRISON. FULL STORY »

Locally owned supermarkets buck crisis with $1m facelift



While many businesses are in COVID related crisis in Alice Springs, the three locally owned IGA supermarkets are spending about $1m on improvements. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Pictured is Eastside store manager Adam List with new display fridges. FULL STORY »

Printed Centralian Advocate soon to fold

The Centralian Advocate have not confirmed nor denied it, but The Guardian, quoting News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller, is reporting that the Murdoch printed paper soon will be no more.



Gas fuelled reconstruction for the Territory



Mining, oil and gas are going to get us out of trouble post-COVID, says the Territory’s reconstruction supremo,  Andrew Liveris (at left) who is clearly up to his eyeballs in oil and gas. Hi co-chair is former Labor Chief Minister, Paul Henderson (at right) the founding member of a pro-mining group. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Thinking big, anyone?



From quarry to manufacturing hub: Steel made in Oz makes a lot of sense, say the promoters of Project Iron Boomerang. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Being on a working holiday visa in Alice Springs



After three months picking oranges, apricots and butternuts in the Riverland we found Alice Springs has something special. Hopping from one job to another, we had the opportunity to get involved with Indigenous people and we started to understand their culture and we were impressed impression by their art, writes MORGAN HOUPE. FULL STORY »

CLP would build gallery at Desert Park, not Anzac precinct



A Country Liberal Party Government would build the national Aboriginal art gallery the Desert Park, not at ANZAC Oval, the party announced in a statement this morning. FULL STORY »

Chief Minister mum on money, again




The Gunner Government has again shut down real transparency on the Territory’s books in the Public Accounts Committee, the forum the government promised would be the outlet for scrutiny and openness, Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro (pictured) writes. FULL STORY »

Mayor, Deputy let council flounder


With the Mayor and Deputy out of the room, due to their conflicts of interest as candidates in the August Legislative Assembly election, council could get on with business as usual, right? You couldn’t be more wrong. KIERAN FINNANE reports on the shambles in a leaderless council.  FULL STORY »

Way forward for nation-building projects – south of the Gap


Harold Furber (pictured) and Owen Cole, Chair and Deputy Chair of the Steering Committee of the National Indigenous Culture Centre, describe as “tragic” the unnecessary division caused by the proposed compulsory acquisition of the Anzac Oval site. The solution is to co-locate the gallery with the culture centre on the Desert Knowledge Precinct. FULL STORY »

A touch of light: Aquila audax



“Struggling with the severe limitations of 20/20 vision, I dragged out the biggest lens I owned, a four kilogram  monster, approximating the weight of an adult eagle and capable of resolving 560 mm with the diopter engaged.” MIKE GILLAM encounters the all seeing eye and defender of Centralia’s thermals.  FULL STORY »

CLP on royalties: Would miners still call the tune?



What is the CLP’s proposed change to the mining royalties system going to do for the Territory? We won’t know until after the election. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Pictured is Ron Kelly, CLP party president and NT Mines Department CEO during part of the Adam Giles era. FULL STORY »

Alice VET pays for CDU folly in Darwin

Many tertiary institutions in Australia are now moving away from large monolithic, concrete building structures, into sophisticated computer based on-line teaching. Many students prefer this to attending classes at set locations and set times. Costs of education are greatly reduced and students find it easier to cope with jobs. ANALYSIS by DON FULLER. Photos: Alice VET section gathering dust. Dr Samantha Disbray. FULL STORY »

Alice after COVID: Recovery needs to be a team effort


“Everyone turns up in the morning to do the best for the town. At the moment perhaps we should sit back, take a deep breath and look at it through fresh eyes. Obviously this pandemic is a wonderful opportunity to go back, reset, rethink, and talk to our neighbours with a more accommodating viewpoint.” Community and business leader Neil Ross speaks with ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

