Story Archive » Volume 25 » Issue 6 »

Captains Starlight make the hospital less scary

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National charity sets up permanent presence in Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Ring a bell?

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It should. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


It’s happened before in the NT, writes historian ALEX NELSON. FULL STORY »

The bigger the boys, the bigger the toys? Not always.

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Size does not matter – what’s under the bonnet does. ERWIN CHLANDA reports from the Red Centre NATS scrutineering this morning. Pictured: Sean Carroll from the Gold Coast with his 1934 Ford Coupe. FULL STORY »

Desert Song’s fire burns bright

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With Desert Song  Morris Stuart has created a festival that is a reflection of what it aspires to – a peaceful, just and inclusive world – offering a richly mixed cultural experience in Australia’s heartland. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Video by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

17 drug deaths in Alice region between 2012 and 2016

The people most likely to die of an accidental drug overdose in Australia are aged 40 to 49, says report released today. FULL STORY »

Mountain bikers fanned out from Alice

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Two Victorians clinched the titles from 120 competitors over four days in the The Redback 2018 MTB Stage Race. Pictured: Local rider Oliver Hartung , of Desert Springs, at only 19 years of age placed third overall in both Prime Men’s and the overall event. FULL STORY »

Government’s 2nd birthday – little to show: Higgins




Labor promised it would create 14,000 jobs per year, at last count we are at least 25,000 short, writes Gary Higgins (pictured), Leader of the Opposition. FULL STORY »

Define gallery purpose before picking a site: Bruce Walker

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The community leader puts froward a thorough-going proposal to “re-set” the debate on the national Aboriginal art gallery, arguing the divisive issue of location should be put aside in favour of more clearly defining the project’s purpose. Dr Walker is pictured with Peter Renehan, chairman of the Centre for Appropriate Technology, native title holder and son of Doris Stuart, Mparntwe apmereke-artweye. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Old but fast: Rally cars criss-cross The Centre

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Classic and modern, rally cars strut their stuff and bring 400 visitors to Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE AUGUST 27: Andrew and David Travis win. FULL STORY »

Price, Turnbull should pay for town council function: Cr Banks

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That should include catering, council venue hire, staff and administration costs because “the purpose of this event was to introduce and endorse the Federal Candidate for the seat of Lingiari, Jacinta Price,” says Cr Marli Banks in a notice of motion, seconded by Cr Eli Melky. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTOS: Cr Price and Mr Turnbull • Cr Banks volunteering at an Old Timers Fete. FULL STORY »

ANZAC Oval art gallery good for Mall traders: Chamber

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A claim by the Darwin based Chamber of Commerce CEO, Greg Bicknell, that the National Aboriginal Art Gallery should be built in the ANZAC Oval precinct, is short on documentation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The “preferred” ANZAC Hill site. The high school is in the centre, part of the oval at right. FULL STORY »

Girl taken to hospital after bashing at Yirara College

A girl who suffered a broken nose was removed from the college and the family is now looking for another boarding school for her.

UPDATE 5:15pm: Responses from the NT Department of Education. FULL STORY »

Gas-first government dodging urgent need to act on climate

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The NT Government’s 10 Year Infrastructure Plan is missing the boat in booming large scale renewable energy project construction occurring interstate and the jobs that come with it, writes Harshini Bartlett, from RePower Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Gunner, Manison breach Public Information Act




The Auditor-General has concluded that Michael Gunner and Nicole Manison were in breach of the Public Information Act on four separate occasions, writes Opposition Leader Gary Higgins (pictured). FULL STORY »

Business group may establish ‘federal’ prison in The Centre



The Alice Springs Major Business Group will be meeting with the Minister for Home Affairs in Canberra next week, says spokesman Dave Batic (pictured). ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 1pm: Mr Batic provides the terms of reference for the Alice Springs Major Business Group. FULL STORY »

When grown persons become kids. No worries.

