UPDATE 11.50am November 8: Owners of Todd Tavern land, building not consulted by the government nor the lessees about any development.
Plans were apparently delayed or scrapped following the town council's rejection of Anzac Oval as a site for the national Aboriginal art gallery. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
UPDATE 6am November 8: The general manager of the Todd Tavern says its plans are confidential.
UPDATE 5.15pm November 8: The Master Plan for Alice Springs Plaza and Todd Tavern has been shared with the Northern Territory Government and was completed as per the funding grant agreement. The contents of the Master Plan are commercial in confidence and cannot be shared at this time. Department of the Chief Minister.
UPDATE 7.10 pm November 8: Statement by Councillor Eli Melky.
The Alice Springs native title body may seek the return of nearly $700,000 in cash, and of shares in the Yeperenye shopping centre worth $400,000 in annual interest, which were transferred to other entities apparently without proper agreement.
This is revealed in a document obtained by the Alice Springs News Online. It was prepared for a meeting between the native title body, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (LAAC), and what has become known as the "Enterprise Group" earlier this year, in particular some directors and the Public Officer of Lhere Artepe Enterprises Pty Ltd (LAE).
A spokeswoman for the Enterprise Group, Sally McMartin, responding to our request for comment, says: "There appeared to be monies owing to LAAC – the LAE Directors were not however aware of the past arrangements nor for what purpose the monies were used nor any past arrangements around repayment.
"The LAE Board sought from LAAC some advice and documentation of the 'Loans' and the amounts of each loan because these numbers were also not firm."
Part of the disputed amounts were used for the purchase of the three IGA supermarkets in Alice Springs while Darryl Pearce (at left) was a key figure in Lhere Artepe affairs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
What's an empty beer can worth? The container deposit saga goes on.
While the depot operator says he's still below break-even point, it seems the Alice Springs Town Council's glass crusher – bought from Queensland with a grant from the NT Government – is a white elephant: it can do in just four days all the crushing the town needs in a year.
The council, after negotiations by the Mayor, rejected a joint venture deal with a local business which was buying a crusher, capable of also processing rocks and old concrete.
The deal would have saved the ratepayer more than half a million dollars. Council CEO Rex Mooney says: "There was no formal proposal" and the equipment bought by the local company would not be suitable.
Meanwhile beverage manufacturer Lion Nathan has issued a media release "firmly" rejecting allegations of profiteering in implementing the the NT government's container deposit scheme and describing it as "expensive and poorly designed".
And Environment Minister Karl Hampton says: "The glass crusher belongs to Alice Springs Town Council – any [questions about the] use of the glass crusher and plans should be directed to them."
ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTOS: The "largest glass crusher in regional Australia" (top, courtesy Town Council) and Kym Schiller sorting empties into no less than 24 categories.
The Federal Government scheme which turned the Henbury cattle station south of Alice Springs into "the world's largest carbon farm" will be a model for other pastoralists wishing to diversify, says Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.
He says so far there have been no similar applications for funding under the National Reserve System which contributed $9m – two-thirds of the purchase price.
The new owners, RM Williams Agricultural Holdings, are planning to turn the 500,000 hectare property "into a nature reserve, effectively removing thousands of cattle from the food chain," as Nationals Senator Fiona Nash puts it.
She also asked what checks and balances are in place to ensure accountability for the taxpayers’ $9 million contribution and would RM Williams have to repay the grant if the property is sold? ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo above:The Finke and the Palmer Rivers flow through Henbury Station. The Finke is the oldest river in the world. Below: The homestead. Photos Federal Government.