Alice Springs native title body in turmoil again


p2322-Ken-Lechleitner-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
Getting a slice of town council rates, being the controlling body of the proposed Indigenous cultural centre, charging the Power Water Corporation 5% of the value for works in Alice Springs and transferring ownership of public housing to its tenants – these are apparently proposals for the local native title organisation, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC).
Although the text is mostly difficult to understand, the proposals are contained in a 49 page “strategic plan” written by the Executive Office Manager of LAAC, Ken Lechleitner (pictured), who also runs a consultancy, Two-ilpa Bi-Cultural Consultancy. Mr Lechleitner, who speaks a number of Aboriginal languages as well as English, is often called upon in the community to interpret and mediate. He has been a legal educator for CAALAS and undertook a community liaison role for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.
Disaffected members of LAAC provided Alice Springs News Online with a copy of the plan, dated November 2015, on condition that they not be named. They claim that Mr Lechleitner had no mandate to write the report, for which they say he has been paid handsomely.
They also say that his appointment was invalid because the meeting deciding it did not have a quorum.
They say a complaint has been made to the Anti Discrimination Commission, and a trespass order has been taken out against some members.
It is clear that the three moieties making up LAAC, Antulye, Irlpme and Mparntwe, (which the report abbreviates as AIMs), have again entered a phase of bitter conflict similar to when Daryl Pearce ran the organisation (google our stories on this site).
Mr Lechleitner did not respond to requests for comment from the Alice Springs News Online.  A staff member, answering the Lhere Artepe office number, quizzed the News on our sources (whom we did not disclose), said she would pass our message on to Mr Lechleitner, then said “we can’t give any statements” before hanging up.
This means we have been unable to discuss the exact meaning of his plan, due to be in force for two years, and we are here publishing extracts verbatim.
The recommendations include:–
“LAAC to seek ownership of all Housing Commission dwelling to transfer ownership, to all current Housing Commission tenants. LAAC to establish joint rates arrangement with Alice Springs Town Council.”
“LAAC to also establish MOU or Contract with PAWA about a levy of 5% to any future PAWA construction works.”
“LAAC to develop and Regional volunteer work for the Dole Scheme in building your own homes for participants.”
“LAAC to establish more ILUA [Indigenous Land Use Agreements] to stimulate revenue possibilities for its own organisation and its members.”
(The photo below right shows the Mt Johns Valley, location of a real estate development fiasco involving Lhere Artepe following an ILUA.)
“LAAC to participate in all other Committee and subcommittee in the development of this Alice Springs region.”
“LAAC to opens up new sub-divisions for future revenue and food production areas.”
p2322-Mt-Johns“LAAC to participate in Civil Construction planning and have an influencing decision making, in shaping this Town and its population  growth.”
“The business partnership together present a whole new outlook, because, it can develop and design the way forward in all reconciliatory notion of contractual arrangement between people work together to meet a common shared outcome. With invested interest in each other’s presents now and well into the future.”
Where are our stories going to be kept? asks the plan. An MOU “with CLC and Strehlow Research Centre and the Desert People Centre to have own storage space. Or simply select your own area of land to become the storage site for both Females and Males. The other option is to negotiate hard with Northern Territory Government in regards to getting the Cultural Centre set up here and LAAC has a managing role that will select stakeholders by contract to do the work on their behalf.”
“Where is our ceremony ground of the future? Currently there is nothing selected for this but there are places used incognito according to cultural discreetness. But in going forward the need to flag the area is a must to ensure such place is keep for its purpose in the future. Otherwise is can run the risk of being compulsorily acquired.”
“The one other option is to use the land that LAAC has current ILUA over the Desert Knowledge Precent, so therefore have opportunity to develop New LAAC Headquarters and still use the current location as meeting place for all the AIM’s to use in the evening for their meetings.”
“Where are the selected sites for our ceremonies to take place? The need for AIM’s Estate Groups and its members to secure own land for future use and development, need to be chose soon and work towards developing it.”
A response from Mr Lechleitner will be published if and when it comes to hand.


  1. “LAAC to seek ownership of all Housing Commission dwelling to transfer ownership, to all current Housing Commission tenants.”
    “LAAC to establish joint rates arrangement with Alice Springs Town Council.”
    Yet more cream-skimming exercises ?
    Loss of half the council rates to LAAC is likely impact Alice Springs Town Council capabilities.
    Are these just thought bubbles about how to divert actual property ownership to this alternate corporate beneficiary?
    Will standard NT tenancy laws apply to these corporate landlords?
    Existing ownership transfers of housing from Housing Commission to applicant tenants need be expanded, not reduced.
    NT Government needs more transfers of ownership to suitable applicant tenants.

