In the NT Government's mini-budget is a strong element of deja vu: Three of the panel of experts appointed by the Mills Government for the current exercise (paid for at great cost to long-suffering taxpayers) were also prominent at the time of the Expenditure Review Committee process of 1990/91 writes Alex Nelson, of Alice Springs.
With net debt in the non-financial public sector projected to reach $5.54 billion by 2015-16 and the fiscal imbalance at $867 million in 2012-13 in the Pre-Election Fiscal Outlook, it is not only responsible, but also necessary, to take steps that improve the Territory’s financial position, says Treasurer Robyn Lambley, handing down her Mini Budget.
Tomorrow the new government will release its mini budget. Will the statement by Treasurer Robyn Lambley include the answer to the big question: why does governing the Territory, per head of population, cost five and a half times as much as the national average, asks ERWIN CHLANDA.
There was a warning of impending water restrictions (never implemented) 21 years ago when the town was supplied by water from the Mereenie aquifer and the population was less than 10,000, writes Alex Nelson. While the substance of the ensuing debate was similar to today's, the tone was vastly different.
There is only one cause of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and that is prenatal alcohol exposure, in other words a pregnant mother's drinking. This can cause brain damage in the unborn child. A report released yesterday by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs looks at the "hidden harm" of FASD and sets out a national strategy to deal with it. Most of its recommendations concern the Commonwealth but two involve engaging with the states and territories. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: A diagram from the report shows how, when a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol is passed directly to the fetus through the placenta.
"There appears to be a large number of people subject to Compulsory Income Management who are unlikely to benefit from this measure, and for whom the restrictions of income management can create unnecessary frustrations and challenges." So conclude the authors of an independent evaluation of the controversial measure in their first report. A second report, not due until 2014, will include an economic evaluation, answering the question of whether the measure delivers value for money compared to other interventions. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The Australian Government today announced improvements to the delivery of income management in the Northern Territory, in response to findings from an interim evaluation report. The interim report by the Australian National University, Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Walesfound that among Indigenous people on income management in the Northern Territory, there was a statistically significant perception of an improvement in their ability to afford food.
Source: Media release by Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin
During my time as an alderman of the Alice Springs Town Council I fought the introduction of a media policy for years. It came before council twice. It was defeated twice.
The core reason was that elected members are not bureaucrats, not staff members. They do not represent the council but the ratepayers and the people of Alice Springs, writes Murray Stewart.
A formal complaint has been lodged with the Town Council about the conduct of Councillor Steve Brown. The complaint comes from Jimmy Cocking, coordinator of the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) and it's about the letter to the editor in which Cr Brown accuses Alice Water Smart of having a "blow-in Enviro-Nazi mentality". Mr Cocking (pictured above during a protest against the nuclear waste dump) says the letter breaches clause 5.4 of council's Code of Conduct for Members which requires of them that they "treat members of the public fairly and equitably and with respect, courtesy, compassion and sensitivity". KIERAN FINNANE reports.
In a decision that turns the 16-year-old native title dispute resolution system on its head, landowners will soon be left high and dry – forced to fund their own representation in native title disputes, while claimants will continue to be funded by taxpayers, writes Warren Truss, of
Alice Springs police are not waiting to be called before acting on domestic violence, Detective Superintendent Brent Warren told the Alice Springs Town Council last night. He said domestic violence assaults make up "a huge component of our violent assaults work" and that detectives are working on "a more proactive approach in dealing with victims and offenders": "We're monitoring people who've got domestic violence orders, going out and doing checks without being called. We're checking on a person: if they're a high risk victim we're making sure the offender is not around at the time or otherwise breaking the conditions of that order." KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Police make an arrest in a town camp. Photo from our archive.
The Town Council has taken the first step towards getting stakeholders in the Todd and Charles Rivers around the table to consider the rivers' management issues. It recently appeared reluctant to respond to a call by Arid Lands Environment Centre coordinator Jimmy Cocking to take "leadership" in the management of the rivers. CEO Rex Mooney and Mayor Damien Ryan have since revisited the minutes of the Environment Advisory Committee, where Mr Cocking put his motion, and it was clear that the committee wanted council to consider a meeting of stakeholders, says Mr Mooney. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: The normally dry bed of the Todd River cuts a green swathe through through the middle of Alice Springs, as seen clearly from the top the range at Heavitree Gap.