The Mushroom


2539 mushroom

(Compiled by ERWIN CHLANDA. The most recent update is on top.)



Dr David Ritchie (pictured below), the chairman of the Northern Territory Planning Commission, has taken this one board. Three cheers if he can get the answers!
2556 Dr David Ritchie OKThis query dates back many moons but it got fresh oxygen from a statement from Development Consent Authority (DCA) chairwoman Suzanne Philip on March 23, 2018. What she says is in direct contradiction to what the former Planning Minister and the Ombudsman are asserting. If she is right, the DCA preceding her current one was grossly out of line.
Here we go:–
The Planning Act says Home Based Contracting means “the storage on the site of a dwelling of materials and/or vehicles associated with a business operated by a person resident in the dwelling, but which business does not operate from the site of the dwelling”.
The applicants provided extensive evidence that they would be operating the business from the dwelling yet their application was granted by the DCA.
Lesley Major, media advisor to the Planning Minister: The Planning Act provides the DCA with discretion to make decisions on planning matters. In this instance, the DCA has determined that the home based contracting and home occupation can coexist.
Laddawan Te Maro, Ombudsman’s Office: The Act and the Planning Scheme allows the DCA to make decisions … that are inconsistent with the Planning Scheme. And The DCA has the discretion to approve development applications that are inconsistent with the specifics provided in the Planning Scheme.
In a media release by the current DCA chair Suzanne Philip: “The DCA believes that compliance with the Planning Scheme and zoning laws is important to Territorians to provide for appropriate and orderly planning and control of the use and development of land”.
Which assertion is right? And on the basis of what law, regulation or precedent?
2558 Freedom from information OKKEEPING THE BASTARDS HONEST. July 12, 2018.
OMG. I’ve been at it for a while! These two pages are from the excellent archive of local historian ALEX NELSON.
This is from the October 1991 edition of the Alice Springs Post which circulated in Alice Springs for a brief time.
Also, note the think piece from RUSSELL GOLDFLAM – impeccably argued, as always.
Don’t blame me for the typo. It was the sub.
To all you wonderful leakers: Keep ’em coming!

All the best, Erwin Chlanda, Editor, Mobile 0418 890040.

“Chinese media and trade delegates to find out what the NT has to offer” blares a media handout from Tourism Minister Lauren Moss on June 6, “to boost NT outback holidays and equip the Greater China delegates to promote and sell the NT from first-hand experience”.
Trouble is, for them “the outback” extends only as far south as Katherine.
“Making the NT a ‘China Ready Destination’ is important so we can benefit from the growing visitor market and create and sustain more local jobs,” Ms Moss said.
“With twice weekly direct flights from Shenzhen to Darwin, it has never a better opportunity to attract Chinese visitors to the NT.”
But just to the Top End, Ms Moss omits to say.
2542 rifle OKPOLICE. May 21, 2018.
As youth delinquency is keeping the town in a state of anxiety, what we don’t need is for this to be escalated with firearms becoming involved.
Yet that’s exactly what happened recently when children breaking into a house made off with a rifle and ammunition.
The weapon was recovered.
On May 21 we asked the police:  “Is the owner of the rifle being charged for not storing it in the required manner?”
“This will be taken into consideration, however at this stage the incident remains under investigation,” was all we got.
We asked again on May 25 – still no answer.
LAUREN MOSS, CHANSEY PAECH. December 1, 2017 & April 24, 2018.
Lauren Moss, Minister for Tourism and Culture, December 1, 2017: Local Alice Springs construction company Scope Building has been awarded the $1.5m contract to fit-out of the exhibition space for the creation of the Megafauna Display Centre in the Todd Street Mall that will showcase Central Australia’s unique fossil heritage.
Chansey Paech, Member for Namatjra, April 24, 2018: Work is underway on the Territory Labor Government’s $4.26 million investment to relocate and display the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory palaeontology collection in the Alice Springs CBD.
That’s a 284% cost increase in less than five months. WOW.
Question from us to the Treasurer’s minder on April 23: “Prior to the reduction in GST receipts in the past couple of years, the funding the NT received from Canberra was greater than the national per-capita average by a factor of 5.5. What is it now, including [Canberra’s] support announced today?
Still no answer despite a follow-up request on May 11.
Tender Q18-0017: All Centres – Consultancy – Provision of Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Tourism within the Northern Territory. Department of Tourism and Culture.
Our question to the minder on March 23: “I am puzzled about this. Surely the Central Land Council, Tangentyere, Congress or Lhere Artepe could draw up such a plan. Please ask Ms Moss to explain why the NT taxpayer should be coughing up.”
Reply on April 10: “This project is broader than the central region. It is a strategic plan for Aboriginal tourism across the Northern Territory. The Central Land Council or any other organisation is welcome to submit a tender bid and we encourage them to do so.”
This wasn’t at all answering our question. If Aborigines want a tourism development plan, surely they could commission one, using the massive resources of the organisations mentioned. (CLC, Tangentyere and Congress are the shareholders in Centrecorp, and Lhere Artepe has a significant slice in retail businesses.)
So we replied: “And the government pays them for the consultancy? Why?”
That’s as far as we got, a reminder call on May 30 notwithstanding.
2473 Nats Andrew Hopper OKIn our interview with acting CEO Andrew Hopper on May 15 we asked what was the cost-benefit of the proposed National Indigenous Art Gallery in Alice Springs.
We also asked him about the comparative state expenditures for tourism promotion, based on the number of people living there. The last time we had researched that we found the NT was spending 11 times more than Queensland.
We still don’t have the answers.
Mr Hopper (pictured) is no longer the acting CEO (Simonne Shepherd is the new CEO). He is the Deputy CEO. He and Michael Tennant, also an Acting CEO (apparently) have left for China on May 25 ahead of the Donghai Airlines inaugural flight into Darwin from Shenzhen on May 30.
Tourism Minister Lauren Moss is also going to China. The travel and accommodation costs for her, two staff and five members of the media are $14,300.
Please let me know how many cars were stolen in Alice Springs in the last week. How many of the alleged offenders were children? Was there a stolen minibus full of kids doing burn-outs?
How many of the suspects or accomplices are in the care of the Minister? Given the circumstances, how many of them should be?
RELATED READING: 38 cars vandalised at Araluen.