‘What we see in our Country’: Yarrenyty Arltere 20 years on


A celebratory exhibition this month fell victim to the pandemic response. It would have shown where this valiant group of Town Camp artists have come from. KIERAN FINNANE reports on their persistence through the shutdown and aspirations for the future.  FULL STORY »

Art gallery row: Town Council leaderless


Deputy Mayor Matt Paterson (at left) has declared an interest and the position of Mayor Damien Ryan (at right) remains unclear as the Town Council undoubtedly will deal with the latest upheaval surrounding the art gallery tonight. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Slash and burn at CDU: Alice loses out



Charles Darwin University appears to be substantially scaling back its commitment to regional centres such as Alice Springs, particularly through a reduction in staff and programs in the delivery of Vocational Education and Training. ANALYSIS by DON FULLER. FULL STORY »

Covid-19 and the military: clear protocols in the north, obfuscation in the Centre


Is the protocol for US Marine Rotational Force arriving in Darwin being followed for Pine Gap personnel arriving in the NT from interstate or overseas? KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

No active COVID-19 cases in the NT

All 30 of the cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the Northern Territory were connected to interstate or overseas travel. FULL STORY »

Native title organisation backs Anzac precinct for gallery



Anzac Oval is not in the determination area ordered by the Federal Court in 2000, yet Minister Dale Wakefield (pictured) sees it as the green light for the project even if it means compulsory acquisition of the oval from the Town Council. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gallery row: Remember the dam?



If the gallery is built as fast as the flood mitigation dam at Junction Waterhole (pictured), then don’t hold your breath. ALEX NELSON is looking at the similarities between the two projects. FULL STORY »

High season caravan occupancy rate: Zero.


Tourism industry pioneer Brendan Heenan says if the NT borders are not open by July then his, all other Alice caravan parks, the pubs, clubs, restaurants, accommodation, tourist attractions, souvenir shops won’t have a 2020 season. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: In a normal season the space behind Brendan Heenan is filled with caravans.


UPDATE 6.40pm May 17: Half a million caravanners and campers are ready to hit the road within two months. FULL STORY »

A touch of light: caper white butterflies



“At this moment they do resemble origami creations, strange and slightly awkward flying machines lifted up and animated by the breeze flowing through a desert gorge,” writes MIKE GILLAM.  FULL STORY »

Mayor Ryan misses council meeting, campaigns as CLP candidate



CLP Opposition announcement about candidate Damien Ryan is likely to further fuel the controversy about his conflict of interest. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Off-roading with rules for our New Normal


In the wake of COVID-19 The Centre could follow the example of Moab, Utah, USA. It rebuilt its entire economy on recreational and adventure tourism, driving from kiddie quads to rock crawlers, when the mining there went bust, writes Scott McConnell, Candidate for Braitling (pictured). FULL STORY »

The sound of stockwhips cracking and the thunder of hooves

Hot on the heels of her first memoir,
Alice to Prague– only published in May last year – Tanya Heaslip has launched her second. An Alice Girl explores her childhood growing up on Bond Springs cattle station during the 1960s and 70s. FULL STORY »

A pub with no beer no more



Beer at Monte’s – see how it’s made and then drink it. JULIUS DENNIS reports. FULL STORY »

Council rejects parts of Kilgariff



The storm water infrastructure, the main open unlined drain and the quality of the roads are unacceptable. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE May 17, 7pm: The Land Development Corporation provided comment. FULL STORY »

The first beer




The first beer under the new rules was served in the Todd Tavern in the Mall a few minutes ago. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Solar lights can be moved with ‘ease’



Town Council officers are investigating their removal; installation came at 15% of the total cost. FULL STORY »

Steiner School not fazed by COVID precautions



Students already use a single classroom for the entire day and are generally taught by only one teacher, and some lessons were on Zoom. JULIUS DENNIS reports. FULL STORY »

Better consultation or more red tape?