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It’s not useful to be mad to take part in the Henley on Todd. It’s obligatory. ERWIN CHLANDA videoed the proof. PHOTO: Close quarter combat in the battle boats. WATCH THE VIDEO. FULL STORY »

Gallery: Council did not say boo

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The Mayor and seven of the eight elected Town Council members met with the government over the Anzac Oval issue but did not make it clear that a decisive public poll had ruled out the use of the Anzac Precinct. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO from one of the government’s brochures promoting the government’s “Anzac Precinct” proposal. FULL STORY »

18 in a car with five seats

The youngest was five months old, report police. FULL STORY »

No answers, more government bumph on gallery




The public debate about the proposed Aboriginal gallery keeps running into dead ends: Now Acting Tourism Minister Natasha Fyles (pictured) fails to answer questions from the Opposition Leader but instead spruiked the same old, same old in Parliament yesterday. FULL STORY »

Anzac Oval: Minister won’t rule out compulsory acquisition

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“As the Minister for Local Government I am a member of Michael Gunner’s team and we are very much looking forward to siting, to growing and to developing a national Indigenous art gallery,” says Gerry McCarthy pictured during a “media event” in Alice Springs this afternoon. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gallery business case far from ‘well underway’

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Two years in power, the government is only just seeking tenders for making a business case for a project Michael Gunner inherited from his CLP predecessor. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 4.50pm: The tender requirements are for ANZC Hill precinct, in direct contradiction to assurances by government official Scott Lovett two days ago that no decision on the site for the gallery has been made.


UPDATE August 20, 6.30pm:

The Opposition says this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build an iconic national landmark; “We would expect that the Labor government communicated the full details of the proposal to the community, prior to making a decision on the location for the gallery.” FULL STORY »

Gallery should be all set to go

The government should resume the Anzac Oval and get on with building the beneficial attraction that most people believe the gallery would be, writes Kevin Diflo, of Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Armed police auxiliary liquor inspectors start work in Alice

They will today take over from police officers at bottle shops. FULL STORY »

NT pipeline to make substantial contribution, says industry

2579 Northern Pipeline SM2579 Clontarf 1 SMMining: The NT pipeline to be a boon for south-east Australia; NT Government formulates gas strategy; Minerals Council to keep up support for Clontarf; but environmentalists in The Centre are concerned about the Titjikala salt mine and hazardous waste storage facility. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Ilparpa row: 430 hectares available at Brewer Estate

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The argument by Local Member Chansey Paech (pictured) that there is plenty of other land available seems to be borne out by information from the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gallery at Anzac: Council has no position, says Deputy Mayor

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Is the council, having conducted a poll on the issue, obliged to act in line with its result? “We want to work with the government to make sure the gallery happens,” says Cr Paterson (at right in the photo, with Cr Jimmy Cocking). He was speaking with ERWIN CHLANDA.


UPDATE: Cr Eli Melky to move a motion for the Town Council to exclude the Anzac Oval site as a location for the gallery.

Electric supercar at Henley on Todd

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The fuel might be cheap but the cars are not: The Tesla Model X at the Henley on Todd on Saturday. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. At right: Greg Partridge, National President of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association. FULL STORY »

Desert Mob’s dazzling reminder of gallery potential

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Works containing “a great deal of cultural power” created by “black-skinned proud Aboriginal people” have once again made their journey across the surrounding desert lands to the Araluen Arts Centre. The annual Desert Mob opened last night with this vivid image evoked by Rene Kulitja and translated by Linda Rive. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

UPDATED 6.38pm, 11 September 2018: More text, more images.  FULL STORY »

24/7 youth centre push continues but no location yet

2570 24:7 centre crowd SMp1913brownsteveThe group called This Way, aiming to set up a 24/7 youth centre, is promoting the concept, and gauging public views, talking to the community “from the Prime Minister down,” says member Steve Brown (at right).  However, a suitable location is still elusive. FULL STORY »

Strong visitation and sales for Desert Mob 

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Opening night sales were up by $50,000 on last year’s, with 110 works sold over the weekend, worth $405,070. FULL STORY »

Yirara College silent on report of student hurt in big brawl

Yirara College is not responding to requests for information but police say they had reports of a “large disturbance”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

A whirlwind of stuff

– Kieran Finnane

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Colonising the Ilparpa claypans. Kieran Finnane visited the ephemeral artist’s installation. FULL STORY »

Town Council riven by conflict, lack of leadership

p2550 ASTC Banks & Ryan SMThe Mayor and the CEO, far from helping council to move on, have  introduced new levels of scrutiny at a time when three councillors are already feeling under demoralising pressure from Codes of Conduct complaints. They also allowed last week’s civic reception of the Prime Minister to be politicised, giving over its organisation, including invitation list, to Senator Nigel Scullion in tandem with Cr Jacinta Price, while council picked up the tab. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

UPDATE, 2.30pm, 15 August 2018: Catering cost and invitation list, including some media, excluding others.

