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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.