From a distance, it looks like a row of softdrink dispensing machines, but up close it is revealed in all its glory as a heavy-handed piece of signage. Taking its cue from the Big Banana and the like, it's a row of Big Books, there to hit you over the head with the fact that this is a public library. KIERAN FINNANE comments.
A return of public sector investment in tourism to at least 2008/09 levels, marketing better suited to new realities, more money for parks and roads, a resolute push for a second airline, coordination of special events, an industry task force to drive a "whole of government" approach to its issues and a minister "who can devote significant time and energy" to these tasks: It's all on a wish list presented to the new government by Tourism Central Australia. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Pictured are chairman Jeff Huyben with board member and acting general manager Laurelle Halford.
Ex Alice Springs girl Puddy Gardner would like the opportunity to return to her roots and represent the race that means a lot to her: “Being an Alice girl at heart, it would be a great privilege to be able to represent my hometown and support all the participants – including my sister who races!”
The search for the 2013 Tatts Finke Desert Race Inland Electrical Grid Girls is only three weeks in and the record of applicants looks to be broken very soon.
They are the official ambassadors of the race which sees over 650 compete in an off road race on a motorcycle, quad bike, buggy or car from Alice Springs to Finke and back again over the Queen's Birthday Weekend in June each year.
This year 59 beautiful applicants from across Australia applied in the three month search period. The 2013 search looks to smash this with already 55 girls applying in the first three weeks.
Alice Springs residents who entered a challenge to save 10 to 20% on their household energy use in one year have saved over $3000 in the first six months of the competition, says Sam Latz, Alice Solar City General Manager.
It's fun, moving, full of optimism and high energy: a video clip made by Year 11 Indigenous students at Centralian College has won a national competition, earning $15,000 for their school. As with all the high schools in the CREATivE CHANGE competition, they based their entry on the Warumpi Band’s Blackfella/Whitefella, developing an original rap and using Garage Band to create their own backing track. The lyrics are simple but meaningful: "We're singing together / we're making life better ... We are all one mob / we all need an education / we all need a job / across this great nation ... " KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Among the students involved in the clip are (from front) Ashley, Lavina, Lemona and Shania.
UPDATE Fri 1.30pm: Blackballed professor raises more issues: was student's livelihood threatened by Desert Knowledge CRC? Still no comment from the CRC.
The proposed co-operation between the Desert Knowledge movement and Charles Darwin University (CDU) is off to a rocky start with the apparent boycott of Professor Rolf Gerritsen.
He is the university's senior and most prominent member in Alice Springs, a frequent public commentator on a range of issues, as the Professorial Research Fellow in the region for the The Northern Institute. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Visitors who have boned up on Central Australia are likely to be expecting workers with black faces at the airport. They did – but none of these four were indigenous: Taxi drivers Harpreet Singh (from India) and Bruce Mahiangu (Zimbabwe), and security guards Gladys (from South Sudan but now – when asked where she's from – proudly saying "Australia") and Sam (Liberia). The town's cosmopolitan character has been enhanced by an injection of nearly 2,000 overseas migrants who had arrived in Australia during 2006 to 2011. They found The Alice to be a great place to find a job, a forum was told this week.
The population of Alice Springs, after a slow growth between 2001 and 2009, is now declining.
Old people are leaving. The proportion of working age people is on the way up.
There are gains in education. Many people from overseas are now working here.
Small bush towns seem doomed and the uncertain prognosis for our region is to have a non-indigenous population of just under 30,000 and an indigenous one of 20,000 by 2025. It's a mixed bag, reports ERWIN CHLANDA.
There are signs of council wanting to relinquish its role as trustee of the Todd River. In the last meeting of the Environment Advisory Committee, council was asked to take "leadership in the management of the Todd River". Jimmy Cocking, coordinator of the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) and a member of the advisory committee, says this wording is a "watered down" version of what he was seeking, which was that council take the lead in forming a working group of all relevant decision-makers with a view to better management of the river. However, when the issue was raised at the Town Council's subsequent meeting, Councillor Steve Brown, who chairs the Environment Advisory Committee, said council does not want to take a lead role in forming such a body; the river as Crown land is NT Government-owned and this should be their role. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: The river lapping the Wills Terrace footbridge: at all times it's a challenge to manage. Photo from our archive.
The Great Alcohol Debate: bring back BDR or similar, they say
Aboriginal peak organisations of the Northern Territory have called on governments to "base alcohol policy on evidence not politics" and to "bring back a system (such as the Banned Drinkers Register [BDR]) to restrict the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers without resorting to criminalisation". They have pleaded with governments "to heed our warnings about the risks of allowing more alcohol to flow into remote communities".
A shot in the arm for the watercolour movement ... and chance for visitors to have contact with Aboriginal people
It's an opportunity that will surely be the envy of many: the Ngurratjuta art centre has bought the gift shop at the Alice Springs Desert Park. It will be used to exhibit and promote the work of its artists, and provide an income to their enterprise from its trade in the full line of gifts and souvenirs. The Desert Park is also keen to have the artists painting on site and this looks set to happen from late March next year, as the cooler weather arrives. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Coordinator Iris Bendor installing the watercolour display at the Desert Park shop.