UPDATE, 2.30pm, 16 August 2018:The media section of the Office of the Prime Minister expressed regret to have inadvertently omitted our email address from its media alert. FULL STORY »

Design tenders called for West Macs cycle trails

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More than 200 kilometres of new trails for riders of all skill levels will link the Alice Springs Desert Park to Glen Helen. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Chin up, says tourism pioneer: Go and sell it

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There are no grounds for pessimism in the tourism industry, says Keith Castle (pictured): “The friendly people, the hospitality, the natural beauty – they’re all still here.” ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Voter banned from Parliamentarian’s office

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A place for robust democratic debate? How robust? A one year trespass notice has resulted from one discussion in the electoral office of Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson (at left). Barred from her office: Constituent Bruce Francis (at right). Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.


UPDATE September 15, 9am: This is matter for the Member for Katherine, I will not be commenting, says the Speaker, Kezia Purick. FULL STORY »

Gallery at ANZAC Oval decision has not been made

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It’s the government’s preference but remains an open question subject to public feedback, says senior official Scott Lovett in an address to the Rotary Club of Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The service club’s president, Michael Potts, is flanked by guest speakers Mr Lovett (at right in the photo) and James Christian, from the Cattlemen’s Association. FULL STORY »

Anzac Precinct: govt declines to play ball, confusion reigns

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“We need to make a call on the site and move onto the next phase of the project,” say Dale Wakefield and Lauren Moss (pictured). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Coniston Massacre remembered

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We draw attention to these tragic events, 90 years after they occurred, by highlighting a series of reports by outstanding historian of The Centre, Dick Kimber. IMAGE: A painting courtesy of National Museum Australia by M. Joseph between 1974 and 1977 when she was a student at Yirara College. FULL STORY »

National Aboriginal gallery: Town Council’s action clear as mud

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There had been no mention of Anzac Oval and the dismayed public – some 30 to 40 visitors – were told there would be no further debate on  the matter tonight. KIERAN FINNANE reports.


Lambley gets hype not dollars on gallery

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Michael Gunner gives no details to the Araluen Member where “this huge amount of money” will come from. “Can you guarantee the people of Alice Springs that the national Indigenous art gallery and national Indigenous cultural centre will proceed?” she asked. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Anzac Oval ‘change of use’: council gives constituents the brushoff

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“It’s why you come in here to a council meeting, to listen, so we’re aware of all these things that are happening. You just don’t treat people as … stupid!” Brenda Shields was among those venting their frustration over the Town Council’s high-handed actions last night. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

COGSO: Still waiting to be heard

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Nigel Scullion and the Federal government remain deaf to the pleas from more than half of remote students who are hearing impaired, writes Tabby Fudge (pictured), president of the NT Council of Government School Organisations. FULL STORY »

Gallery: Council has no choice but to accept public’s verdict

2577 gallery Advocate SM2577 gallery propaganda SMAs the Centralian Advocate turns over its front page to government propaganda, whose “engagement” stats are the inverse of the town council’s poll, the gallery options seem to be: Compulsorily acquisition of Anzac Oval and the government losing any support for Labor other than from the most trenchant zealots – or hit re-start button for the gallery which, run properly and located appropriately, has close to 100% support from the public. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

NBN: Higher cost for less speed in Lingiari




Lingiari customers could pay 44% more than someone in the city for the same 50 Mbps speed under the new NBN plan, writes Warren Snowdon (pictured), MHR for Lingiari. FULL STORY »

Government deception clouds gallery debate

2578 Advocate poster 1 SM2578 Advocate poster 2 SMThe bitter debate about the proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery has long ago crystallised into whether it should be on the Anzac Oval site or not. The council, due to debate the issues in a few minutes, had no trouble understanding that and it formulated its poll accordingly. But the government conflated opposition to the Anzac option with opposition to the gallery, which flawed its “consultation” from the beginning. IMAGES: Read the fine print. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Four councillors walk out of tonight’s Town Council meeting

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The action was intended to “push back” at the “fear and misinformation” affecting the current council. Cr Melky invited those councillors affected by Code of Conduct complaints to join him. PHOTO: Councillors Satour and Melky rise to leave the council chamber tonight. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Council poll says ‘no’ to gallery at Anzac Oval

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The result is the direct opposite of what Ministers Dale Wakefield and Lauren Moss announced as the outcome of their three months long “engagement” with the public. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Thumbs down for dongas depot at Ilparpa

A well informed source is saying the Development Consent Authority has determined to refuse the application for the controversial project.


