Story Archive » Volume 25 » Issue 9 »

Police have “grave concerns” for missing man

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“Accomplished hunter” now in the fourth day missing in bushland north of Alice Springs, and in extreme heat. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE February 6: Search suspended. FULL STORY »

Man missing north of Alice Springs

Police concerned about his safety because of severe heat. FULL STORY »

Senator Scullion will not contest Federal election



“My path to public office wasn’t a conventional one,” Senator Nigel Scullion, who holds the key Aboriginal Affairs portfolio, said in a media statement today. “I was just an everyday fisherman and some time buffalo shooter and I raised my three beautiful children Sarah, Daniel and Luke on a fishing boat off the coast of Gove and North East Arnhem Land.” ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Robbed man gets empty wallet back

Alleged assailants were up to six young Indigenous women. FULL STORY »

Horses perish near Santa Teresa

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Usually reliable water hole ran dry in fierce heat, reports ROHAN SMYTH on his Facebook site. Photo by RALPH TURNER.


UPDATE January 24, 11.30pm CST

The Central Land Council, in a media release, warns of more emergency feral animal culls. FULL STORY »

Fake news, nukes & climate change: two minutes to midnight

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Nuclear, climate, and information warfare threats set the Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight, an indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe, says the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. FULL STORY »

Police drop MLA’s trespassing charge

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“It is embarrassing for any citizen to be removed from a public event by the police. Understandably I will be seeking an apology from the Member for Katherine, Sandra Nelson, for her actions,” writes Bruce Francais (pictured), of Katherine. FULL STORY »

Billen’s family: Make telling hotel where you trek mandatory

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Family of perished tourist Monika Billen (pictured) thank searchers and make suggestions about forestalling tragedies. FULL STORY »

Tourist perished: Has Coroner’s recommendation been followed?

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“This tragedy illustrates that systems such as signage and fencing can fail. The purpose of having backup systems is that failure of one does not necessarily result in tragedy.” That was a comment on November 26 last year by Judge Greg Cavanagh in his Coronial report about Wilfried Thor and Gisela Thor (pictured) who perished at Threphina Gorge. Five weeks later, possibly on January 2 this year, Monika Billen was dead in similar circumstances. The government and the industry are not answering questions – so far – put to them by the Alice Springs News Online. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Miners are spreading myths, says environmentalist

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“The mining industry are not the economic saviours that they make themselves out to be. They employ a small proportion of the NT workforce and are consistently propped up by government subsidies, while only ever offering boom and bust cycles of economic activity,” writes Jimmy Cocking (pictured), CEO of the Arid Lands Environment Centre. FULL STORY »

When good news breeds more

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A former mediator in Nepal’s brutal civil war applies some lessons learned in troubled Central Australian communities. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

End of search for Monika Billen

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Body found under a tree believed to be that of the German tourist. (Online image).


UPDATE January 17, 3:40pm


The Coroner has confirmed this afternoon that the body found is that of Monika Billen. The The Alice Springs News staff conveys its most sincere condolences to her family and friends. FULL STORY »

Fiscal emergency: Get rid of Ministers, says Opposition

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In 2012 we inherited a net debt of $3.5 billion. By 2016, we had reduced that to $1.8 billion. Now it’s projected to be $35.7 billion in 2029/30: Gary Higgins (pictured). FULL STORY »

Totem Theatre: New blood, new ceiling

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Building renovations after last year’s Les Miserables success will set the scene for the terrible wrath of The Woman in Black, writes Lisa-Marie Burgoyne, Publicity Officer for Totem Theatre / Alice Springs Theatre Group. FULL STORY »

Missing German woman ‘off the beaten path for many years’

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“We fear that Monika has had an accident or has become the victim of a violent crime,” write members of her family in Cologne in a plea for information. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo of Ms Billen provided by her family. FULL STORY »

Government offered council up to $5m for Anzac Oval




But the deal may be never go ahead because Chief Minister Michael Gunner has announced “consideration will need to be given to the future” of the National Aboriginal Art Gallery for which the oval was needed. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Treasurer Nicole Manison. FULL STORY »

