The camp at the Granites goldmine north-west of Alice Springs. Workers fly in and out from all over Australia. Photo courtesy Newmont Mines.
A recurring theme during the election campaign was the question, why bother voting? And from that quite frequently flows: Let's break away. But how?
Answers to that seem to be taking shape in several quarters. Desert Knowledge chairman Fred Chaney suggested getting rid of the states and running the country from Canberra and through local governments on steroids.
And the election has suddenly shifted the political centre of gravity from Darwin's northern suburbs to the bush, through candidates and even a new party.Now Bruce Walker (pictured), the director of remoteFOCUS, Desert Knowledge Australia in Alice Springs, has argued in a submission to the Senate enquiry into Fly-In, Fly-Out that there are broad issues in remote Australia that need to be fixed.
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.
The morning after, Alice Springs style: a mountain of wine casks in the dry Todd River, collected within just 200 metres of the footbridge (top left in the photo), put on display by the local alcohol control pressure group, People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC).
The group wants a "floor price" for alcohol pegged at the cost of the cheapest full strength beer, $1.20 per standard drink.
The booze sold by the Todd Tavern bottle shop (in the background of the photo), on the banks of the Todd, in these Renmano wine casks works out at 71 cents per drink, according to PAAC spokesman John Boffa.
But the manager of the Todd Tavern, Leonie Leach, says the correct price per standard drink for the Renmano cask wine is 90 cents.
Only the Todd Tavern and the Gapview Hotel are selling cheap cask wine. All other outlets in the town have voluntarily withdrawn the product from sale.
Alcohol restrictions are a major issue for the upcoming local government and legislative assembly elections.
Meanwhile at 1pm today (February 22) police arrested a disqualified driver who was allegedly drunk and had an unrestrained two-day old baby in the car, and on February 23 Opposition Leader Terry Mills said violent assaults in the Northern Territory are on the increase