In the 2011 March quarter Alice Springs again had more assaults
and break-ins than Darwin, which has three times the population,
and over six years the town has had twice as many murders.
The latest NT Department of Justice statistics released for the March
quarter for 2011 show offences in Alice Springs against the person
(464) were down on the March quarter of 2010 (485) but still higher than
in the March quarter of 2009 (420). PHOTO: A CCTV camera overlooks the Mall. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
By ERWIN CHLANDA
A meeting to sack several prominent members of the influential native
title organisation, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation, collapsed in
turmoil, according to people attending the closed gathering.
The sacking motions were not put, which was a triumph for reformers who are dissatisfied with the CEO, Darryl Pearce.
They are angry about the sidelining of members with high traditional
standing, and financial management which they say lacks transparency.
This follows major investments by the corporation in real estate and supermarkets, benefitting from Federal cash injections.
The Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations (ORIC), a
Federal instrumentality, came in for vigorous criticism for not
intervening resolutely in the protracted row.
The film clip shows native title holders outside the meeting room,
and interviews with – in that order – former Lhere Artepe CEO Frank
Ansell; Ian Conway, a leading figure in the reform group; and Janice
Harris, a seasoned administrator of local Aboriginal organisations.
Lhere Artepe chairman Brian Stirling did not respond to an invitation to comment.
He had early in the meeting rejected a move for a secret ballot, according to a member at the meeting.
FOOTNOTE: With respect to Mr Ansell's comment in the film clip, the Alice Springs News knows Mrs Pearce's mother was an Aboriginal woman.
ABOVE: Google Earth image of Laramba, a bush settlement north-west of Alice Springs. The killings happened in the vicinity. BELOW: One of the convicted, Travis Gibson. Having had his jaw broken was one of the triggers of the drunken payback raid.
Five out of six were drunk on the night.
One out of six is a reformed heavy drinker, sober on the night.
Two out of six are alcoholics.
Four out of six had parents who were alcoholics or heavy drinkers.
Two out of six are married to alcoholics and these couples have had children.
The two victims of the six were drunk at the time of their deaths.
In the evening of December 22, 2009 six men left Alice Springs in a
red Ford Falcon, bound for Laramba, a small settlement of some 300
people, around 200 kilometres to the north-west. Four of the men were
armed: one had a large military-style knife, another a tyre iron, and
two had nulla nullas (clubs). They were also travelling with grog: on a
trip that takes around two and a half hours, they drank one and a half
cartons of VB beer and a cask of Moselle between them, all but the
driver. This was on top of grog that at least some of them had consumed
during the day.
There was a purpose to the trip: the six intended to confront
men at Laramba over a long-running dispute between their family, the
Gibsons, and the Dixon-Stafford family. In particular, they were going
to look for brothers Adrian and Watson Dixon and another person, who
were seen as responsible for the assault on one of the Gibsons some
months before, breaking his jaw.
By midnight two men in Laramba, not the Dixon brothers, were dead, as a result of stabbings to the thigh. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The site of the former Melanka hostel in Todd Street is on the market
again, for an asking price of $7.5m plus GST, this time complete with
an exceptional development permit for a five storey "tourist and
The land was bought in 2006 for $6.12m. The hostel was still in place but has been demolished since.
The land's unimproved capital value in July, 2009 was $4.5m.
The raising of the height limit from three storeys to five was opposed by some sections of the community.
L J Hooker's Doug Fraser says the fresh advertising of the property
has only just started, and although there have been a couple of
enquiries, it's likely to take some time for a sale to be achieved.
Mr Fraser said in June that
the developer, Christian Ainsworth, a member of the poker machines
dynasty, had commissioned Deloittes to assist in the development and
that "the building costs will need to come down".
The total area is 1.3 hectares and "architectural plans will be passing with the sale," says the promotion.
The agency says this is a "prime corner allotment with three street
frontages and adjoining parcel at rear ... and numerous fully
established trees on site".
life and that of his partner, Reuben Nadich, who shot his victim in the
back at Junction Waterhole on May 29 last year, was sentenced to six
years' imprisonment. The shooting was at close range and without
provocation or reason.
Mr Nadich's "moral culpability" was equivalent to that for murder,
said Justice Judith Kelly in her sentencing remarks last Thursday. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Voice recorders and a desk from which Flight Service officers
at the Alice Springs airport assisted pilots flying in the vast and
sparsely populated Central Australian outback. The facility, once
employing two dozen highly skilled people, was shut down in 1992. The
equipment shown is now in the aviation museum which is part of the
"There has definitely been no diminishing of services out of the Alice Springs tower."
So said Airservices Australia manager of corporate communications Rob
Walker, responding to concerns that a remote system, to be tried out
next year, may replace with cameras the human beings in the traffic
control tower at the airport.
In fact, there has been quite a lot of diminishing.
