Saturday, May 8, 2021

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 32

COVID waste a danger for school kids: quarantined hunger striker

By ERWIN CHLANDA Hunger striker Braedon Earley, who is detained in the Howard Springs COVID quarantine station, says rubbish he has seen around what amounts...

Kids on Country, ban fracking: Greens

By JULIUS DENNIS A total ban of fracking and comprehensive initiatives for dealing with troublesome children are key planks in the Greens' platform who are...

Creative drive in the desert goes deep


From the on-going brilliance of artists from The Lands, in the far
north of South Australia, to the delightful evolution of the soft
sculpture coming out of Larapinta Valley town camp in Alice Springs and
the many shades of achievement in between, Desert Mob shows once again
that the drive to creativity amongst Aborigines of the desert is
unabated. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photo: Opening
night: the soft sculptures of the Larapinta Valley town camp
artists were much admired. In the background are the dazzling paintings
from Tjala Arts, based at Amata in the APY Lands.

Back to drawingboard for Parsons Street high-rise

It's back to the drawingboard for the high-rise building planned for
the former Commonwealth Bank site in Parsons Street, says Sitzler
Brothers general manager in Alice Springs, Trevor Jacobs.

He says the firm had applied for six storeys but only five had been granted.

Mr Jacobs says it is now being re-assessed whether the reduced size is economically viable.

The Exceptional Development Permit for five storeys will lapse in two years.

Conditions include a roof garden to enhance enhancing the building's
view from the town's hills and a pedestrian-friendly awning.

The ground level ceilings are to be 4.5m high and the car park on
level two is to have minimum ceiling height of 3.1m "to facilitate
further adaptive re-use".

Other conditions imposed by Minister for Lands and Planning, Gerry McCarthy, include:-

• An "active facade treatment" for the side facing the laneway to the west, between the building and the post office.

• Landscaping of the rooftop, including planting and future
maintenance and surface finishes in order to enhance the building's
visual impact when viewed from the town's surrounding hills.

• Airconditioning condensers are to be appropriately screened from
public view, and located so as to minimise thermal and acoustic impacts
to the satisfaction of the consent authority.

• Pipes, fixtures and vents ... must be concealed in service ducts or otherwise hidden from view.

The permit says "external appearance of the building is expected to
enhance the street scape by incorporating a large awning canopy wrapping
around both key frontages providing all weather protection for

"Shadow diagrams have indicated that the adjoining properties will
not be adversely subjected to shadow effect during critical times of the
year." ERWIN CHLANDA reports.

Stranded disaster or stolen delight?


Getting bogged can be a positively elevating experience, says ESTELLE ROBERTS.

I got my Ps just a few days before leaving Sydney but there wasn’t
anything in it that prepared me how to judge sandy banks or tracks and
so yes, bogged I got. And it's funny how quickly my mind turned to what
was in the car: a bottle of water each, some leftover leftovers, a
bottle of wine. Ah, a towrope not long out of the packet.

NT statehood soon? I don’t think so.



Opinion polls show that Territorians are very strongly in favour of
Statehood for the Territory. The opinion polls conducted by the NT
Statehood Committee also show that Territorians are (by small
majorities) against statehood if we do not have the same rights as other
States. Unfortunately, whatever the results of the negotiations
between the Territory and the Commonwealth, we will never be equal to
the other States. COMMENT by ROLF GERRITSEN. Photo: pushing for statehood online.

$3.5m grant from Feds for landfill upgrade

The town council will get $3.5m from the Federal Government towards a $5m project to upgrade the landfill on its present site.

This will include a new waste transfer station, retail reycling shop, weigbridge, security gates and improved road network.

Mayor Damien Ryan says this will help the council achieve its goal to
reduce the litter stream to the landfill by 50% over 30 years.

Mr Ryan says he's had a "win win" with the grant which comes from the
Regional Development Australia Fund on which he is the Territory's

Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, says this is "a great project
that will not only benefit the local community, but the surrounding
regional areas as well.

“The project will create growth opportunities for business to use
recycled materials, particularly glass, focus the attention of business,
industry and government in the region on waste management practices and
increase current staffing levels by approximately 50 per cent.

“Currently, businesses outside Alice Springs municipal boundaries are
required to take hazardous waste like asbestos across state borders.”

Mr Snowdon says four local government areas will benefit from the
project, including the MacDonnell Shire, Central Desert Shire, Barkly
Shire Council and Alice Springs Municipality.

Meanwhile Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Adam Giles says
while Alice Springs rubbish management needs are now secured for the
future, it is unfortunate that funding was not made available for
delivering real jobs and real economic development in the region.

Photo: Muddy tracks at the landfill soon to be a thing of the past.

Anderson joins Country Liberals, will target shires, growth towns, commercial development, 'separatism' in education

MacDonnell MLA Alison Anderson says the failure of the super shires,
fixing the "appalling" SIHIP housing program, reforming  "pretend"
education and training and creating meaningful economic development
strategies in the bush will be among her main objectives.

Ms Anderson, who started her parliamentary career as a Labor Party
member and became an Independent in 2009, last night joined the Country
Liberals. This puts the numbers in the House at 12 – 12, with Gerry Wood
holding the balance of power.

She says there have been "no deals whatsoever" to entice her into the conservative party, such as the offer of a ministry.

Ms Anderson says: "The shires are a mess. They are too top heavy, too
much money goes into the hierarchy while services on the ground are

She says repairs and maintenance to bush homes carried out under
SIHIP is "absolutely appalling. She's had complaints from communities
including Santa Teresa, Haasts Bluff, Papunya and Docker River.

"Repair crews were meant to have come back in June but still haven't.
The money goes to consultancies and layers upon layers of bureaucracy."

Ms Anderson says the "separatism" in education must stop. She says
even as a Labor Member she had admired the education policies of
Opposition Leader Terry Mills.

"There should be one set of policies, not a pretend education and
training system in the bush. We've got training for the sake of
training. Some people have 20 or 30 certificates [but no opportunity of
using them]."

She says the economic development efforts of the Government are a sham.

Consultation consists of getting wish lists from people, so the Government can tick boxes, but there's seldom any follow-up.

The growth towns – Hermannsburg and Papunya in her electorate – are concepts without substance.

People aren't necessarily happy to have a central service hub,
although Ms Anderson concedes that she was the Labor Minister introducing the hub and spokes model of the growth towns.

She says there should be specific commercial proposals based on
research of the available assets, markets and the preferences of the
locals. She says Hermannsburg has some obvious opportunities  –
tourism attracted by the town's history, Palm Valley nearby, and the
proximity to Alice Springs.

The options for Papunya are not as clear, and "we will do a proper
talking session [about] where we want to go". A cultural museum and a
visitor complex at the back of ranges near the town may be some options.

Have the Country Liberals done that sort of planning in the past, so as to have a strategy in place?

No, says Ms Anderson, but a start on focussed economic planning will begin this year.

Ms Anderson is pictured with MLA for Braitling Adam Giles.

Meanwhile Mr Mills says Ms Anderson’s decision to join the Country
Liberals "is simply reflecting the wishes of the people of MacDonnell,
who’ve told her they want to get rid of Labor”.

Ms Anderson’s application will be discussed at a branch meeting in Alice Springs tonight.

Photo: Ms Anderson last summer with Country Liberals MLA for Braitling Adam Giles. From the Alice Springs News archive.

[See "full story" for comment from the Leader of Government Business, Chris Burns.]

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

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

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.

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