DEAL is set to introduce an innovative approach to the town’s perennial housing crisis – a Thunderdome in which residents do battle for an affordable home.
The Thunderdome, to be built on the outskirts of Nhulunbuy by yet another interstate construction firm promising local jobs, will be governed by one simple rule – ‘two enter, one leaves…with an asbestos-free* (*conditions apply), Rio-owned unit of your choice’.
It is expected that Imparja will secure the rights to broadcast live Thunderdome contests and also a lucrative Saturday night highlights package.
“There’s nothing I like more than watching impoverished plebs batter each other into submission for my entertainment,” said one well-to-do local who asked to remain anonymous.
Some employees from sectors other than mining and government were dubious of the plan.
“Right, so it’s not enough that I have to take out a mortgage to fly in and out of my hometown, that I have to wait 6 weeks for Winellie to regurgitate my mail or that my career prospects are dependent on my ability to look enthusiastic when I hear ‘clean-up on aisle 3′,” said young person Miyala Marika.
“Now the only way I can secure sensibly priced housing is through brutal unarmed combat.”
“The region’s decision-makers couldn’t show me any more contempt if one of them came ’round and shat on my dining room table.”
It is understood that DEAL may have once toyed with the idea of offering a small number of reasonably priced units to local residents who expressed a desire to remain in the region post-curtailment, and continue to plow their below average wages into the local economy, but as that would likely infuriate estate agents and their alleged burgeoning list of businesses falling over each other to relocate to the region, it was decided that the Thunderdome plan was slightly less stupid.
Commander Matthew Hollamby has responsibility for the Northern Command, which includes the Katherine, Arafura, and Arnhem and Western Divisions
The month of November 2017 saw the lowest number of property crimes reported in Katherine in the past five months, taking total property crime to 15% lower this financial year compared to the same period last financial year. This was a positive for the community leading into the Christmas period. Home security is a feature of policing operations and the community can help by undertaking basic security measures, including locking your doors at night or when your home or car is unattended.
Despite the positive outcome in property offences, the number of reported assaults spiked during November. The involvement of alcohol and domestic violence continue to be dominant factors in violent crime, and NT Police continue to place significant emphasis on reducing domestic violence.
In Nhulunbuy, both property and violent crime abated during the month of November 2017 to return to generally low rates. Unfortunately, alcohol and domestic violence continue to feature as factors in these statistics. Police at Nhulunbuy continue to work closely with local service providers to target the causal factors of crime.
We are now in the cyclone and flood season. Residents should have prepared their basic emergency kits and have considered a family cyclone or flood action plan. More information can be found at www.securent.nt.gov.au. Motorists are asked to take particular care on wet roads and where possible avoid driving on flooded roads and crossings. