Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

Erwin Chlanda

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https://alicespringsnews.com.au

The town is safe in public servants' hands: forum told

Report
figures on the proportion of Aboriginal people expected in Alice by
2030 "way, way off". Researcher now says she got it wrong.

"Rest easy, the public servants are onto it. But if you've got any (cost free) new ideas, let us know."

This was essentially the message from Tuesday's feedback forum on the
Alice Springs Community Action Plan. The fact that the forum did not
cover new ground or open up a space for new insights, directions and
initiatives would have given comfort to the boycotters (see separate report), although Alderman Eli Melky did attend.

First up, consultant Jane Munday summarised the report she had
compiled, "intended as the first stage in developing" the action plan.
This is described as a "research report", commissioned by the Department
of the Chief Minister. Ms Munday is experienced and well-qualified in
public relations and marketing. Her report is essentially about a number
of consultation exercises she conducted; its "research" is not of the
probing kind. For instance, she repeats what is frequently heard in
public fora, that "the proportion of Aboriginal residents (now 21%) is
expected to increase to about 45% by 2030". She sources the figure to a
presentation at the Kilgarrif forum by the Department of Lands and
Planning.

Such an increase would be huge, a radical change to the demography of
the town and with potentially far-reaching implications, but it is
"way, way off" according to Dean Carson, Professor for Rural and
Remote Research at Flinders University. Ms Munday has provided a comprehensive reply which appears at the end of the full story. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photos: The crowd thins as boredom sets in. NT Police's Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations, Mark Payne.

Not too late to reduce fire fuel loads & trusties can help

Senior
Station Fire Officer in Alice Springs, John Kleeman, says he would
welcome the assistance of prisoners in reducing the fire fuel load south
of the Gap, as is being pushed for by the Town Council.

Aldermen passed a motion last night to write to the Department of
Lands and Planning  "regarding engagement of Correctional Services"
to help with this task "south of Heavitree Gap to the Municipal
Boundary, incorporating the river and parklands".

Mr Kleeman says the fire service has been doing control burns in the
area – including around Amoonguna "where a lot of people have been
throwing matches" – and are continuing to do so today, as well as north
of Emily Gap.

He says government contractors have also done a major slashing job
along the river from John Blakeman Bridge to Colonel Rose Drive. The
"trusties" (prisoners) could help to do more slashing, especially in
areas where it's hard to get front-end loaders in to clear firebreaks.

While with slashing the fuel remains on the ground, having the
grasses lie flat reduces the intensity of a fire that may go through.

Mr Kleeman says the town has been lucky so far to not lose property
or life, but the situation could go "pear-shaped" at any time. He
encourages the public to prepare their properties and report to police
anyone acting suspiciously with fire. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Anti-talkfest lobby crashes and burns

 

With deliberately lit fires continuing (80 in the last week) and
coming to symbolise a reckless lawlessness threatening the security of
the town, a rearguard action on law and order issues by Aldermen Eli
Melky and Murray Stewart crashed and burned last night.

It was the Town Council's end of month meeting. The public gallery
was more than ordinarily full though not crowded. It included,
significantly, MLAs Alison Anderson (Independent) and Adam Giles
(Country Liberals), president of MacDonnell Shire Sid Anderson,
controversial would-be Country Liberals candidate Leo Abbott, prominent
activist couple Steve and Janet Brown, and outspoken general manager of
Ingkerreke, Scott McConnell.

In public question time at the start of the meeting Steve Brown put
the issues on the agenda, asking council to discuss them in the open
part of the meeting. He said he and others in the gallery were
"thoroughly tired" of the "forum process", alluding to this evening's
community feedback forum on the so-called Community Action Plan to
combat crime and anti-social behaviour. Pictured: Fire
in the ranges above the MacDonnell Range Caravan Park on Monday. It and
other fires burning along the range east of the Gap came from the
control burn the Fire Service undertook on the weekend, to bring a
maliciously lit fire on Undoolya Station under control. Senior Station
Fire Officer in Alice Springs, John Kleeman, says these fires will be
useful to reduce fuel load in the ranges and that there are major breaks
between them and nearby infrastructure. Meanwhile, there have been 8o
deliberately lit grass fires around town. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

LETTER by Alex Nelson: And the talkfests go on …

Sir – I note the advertisement for the upcoming 5th Indigenous Economic Development Forum to be held in Darwin in October (Centralian Advocate, August 26).

In the dim dark recesses of my mind, a memory is stirred – this seems vaguely familiar.

Checking the website revealed this Forum is the fifth one – of the current series.