NT tourism turbocharger out of gas as Feds eye off Kakadu

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The Gunner Government’s “turbocharging” isn’t doing much for the tourism in The Centre but both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten are pledging hundreds of millions for Kakadu (pictured) as the Federal election campaign is heading for the sharp end. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Starting young in multi-culturalism

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The world meets in an Alice holiday program. FULL STORY »

Drug dog sniffs out grog runners

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Half a tonne of booze destroyed should bring relief from domestic violence, say police. FULL STORY »

National Indigenous Art Gallery future in doubt: Gunner

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The Chief Minister claims the government’s preferred site would “deliver significant economic, social and cultural benefits” although there is still no business plan. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Traditional owners unite to dump Anzac as gallery site

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10 senior traditional owners, including Benedict Stevens, reject the site in a letter to the Town Council while Treasurer Nicole Manison has made an offer to buy Anzac Oval from the council. By ERWIN CHLANDA and KIERAN FINNANE. FULL STORY »

Mystery deepens about lost German woman

2601 German map SM2601 Vicary SMThe search for German woman Monika Billen cycled back to the tourism precinct. Initially reported as last seen on New Year’s Day, she went to Emily Gap and the following day got a lift back to Alice Springs. Then she disappeared on January 2, a few hundred meters from her hotel in Barrett Drive. The full scale police search is continuing. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


See UPDATE January 13.



Community group pledged to save Darwin

The time for whinging is over. We have identified that things aren’t working and it’s now time for intelligent talk, creative thinking and most of all, action, write Ange Grose and Don Harding. FULL STORY »

10 kids loose in a car: Big fine

Police also arrested and charged a woman alleging she was drunk and drove an unregistered car without a license. FULL STORY »

2018 was hot and dry

Collectively across all locations within the Northern Territory, maximum temperatures were the second highest on record, says the Bureau of Metereology. FULL STORY »

German woman, 62, may be lost in the bush

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Monika Billen (pictured) had her “last physical sighting” nine days ago, was reported missing yesterday. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 4.30pm

Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said Ms Billen was due to catch a plane to Darwin on January 5 but did not do so. The search at the moment is in the area near The Gap and the Todd River bed, using drones, while rangers are searching parks, including the Larapinta Trail. There were no suspicions of foul play “at this stage but we will pursue all lines of enquiries”. FULL STORY »

Politics by social media happy snaps

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Still no answers from Federal, Territory treasurers on the Territory fiscal crisis. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Alice environmentalist is VP for Conservation Foundation

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Jimmy Cocking (pictured) says he will maintain focus on Town Council responsibilities. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Bid to keep Rock climb open by heritage listing

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An historic film of a senior traditional custodian on top of Ayers Rock (now renamed Uluru) is presented as an argument for allowing the continued climbing of the monolith. Book author Marc Hendrickx is also applying for additional heritage listing of several features, including the climb, which is due to be closed by the Aboriginal owners in October. The author says the closing may violate the 1987 listing of the park. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

NT should become the Switzerland of the Southern Hemisphere

2601 Kelvin McCann SM2601 Singapore SMThe Northern Territory is part of a country that does not assassinate its leaders, has a democratic system of electing leadership, and appears to other countries in the Asia Pacific region as a stable place. For Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Indonesians, amongst others, to safely bank private fortunes away from their own turbulent economies is just what they need, writes KELVIN McCANN (pictured). He deplores that the NT Government is turning a deaf ear to suggestions of capitalising on these opportunities. At right: Singapore is making it happen. FULL STORY »

The financial crisis in the Northern Territory




Veteran NT public servant and former chairman of the NT Grants Commission BOB BEADMAN explains the roots of the crisis, argues for a needs-based GST distribution in relation to Indigeneity and makes some sharp observations on NT Budget processes. FULL STORY »

GST slice-up rooted in historic wrongs

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As growing numbers of people identify as Aboriginal in the Census, what is the case for treating First Australians as a separate group? ERWIN CHLANDA asked Bob Beadman to comment. PHOTO Alice Sprigs News Online: White man in the gutter in Sydney tonight – no monopoly on trouble for Aboriginal people. FULL STORY »

Prosecute firebugs, say cattlemen

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Dob them in, say pastoralists, and they also call for action on lack of fire management on non-pastoral leases: “There is no point us doing what we can but our neighbours aren’t,” writes Ashley Manicaros, CEO of the NT Cattlemen’s Association. FULL STORY »