  2. Lhere Artepe has been and always will be dysfunctional while it continues to hold meetings and make decisions without including or getting final approval from apmereke-artweye and kwetungurle.

  3. I foresee an interesting court case coming out of any Alice Springs Town Council decision to allocate a portion of our rates to a separate body that by by its own admission does not act for the benefit or in the interests of all Alice residents.
    As I understand it, town camp residents do not pay council rates.
    If that is true, perhaps Mr Lechleitner would be better advised to propose that Lhere Artepe, or at least that portion of it that he controls, levy their own rates on those camps for the benefit of their residents.

  4. How embarrassing. There should be a vote of no confidence in the chair for letting this happen. I wonder if she knows what the so called business plan is and suppose to represent.

  5. Is this an April Fools joke? Bit late but a good joke anyway!
    I believe the current chair of LAAC does not even live in the area and has not for quite some years.

  6. @ Shamejob: There should be a no confidence vote against the chair anyway because if you are not a yes person then your opinion is not welcome or even acknowledged. If you have a different opinion to the chair then you are a troublemaker – no negotiations entered into. Full stop!

  7. Crabs in a pot. Ken is no longer working there. The members, some of them recently in front of others, in full view, said they wanted a white bloke to run the organisation, not a Aboriginal person.
    An anti-discrimination case on the way!
    Ken is the most honest person among the lot of them, and was just having a go trying to fix something that refuses to be fixed.
    He was paid poorly, badgered daily by so called traditional owners, undermined and belittled.
    Take them to court, Ken.
    To those out there who think Aboriginal people care for each other, and are respectful and caring: It’s all bullshit.

  8. Hal: Lhere Artepe was not set up to look after town campers. It was set up to look after the interests of native titleholders of untulye, irlpme and mparntwe.
    That’s just a few families descended from the original owners of these places. Most town campers are from elsewhere.
    Mind you, I think quite a few Lhere Artepe members have somehow got themselves on the books despite having little or no connection to these places.
    Shamejob: There has been a vote of no confidence in the whole organisation by the senior custodians who are not shown the appropriate respect and rarely if ever consulted.
    They have watched the organisation ready to destroy any sacred site for the same of a few dollars. The government loves Lhere Artepe, it makes it easy to get any development approved – just wave a few dollars at the right (wrong) people and away you go.
    The government knows the organisation is flawed but consulting them gets the government off the hook.
    If it goes wrong it is Lhere Artepe’s fault. I’ve seen government minister laughing at how they play this system. Complete shamejob. But those power brokers in Lhere Artepe have no shame.

  9. LAAC to seek ownership of all Housing Commission dwellings: Does that mean all whites have to leave town and does that mean LAAC are prepared to pay the governments for these dwellings and maintain them?
    NT Housing already has a method of tenants buying their own places – however anyone with any commonsense will not buy somewhere unless it is in good condition and not just damage covered up.
    Houses should be independently checked before being bought.

  10. Erwin forgot to mention that Ken Lechleitner is also a mate of David Kriss on the Yipirinya School board.

  11. Please forgive my ignorance, but can LAAC please advise who their chairperson is and who allowed or consulted Ken’s consultancy to put forward these ridiculous requests.
    Shame job is an understatement.
    The chairperson and CEO have got to pull their finger out, LAAC is the laughing stock of the town.
    Also board members start putting your name to things otherwise why are you on there if you can stand up for this committee.

  12. Yes, Kamare, who is the chair? Are they a native title holder, a member of one of the three estate groups? Ken obviously isn’t, being Western Arrernte. Are their any apmereke-artweye on the board? Are they ever consulted?

  13. @ 9 Original Centralian: You are right, but I am told the chair issued trespass notices to all those who dare to question her motives and cancelled their rights to be members. Now she has yes people.

  14. Who is the chair shame job? Have they any atyemeye or arrenge for this place or are they from somewhere else?
    If I remember rightly the people eligible to be members are descendants of the original inhabitants and recognised as such by apmereke-artweye.
    So can this chair with no atyemeye decide who can be a member? Or is the organisation corrupted by power and money hungry people with no respect?

  15. @ Dr Wrongo: It doesn’t take much to say who is the chair at the moment. Out of town getting told to leave community. Agree with you. All money hungry people and what’s in it for me.

  16. There is a big story in this place about an intruder coming in without respect and trying to take what isn’t theirs.
    Caused a lot of anguish and trouble for the locals but ultimately got his just rewards. You can see his guts spread around on the westside of town. Lhere Artepe would do well to remember this story if they know it. Or learn it from a local.


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