News in Brief archive

September 7, 2020 4.15pm Chansey Paech joins front bench

Chansey Paech, the Member of the new seat of Gwoja and formerly of Namatjira, joins the Cabinet as Minister for Local Government, Minister for Remote Housing and Town Camps, Minister for Indigenous Essential Services, Minister for Central Australia Economic Reconstruction, and Minister for Arts and Culture.


September 5, 2020 1.30pm Man in ICU after aggravated assault 

Police are seeking public information after a 43-year-old man was seriously injured by unknown person or persons and left in a driveway in Gosse Street around 10:30pm yesterday.

He is in the ICU in a serious but stable condition.

“We urge anyone who may have footage, or have heard a disturbance in the areas of Gosse Street, Lindsay Avenue or Sturt Terrace,” say police.


September 4, 2020, 11am Council gets road money from Canberra

The Town Council has received $433,129 for works on Lovegrove Drive and Norris Bell Avenue under Canberra’s small-scale local road and community infrastructure projects spending $500m nationwide.

“The amount available was predetermined by the Commonwealth government, and Council nominated eligible projects suitable to the advised funding amount,” says Scott Allen, the council’s Director Technical Services.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says: “This week we have got money out the door to the first of more than 40 projects.

“Having only announced the program in late May, we are moving decisively to deliver the support councils and communities need to get through this pandemic and get back on their feet.”


September 2, 2020, 5pm Drugs, pistol found in Eastside home

A man who is alleged to have been in possession of a trafficable quantity of cannabis and a firearm in an Alice Springs home has been arrested and charged.

Detectives from the Southern Drugs Investigation Unit conducted a search on an East Side home where it is alleged a 33-year-old man was found in possession of 230 grams of cannabis, a pistol with a silencer, ammunition and a significant quantity of cash.

The man has been charged and remanded in custody to appear before the Alice Springs Local Court on Monday.


September 1, 2020 Parcels stolen from Post Australia container in rail yards

Unknown offenders gained entry to a shipping container in the rail yards on Whittaker Street yesterday and removed and damaged a number of Post Australia parcels and caused criminal damage to a nearby train carriage. Police are seeking information.


August 27, 2020 at 5.20pm NT gas sector congratulates Gunner on second term

Australia’s oil and gas industry congratulated Chief Minister Michael Gunner on his second term saying “the community wanted a stable and balanced approach to the response to the COVID-19 and the economic challenges facing the Territory”.

Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association director for the NT Keld Knudsen said in a media release: “The NT election has delivered a clear and strong message on creating jobs and growing the local economy.

“While two minor parties, if elected, threatened to ban hydraulic fracturing and continued onshore gas development, the vast majority of Territorians voted for parties that support the science, evidence and benefits of a well-regulated industry and the long-term economic growth opportunities it provides.

“The industry can play a key and stabilising role in the Territory’s economic recovery by providing jobs, private investment and ultimately an increase in taxes and royalties to the Northern Territory Government.”

August 27, 2020 at 3.50pm Netball: Rovers to clash with Wests.

This week’s KFC A grade game sees Rovers taking on Wests.

Rovers will need to win convincingly to move into second spot on the ladder and have the double chance next week in the semi-finals.

This game is full of interesting match ups, none perhaps better than the expected battle between Rovers Lucy Nicolai WD (pictured) and Wests Catriona Thomson WA.

Both teams’ shooters will need to be in top form as both teams have awesome defensive rebounders. This game should be a close hard-fought contest and will be on Court 2 at 4.30pm.

In the A/A Reserve cross over game Federal A grade will be playing Federal A Reserve. This will be a tough one for the A Reserve team taking on their A grade counterparts.

In the Club Eastside A Reserve we see Rovers CC’s taking on Seasons and Rovers TRex taking on Wests.

In the Yeperenye B Grade Wests are taking on Rovers.

If Wests win, they will move into fourth spot on the ladder. If they do not then fourth spot will be taken by the winner of Sundowners and Federal.

A close hard game is expected in the 17&U game on court 1 at 1.30pm between Federal and Seasons. Federal will be looking to consolidate top spot where Seasons will be wanting to show they are true title contenders.


August 25, 2020 at 9.50am Call to honour fracking subsidy election promise

The Protect Country Alliance is calling on the re-elected Territory Labor Government to honour its pre-election promise to stop using public money to prop up the economically unviable fracking industry.

In response to a PCA fracking score card sent to all parties prior to the election, Territory Labor secretary Anthony Brereton responded “yes” when asked whether a re-elected Territory Labor Government would “ensure no future public funds or subsidies are given to fracking companies – no taxpayer money to prop up fracking”.

He also said a re-elected Labor Government would strengthen laws to protect water in the Territory and ensure fracking companies were liable for compensation, and face harsh penalties for any new pollution caused by its activities.

PCA spokesperson Graeme Sawyer says: “Unfortunately what we saw with last term’s Labor Government was an unwillingness to fully implement these recommendations, and to bend the truth in an attempt to claim recommendations had been implemented where they simply had not.