Alice has hottest day on record

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And Kintore has the hottest overnight temperature ever recorded in the Northern Territory. AT LEFT: Cooler weather later this week? AT RIGHT: BoM temperature graph for December 29.    FULL STORY »

Electricity, water supply, dunny: all home made

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Self-sufficiency is the motto for an artist’s family in the NSW mountain region with links to The Centre. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: A terraced garden at the rear of the mud brick home. FULL STORY »

Police seek information after attacks on two women

Both men are alleged to have been armed with knives. One attempted sexual assault. FULL STORY »

Charlie & Di, two man gold squad, biggest earthquake

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30 years later the 1988 Cabinet papers are made public, writes LAUREN MOSS, Minister for Tourism and Culture. FULL STORY »

NT a ‘failed state’? Too harsh, said Perron … a year ago

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“What state has not experienced political scandal, claims of corruption, incompetent Ministers, revolving door leadership and wasted taxpayers’ money?” This was former Chief Minister MARSHALL PERRON’s (ABC photo at left) personal perspective on self government in the Territory when he addressed CDU last year. FULL STORY »

Gunner not the best Chief Minister we can have: McConnell

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How the fiscal fiasco unfolded. EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Member for Stuart, Scott McConnell (pictured), speaks with ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Suddenly everyone is talking about 1Territory




The 1Territory Party is joining the fray, all guns blazing, sensing a golden opportunity as the government in Darwin and both the government and the opposition in Canberra are tight-lipped over the fiscal fiasco in the NT. ERWIN CHLANDA speaks with party president Braedon Earley (pictured). FULL STORY »

The forgotten lesson: Take tough decisions now or borrow against tomorrow into unmanageable debt

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ALEX NELSON has a very current take on this quote: “People who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it.” Except things were not nearly as bad in Marshall Perron’s day. FULL STORY »

Vowles, McConnell and Collins dumped from Caucus

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“They were dismissed for breaking the Caucus values and standards signed up to at the beginning of our term,” says Chief Minister Michael Gunner (pictured). FULL STORY »

‘Cannibalising’ Vowles is childish, says CLP




“Ken Vowles had the guts to stand by his convictions and acknowledge Labor has led the Territory into dangerous, unchartered waters,” writes Opposition Leader Gary Higgins (pictured). FULL STORY »

Woman seriously injured: call for witnesses

She was found by members of the public in South Terrace. FULL STORY »

Treasurers meet on NT fiscal crisis: No offers from Canberra

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How does the NT Government intend to get their budget back on track? That was the question Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (at left) asked his Territory counterpart, Nicole Manison, after crisis talks over the Territory fiscal crisis this week. A bail-out clearly has not been offered by the Feds. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

A break-in with a very happy ending

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A 97-year-old war hero and his wife are showered with kindness by a community with a big heart. Story and pictures from the police Facebook page. FULL STORY »

Children in care management system to cost $229m


The massive expenditure will go ahead despite fiscal crisis, says Acting Families Minister Ken Vowles (at right). Meanwhile Tourism and Culture Minister Lauren Moss (at left) defends financial support for drag racing with bogus crowd figures, and says the Aboriginal art gallery and the new rugby fields will go ahead. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


CORRECTION December 19:

The $66.9m funding for the Client Management System Alignment is part of the Territory Labor Government’s $229m response to the Royal Commission.  FULL STORY »

Taxi seized after taking liquor to dry area

Male driver and female passenger were issued infringement notices. FULL STORY »

Fire management inadequate to non-existent: ALEC



“It is a management issue where resources have not been made available for Parks to do the buffel management that is necessary,” says ALEC CEO Jimmy Cocking about the devastating fire in the iconic West MacDonnell National Park last month. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Loki strikes again

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Police dog Loki (pictured) has been instrumental in arrests of four suspects after two car thefts. Google him on this site! FULL STORY »

West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist



Fire mapping in 2018 indicates only one or two areas of prescribed burning during the cool months last year, insufficient to prevent the catastrophic bushfire which has swept through most of the West MacDonnell National Park last month, says the CDU’s Andrew Edwards. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Fire in Ormiston Gorge. FULL STORY »

