Sunday, September 27, 2020

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

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Issue 23

Move for town council to manage the aquatic centre

The town council may manage the aquatic center in its own right, according to a well informed source.

This follows the collapse of the arrangement with the YWCA which withdrew from the job, scheduled to run until 2014, saying it had substantially under-quoted.

The source says the council is looking at expressions of interest so far received from organisations around Australia.

The council has been managing the landfill since the collapse of the Subloo contract, and public opinion seems to be that the council staff running the dump now are doing a fine job.

If ratepayers' money can be saved, keeping the pool management in-house may be a good idea, says the source. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

From 'roo tail and damper to fine art and short films

Outside, the scent of woodsmoke and roasted 'roo meat; inside, editioned etchings and the colourfully stitched soft sculptures that have become the signature work for Yarrenyty-Arltere Artists from Larapinta Valley Town Camp in Alice Springs. Everywhere, excited children and then after dark, as they settle down, the screening of films that give you a glimpse of everyday life at the camp as you warm up with a steamy cup of tea and hot damper and jam.

It's that time of year again (next Wednesday, June 13, from 4.30pm) when the town camp hosts the annual Art, Film and Music Night at its Learning Centre. There's always an atmosphere of celebration. That's partly in recognition of the centre's achievements over the year, but it's also a response to the opportunity for the town and camp to come together, people getting to know one another – being shown how to cook 'roo tail in the hot ashes, talking about the art, laughing at the same jokes in the films, which perhaps contrary to expectations, are often very humorous.

This isn't the occasion for the art centre to launch new editioned prints – you'll have to wait until Desert Mob for that – but work from older editions will be for sale. Meanwhile, each soft sculpture is unique and it will be an occasion to buy or admire more of their delightful birds and dolls. – KIERAN FINNANE

 

Pictured, above left:  Small circle doll by Contsance Robinja. • Above right: Bird by Dulcie Sharpe. Photos courtesy Yarrenyty-Arltere Artists.

Angela Pamela u-mine core message in Greatorex campaign?

 

Rowan Foley and wife Michelle with supporters – from left, Andre Burgess, Sandra Ball, Andrew Ferguson, Barbara Ferguson (obscured), and Paul Acfield – at a community barbecue where he wanted to hear from Greatorex residents about their concerns.

Labor candidate for Greatorex Rowan Foley has chosen a possible future uranium mine at Angela Pamela, 23 kms south of Alice Springs, as the point of difference between him and Country Liberals incumbent Matt Conlan. Apart from the "I love Alice" tag, opposition to the mine is the dominant message of Mr Foley's initial campaign flyer.

As a core campaign message it seems to turn back the clock to the 2010 Araluen by-election campaign when the Labor Government, a little more than a week out from polling day, announced it would not allow a uranium mine to proceed so close to Alice Springs. Labor candidate Adam Findlay claimed that the government had listened to the views of the electorate but any bounce for him was nullified by the Country Liberals following suit, and their Robyn Lambley going on to win the by-election.

How much currency does the issue have now? With the Territory Labor Government on a knife edge, relying on the vote of independent MLA Gerry Wood, every seat counts. Labor has obviously judged this as an issue where the Country Liberals (CLP) are exposed in Alice Springs and especially in the seat of Greatorex. KIERAN FINNANE talks to Mr Foley and to independent candidate Phil Walcott, who is also opposed to a uranium mine so close to town. CLP incumbent Matt Conlan did not respond to the invitation to answer questions.


Tourism promoters sit on their hands as Alice feeds Venus transit images to the world

 

It appears NT tourism promoters have fumbled an opportunity to capitalise on free world-wide publicity for Alice Springs when Venus transited the sun today.
The American space agency NASA picked The Alice as one of two sites around the globe to record a live feed of images on the internet, motivated in part by our great weather – the sun being in clear view.
Did Tourism NT (TNT) and Tourism Central Australia (TCA) explore opportunities for hammering home, in connection with the transit, the point about The Centre's great weather?
It doesn't appear so. A major chance for "leveraging" – that favorite buzzword – has clearly been missed. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

IMAGE: The black dot is Venus. Photo by Alice Springs photographer MIKE GILLAM. See also his comment on the FULL STORY page.

Resources boom opportunities for Aboriginal workforce

In The Centre, Newmont Gold Mine is looking to double its intake of Aboriginal workersWill locals, like Jeffrey Matthews from Lajamanu (at left), respond to the opportunity?  He's been at Newmont for nearly three years.  He started doing contract work around the mine as part of a program called the YAPA Crew and moved from there into full-time employment with Newmont.