“As it stands, and contrary to Pepper Inquiry recommendations, Territory pastoralists are potentially liable if a fracking company contaminates underground aquifers while operating on a pastoralist’s private property.

“Fracking companies are also able to store massive amounts of wastewater in open air tanks, again in direct contradiction to Pepper Inquiry recommendations.”

Mr Sawyer says more than $100m in public handouts have already been wasted


August 24, 2020, 2pm Funding for managing solar power

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide $2.17m in funding for the Alice Springs Future Grid Project.

The two-year project will focus on addressing barriers to further renewable energy penetration in the local electricity network.

Currently, Alice Springs has about 10% renewable energy generation and faces a unique challenge in overcoming system strength issues to serve approximately 30,000 people, with communities stretching as far as 130km from the town, says ARENA.

The $9.3 million project will address the technical, regulatory, social and economic challenges associated with energy transition in the town’s isolated grid through a series of sub-projects including:

  • A large-scale battery system.
  • A residential battery trial for up to 50 customers, with batteries aggregated and controlled to provide voltage support to the network.
  • Tariff reforms to investigate the commercial and other incentives required to encourage a change in consumer behaviour to facilitate higher uptake of household batteries with rooftop solar.
  • A roadmap for how the Alice Springs electricity grid could operate with 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

Alice Springs Future Grid is led by the Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, a flagship project of Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA), supported by the Northern Territory Government. ARENA’s funding is provided through the Desert Knowledge Research Institute.

Alice Springs Future Grid is governed by a steering committee including CSIRO, Ekistica, Power and Water Corporation and Territory Generation, along with representatives from ARENA and the Northern Territory Government.



August 23, 2020, 10.45am LETTER: Ex-CLP minister deplores likely new Gunner government

Sir – Getting 13 seats to form Government was too big of an ask for the CLP, decimated by an earlier very ordinary CLP  government.

The ALP, which has destroyed the Northern Territory economy  over four long years, will  be returned to government in the days ahead, when more votes have been counted.

The mix of well paid bureaucrats, intending to save their jobs and the NT citizens, scared beyond belief by the insistent Covid-19 scare campaign, launched by Gunner, voted to return Labor to the treasury benches where awaiting them is the $8.2 billion dollar debt, racked up by a novice and reckless bunch of financial scoundrels.

The ALP  Ponzie scheme perpetrated on Territorians will impact for years ahead. The ALP
borrowed and wasted money on such a grand scale.

Didn’t worry the voters. Self interest won the election.

The CLP has to now take these amateurs into the Legislative Assembly and identify and name, every miscreant, every area of waste, every missed opportunity, every ideological failure.

May the Hansard, the permanent historical record, show how Territorians have been taken for a ride.

Roger Steele


August 22, 2020, 4.50pm Indecent assault

Police are calling for information following an alleged indecent assault this morning.

At about 6am a 44-year-old woman was walking from Lyndavale Drive towards Larapinta Drive when she was approached by an unknown man who attempted to engage the woman in conversation before allegedly assaulting her.

She screamed and the male fled the location, heading towards a dirt track near Lyndavale Drive.

The man is described as being of Aboriginal appearance, late 20s to early 30s, medium build and about 170cm tall.

He was wearing dark pants, dark long sleeved jumper with white writing across the front and a red cap.


August 18, 2020, 9am Voter enrolment, participation poor in the bush

The Northern Territory Electoral Commission says it is concerned by what appears to be a growing divide in participation between urban and remote electors.

Remote voter turnout in a number of the “bush” electorates over the 2020 election mobile voting period has been poor: “In percentage terms, the division of Arafura will again fail to reach a turnout of just 50%.

“The turnout in a number of other remote divisions will likely be just over 50%, says NTEC Commissioner Iain Loganathan.

“Anecdotally our voting teams have reported that there have been many funerals and ceremonies that were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic which are now taking place.”

Mr Loganathan says that while COVID-19 implications appear to be having an adverse effect on remote turnout, he believes the problem is more systemic: “People living in urban areas have their enrolment details updated automatically through the Australian Electoral Commission’s Federal Direct Enrolment Update system.

“But that system does not operate in areas where there is no postal delivery to the street address.”


August 14, 2020, 3.10pm Zachary Rolfe will appear at committal by video link

Zachary Rolfe, the police officer accused of the murder of Kumanjayi Walker in Yuendumu on 9 November last year, was today given permission to remain in Canberra and attend his committal hearing by video link.

Judge John Birch in the Local Court in Alice Springs said the primary reason for this is the biosecurity concern (the Covid-19 pandemic) that all of Australia faces.

Defence counsel and the prosecution, appearing by video and phone from Adelaide and Sydney respectively today, will appear in person in Alice Springs for the committal.

Mr Rolfe is pleading not guilty to the charge of murder.

Today’s hearing was chiefly concerned with the relevance of topics in the case and of the witnesses who could be cross-examined on them.

Judge Birch will make his determination on the witness evidence matters next Thursday.

