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.
lake, continues to experience bumper years as a tourist attraction.
Thanks to significant rainfall beginning in 2009, it has slowly filled
and brought the surrounding desert to burgeoning and magnificent life. A
visit to the natural wonder also takes travelers to the very heart of
the man-made Outback, the legendary Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks,
the old Ghan railway and their tiny human habitations, some abandoned,
some still clinging to life, trading on their Outback image. Last summer
KIERAN FINNANE returned to the site of her earliest
encounter with "the Outback" – Marree, linked to Alice Springs by shared
explorer, Afghan cameleer and railway histories. Many in Alice believe
that our town's Outback image has taken a big dent in the last three
decades at the hands of planners and developers and inadequate heritage
protection. Marree looks to have shared a similar fate, though from an
absence of attention rather than too much development zeal.
hypocrisy of this media release is surely breathtaking: "Resources
Minister Kon Vatskalis will deliver a keynote address to hundreds of
delegates attending Australia’s largest uranium conference this week ...
where [he] will promote investment in the Northern Territory.”
How will he explain to the conference that his government, with
blatant political opportunism, during the run-up to a by-election,
cancelled the exploration licence it had issued to Cameco Australia Pty
Ltd for the Angela Pamela site, after Cameco had spent millions of
How will he explain away the haplessness of that action, given that
Labor had Buckley's chance of winning Araluen, and of course did not?
And how will he explain to the Greenies that, now the by-election is out of the way, he is all in favour of uranium mining?
Is it any wonder we're laughing stock of the nation. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Baarda, long time Yuendumu resident, Manager of Yuendumu Mining Company
(which runs a store at Yuendumu), multi-linguist and occasional wearer
of shoes has his finger on the pulse of the remote community.
The events he chronicles in his current "Musical Dispatch from the
Front" are grist to the mill of the ardent anti-intervention campaigner:
One of the notorious blue signs planted by the Canberra interveners
(Exhibit 1) was creatively modified by locals (Exhibit 2), but that was
swiftly removed. This is how Frank saw the "snaffling":-
After I dispatched this morning’s Dispatch, I went to the airstrip to assist with fuelling an aircraft.
Two Shire workers were unbolting our Welcome to Yuendumu (if you want porn go to Canberra) sign. I asked them why.
Don’t you ever ask them why ...
They were told by their boss to snaffle it.
Given the lavish provision of recreational facilities in The Alice,
mostly publicly funded, you'd be inclined to think that playing sport is
a great way to build a harmonious, happy and healthy community.
You'd be wrong – in at least one case: the Alice Springs Tennis Association.
It has about 200 members, mostly white and middle class.
Amongst them is a part-Aboriginal 12-year-old boy, Zoltan Ross (pictured),
who wants to be a tennis star. He's happy to train hard and has some
runs on the board in interstate competitions. But that's no thanks to
the club nor, apparently, to its manager and coach, Craig Gallagher, who
is said to have told Zoltan, in front of other children, that his "feet
stink" and refuses to give him singles coaching.
Mr Gallagher's partner Pat, allegedly said to Zoltan, also in front
of other children: "You smell." This prompted the boy, described
as shy by his parents, to withdraw from all junior club activities. So
says Zoltan's mother, Angela Ross, a school teacher and a member of a
prominent local Aboriginal family.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – I cannot understand why this young man has been subjected to
the shame and unacceptable behaviour of the coach. Great to hear Matt
Roberts is returning - he will sort out the association and continue of
the fantastic work he did years ago. Zoltan stay strong and ignore the
Trevor Read, Darwin
The air traffic control tower at the Alice Springs airport, built in
1968, may soon become a relic, and four jobs may be taken out of the
Airservices Australia is planning a trial beginning late next year of
"remote tower technology," allowing controllers to be based elsewhere
in Australia – and conceivably, overseas – working with images and data
transmitted by broadband or fiber optic cable. If the scheduled trial is
successful – in operational terms – will it take skilled people out of
the town? There is a poignant quote from Judith Brett's insightful essay
into the depletion of rural and outback communities (Quarterly Essay
Issue 42), commenting on the effects of the banks' downsizing from their
"imposing historic buildings" in the main-streets: "Rural towns were
dismayed. Since the founding of these towns, banks had brought in new
families: bank managers to join the local golf club and chair
fundraising drives, and tellers to play in the football team and marry
their daughters. Now all they had was an ATM."
The other argument in this context worth keeping an eye on is about
the high speed broadband: Will it bring expertise to the bush, or take
Photo from Flight Safety magazine.