I’m sure the delegates that attend this year’s forum hosted by the NT
Government will leave all fired up to do something about the plight of
Aboriginal people and hugely inspired by all that untapped economic
potential out there, with lovely warm fuzzy inner feelings.

Sharp rises in parks fees, mining policy in doubt

Fees for camping in the most popular locations of the West MacDonnell
Ranges, one of several parks in Central Australia being transferred
from public to Aboriginal ownership by the NT Government, have been
increased sharply at very short notice.

Meanwhile today (Wednesday) Shadow Environment Minister Kezia Purick
says Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton, is refusing to
confirm Territory Labor’s policy on the co-existence of mines in
Territory national parks.

 

Pictured: Ormiston Gorge. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

The flip side of the coin

A very interesting segment from the
article “The lighter side of lawmaking”, published in the Alice Springs
News on 11 August, 2011, is repeated here.

Shadow Treasurer John Elferink says under Labor, the Territory’s net
debt has blown out to $6.7billion, including liabilities. A dollar coin
weighs 9 grams, is 25mm in diameter and 3mm thick. There are 111 dollar
coins in a kilo, 111,111 in a tonne.

He says the Territory’s debt takes on mind-boggling proportions. ALEX NELSON gives his calculator a work-out.

Camel and campfire: iron chef, bush style

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEqPFx0dVc4[/youtube]

 

Camel
meat cooked over a campfire: that was the challenge for two apprentice
chefs from leading hotels in Alice Springs when they entered the Wild
Bushfoods 'iron chef' competition last Sunday.

Rajeev Chhefri, from the Chifley Resort, and Jeff Campbell from the
Crowne Plaza produced two dishes: Rajeev, a camel roulade and a
camel stir-fry; Jeff, a camel tapas and a dessert – date and wattle-seed
tiramisu with lemon myrtle popcorn. The sweet-toothed judges gave Jeff
the win.

Domestic cooks again showed their flair in the first heat of the
Recipe Competition. In the dessert category first-time entrant Ronja
Moss (of Mozzie Bites fame) took out the heat, with her Full Desert Moon
flan (pictured), featuring quandongs, macadamia nuts and wattleseed. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Burnin' ring of fire

I
remember watching the introduction of a Seinfeld episode once where
Jerry, in his usual stand-up mode, was explaining his theory on why
people smoke. He made smoking sound like a craving sustained due to
primitive, caveman mentalities. The line went something like, “People
like to have smoke near their faces to show that they have power. ‘Look.
I have fire. I am mighty.’”

If you've never been on that back road between King's Canyon and
Hermannsburg please, for your own sake, do. I’m fairly sure it has been
rated amongst the top ten four-wheel drive tracks in Australia, although
this would probably be for visual reasons as the road – other than some
corrugation – is fairly light going. On either side of the track there
is amazing shrubbery and the wide sloping hills caress in a valley that
looks like it was made for a path to some secret land. Photos by Oliver Eclipse.

Hardware giant Bunnings confirms it's heading for Alice

Bunnings has now confirmed the Alice Springs Online exclusive report last Thursday that the hardware giant is coming to town.

The firm is moving to buy a two hectare block at 218 North Stuart Highway (Lot 9186 - see map above).

In a media release today (Monday) Bunnings says the new warehouse, if approved, will create more than 110 jobs for local residents.

"Bunnings plans to invest more than $23 million in the new warehouse
which will have a total store size of more than 12,000 square metres
consisting of a main warehouse, kid’s playground, nursery, café, and
parking for over 200 cars," says Chief Operating Officer, Peter
Davis. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

Alice turning into a fly-in, fly-out mining camp?

A Darwin business has set up a fly-in, fly-out operation in Alice Springs, according to industry sources.

Quality Plumbing & Building Contractors has put dongas on an
industrial block corner Smith and Priest Streets apparently to
accommodate staff flying in from Darwin.

It appears the dwellings are in conflict with the zoning – General
Industry – of the 5000 square meter block, and no planning and building
applications have been made so far.

The owner of the business, Stavros Kantros, declined to comment.

Earlier this year the company won a $4.4m contract from the
Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services to carry
out repairs and maintenance of Territory Housing dwellings for 12
months.

The Alice Springs company previously doing that work has laid off staff.

Alice Springs based electrician Steve Brown, who had sub-contracted
to the previous operator, says he made an approach to the Darwin firm,
which was rejected, and Mr Kantros refused to take his calls.

Meanwhile Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean,
has announced the House of Representatives Standing Committee on
Regional Australia would inquire into and report on the use of "fly-in
fly-out" and "drive-in drive-out" workforce practices in regional
Australia. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photos above and below: Apparently unauthorized dongas on the industrial block.

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