UPDATE 4pm: It’s official. FULL STORY »

Gallery chicken before the egg under Labor: Opposition




Labor made an announcement, ignored the recommendation of its own advisory committee, botched the consultation process and then called for tenders for a business case a mere three weeks ago, after being in government for two years, writes Gary Higgins (pictured), Leader of the Territory Opposition. FULL STORY »

Desert Festival: The CBD will be the stage

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Desert Festival 2018 season to be extended to October 13. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Craig Mathewson’s Dusty Feet Dance Collective used Todd Mall locations for his 2013 festival production. FULL STORY »

New gallery committee to get no say on location

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Will the figures from the Town Council’s “survey” contradict the figures from the government’s “engagement”? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FROM LEFT: Mark Crees, Lauren Moss and Dale Wakefield this morning.


UPDATE: Fake consultation had pre-determined outcome, says Opposition. FULL STORY »

No ‘comprehensive business case’ yet for gallery

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No comprehensive business case yet for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, a spokeswoman for Dale Wakefield (pictured) admits. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gallery expert: Anzac site cannot work

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Can the Anzac precinct site be made to work? “Absolutely not in my view,” says Michael Lynch, member of the original steering committee for the National Aboriginal Art gallery and veteran arts administrator – chief executive in leading institutions, most recently the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong and previously the South Bank Centre in London, and director of the Sydney Opera House among others. He speaks to KIERAN FINNANE.

Updated 10.15am, 10 September 2018, with additional reporting of this interview. FULL STORY »

Leaving school: what are the options in Alice if you’ve got a disability?

Leaving school is a challenging time for any young person, but the future looks more limited when you have a disability, especially if your needs are high. It’s a problem around the country and Alice Springs is no exception. A A number of local schools, government departments, organisations and individuals are working together to try to change that, writes Jonathan Pilbrow.  FULL STORY »

More spin, not facts on gallery

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Ministers Wakefield (left) and Moss after “consultation” are clouding the Anzac Oval issue even further. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 8:40am: Since when does a “coffee” and a “conversation” constitute a credible scientific survey, asks Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley (at right). FULL STORY »

Beer and the tax man’s triple tipple

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It’s beer drinkers who are paying the most in alcohol tax despite imbibing a fraction of the alcohol. Why, asks Brett Heffernan, CEO, Brewers Association of Australia. FULL STORY »

Nanny state: Tennant alcohol restrictions for Alice?



Add these new restrictions to the BDR and the Alcohol Floor Price and you have the ultimate nanny state where the Gunner Government is telling us all what we can drink, how much we can drink and when we can drink it, writes Robyn Lambley, Independent Member for Araluen. FULL STORY »

Four dogs suspected poisoned with 1080

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Three died an agonising death as it appears a dog baiter – or the dog baiter – is active again. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO from the “Stop the use of 1080 poison campaign” in Menangle, NSW. FULL STORY »

$300m NT airports expansions

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility says the investment will help create up to 1,500 jobs and support the development of the NT’s export potential, particularly in agriculture. FULL STORY »

Allegations, no proof on bottlo shut-down

2564 Piggly Wiggly SMNew owners cop first police order to “suspend a licensed premises from trade for a period of not more than 48 hours” brought in on June 20, about the date when new owners took over Piggly Wiggly. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

A look across the border at our gallery rival

2574 SA gallery 1 SM“The potential flow-on from cultural tourism opportunities is more promising than ever. With worldwide tourist arrivals increasing 4% to 5% annually, the European Commission reports 40% of tourists choose destinations based on cultural offerings,” writes art commentator Cillín Perera in In Daily. Meanwhile in Alice Springs the bitter dispute about the NT Government’s preferred location is coming to the boil with the evaluation of two surveys, and the Government is stumm on whether its new gallery committee will have a say in the positioning. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Image: Artist’s impression of the proposed Adelaide gallery.

