Tangentyere Council needs to come clean with the taxpayer about how it spends the $43m a year it gets from the public purse, says NT Minister for Indigenous Advancement, Alison Anderson (at left). She says the arganisation was previously responsible for all or most of the town's up to 19 camps, but is is now looking after fewer than half of them; is failing to stem the "rivers of grog" despite the camps' "dry" status, is incapable of curbing extreme violence; and is treated by the Shaw family as its private "dynasty". ERWIN CHLANDA reports.PHOTOS: Garbage in Charles Creek in 2010. The same location on Wednesday this week, after Ingkerreke has taken over from Tangentyere clean-up and parks maintenance functions.
Hiccups in NT Government funding for ASYASS, an Alice Springs NGO providing emergency accommodation for young people, were given "urgent priority" in talks yesterday as the organisation was unable to pay some of its bills.
ASYASS director Brian Hayes said yesterday the problems had existed for five to six months but he was confident they would be fixed.
The News was unable to contact him today.
A spokesman for the government said: "Issues relating to payment of invoices were identified last week and are being resolved by the Regional Executive Director, Central Australia as an urgent priority."
UPDATE 1:30 May 28: Police have now disclosed that the taxi's passenger, described as a 34 year old female, was issued with a liquor infringement notice, an on-the-spot fine. That means the owner and purchaser of the liquor was fined $100 plus $20 victim levy under Section 75(1)(c) of the NT Liquor Act targeting anyone who "consumes, sells, supplies or otherwise disposes of liquor in a general restricted area."
Meanwhile, forfeiture of the car may be part of the penalty the driver is facing.
UPDATE 10:10 May 24: Police are now seeking legal advice about the responsibilities of taxi drivers carrying passengers who have alcohol in their possession.
The Alice Springs News Online this morning put the following question to Police Commissioner John McRoberts: "If – say – a German tourist and his wife took a taxi, bought a bottle of champagne in a bottle shop, and then went to Anzac Hill to watch the sunset over a glass of bubbly, would the taxi driver be obliged to stop them from doing so?
"What would he be required to do? What would the police do to him if he did not act as the police requires?
Bear in mind that Alice Springs is also a prescribed town [with large signs at the entrance] where drinking in public is prohibited."
A spokesperson for the Commissioner replied: "The Police are currently seeking legal advice. Once there is a clearer position, I can let all the enquiring media know."
Police will be seeking the forfeiture of a taxi whose driver is alleged to have taken alcohol to a "prescribed area" in Alice Springs.
They have seized the taxi under the Commonwealth Emergency Response Legislation and charged the cabbie.
"The 50 year-old man was followed by police after his taxi was observed at a drive through bottle shop just after 2pm yesterday," says Superintendent Catherine Bennett.
"The whole community must take responsibility for minimising harm done in the town.
“Police will allege the driver of the taxi was aware the town camp was a dry area and chose to ignore the large sign at the entrance. "
UPDATE: Samih Habib Bitar, director of Alice Springs Taxis and former alderman (pictured right), says all drivers know that it is illegal for grog to be taken into town camps. He says sometimes people try to hide grog amongst their groceries. "It's up to the driver to check," he says, "to make sure their boot is clean. The company tells everyone to check."
On the possible penalty for a breach, he says "we all must pay for our mistakes" and hopes everyone "learns a lesson" .
"I've got 55 positions across MacDonnell Shire – I can't fill all of them because I have to compete with Centrelink."
It was one of the starker statements of the two and half hour public meeting held in Alice on Tuesday evening, about the second phase of the Federal Intervention.
The speaker was Tracey McNee, coordinator of Community Safety at the shire, making a point about the disincentive to work created by ease of access to the dole. She "took her hat off" to shire residents who had taken the work, but commented on the remaining vacancies: "[People] don't necessarily have the same pressure and pushes to apply for those jobs."
The jobs are with night patrol services: "No-one is saying night patrol is an easy job, but it is a job," said Ms McNee.
Centrelink is potentially "a large part of the solution," responded veteran community development worker Bob Durnan, suggesting that the organisation has the motivation and capacity as well as permanent staff in communities to help people into jobs (presumably with some forcefulness, if necessary). He said while government has poured a huge amount of money into job networks, they are not based in communities and don't have local knowledge. Centrelink is in a good position to take over job network functions, he said. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Photo: Youth worker George Peckham on the microphone at Tuesday night's public meeting.