Town Council rangers have had a "more difficult workload" since the removal of the Banned Drinkers Register, according to Mayor Damien Ryan. He told his fellow councillors last night that he had conveyed this message to the stakeholders' meeting on alcohol issues convened by Deputy Chief Minister Robyn Lambley on October 5. Meanwhile, his opposition to the NT Rock Bar's application to extend its trading hours had evaporated as had Cr Eli Melky's. Council had received an extension of time to comment on the application and last night voted to "not object". KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The Territory Government is determined to let Aboriginal people decide on whether they want grog or stronger grog in their communities. Minister for Indigenous Advancement Alison Anderson backs this while also expressing her confidence that 99.9% will say no to grog. Now Aboriginal Peak Organisations have announced a summit to get a "firm overview of Aboriginal views".
"Our politicians are right—the ultimate decision over managing alcohol on our communities must lie with our people—all of us," said alliance spokesperson Priscilla Collins.
Freedom of choice for Aborigines is dominating the parliamentary debate on alcohol but the link between excessive drinking and lack of employment is also receiving attention. Member for Barkly Gerry McCarthy (Labour) told parliament about the "great fun" he had at Aboriginal social clubs in Kalkaringi and Nguiu but stressed that "the employment programs are running at less than 30%" in those communities. Member for Braitling Adam Giles (Country Liberals) said "paying people to do nothing" remains "the No 1 issue", something that Independent Member for Nelson Gerry Wood strongly agreed with. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Source: MLAs' comments as reported in Daily Hansard.
Something has to be done about flood mitigation. Burying your head in the sand will not make it go away. We live in a climate of extremes and some of our older residents will remember the terrible Easter flood in 1988 with massive property damage, writes Ted Skahill, of Alice Springs. Pictured is Junction Waterhole, the site proposed for a dam.
Sarah Fitzgerald, 21, (left) from Mildura, Victoria, wants to win in next year's Tatts Finke Desert Race, one way or another: She will apply to be a grid girl, and if that doesn't work, she'll straddle her new 125cc pit bike – her first – and give the boys a run for their money.
Another early hopeful to join the glamor girls, sponsored by Inland Electrical, is born and bred local, Jade Hatt, who says she can’t wait to apply when entries open on November 1, "continuing her journey of growing up with the race".
“Our race is a national event open to anyone and everyone wishing to compete," says race committee member, Claire Ryan. "The same applies with our volunteers and Grid Girls.”
The whole of the Northern Territory is now defined as a food security area, except for the major centres that are specifically excluded. The effect of the change – part of the Stronger Futures package – is that all stores that are an important source of food, drink or grocery items for an Aboriginal community, whether or not they are in or close to the community, will have to be licensed.
Chief Minister Terry Mills (at left) will front media in Darwin this afternoon to talk about the new Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority Bill introduced into Parliament today. But will the media get any further than Independent MLA Gerry Woods did in Question Time yesterday, when he asked Mr Mills how the existing EPA is not already independent and what the cost would be of setting up a new EPA agency? He got no answer on cost. As for independence, Mr Mills' reply suggests "very, very slow decision-making" is his main concern, but Jimmy Cocking, coordinator of the Arid lands Environment Centre says "speeding up decisions is not an improvement" unless all the information is there. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
A decision on costs yesterday – awarded to the plaintiff as expected – brought to a conclusion the defamation case Framptons' principal David Forrest (pictured) brought against me related to an article I published in September 2010. But the story's not over. COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Royalties have temporarily stopped flowing to the NT Government and Arrernte traditional owners for gas from the Palm Valley fields west of Alice Springs, in the wake of reduced production. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Minister for Indigenous Advancement Alison Anderson says there is no conflict between her vision of schooling in the bush and the Chief Minister's. In a long speech to parliament on Tuesday she said that teaching traditional culture and language "should not be done in schools". This has been reported as in conflict with County Liberals policy, with Chief Minister Terry Mills stating yesterday that, while the objective is to teach English, "you have to use the language that they bring into the school in those first two or three years".
Ms Anderson told the Alice Springs News Online this morning that this of course is the "pragmatic" way to go: "You can't start teaching bush children in a language they can't understand. You use the traditional language to get to English, which is what schools do now. It's called 'scaffolding'." KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Alison Anderson at Hermannsburg on polling day. Her own Indigenous language skills are legendary but she wants bush children to become fluent in English and this must be the primary focus in schools, she says.
UPDATED October 25, 2012, 11.55 am. See FULL STORY.
Reducing debt means reducing the size of the public service
Economist Rolf Gerritsen welcomes the Country Liberals Government's "fiscal rectitude": "Let us hope that [it] lasts longer than the Government’s first budget (which is as long as it lasted when the Martin Government was elected)." He describes the Government's intentions to return the NT budget to surplus by the end of its first term and then to begin repaying debt as "laudable" as interest costs "are a dead weight on the budget". KIERAN FINNANE reports.