Manison: No slash and burn approach to fiscal emergency




“We need to get the best value for every dollar we spend and we need to create local jobs. We also need to ensure the Commonwealth Government are on board and understand our challenges so we can get the best deal for the NT,” says Treasurer Nicole Manison (pictured). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Adelaide’s Indigenous gallery out of the starting blocks

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A $60m project that “will be the first of its kind in Australia and will … attract both national and international attention” reports the independent online newspaper In Daily today. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

The Territory is broke

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The government is spending $4m a day more than it receives. Reorganising how the public sector operates, enforcing greater discipline around meeting budget targets at the agency level, interim help from Canberra and in five years’ time, gas, some of it fracked, may save our bacon. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Graph: Gunner’s government continued to increase spending despite the INPEX writing on the wall. FULL STORY »

Mines near Alice moving to join major Oz exporters

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Hopeful producers of tungsten and rare earths pleased with exploration results and are finding high demand as resources make up 72% of the nation’s exports in 2018. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo shows tungsten outcrop. FULL STORY »

‘Greatest financial disaster’ threat to credit rating

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Manison sacked Territory Generation board for “a significant deterioration in its financial performance” then presided over the “greatest financial disaster the Territory has ever seen,” says Robyn Lambley (pictured). FULL STORY »

The stolen child who went to university

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After an odyssey in homes for taken-away children, Joe Croft excelled at school and became Australia’s first Aboriginal to enter university. He is pictured with Charlie Perkins, right, the first Indigenous person to graduate from an Australian university. By JOHN P McD SMITHPart Two of a series. FULL STORY »

Benedict Stevens happy to talk about gallery location

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No longer making his case behind closed doors, Benedict Stevens today fronted local media at the Totem Theatre (picture by EDAN BAXTER), next-door to the Anzac Oval, which plays a major role in the project smitten by unending controversy. FULL STORY »

Another notch putting The Rock ahead of Alice

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A loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility will supplement funding for upgrading the Ayers Rock Resort airport, including runway lighting “supporting future night flights,” and staff accommodation. By ERWIN CHLANDA. Google Earth image.


UPDATE 2.10pm and 4.35pm
NAIF has also “conditionally approved” a $150m loan to Northern Territory Airports Pty Ltd for its Darwin and Alice Springs airports. FULL STORY »

Human rights, centre stage

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Two Central Australian winners of NT Human Rights Awards talk to KIERAN FINNANE about what human rights mean in the context of their work.

UPDATED, 11.35 am, 13 December 2018. FULL STORY »

Government fails to protect major tourism asset

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The West MacDonnell Ranges have now been ravaged by fire for the third time in two decades: Fire scientist Peter Latz (pictured) says the NT Government isn’t spending enough money on precautionary burns during the winter, leaving a catastrophic fuel load for the hot months. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Much less drunken violence an early Christmas present

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Domestic Violence presentations to the Emergency Department are down a massive 87%, which is the largest impact on this major problem we have seen, writes PAAC’s Dr John Boffa. FULL STORY »

Indecent assault, home invasions

A bicycle rider intervened as a 15-year-old girl is alleged to have been indecently assaulted by a man of Aboriginal appearance at about 3pm yesterday afternoon, say police. FULL STORY »

Youth crime operation not enough, curfew needed: Lambley

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Families Minister Dale Wakefield (at left) has put a number on “high risk young people” namely “up to 30”. MLA for Araluen Robyn Lambley (at right) says Operation Cradle is a fizzer. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Health group: Judge them by what they do, not what they say

25107 AMSANT pic OKA multi-million dollar health organisation withholds information on a syphilis outbreak, and  claims it is making about staff said to be in peril because police protection is absent or inadequate. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Image from the AMSANT annual report. FULL STORY »

Don’t mess with our treasures, says Alice

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The Pioneer Walk-In Picture Theatre is the last of its kind in the Territory. ALEX NELSON recalls battles – some won, some lost – to save places imbued with stories and memories. Now the true believers are gathering again to protect one of the few that are left. Photo: Dark clouds – true to form in The Centre made from red dust, not water – gather when hapless pollies or greedy developers are trying to get their hands on one of the town’s treasures. FULL STORY »

Rest and Reflection

Welcome to the Rest and Reflection period of the year in the Alice Springs News Online. We’ll keep up with the major news but our focus, till the end of January, will be on comment pieces from thoughtful locals, celebrating our town’s strengths and proposing remedies for its weaknesses.