UDATED 10.47am 6 September 2018 FULL STORY »

Prof Gerritsen: We got it wrong from the start

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“We need to start thinking about fundamentals. Are we locked into a path where we can’t really change and we can’t see the alternatives?” asks the town’s top academic, CDU Professor Rolf Gerritsen. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Barry Abbott (with microphone) and leading Aboriginal people at a protest about the Whitegate camp at the eastern edge of Alice Springs. FULL STORY »

Five youths arrested after armed robbery

Man injured, robbed by two young males armed with shovels. FULL STORY »

And now, your friendly neighbourhood prison

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Tall perimeter walls, lots of CCTV cameras, windows covered in heavy mesh: All that in the middle of a residential suburb. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 3.31pm from Territory Families: It’s ‘bail support accommodation’. FULL STORY »

Six not at all Grey Nomads

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The wide open spaces is what blew them away in The Centre. They shared their adventures with ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Mineral exploration expenditure up 43% in the NT




The Resourcing the Territory initiative will further encourage exploration, including the Geophysics and Drilling Collaboration grants program, which saw a record number of applicants this year, writes Ken Vowles (pictured), Minister for Primary Industry and Resources. FULL STORY »

SA budget allocation may put paid to Alice gallery: Higgins

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The proposal for the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site is taking shape and may sound the death knell for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs, says Opposition Leader Gary Higgins. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

NATS: Petrol heads rule

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The skills, the man-hours and not in the least, the cash that locals have put into their startling creations, many beginning from no more than a rusty shell decades old, is amazing. But what can’t the government come clean on stats showing the benefit to the town’s economy? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Gallery: national reference group appointed

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A National Reference Group for the proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery has been announced. It includes significant Indigenous and local representation, among them Phillip Watkins, co-chair of the initial steering committee, and Benedict Stevens, apmereke artweye for Mparntwe.

UPDATED, 1.26pm,  4 September 2018. FULL STORY »

Crime wave by juveniles

“Unlawful entry at a bank,” assault, stealing and a firearm offence – all in a night’s work for Tennant Creek cops. FULL STORY »

Gallery: What we need to know before we spend a cent

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The government’s amateurish approach to the National Aboriginal Art Gallery is jeopardising its major project for Alice Springs, says a consultant well qualified in the area. PHOTO: World renowned Aboriginal art from Central Australia in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. FULL STORY »

Stagnant CBD; industrial land, rental shortage; houses hold

p2575 Mall empty shop 4 SMp2575 Mall empty shop 7 SMActivity in the Alice Springs CBD is basically a “moving of deckchairs”: existing tenants relocating, not a lot of new business; rents falling. This was the unsurprising but stark picture of a stagnant CBD presented to the Town Council by the Real Institute of the Northern Territory. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Anonymous donation doesn’t fix conflict of interest for council

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In what looked like an extraordinary move to head off debate on the sensitive matter of the recent reception of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Town Council CEO Rex Mooney last night announced that a “concerned ratepayer” had paid in full the cost of the reception. KIERAN FINNANE reports the debate on the politicisation of council. FULL STORY »

The gallery fiasco (continued)

2530 art gallery SMThe tender 11 days ago for a business case was a false start. Mark II is not much clearer: “Nation-building project … the first of its kind in Australia … boost to local jobs, retail, and tourism”, you get the drift. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Snouts who think their rightful place is in the trough

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Will Michael Gunner’s Territory trade delegation to China, which he describes as “one of the biggest ever,” bear more fruit than that of Marshall Perron nearly 30 years ago? ALEX NELSON asks the question, and he wonders if it is just a taxpayer funded junket for the ruling pigs as in George Orwell’s novella, Animal Farm. FULL STORY »

We need more police. True or false?

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Between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014, in NSW there was one homicide for every 51,905 people. In the NT there was one homicide for every 7424 people. FULL STORY »

Motion carried for former Prime Minister, Jacinta Price to pay for council party

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KIERAN FINNANE reports: The motion by Cr Marli Banks to charge the former Prime Minister and Cr Jacinta Price for use of the town council facilities for a party was carried a short while ago at tonight’s council meeting.


Updated 9.28pm, 27 August 2018. FULL STORY »

The NT Government’s problem with things national

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Still unresolved strife with the National Road Transport Hall of Fame means the NT Government is getting lots of practice making a mess of the proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. CEO Liz Martin (pictured) says Broken Hill is making a keen bid for what is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Alice Springs. FULL STORY »