 

Skills shortages and the resources boom – they're the mantra when it comes to talking about Australian employment opportunities and all levels of government would like to see Indigenous people responding. In Alice Springs Martin Glass is working on "lining up the ducks".

He's a former Commanding Officer of Norforce, northern Australia's Specialist Reconnaissance and Surveillance Regiment, an Army Reserve unit. That position gave him a lot of experience working with Aboriginal soldiers who are "unbeatable", he says, "when they're well trained and operating in their own country".

The Norforce model is a good one for many Aborigines in remote Australia, says Mr Glass. It's well paid, attractive work for them and while part-time, they can do up to 150 days a year, which makes a real difference financially for them and their families. It might be something that the mining industry could look at, he says, particularly the new mines coming on stream and the various exploration endeavours.

In the meantime, with the backing of his steering committee, he is looking to double within the next 12 months the number of NT locals working at Newmont Gold Mine in the Tanami Desert.  The committee is made up of representatives of the three tiers of government and industry, formed as a result of an MOU signed between the Australian Government and the Minerals Council of Australia. KIERAN FINNANE reports.  

Sharona's world of work

I first met Sharona Richardson (pictured) in 2007 when she and another young local woman were staffing the Centrelink agency at Tjuwanpa Outstation Resource Centre, just outside Hermannsburg where she's from. I couldn't help but notice her again when she stood up at IAD's First Friday series of presentations and confidently spoke about the interpreters' code of ethics, emphasising the professionalism of Aboriginal Interpreter Services for whom she's working now.

Back in 2007 I'd been struck by her initiative – a feature of her working life was that at one stage she had gone off to work in a tuna factory in Port Lincoln. And at the time, with the encouragement of the local police sergeant, she was considering taking a job as an ACPO (Aboriginal Community Police Officer).

She told me on Friday that she did begin the training but a five-year-old incident that had given her a record prevented her going further with it. Meantime the shires had been established and their night patrol programs were underway.

"The sergeant looked at me again," she said. She became team leader for night patrol at Hermannsburg, staying in the position for a year.

She left because she was expecting a baby. A healthy boy arrived in August 2009 and she called him Mathias.

"I thought, 'I've got a baby, now I need a job'," she recalls. She had already done six months' training as an interpreter at IAD (Institute of Aboriginal Development). She heard that Aboriginal Interpreter Services had vacancies and they took her on as a casual. Then a full-time permanent position came up as a community-based interpreter. She's being supported to finish her studies on two days of the week. For the other three she's on call to attend wherever interpreter services are needed. KIERAN FINNANE reports. 

Artist's meditation on the East MacDonnells

Terra firma (detail) by Henry Smith 
Henry Smith's Slow Burn opened at Araluen last night. Smith has lived in The Centre for 16 years, exhibiting regularly both sculpture and two-dimensional work – paintings and drawings. His venture into abstraction is a new direction for him, or perhaps the next step in a decade-long direction:
“There are so many realistic paintings out there already. I challenged myself to come up with something different, a fresh point of view. Each one would start as a landscape. Then I developed a composition of shapes, textures and patterns, using different palettes, depending on the seasons. Play and chance came into it quite a bit and in some cases I reworked a piece three or four times until I felt it was strong.”

Fellow artist and author ROD MOSS shared his thoughts about the work with the opening night audience:-

Let me introduce this exhibition of Henry’s by paraphrasing something I wrote about his first show at Araluen a decade ago:

Those of us who have sought inspiration from living close to nature in Alice Springs can no longer make art reflecting its landscape without awareness of the political and spiritual connections that its indigenous custodians express in their representations. The proliferation of these has helped shape ecological debates. The great desert artists need no further endorsement. But there are those, like Henry who have sought political and spiritual connections themselves in relocating to this remarkable place.
For this landscape artist, that general statement remains pertinent. Though Henry has sought to re-invent his ‘picturing forth’ he is still himself. His interests, his curiosities, his devotions and sensibility continue on track. What might seem initially a radical change regards his approach is in essence a deepening of those intrinsic interests as he channels them into freer, more fantastic realms.
And from our archive: February 6, 2002. Henry Smith: The land is a mirror of life's struggle. Review by KIERAN FINNANE.