Keep your readers’ comments coming. We moderate them several times a day. FULL STORY »

Labor government increased NT deficit by a factor of 18

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Opposition Leader Gary Higgins (pictured) says the NT Government “should own up to having a problem”. He says the CLP left Labor a $78m deficit. At the reported current deficit of $1.4 billion, that is 18 times as much. FULL STORY »

Not us and them. Just us, says Cr Melky.

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The town has a new slogan and a new group, both called “Safe Alice Springs”. It is taking the problem “to the people, where the power is”. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Make September 8 Australia Day, anthem in Pitjantjatjara

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Bring the remains of Matthew Flinders (at right) to Australia as a hero in Australian history, and rename Australia Day Foundation Day, suggests singer and historian TED EGAN (at left). FULL STORY »

Red Tape still strangling Alice icon

25104 Liz Martin counter SM25104 Liz Martin truck 3 SMWhile the NT Government flounders with its proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery, it continues to strangle with Red Tape an iconic institution that has been putting Alice on the map for decades, brings thousands of visitors into town, earns just under $2m year after year, is run mostly by volunteers and doesn’t cost the taxpayer a cent. EXCLUSIVE by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Planning another plan

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The entrée served this week is dodging the hard questions. Alice can only hope the main course will not give us indigestion. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.



Anger mounting over closing of Rock climb

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“Here’s hoping that logic and reason win out and the proposed ban is lifted so millions more can join the seven million or so who have already climbed to the summit of this grand sandstone monolith that lies at the heart of our country,” writes actor Marc Hendrickx. PHOTO: Paddy Uluru (Quadrant magazine). FULL STORY »

Kids from The Alice: When Malcolm met Menzies

2602 St Francis (Cooper 1) SMOur new series about high achievers from The Centre begins with the story of Malcolm Cooper who headed up a group of activists instrumental in the historic 1967 Referendum. He is pictured third from right, with a delegation of Aboriginal representatives who met with Prime Minister Robert Menzies in 1963. The author of this series, MARK J SMITH, is the grandson of Father Percy Smith who was the first resident Anglican priest in Alice Springs from 1933 and founder, with his wife Isabel, of St Francis’ House, home for Aboriginal children. FULL STORY »

One house break-in, four cars stolen

The Eastside was the location of multiple thefts as well as assaults on supermarket staff, police report.


UPDATE Dec 1.30pm: Three arrested after alleged assaults in an Eastside supermarket. FULL STORY »

Council listens to traditional owners on Anzac Oval

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The Town Council unanimously affirms community ownership of Anzac Oval, refusing the NT Government’s offer to buy, after considering a resolute letter from traditional owners who want the town to get a National Aboriginal Art Gallery – but not in the Anzac precinct. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Police dog assaulted

“Loki was able to regain control and successfully resolve the situation without further escalation,” says the police release. “The male was taken into custody.” FULL STORY »

NT and SA amalgamation: Would they have us?

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Centralia? Santasia? Whatever you call it, is it ever going to happen? ALEX NELSON looks at a long and inconclusive debate as the debt-ridden Territory becomes less attractive by the minute to its southern neighbour. PHOTO: A good indicator of South Australia’s lack of interest is the disgraceful state of the rest areas along its section of the Stuart Highway, the major road link between the two. FULL STORY »

Former gallery advisor scathing about its planners

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“I just don’t feel the people on this project know what they are doing,” says Michael Lynch (pictured) a veteran arts administrator and CEO of major cultural institutions in Australia, the UK and Hong Kong. EXCLUSIVE by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Horses to be culled, dead ones left for sun to ‘do its work’

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Management plans will be drawn up seeking to prevent “horses and other feral animals … dying of thirst and hunger because water sources are depleted and overpopulation has led to erosion and vegetation loss,” says the Central Land Council. FULL STORY »