Indigenous policies of the Territory Alliance provide a string of new reference groups, advisory panels, task forces, hubs and incubators. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. A statue by Mark Egan at the Aileron Roadhouse illustrates the party’s policy document. FULL STORY »

Man armed with hunting-style knife arrested

“Verbal commands and appropriate operational safety tactics,” avoid harm, say police. FULL STORY »

Gunner again cites COVID for his failing to answer questions




Now the Chief Minister has shut down the only avenue of transparency left. This is  total disregard for democratic process and accountability, as the Territory suffers, writes Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro. FULL STORY »

Alice Springs crime reporting: Fact and Facebook



Will voters rely on the often rabid social media in the August elections? Is the police adequately informing the public on law-and-order issues?  Alice Springs News photo of a police arrest in the Yeperenye Shopping Centre. JULIUS DENNIS reports. FULL STORY »

Solar lights may go



Or they may be made to look pretty. I think the approach is called “putting lipstick on a pig”. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Tradies idle in Home Improvement Scheme: Lambley



Tradies who had four to six weeks of usual work queued up, now have nothing as the public waits to have applications approved, writes Member for Araluen, Robyn Lambley. FULL STORY »

A touch of light: Artityerrityerre, willy wagtail



“Like most of Centralia’s birds, willy wagtails call out their name in clearly recognisable Arrernte.” MIKE GILLAM on a small bird that has “charmed the hearts of humankind since the beginning of time”. FULL STORY »

Recovery: No help from oil and gas, says study


Mills, Finocchiaro agree with peak industry bodies plan while study reveals that oil and gas will do little to help with the economic recovery. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE May 13 at 9.30am: Statement on behalf of Origin contradicting Jimmy Cocking. FULL STORY »

Independent Kim Hopper has succinct policies for Braitling



In a crowded field competing for one of the town’s just two urban seats, Kim Hopper (photo supplied) stays clear of campaign platitudes in favour of specific goals. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

A touch of light: native passionfruit



With delicate precision and inter-spacing the caper white female butterfly hides her vulnerable eggs on the underside of the leaves. Within a few hours the chalk coloured eggs begin to harden and darken to a tangerine orange, writes MIKE GILLAM. FULL STORY »

Top End nursing: footy injuries, common cold to heart attack


Two suicides occurred while I was there, and suddenly the statistics became a reality, writes nursing student  BRONTE HEWETT (pictured) after a two week stint arranged by Flinders NT in Arnhem Land. FULL STORY »

Questions of conflict multiplied by two


Just in time for Deputy Mayor Matt Paterson’s announcement of his candidacy in the forthcoming Territory election, council’s Conflict Management Policy was up for discussion. Mayor Damien Ryan left the meeting; DM Paterson stayed. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  FULL STORY »

3,500,000 steps in the right direction



Active in Alice members walked to Katherine and back – well, the equivalent of that, and between them. Challenge winner over four weeks was Vicky Crowley who walked a total of 936,872 steps. Mayor Damien Ryan, pictured receiving his certificate from Marilyn Kleemann, came third. FULL STORY »

COVID Territory style: Beer and skittles



Beer in, restrictions out: Just don’t ask any questions. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE MAY 12 AT 3:55pm: Reply from COVID Media.


UPDATE MAY 13 at 3.10am: Reply from the police. FULL STORY »

Attuning readers to the tears of others


Dani Powell’s debut novel, which digs deep into matters of grief, comes to our attention as waves of mass grief sweep around the planet. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. FULL STORY »

Hardship rates waiver hits snag



The waiver, for both both residential and commercial ratepayers, looks set to go ahead despite councillors having voted down a motion to allow it. How can that be? asked Cr Marli Banks, the mover of that lost motion. FULL STORY »

Black lives: generations pass; racism, custody deaths continue



Black Lives Matter rallies held around the world have been notable for the dominant presence of young people. It was no different in Alice Springs on Saturday at the Courthouse Lawns, where their voices were the strongest and they were in the majority. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Paterson stands for Territory Alliance



The Deputy Mayor (pictured in a charity ride from Alice Springs to Adelaide before public office) joins Mayor in quest for a seat in Parliament. FULL STORY »