– Kieran Finnane

August 13, 2020 LETTER: Just a pencil?

Sir – I have just had the pleasure of voting at the ANZ polling station.

Everyone (the Hawkers) outside was very jolly and friendly, which excited me some.

The very polite chap at the entry gave me a little squirt of hand sanitiser, allowed me to select my very own pencil (as he told me I couldn’t use pen) and guided me inside the station.

I had to wait for a few minutes before being served and it gave me just enough time to ponder why we have to use pencil.

When you apply for a credit card, you supposed to use black pen and in fact all legal documents.

People spend a lot of time with PDF documents and DocuSign to secure their documents for matters from very little money to very large amounts of money, but somehow when you are voting for four years of political future, that an easily erasable pencil is sufficient to put your mark on your future.

In this day an age where there is so much corruption around (possibly even in politics) and the fact whole ballot boxes “disappear”, how is using pencil acceptable ? Perhaps I am too cynical.

Paul Lewis, Alice Springs

August 12, 2020, 7am: Early voters

Nearly 10% of Territory electors have already cast their votes.

After two days of early voting the totals in Araluen are 437, in Braitling 450, in Gwoja 103 and in Namatjira 348.

August 11, 2020: Mills says Gunner should end border closing ‘spin’

Territory Alliance Leader Terry Mills says the Chief Minister’s comments that the Territory’s borders will stay closed for another 18 months is simply political spin given that the borders are open to all jurisdictions except Victoria.

And Mr Mills says the NSW border should be closed because of active COVID clusters.

“Other states have recognised the danger yet Gunner continues to have that border open and then foolishly spruiks that borders here in the NT will be closed for another 18 months. Simply ridiculous and unbelievable.”

“It takes just one person to create a virus cluster and we’re entirely exposed while our border to NSW remains open.”



Look at new industry key event for EcoFair

A discussion with Indigenous leaders on how climate change is impacting bush communities and a look at the emerging hemp industry are key events of the three-day desertSMART EcoFair starting on Friday, organised by the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC).

Entry is by donation and free for those arriving by bike, and the much-loved Science Quiz with ABC Alice Springs and Costa Georgiadis is a highlight along with lively panels with local and national guest speakers, stalls, a buffel bust, a bush medicine workshop, kids entertainment and a science tour.

There will be a retrospective to honour the life and works of Central Australian filmmaker David Nixon who passed away earlier this year.

ALEC CEO Jimmy Cocking says renewable energy and climate change are key themes for this year.

There’ll be a tour of the Desert Knowledge Precinct and a panel with Traditional Owners on how bush communities are managing their country and adapting practices in response to climate change.

“We’re excited to take the EcoScience Schools program online this year so we can continue to bring this unique learning opportunity to kids during this unprecedented time,” says Mr Cocking.



LETTER: Some NT water not safe.

Sir – Labor and the CLP are refusing to support a Safe Drinking Water Act in the NT while the parties back dirty and dangerous fracking projects.

We are calling on all NT political parties to publicly announce their support of mandated minimum drinking water standards that are enshrined in law.

There is a dangerous lack of any laws protecting safe drinking water in the NT, especially in remote communities.

Other states, like South Australia, have a law that requires drinking water suppliers to be accountable to the public and to comply with minimum drinking water quality standards.

Such an Act – particularly with respect to people living in remote communities – is long overdue for the Territory.

At the moment there are inconsistencies with how water users in remote communities in the NT are treated compared to people living in urban areas.

To make matters worse, many of the communities that do not have mandated safe water are also located closest to the planned fracking areas around Elliott, Daly Waters and Borroloola.

Without proper legislative protection in place, these remote communities could face similar contamination cases as seen in the USA, NSW and QLD.

The four Northern Territory Land Councils have united in condemning the “unacceptable” lack of protection for safe and adequate drinking water in the NT.

Graeme Sawyer

Lock the Gate Alliance


Desert Song moves online from Ormiston

COVID-19 has forced the Desert Song, normally performed outdoors in the marvellous Ormiston Gorge, into cyberspace.

Chapter Three of Desert Song Digital will be staged at 7pm on Thursday, on Zoom.

Says Festival Director Morris Stuart (pictured): “Desert Song Digital brings our community of patrons together, bringing you joy, contributing to your well-being and building your anticipation for the 2021 festival when we hope to gather again in the Central Desert to celebrate another 10 days of glorious music and music-making.


Local decision making for town camps

Alice Springs Town Camps have taken a major step towards taking control of their own affairs with the signing of a Local Decision Making (LDM) Agreement with the NT Government, according to a media release from Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

The camps now have the opportunity to resume control of housing, municipal and essential services, infrastructure, service delivery and community development.

A “wellness framework” identified housing management and maintenance as a priority.

“The transition to community controlled housing will remove layers of intermediate management and speed up the process of getting repairs completed,” says the release.

“The return of decision making to town camp residence will provide the necessary backbone for ensuring kids are healthy, connected and well educated and have every opportunity ahead of them.”