When heating takes more than the flick of a switch

The weather forecast last week predicted some fairly cold weather with nighttime lows down to a terrifying zero. This got me to thinking (perhaps dramatically) about humankind’s development as a struggle against the elements in a constant search for optimal temperature comfort. From palm fronds as fans to campfires for warmth to huts and heaters, buildings and air conditioning, I was entertaining a different paradigm from which to view the history of the whole world through!

Melodramatic, you may think, but picture this: coming home from work one afternoon so cold I found myself sitting on my bed wrapped in a blanket holding my cat. I sat there thinking all this through and wondering how to get some wood.

Now I had earlier in the week phoned around and found prices for wood too expensive. I had been up the back of the hill and gathered what I could that didn’t need a chainsaw. Following that I had a friend drop by and make short work of a branch in the back yard. That lasted all of two nights and then we were back out on a limb, if only it were of the flammable kind ...

'Out of date' and 'unpopular' books go as library prepares for a facelift

UPDATE, June 4, 4.15pm:  Reader comment that up to a quarter of the Public Library's current holdings has been "weeded" is firmly rejected by Manager of Library Services, Georgina Davison. "No way!" she says, and reiterates that there is no target figure.

The cull is larger than normal in the lead-up to the introduction of electronic tagging and because it has not been done for a while. She says if shelves look a little empty it is because library staff are waiting for the electronic tagging before putting out new items.

New items are ordered all the time and are reported on in the monthly update to the Town Council. One recent month saw 1200 new items arrive; another, 700. Go to FULL STORY for more.

 

 

Work at the town's Public Library is a matter of renewal, not significant change, says the Town Council's Director of Corporate and Community Services, Craig Catchlove.  Redevelopment of the library is a long-term high cost item in the council's Municipal Plan but to date, council has not been successful in obtaining funds, despite a number of applications. So instead of a $22m new library, the town is getting a $240,000 refreshed library.

Part of this modest overhaul involves moving the front entrance to the garden facing the river, certainly more attractive than the current 'tradesmen's' entrance that takes library visitors straight past the toilets.

Perhaps of more interest to library users is what will happen inside. The library's holdings are currently being "weeded", always a bit of a worry for booklovers. Will they throw out that precious book that you don't even know you want to read yet but in years to come will be delighted to find on the shelves? Well, maybe. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

 

Photo: This part of a library officer's work will go with electronic tagging of all items being introduced: Felicity Thorne at the circulation desk this week. In the background, visitors use the internet and computer services, one of the ways libraries have changed over the years.

The elusive 'Port Augusta model'

As police continue their law and order blitz in Alice, the Town Council stumbles towards a bigger picture approach.

 

At last night's meeting councillors appeared to vote for something they did not want.

Instead of a report on how the Port Augusta council calls governments and bureaucrats to account for their policies and actions in that town,  councillors instructed, by formal vote, the Director of Corporate and Community Services to engage a consultant to evaluate the Port Augusta Alcohol Management Group and its community alcohol management plan.

This is despite their determination in the committee meeting a fortnight ago that what they wanted to understand about Port Augusta went well beyond how that town manages alcohol issues. At that committee meeting Councillor Liz Martin said she was looking for something far more "holistic". Cr Steve Brown, who originally got the ball rolling on the "Port Augusta model", also made clear a fortnight ago that his interest was not specifically about alcohol, but rather the overall management of the town. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

After years of under-achieving, tourism promoters say they are getting cracking

Last week's Territory deputation, headed up by Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy and including Alice Mayor Damien Ryan, to the Australian Tourist Commission has a familiar ring to it: If something goes wrong we run to the Feds to bail us out.
The Feds' contribution to the Territory is almost five times the national average, allowing a level of funding for our government tourism body that is the envy of its interstate peers. Yet Tourism NT's sustained underachieving is still failing to halt the industry's decline or turn it around.
Tourism Australia, Tourism NT, and Tourism Central Australia – the supposed watchdog – all seem to be the best of buddies, set to do great things real soon, dodging answers as to why these haven't been done much sooner.
Meanwhile all the NT Opposition, three months out from the election, and some four years after the Global Financial Crisis began to nudge our biggest private industry towards oblivion, still has not disclosed its policy on tourism.
ERWIN CHLANDA spoke to some of the players and looked at some of the numbers. Ms McCarthy did not respond to a request for an interview. PHOTOS: The Qantas counter at the Alice airport where the airline has a monopoly. Ormiston Gorge in flood.

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