Alice children’s project gets $5m+ from Feds

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The unique, long-term project, called Children’s Ground, works to surround children with safe, loving and trauma-free environments, based on a strong cultural foundation. FULL STORY »

Voices from the deep Centre loud and clear in the big cities

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The originality of metal music from the desert breaks through on an east coast tour. It’s more than sound, it’s history, it’s pain, and a challenge thrown down for the present. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Video by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Council CEO Rex Mooney to retire in July next year

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He is the longest serving local government CEO in the Northern Territory and the longest serving Alice Springs Town Council CEO. FULL STORY »

Make Oz Day a celebration of the future, not the past




We have other holidays for the past, Anzac Day being the main one, writes Hal Duell (pictured). FULL STORY »

Aboriginal gallery: rushed business case yet immediate start?

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Some Open Questions to Tourism Central Australia, whose chairperson Dale McIver (pictured) is clamouring for an immediate start to the National Aboriginal Art Gallery. It will cost the taxpayer at least $50m and some estimate up to $500m, not including operational costs. A national accountancy firm was given just five weeks to draw up a  “Comprehensive” Business Case.  ERWIN CHLANDA puts questions to Ms McIver and the government and gets no answers.


UPDATE 10.08am December 4: Statement from Dr Crees; editor’s note about deadlines in the tender documents. FULL STORY »

Firm ‘no’ from PM, Scullion to bailing out ‘bankrupt’ Territory

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“I mean, there comes a time when these guys have got to do their own heavy lifting,” says Scott Morrison. “I don’t think it’s the Commonwealth’s job – and Commonwealth taxpayers’ – to pay for the mismanagement of state or territory governments.” ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Cattlemen get their day in court over live export ban




“It was not just the farmers that endured losses – it was contractors, employees and local communities that were devastated by the Government’s ban,” says NT Cattlemen’s Association former CEO and facilitator of the class action, Tracey Hayes (pictured), in a media statement. FULL STORY »

Our big achievers give Oz Day its special meaning

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Their acknowledgement makes January 26 a day to remember. Pictured: Sydney (Syd) George Kinsman. FULL STORY »

Remove religious exemption, says COGSO

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There is no good faith in exempting religious schools and allowing them to refuse enrolment, expel students or sack school staff based on their sexuality, writes Tabby Fudge, (pictured) President of the Northern Territory Council of Government School Organisations. FULL STORY »

GST billions yet we’re still the basket case

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Huge GST bonuses for big Indigenous population and remoteness aren’t saving the Territory from record deficit, and haven’t stopped its government from ruinous borrowing. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Change at the helm of the Central Land Council

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A senior Federal public servant, Joe Martin-Jard (pictured) will become the chief executive officer of the Central Land Council. FULL STORY »

Australia Day: Alice’s role in it

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While our country endures another round of self-flagellation over the suitability of January 26 as Australia’s national day, it will probably surprise many to learn that Alice Springs and the Northern Territory played prominent roles in the history of this public holiday. ALEX NELSON reports. Photo: Dominant Folk Society performers (Evans, Barford, Balfour and Foran) founded their band “Bloodwood” (pictured) and were part of the local Oz Day debate. FULL STORY »

Happy Birthday, Auntie, and good luck for the next 70.

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The lady helping to bring Alice to its people and the world has turned 70. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Local ABC Chief of Staff Rick Hind with the birthday cake. At left, taking a photo, is Ren Kelly, who has a long-time connection with Radio 8HA / SUN FM. Stewart Brash is in the centre, broadcasting live. Dave Crowe provided music for the birthday party. FULL STORY »

Custodians decline meeting with council on gallery

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They say their position has already been made clear, reiterating in a letter today that the family group “fully support” the National Aboriginal Art gallery being built in Alice Springs, but “at a culturally appropriate site” that does not include Anzac Oval. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

1 Territory too fixed on opposition to fracking: Lambley

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They want to form a new political party to “make the Territory great again” says Independent MLA Robyn Lambley (at left). She has teamed up with Terry Mills (at right). ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Central Arrernte formalise alliance

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Central Arrernte Alliance Aboriginal Corporation aims to “assist in the relief of poverty, sickness, destitution, helplessness, distress, suffering, and misfortune, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, through the process of supporting social and economic development”. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Updated, 25 January 2019, 11.36 am. FULL STORY »

