Perhaps because this can be a hot place anyway, there was little heat in the Alice Springs conversation with the Climate Commission; and perhaps because it's an expensive place to live anyway, there was no whinging about the "great big tax". The science was clearly accepted; people's interest was in 'where to from here'. People wanted to know about the impact of the Clean Energy Act on the poorest people in our region; about the advantages for sustainability of high density living; about population control; about carbon farming, carbon storage, and large-scale solar power stations. They had some of the nation's best climate change brains answering, although when it got down to local specifics, such as the development of the Kilgariff subdivision and fire regimes in the desert, the information got a little thin. Pictured: Professors Tim Flannery and Lesley Hughes at the 'Climate Conversation' in Alice Springs on Wednesday. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Not for these guys the move to the city, the haircut, the compromise that comes with chasing after airplay: they want to stick with what they believe in, the angry, high energy music of their youth – metal – and its roots in small town isolation and boredom. They are the various talents that make up the three born-in-Alice bands – Miazma, Uncreation and The Horror – and have come together to launch their own label, The Black Wreath.
This will be done with a live performance, of course, this Friday – 11.11.11 – at Annie's Place from 7.30pm. But it will also stream live on the internet. There'll be a six track EP to souvenir, recorded in their own studio
– a completely soundproof room-within-a-room, made mostly from found and recycled materials and including a control booth behind glass. They built it themselves, with everyone chipping in what they could in dollars, effort and skills. A collective, DIY approach is what the 13 are all about, staying with the connection they feel, having grown up and into metal music together. Pictured: Top – Uncreation performing in Alice. Right – The Black Wreath studio. Photos by OLIVER ECLIPSE. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
A breakthrough in dealing with alcohol-related offending?
It's a court like no other that I've been in: while everyone is waiting for the magistrate, there's banter with the offender, about his tattoos, his girlfriend, his new job. They all join in, the legal aid lawyer, the court clinician, the police prosecutor and the correctional services officer. The offender is an open-faced, smiling young man in his twenties. He's clearly well liked.
When Magistrate David Bamber enters, the good cheer continues. He speaks directly to the offender who responds for himself. The tone is conversational. The offender remains seated.
"So you haven't had a smoke for four weeks," comments Mr Bamber. He reads off the results of the defendant's urinalysis: "You'll be clean soon."
This is the SMART Court, introduced in the Northern Territory this year. SMART stands for "Substance Misuse Assessment and Referral for Treatment". The offender's case would have been heard in the Court of Summary Jurisdiction and his sentence deferred while he's been given a chance to comply with his SMART orders, among them total abstinence. There's a system of rewards but also sanctions: non-compliance with orders can earn gaol time. Photo (from our archive): Many of the people appearing before the SMART Court have been convicted of medium and high-range drink-driving and other driving offences. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Have firefighters watched some trees in the Todd burn? "Yes," says Senior Station Fire Officer in Alice Springs, John Kleeman, but only when any further effort to fight the fire would be "to no avail".
Have firefighters' decisions on how to respond to individual fires had anything to do with agreements or instructions from the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA)?
"No," says Mr Kleeman and "No," says AAPA.
The Alice Springs News Online has spoken to Mr Kleeman and Dr Ben Scambary, the CEO of AAPA in order to clarify a heated debate that has developed in response to our report of November 7, 'Spot a tree? Chop it down!'.
Pictured: A severely damaged tree in the Todd River, alongside Tuncks Causeway – but is it dead? KIERAN FINNANE reports.