PHOTO: We chatted with this group of youngsters yesterday and they were happy for us to take this picture. It was a nice Saturday morning in the Mall, and they were hanging out together, having fun. One boy, clearly suspecting that people would think they are up to no good, said: "Are you going to give this photo to the police?" Another said he would look up the story at school on Monday and took the Alice Springs News Online website address. A third boy, when asked where he is from, replied: "Alice Springs. I own it." One boy said, with a big laugh: "My name is Damien Ryan." We've obscured their smiling faces because there was no opportunity of getting formal permission. We're sorry about that, and will be happy to provide the un-redacted picture to the boys.
Down here on the ground in Alice Springs, black children, driven to crime by hunger and fear, are fast becoming enemy number one, or victim number one, depending on who you're talking to.
There's not much public knowledge about just who these kids are, nor how many of them there are.
We have a land, sea, men's, women's and all manner of other councils, but do these kids have a voice?
Here's a look at a couple of current initiatives: are they going to make a difference?
The drunks "send in the kids. For the kids it’s excitement,” a burgled restaurant owner explained during the recent town council election campaign, dominated by law and order issues. The loot was a few bottles of spirits. The cost of smashed property was in the thousands.
"We’ve had $1800 worth of damage done here and all they took was bread and cheese," said a candidate seeking re-election.
Meanwhile up there in the stratosphere, the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) are making submission to the Attorney-General’s Department Public Consultation on the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), while Canberra will be spending $1.5b, from mid next year, on a new Remote Jobs and Communities Program. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Why an A'van? That's easy: you can fold it down to half its height in 20 seconds and it won't cause the fuel-guzzling drag a normal caravan does.
The A'van – starting price $25,000 – is strong. None of the walls are made from canvas.
The triangles on either side fold on top of each-other, and so do the quadrangles front and back, all resting on the bench tops inside for towing.
They are great for two people on a trip of a couple of weeks (although too small for extended living, having no bathroom, for example).
Why these simple advantages spawned a veritable cult – very benign, to be sure – is a bit of a mystery, until you discover the friendly like-mindedness of the owners.
Photos: Like Doctor Who's telephone box – it's so much bigger inside: June Hicks in her A'van in Alice today, at the MacDonnell Range Caravan Park. Chilling outdoors in The Alice after couple of days of rain. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The tourism industry in Alice Springs has had two sharp consecutive drops in annual earnings.
The total spend by visitors dropped 16% from $300m in calendar year
2009 to $252m in 2010, and 26% from $360m in financial year 2010 to
$265m in 2011, according to figures from the Territory Government's
The amounts are not adjusted for inflation.
There was a sharp drop in visitor nights and a small rise in the spend per visitor (see graph).
The industry has been flat since at least 2004 with small peaks in 2006
and 2009, and the string of unfortunate events this year – Tiger flights
halt, global recession reverberations, strong Aussie dollar – are a
wake-up call to provide better and more appropriate "product", says the
industry. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Photo above: Local woman Doreen Nakamarra is hunting for witchetty grubs with tourist Jade Yang, from Shanghai. She
was in a group with prominent Chinese art dealer, Sun Kongyang, in The
Centre recently for the Desert Mob art fair, and hosted by tourism
operator Steve Strike.
This week Tourism NT is seeking to get the NT
tourism industry to provide timely information on visitation levels and a
forward looking business outlook as part of its quarterly industry online poll.
This Sunday that I attended a "clothes swap" held on the restaurant rooftop of Soma. Everyone present brought along old goodies and what was trash for some became treasure for others. I watched vibrant, gaudy and multi-hued fabrics swishing over people’s absorbed faces and felt a warm tingle from my toes to my palms. The way I see things: life is too short to wear boring clothes, and this moment is just too special for us to hide what we really want to wear in face of the ever-gazing social eye. Pictured: Try outfits like these at work next Wednesday! Kali Kennedy and Stephanie Harrison sporting winning entries at last year's Wearable Arts Awards. MOZZIE BITES puts out a challenge.