Gunner's native title deal not what it seems to be


Serious doubt is being cast over statements from Michael Gunner by Fabian Conway who chairs Irlpme, one of the three estate groups that make up Lhere Artepe.
The Chief Minister in his “2020 – The Year Ahead” speech said an “in principle agreement” with the native title organisation will release five parcels of land in the town for a string of developments (see map).
But Mr Conway (pictured, a dialysis patient for 18 years) says Lhere Artepe, of which he is a board member, has never shown him the plans, nor has he given his approval for them on behalf of his family.
The Alice Springs News gave a heads-up to Mr Gunner’s media officer on Thursday that we had been informed of Mr Conway’s position.
The minder did not reply but a few hours later the Lhere Artepe CEO, Robert Campbell, contacted Mr Conway, asking him to sign a document.
Mr Conway says he refused.
Mr Gunner said on Tuesday in his speech in Alice Springs: “We have been working hard with Lhere Artepe to negotiate an Indigenous Land Use Agreement. And they have been working hard with us.
“We now have an in principle agreement. This will unlock land for Alice and or jobs for the Arrernte. More recognition for the Arrernte, for support [of] the young and old Arrernte. Details of five new parcels of land [are] in the kits you got today.”
Mr Conway spoke exclusively with the News this morning.
He said about the map referred to by the Chief Minister: “They never showed it to us. They told me nothing about this money” referring to the potential fee for relinquishing native title for the land under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA).
Mr Conway spoke about the value of the land identified, suggesting it would amount to several million dollars, but again his estate group was not included in any discussions.
He said he did not sign, nor had he ever been asked to sign, any documents underpinning the deal Mr Gunner was speaking about to some 200 invited Alice locals earlier this week.
He said the signatures from all three estate groups are required for the deal.
“Are you going to give your signature?” asked the News.
“No” was the answer.
Mr Conway said the dealings of Lhere Artepe were quite unclear to him. He was surprised to learn from the News that Lhere Artepe has $3.7m in the bank.
Mr Conway said a Lhere Artepe general meeting is “coming up soon”. He was unclear about when the most recent one had taken place except that it was last year.
He said Shane Lindner is the Lhere Artepe chair person now, as well as heading up the Antulye moiety, but he said he can’t do both.


  1. I had a meeting with Fabian Conway last Friday.
    We discussed that Lhere Artepe figures Robert Campbell, Shane Lindner and Grahame Smith and others are not Mparntwe people.
    Saturday I spoke with Fabian again and he informed me that they will have a trespass notice put on me to stay away from my family including Fabian.
    He described these tactics as frightening. Fabian informed them that we were family and will talk to me anytime.
    These people cannot even organise meetings, such as AGMs for all estate groups.
    Meetings have not been called legally since Campbell took over as CEO.
    Last year an Ilpma meeting was called by word of mouth.
    There were no minutes, no finance reports, no roll call for members.
    Present were three Mparntwe members, including Alan Campbell who had no legal right to be there but is part of Robert Campbell’s family.
    I rang Robert Campbell twice on Saturday – no answer.
    They seem to be using frightening tactics with the poor uneducated.
    Fabian named all Arunta sacred sites in the five locations referred to on Mr Gunner’s map.
    I am wondering if these Kindergarten boys can?

  2. Uncle Mort needs to get in touch with Sister Vanessa Matteucci. She is one of the most important elders in this.
    Her mother Essie Stuart Simpson is the pioneer of Alice Springs and a very important voice for her people.
    Vanessa has been contacting you all the family to understand what going on.
    No-one has included her, consequently this claim is in the wrong hands.

  3. My apology. I have made a typo with the name not meaning Uncle Mort at all. I was meaning Fabian Conway isn’t our family member. He is from a different Conway clan.The CEO Robert Campbell isn’t family from Alice Springs either. He’s from up Darwin way.
    This issue has gone on five years without our family being consulted or informed. We have all emailed the CEO and never got a reply.

  4. Marisa, where have you been all these years? I thought you the Stuarts related to Nancy Campbell.
    If so you are family for Robert Campbell that’s why he is making all the Campbell family members.
    This is not according to the rules.
    Another bad point on your part, Mort Conway passed away thirty years ago or more.
    Fabian Conway and his family are the true Culture Traditional Owners.

  5. Good on you Fabian, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING! that has not been minuted in any directors meetings in according to the Lhere Artepe Rule Book. So here we go again more from people who are not from Alice Springs.

  6. The parcel of lands portion numbers 8118, 8869 and 4051 are in the swamp area.
    According to the NT Government rules the developer would have to build a metre high footing to build. A lot of carting of sand and gravel.

  7. Russell: As you have brought my name into this and continued on with total misleading and incorrect information, I am obliged to correct you and others on your accusations.
    First, I am an Irlpme man, never ever have said I was Mpwarntye. Irlpme, the land you reside on.
    2nd: Lhere Artepe have not executed a land use agreement as yet.
    3rd: You are not a member of Irlpme estate and you were not at our AGM as I was and did not see you. Regardless, you are not a member.
    4th: The trespass notice is on yourself from visiting our office premises and accountants due to your repeated aggressive behaviour. It has nothing to do with stopping you from contacting your family. What a ridiculous suggestion.
    5th: AGM notices were delivered as I received mine. As I said, you’re not a member so you didn’t receive one.
    6th: Shame on you for visiting a director of Lhere Artepe while on renal to seek personal information.
    7th: Who are you referring to as kindergarten kids?
    Please do not mislead people with false accusations for personal purposes.
    Enough said.

  8. Diverting from politics;
    Barrik (Burke) Perkins, Hetti Perkins, Mary Bray, Wallaby Jim Arrwe (no children) and Kari descend from Irlpme Apmere-ke artweye, Nellie Aherrke.
    Aherrke is the Northern Arrernte word for ‘Sun’. A Sun Dreaming woman from Irlpalentye (aka Ilbalintja). Wrongly pronounced ‘Araka’.
    She was the full sister of Kinto Iloaia and Etaterkarinja (same father, same mother). Kinto’s Iloaia’s son, Maori, had children who originally had the last name ‘Collin’ but one of his daughters was S. Conway, the recognised Apmere-ke artweye for Irlpme. Fabian is her son.
    Kinto Iloaia and Etaterkarinja and Nellie Aherrke (all Ngale) were Apmere-ke artweye for Irlpme. Irlpme belongs to Ngale/Ampetyane anyenhenge (father-son).
    In short, the Conways are the same family as the Perkins, Bray, Turners, Whites – same line.
    The CLC has this information, that was set down decades ago by old men. It should have been cleared up 30 odd years ago by the CLC. Why has it not?


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