80% of seniors want “return to legalised assisted dying”

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Ms Shearer says 82% of seniors feel very safe or relatively safe in their communities, survey finds. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: COTA CEO Sue Shearer. FULL STORY »

Mayor Ryan, CM Gunner mum on art gallery

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Mayor Damien Ryan (at left) won’t say whether he is supporting 10 traditional owners on the national art gallery issue, and CM Michael Gunner (at right) won’t say what – if anything – has resulted from his “consideration” of the project. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Parliamentary committee endorses a First Nations Voice

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In its final report to the Australian Parliament, the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples has endorsed the central proposal made in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. FULL STORY »

Tassie’s flash MONA embraces Metal from The Centre

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Listening to metal music from the desert was a well-received contrast for the mostly affluent-looking patrons at Hobart’s MONA gallery, reports RAINER CHLANDA. Photo of Southeast lead guitarist Gavin Hayes by Duncan Giblin. FULL STORY »

No cops, no clinics

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The withdrawal of police from bush communities is leading to the closure of health clinics because they cannot comply with occupational health and safety laws, says AMSANT. Remote Haasts Bluff is one of the areas affected (Google Earth photo). FULL STORY »

Air race re-enactment government’s latest financial folly

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The NT Government, reeling under the Territory’s gravest ever financial crisis, is putting $400,000 into a venture managed in a way World Solar challenge founder Hans Tholstrup says makes no sense whatsoever: The Great Air Race. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: The Vickers Vimy which was the first aircraft to be flown from London to Darwin, 100 years ago.



Safeguarding the Space for ground-up cultural expression

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And why we should push back at top-down approaches of successive NT governments and their agencies, responding to economic drivers. KIERAN FINNANE reflects on the year not quite passed. FULL STORY »

Distant government, frustrated council and community

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Government plans “exclusive of any meaningful consultation with the community affected by the proposal.” As the year draws to a close these words summed up the local political picture: a distant government holding the purse strings, calling the shots and seemingly incapable of either listening to or communicating frankly with the people and their local representatives. KIERAN FINNANE reports from last night’s council meeting.

Updated 11.42 am, 28 November 2018, Minister’s reply. FULL STORY »

Mayoral temper flares over accountability




Should councillors’ assets remain secret? The council thinks so. Yet the assets of Federal Parliamentarians are online for all to see. Damien Ryan (pictured) claims his income has been misrepresented. He speaks with ERWIN CHLANDA also about flood mitigation, the gallery, and the council’s apparently limited aspirations to be heard by the NT Government. FULL STORY »

Business index shows NT to be least confident

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Small and medium business confidence second lowest for all times. Worst was the NT in March, writes Opposition Leader Gary Higgins. FULL STORY »

Birth registrations Bill: How many genders are there?

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“Changing any information on a birth certificate means it is not a true and accurate record of a birth, and by literal definition is not a birth certificate,” writes Robyn Lambley, Independent Member for Araluen. FULL STORY »

Reverse discrimination: Views differ in the NT and the US

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Affirmative action in the US remains hotly debated while over here the one-sided allocation of public money is done without hesitation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Protesters at a demonstration against Harvard University’s admissions process. Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg/Getty Images. FULL STORY »

Voice to Parliament: Scandinavia can do it, why not Australia?

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As Australia waits for the release of the latest report on constitutional recognition for First Australians, we hear from NIKLAS LABBA on the development of Sámi parliaments in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, a history that is already six decades old. The Sámi people are the Indigenous people of Sápmi in northern Scandinavia. Mr Labba grew up in a Sámi reindeer herding family and is now Academic Director of the Centre for Sámi Studies at the University of Tromsø – Artic University of Norway. FULL STORY »

November rain double the average already

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And more to come. The good news is that many of the waterholes are full, including this one in the Todd, just upstream from the Telegraph Station. FULL STORY »

Proposal to end the code of conduct charade

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Complaints must first be made to the relevant council: Proposed changes to the Local Government Act. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: The 13th Council during its inauguration in 2017: The smiles faded this year over code of conduct allegations. FULL STORY »

Now $90m earmarked for Aboriginal gallery

2599 Aboriginal Art Directory SMp2411 Lauren Moss presser 150A surprise a minute with the town’s biggest project on the drawing board. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.  Arts Minister Lauren Moss is pictured with Namatjira MLA Chansey Paech and Phillip Watkins, CEO of Desart.