Until the early 1990s the tower was staffed 24/7, was in charge of
all air traffic over Central Australia, international jets and all, and
had about a dozen highly qualified controllers living here in Alice
Today the tower is staffed 8am to 6pm Sunday to Friday, and 8am to
7pm Saturdays, looks after only low-level traffic in the close vicinity
of Alice Springs, and has a total staff of four. Brisbane and
Melboure now look after the rest.
The flight information service, Flight Service as we used to call it, has been shut down altogether. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The row in the Alice Springs native title organisation Lhere
Artepe is likely to reach boiling point on Thursday when the chairman,
Brian Stirling, is calling a general meeting to sack five prominent
They include Ian Conway who has led a push for reform of the organisation and the suspension of its CEO, Darryl Pearce.
The others are Lesley Martin, Matthew Palmer, Felicity Hayes and Noel Kruger.
The reasons, according according to the meeting notice, are failure
to attend meetings and "misbehaviour which has significantly interfered
with the operation of the corporation and its meetings" or
"destabilizing and generally bringing the Lhere Artepe Aboriginal
Corporation into disrepute".
Meanwhile 90 native title holders are petitioning the Office of
Registrar of Indigenous Companies (ORIC), asking it to appoint an
Interim Administrator and "replace the current CEO," Mr Pearce, because
he "has betrayed members' trust by conducting official Corporation
matters against the Lhere Artepe Rule Book and failed to follow Native
The petitioners say Mr Pearce's response to a "show cause" notice given by ORIC "will not restore good governance".
The reformers say the meeting is being called without the requisite
number of members requesting it; the people under threat of expulsion
have not been given a right of reply and there is no evidence that the
traditional managers of the country, the "relevant Apmereke-artweye and
Kwertengerle" have been consulted.
The Alice Springs News Online is seeking a comment from Mr Stirling.
(MOZZIE BITES is on holidays)
Have you ever seen a bird fall out of the sky? I have. Once. And it
was here in Alice Springs. Happens fast. A thud – and the thing that was
hovering up high in the corner of your eye now lies still on the
road. Some sort of hawkish bird in a mid-air, mid-flight crash
tackle had felled a crested pigeon. Once I moved on it swooped down and
arched back up with the pigeon between its claws amid a screeching
cacophony from terrified avian witnesses.
shows how the people of Riga, the capital of Latvia, are dealing with
the issue). Jim Brown asks is the Henbury station deal preempting the
carbon trading scheme. Keep some sex offenders in gaol, says Shadow
Minister for Justice John Elferink, who also comments on the NT's crime
rate. Get out of cushy Canberra, say NT cattlemen. The RSPCA are
"radicals" claims a Territory Minister. Government doesn't care about
animal welfare. Exploration worker in the 60s says he likes resource
project in the Simpson Desert. Neighbors were not consulted over
school's outdoor learning area. Love and sadness for The Red Centre and
Aussie arts and crafts. The lifting of live export ban is welcomed by NT
pollies. And here is the best one for the week ...
Will the good news outweigh the bad?
Sir – Do we focus on the good news or on the bad news? This is the
question being asked by the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce and
our tourist industry.
Let’s look at some good news first.
Part of the carbon tax will be an increase in funding for renewable
sources of energy. Our status as a solar city means we can benefit from
If the aeroplane boneyard gets going, this will put a novel feather in our financial and tourist caps.
The Desert Knowledge, CAT, CSIRO and Arid Lands complex south of the Gap gives Alice a brains trust that can be built upon.
The new suburb of Kilgariff is being built. The new Aquatic Centre has been.
The recent initiative by Coles to acknowledge and start to address
the devastation wrought by alcohol in Alice shows corporate social
responsibility peeking through. They are setting an example for our
other corporations to follow.
The advertisements run locally by Action for Alice prove that
responsible people living in Alice really do care about what is
happening, and what will happen, in this town we all share.
We remain the central hub for a style of indigenous painting that has
been called the last great art movement of the 20th century.
Araluen is a worthy centre for our many artistic expressions.
With our demographic mix we are a melding of cultures that, at its usual best, works and works well.
With our clean air, clean water and easy access to inspirational
country, Alice Springs is a place like few others to raise a family.
Our schools, from primary to tertiary, are full to bursting with our hopes for tomorrow.
And the bad news?
In the all-important quest for government funding, we play second
fiddle to Top-Enders whose vision does not extend south of the Berrimah
Social flatliners from our satellite communities keep coming into
town to drink themselves stupid, do stupid things and contribute
nothing. They then disappear back into those same satellite communities
leaving us to sweep up the broken glass and broken lives left in their
We can fix the first by seceding from the Territory, but if we can’t
put a stop to the second, we will soon be sweeping up a broken Alice.
Then all the good news will count for nothing.
When it comes to using computers people in the most remote outback of Australia have a lot of catching up to do.
Of 45 people interviewed in three communities, only 6% had a computer at home, and only 1% had internet access at home.
Pictured from left at Mungalawurru are Rosita (visitor), Esmeralda with Karen's new daughter, Karen and Cynthia.