Local News

A Yolngu politician, Australian law, and the fight for the seat of Nhulunbuy

In a surprise twist to an already unexpected result, Nhulunbuy’s independent Yolngu politician Yingiya Mark Guyula might yet lose his seat in the Court of Disputed Returns.

The election of Mr Guyula was one of the biggest upset wins in the Northern Territory’s August 28 election.

But now the Northern Territory’s Electoral Commission has declared the result void, meaning it has no legal effect, and the matter has gone to court.

One expert said this was a unique case, where Aboriginal law has clashed with Australian electoral law.

So what happened, and what happens next?

Nhulunbuy High to start taking boarding students next year

GREG THOMSON, NT News

 

THE Territory’s newest residential boarding school will accept its first intake of 20 indigenous teenage students from the start of the 2017 school year.

The new residential facility at Nhulunbuy High School on the Gove Peninsula, 650km east of Darwin, is being built at a cost of $20 million — with contractor Norbuilt on schedule for completion this year.

The centre has been designed to improve access to secondary schooling education for students from East Arnhem’s remote area communities and homelands.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said students will be housed in single, double and four-bed student rooms with a separate computer centre, music centre, basketball circle stage and amphitheatre.

The boarding centre’s commercial kitchen, dining room and BBQ deck overlooking the school oval has been designed to accommodate further staged expansion of the boarding beds to 80 students, he said.

Mr Gunner said the initial intake of 20 students was planned to ensure the remote area pupils were integrated into the high school’s broader population in the new school year.

Mr Gunner said: “The design of the boarding facility includes separate space for families of the students so they can visit and assist their children in adapting to the school environment.

 

Last GP clinic closing its doors in Nhulunbuy

From ABC News Online

The outback town of Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land, which had a population plummet after the closure of an alumina refinery, is set to have its only GP clinic close.

Endeavour Health Services last week announced it will shut in January, citing a drop in patients, an inability to secure a lease, and the removal of a housing subsidy for doctors and a freeze on Medicare rebates.

The health service has operated in Nhulunbuy since the 1960s and historically has been subsidised by mining company Rio Tinto and the Northern Territory Government.

But an alumina refinery that employed about 1,100 of the town’s 4,000 residents was mothballed in May 2014, and Nhulunbuy’s population plummeted.

Since the refinery closed its doors, Rio Tinto is understood to have ended its housing support for doctors who worked at the clinic.

Breakthrough land agreement gives traditional owners more development control

After 10 years of negotiations traditional owners in Arnhem Land will finally be in control of developments on their own land.

The Gumatj clan have pioneered the new type of 99-year lease, which the Northern Land Council describes as a marked departure from top-down leasing arrangements proposed by the Commonwealth over the past decade.

“We hope the era of self-determination is returning to Aboriginal affairs where Aboriginal people take control of their own lives and their own destinies,” Northern Land Council (NLC) chief executive Joe Morrison said.

MAF Launch New Schedule

We are very excited to announce we are launching air Regular Public Transport (RPT) between East Arnhem Land Communities next Tue 22nd Nov. We will be expanding and streamlining services in due course and will keep you updated of those.

Contact us to book a seat at a fraction of charter cost.

Tel: 89872777

Email: maf.arnhemland@maf.org

Of course we are still offering our high standard charter services and can offer seamless connections and bookings between our RPT and charter aircraft to other communities and homeland. Payment can be received at the same time for both.

Many thanks for your partnership and patience with us as we worked through the extensive process to get to this point.

We look forward to flying you soon.

Feel free to provide feedback to help us improve our service to you.

Benefits of flying with MAF:

  • Not-for-profit organisation serving Arnhem Land for over 40 years
  • Safety 1st culture with proven safety record
  • Competitive pricing
  • Modern, well maintained aircraft capable of carrying up to 7 passengers/350-470kg
  • New aircraft capable of carrying 10 passengers/850kg
  • RPT shuttle services between East Arnhem communities due to commence VERY SOON
  • Seamless transfers on our charter planes to connect to homelands/communites not covered by RPT
  • Flexible load configurations
  • Authorised to carry Dangerous goods
  • Professional highly trained pilots
  • Air conditioned Gove terminal

Traditional owners take charge of East Arnhem Land town

Aboriginal leader Galarrwuy ­Yunupingu has negotiated a ­historic 99-year, multi-million-dollar town­ship lease agreement with the federal government that puts indigenous land fully in indig­enous control.

The lease, covering the East Arnhem Land township of Gunyangara on the Gove Peninsula, has been a decade in the planning, including a direct intervention by Tony Abbott in 2014 when he was the self-declared “prime minister for indigenous affairs”.

Snow falls across Gove

UP TO AN INCH OF SNOW blanketed the Gove Peninsula for the first time in recorded history today.

A severe weather alert was issued by the Nhulunbuy Corporation to drivers as the snow covered large swathes of North East Arnhem Land.

Tracks to communities were hit by the wave of snow which swept across the North East of the region from Wednesday evening.

Authorities took to social media to warn of difficult conditions from Yirrkala to Gapuwiyak.

“Oddly enough, this isn’t the strangest news event of recent times,” wrote NCL social media manager, Wendy Constantine, alluding to Lynne Walker’s recent humbling at the polls.

“No roads are closed at this stage, but yes folks, snow has fallen in Nhulunbuy. Whether it’s a freak occurrence, global warming or climate change, we’re not sure.”

Nhulunbuy Police issued a yellow ‘Be Aware’ warning for much of the region, which was due to expire mid-morning on Friday.

More to come.

Prickly Pear in Nhulunbuy

prickly-pearPrickly Pear, Opuntia stricta var dillenii, is a Class A weed in the NT (must be eradicated)…for good reason. It has a hard seed carried in the sweet fleshy fruit, which bird love and will pass through their gut unchanged, ready to germinate. Each fruit and flat branchlet has projections called areoles, housing spines and from which new plants can develop if left in contact with the soil. It is highly drought resistant and if bushfire or stock destroy the top of the plant, it will regenerate from bulb. Yes…think Terminator!

prickly-pearIt seems that the ugly face of Prickly Pear has reached our lovely part of the world. Dhimurru has just been made aware of 2 large plants in town and will remove them asap…but it is absolutely vital that any other plants in town are identified and removed in a clinical and careful manner.

If you have this plant in your yard or in a pot plant do not compost it, bury it or throw it in the bin.

Please call Luke Playford at Dhimurru on 0499037753 to discuss how to deal with it.

 

 

NT election: Walker says legal avenues available if she loses

The politician in line to become the Northern Territory deputy chief minister has said she will consider taking legal action if she loses by less than five votes in the Arnhem Land seat of Nhulunbuy.

After preferences, incumbent deputy Labor leader Lynne Walker is now 10 votes behind independent candidate Yingiya Mark Guyula in the seat of Nhulunbuy.

The NT Electoral Commission will not declare the result until Monday, after the postal vote deadline.

“The only potential next step is if the margin narrows to five or less votes not my way that it can be taken to the Court of Disputed Returns if there is a case that Labor could put,” Ms Walker told Gove FM.

Secret Deal to Resolve Gove Land Rights Dispute

Arnhem Land’s two most powerful clans have secretly agreed to stage their own independent ­judicial inquiry to try to resolve a long-running land rights dispute that has cost millions of dollars and held back development for years.

The Gumatj and Rirratjingu clans are locked in a bitter fight for control of royalties flowing from Rio Tinto’s bauxite mine on the Gove Peninsula and rights to issue leases and collect rents in parts of the region’s main Aboriginal community of Yirrkala.