Let’s have a local Masters Games, says Gerry Wood



In light of the fact we don’t have any Corona Virus surely a local NT Master’s competition would still be a goer, writes Gerry Wood, Independent Member for Nelson. FULL STORY »

Wakefield ready for fight: affirms intention to acquire oval




“The Town Council is not willing to negotiate, so we will acquire the land,” she told the Alice Springs News, following the Town Council resolution to challenge any such move. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

A gas-led recovery is short term, good only for the gas industry


Canberra is proposing a gas-led recovery at a time when US oil and gas company bankruptcies are stacking up daily and the industry continues its downwards trajectory, desperate for handouts, writes Bruce Robertson, author of a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis entitled Gas Cannot Stimulate the Economy, Reduce Emissions, or Provide Cheap Power. FULL STORY »

New Normal recipe from the too hard basket


Will the New Normal get a handle on vital projects which governments – Territory and local – have failed to tackle? Some issues, and there are many more, that were raised by Alice Springs News readers over the past quarter century. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

New COVID initiative rehashes old projects


A new committee, and new title for Minister Wakefield, will it make a difference? And can we afford it, asks Territory Alliance. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

UPDATE 9am: Federal home builder program will provide up to $25,000. FULL STORY »

Bangtail still here, virtually



Strutting their stuff on the screen instead of the street: The Rotary Club of Alice Springs wouldn’t let COVID spoil the town’s fun. FULL STORY »

‘Greener, safer, cooler’ CBD designs released



Even more CCTV and lighting, including in this space on Leichhardt Terrace, but also street trees and shade structures are features. FULL STORY »

COVID-19 impact on schools abates

Student numbers at Catholic schools slightly above last year. Government school figures to be released on Monday. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE May 11 at 12.10pm: Attendance at Northern Territory government schools has returned to pre-pandemic levels. FULL STORY »

Industry development in the NT a government policy vacuum

The new Economic Reconstruction Commission will come up with major and valuable recommendations. But does the Government have the ability, commitment and resources to implement them? And what role will the resource industries play? ANALYSIS by DON FULLER (pictured). FULL STORY »

Stop spending billions on warfare and put healthcare first



On 23 March 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire. We call on the Australian Government to support the UN Secretary General’s call, writes The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN). FULL STORY »

Use your dollar to force fuel prices down: Murray Stewart



The current differential for fuel, between the terminal gate price and the pump price, is at an unacceptable 26 to 32 cents per litre in Alice Springs, says outspoken local Murray Stewart (pictured). He is calling to support what he describes as the outlet with most consistently the lowest price in town. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Standoff over Anzac Oval for gallery crescendoes


Minister Dale Wakefield may be “ready to pull the trigger” on compulsory acquisition of Anzac Oval to allow the government’s plans for the national Aboriginal art gallery (NAAG) to proceed, but Alice Springs Town Councillors are pushing back.


UPDATE, 1.50pm: The Town Council will challenge any attempt by the NT Government to compulsorily acquire Anzac Oval. FULL STORY »

Cattle company has win in live export ban case


The Federal Court has found against Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig who imposed a blanket ban on exporting cattle following the Four Corners report “graphic video footage of inhumane slaughter of Australian cattle exported to Indonesia”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo (front, from left): Alison Brett, Hamish Brett and Colin Brett, during the judgment this morning.