What is the percentage of NT people opposed to fracking? What will your government do in response to the Labor Party’s vote on Saturday, calling for fracking to be banned?


What will you do about your Treasurer misleading the public by claiming that gas royalties will be 10% of the wellhead price?


Has Tourism and Arts Minister Lauren Moss been officially relieved of her responsibilities for the National Indigenous Art Gallery in Alice Springs?
Given the national scandal about her department’s dealing with issues surrounding the alleged rape of a two year old, do you consider Ms Wakefield is competent to now manage the art gallery project? (This question co-incided with a report, quoting police, on the Alice Springs ABC radio, that since Thursday five vehicles had been stolen, including a minibus full of kids doing burn-outs. We are following up with enquiries to the police and Ms Wakefield: Were the alleged car thieves children? If so, how many were in Ms Wakefield’s care or should be?)
Will the government continue to insist on the Anzac Oval location for the gallery, or will it start fresh public consultation from a neutral position and be guided by the public, representative organisations in Alice Springs and experts in the field? (The public obviously includes Arrernte people who have expressed disquiet.)


What has been the advertising cost so far for your government’s push to have the Anzac Oval site accepted by the public?

UPDATED June 13, 2018.


  1. It’s almost as if Gunner and his government have tapped out on law and order.
    Social media is awash with horror stories of good citizens living in fear no go zones at night, homes turned into fortresses cars stolen at record levels and nothing from this incompetent Chief Minister and his team.
    Last week I listened from behind my six foot fence to a loud conversation held between three untouchables as they passed by.
    The most memorable comment was this: “The cops don’t run this town. We do.”
    Sad but true.

  2. The cinema having to employ private security to protect patrons and cars from the violence and destruction in the Todd Mall and car park is a fair indication of our current situation. Alice must be a paradise for the criminals, but its a prison for the good citizen.

  3. Someone needs to remind the Government about their requirement to be transparent in their actions. It’s pretty obvious Gunner will have 28,000 (Alice’s population) people not re-electing him next election. It can’t come quick enough.

  4. It would seem that Michael fracking Gunner should be herein referred to as Teflon Mick and his colleagues as the Teflon Mob for obvious reasons.

  5. Government as a mushroom farm – sad but true. Not to excuse it, but to keep it in perspective, can anyone even imagine a truly open and transparent government at any level in today’s world? I can’t.

  6. To all those who passed comments. Whilst I agree with you all, someone voted them in. So, as we are all sick of this crap, let’s fix it in the next election.


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