UPDATE: Minister Moss provided a statement at 5.17pm, explaining the role of the two galleries. FULL STORY »

Code of conduct allegations ‘vexatious, frivolous’ – councillor

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Councillor Jimmy Cocking (pictured) is speaking out about a code of conduct process on which there are finally some findings. It dates back to an event in January this year, has been conducted in secrecy, into allegations not publicly disclosed, made by a person still unknown and investigated by a government appointed committee whose membership has been kept secret. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE 5.28pm: Department answers questions from the Alice Springs News Online – well, some of them. FULL STORY »

Scholarships of up to $60,000 for Aboriginal students

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$15,000 a year for “Aboriginal Territorians who want to pursue a career in education” announced by Minister for Education Selena Uibo (pictured) this morning. FULL STORY »

Government to spend $67m on youth database

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The NT Government is spending nearly $67m on a “Client Management System Alignment program … providing a 360 degree view of a child”. That is $33,333 per child, using number of children, 2007, whose families received family support casework services in 2026-17. Meanwhile social media posts reflect public frustration. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA. FULL STORY »

Top committee grapples with tourism development in the North



More than 17 million tourists visiting Northern Australia in 2014/15 and spending 10 billion dollars is a fact that could be expected to send the pulse rate up a notch or two. But despite its stirring title, “Northern Horizons – Unleashing Our Tourism Potential”, the Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia report, at least judging by its chapter six, is short on excitement, specific initiatives and detail that could further crank up the industry. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Go north, young man

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Just 5% of Australia’s population living in the top half the nation’s land mass are producing 60% of its exports. ERWIN CHLANDA reports from a Northern Australia Development and Trade presentation this morning. FULL STORY »

Questions raised about Alice kids in Don Dale during riot

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10 Alice Springs children were in Don Dale during the riot. Had procedures been followed in their transfer from Alice Springs? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: ABC TV News Darwin.

UPDATE 2:30pm November 13: Statement from Territory Families.

UPDATE November 17: Comment from youth worker. FULL STORY »

Deputy Mayor Paterson: Don’t stop now!

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Gullies, creekbed and scrub – the Alice Springs Town Council should be strutting its stuff. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA FULL STORY »

Air traffic: Looking down on Alice

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Qantas flights: What’s good for The Rock is less than half as good for The Alice. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.


UPDATE Nov 15 Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon says changes to the Qantas and Jetstar network are at the expense of Territorians in Central Australia.


Syphilis outbreak: More resources needed

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The current combined action of governments and the community controlled sector must be supported by sufficient resources to end this longstanding and damaging outbreak, says the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance. Image: Lesions of secondary syphilis on tongue. FULL STORY »

Boomerang Fred’s long distance love affair with The Centre

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Austrian optometrist Alfred Pruckner has just made another holiday visit to The Centre, the most recent ones with his wife Erika after getting married a few years ago. Is he The Centre’s most experienced and passionate ambassador in Europe? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Discussions are nice but actions are needed

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What we really need is to end emissions from fossil fuels, get to zero net emissions within 12 years and go 100% renewable, writes Hayley Michener, from Repower Alice Springs. Photo by Thomas Hafeneth on Unsplash. FULL STORY »

More government handouts for alcohol traders

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The Alcohol Secure Grants Program provide grants “to create a physical barrier to liquor supplies [including] security windows and doors, internal and external roller doors,” says Police Minister Nicole Manison. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: Police Auxiliary Liquor Inspector Sam Joseph outside an Alice Springs bottle shop. FULL STORY »

Coles Mural: Government, Heritage Council fall silent

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Minster Lauren Moss has the legal power to overrule the Heritage Council (and she did), but does she have the moral right? This is one of the questions asked in a lively debate in the Alice Springs News Online that fell on deaf ears. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Coop’s Shot Tower in Melbourne – an example of how other jurisdictions celebrate their heritage. FULL STORY »