UPDATE 4.20pm: Statement from former Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association Chief Executive Tracey Hayes. 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 »

The two territories at opposite ends of car sales stats




For the year to date, compared to the same period last year, NT went down 34.4% and the ACT up 29.8%. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gunner Government needs to come clean on debt



With the debt of $1.8 billion blown out to $6.2 billion predicted this year the Gunner Government only wants to be judged on how the National Cabinet has handled COVID-19 and for us to forget its management before that, writes Opposition Leader Lea Finocchiaro (pictured). FULL STORY »

Unearthed: local impact of global pandemic 100 years ago



In Central Australia, the spread of Spanish Flu was unreported in the press, but thanks to the latest in an NT Library and Archives history series we can get a glimpse of those times. FULL STORY »

Keep real time fire tracking tool funded: pollies


After the devastation of the 2019-20 bushfire season, now is not the time to be leaving funding for fire management programs in the lurch, write politicians including Warren Snowdon MP (at left) and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy. FULL STORY »

Your CBD, their plans



At the eleventh hour, the public will finally see the designs for work intended to “revitalise” the CBD. KIERAN FINNANE comments. FULL STORY »

Mimi’s meat comments ‘perverse, hysterical’



Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend the consumption of 65g/day cooked red meat, which is equivalent to 455g a week of cooked red meat as part of a healthy diet because red meat is considered the most important protein source for iron and zinc, writes Ashley Manicaros (pictured), CEO, Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association. FULL STORY »

Health shines but internal travel control a ‘joke’



The Territory health system is coping admirably with COVID-19 but bush roads are busy as drivers are getting around Biosecurity Checkpoints: It could be a worry if the pandemic has a second peak. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

PETA: Aussies going vegan ‘in droves’

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals challenge cattlemen’s statistics. FULL STORY »

Zero rate rise set to be official



Council has today released its draft Municipal Plan which contains its budget for the coming financial year.


UPDATED 1.12pm 2 JUNE 2020. FULL STORY »

Tourism smaller but better, pollies must talk to the people



Veteran tourism operator Charlie Carter (at right) predicts the visitors business post-COVID will get smaller but better while former Tennant Creek businessman and public figure Gavin Carpenter (at left) is sure rebuilding communication with communities is the only way for any government to succeed. They talk with JULIUS DENNIS in Alice Votes. FULL STORY »

Deal with Origin against council policy?


Alice resident and Traditional Owner for the region near Elliott where Origin Energy are currently fracking for gas, asks whether council’s  $100,000 per year deal with Origin Energy undermines its support of a fracking moratorium and its own Climate Action Plan.  FULL STORY »

Macs stay closed while other COVID restrictions come down

The West MacDonnell national park, the main tourist attraction for Alice Springs, and its population’s popular long weekend venue, remains closed. The NT Government has not responded to questions from the News why the park has been declared as a biosecurity area. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.



How not to manage government finances: The case of the NT


Governments usually borrow money for creating infrastructure. In the Territory the cash is needed to pay the public servants’ wages. DON FULLER reports. PHOTO: After three years of divisive Aboriginal art gallery debate, a hole in the ground is all the government has to show for, and the demolition of a perfectly good building, the historic Anzac highschool. FULL STORY »

Booze making allegations, cannabis in tyre tube



Police do not respond to allegations of brewing illegal alcohol but say they seized more than $95,000 worth of marijuana destined for remote communities.  FULL STORY »

Mparntwe custodians: Lhere Artepe does not speak for us

They accuse the NT Government of showing them “utter disrespect”  with their latest move to advance the proposed national Aboriginal art gallery.  Their unanimous support for the gallery only if located south of the Gap was communicated to Minister Lauren Moss in June 2019 by a meeting of the custodians as a family group, with more than 30 attending. They say further that Lhere Artepe, which has lent its support to the government, has no jurisdiction over the Anzac Oval precinct, where native title has been extinguished.


UPDATE 25May 2010, 4.05pm: Minister Moss replies. FULL STORY »

Booze consumption went up after floor price came in



The popular two litre cask wine, which can be picked up in other Australian states for around $10, skyrocketed by 300% to now cost Territorians closer to $30, says an alcohol industry spokesman. PICTURED: Four litre casks selling in Port Augusta for around $19. Their sale is banned in Central Australia. FULL STORY »

NT dismal in State of the States Report



Population, construction spending plummet, unemployment up, according to the Commsec State of the States Report. “We don’t deserve to be last, we deserve to be first,” says Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro. 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 »

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 »

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 »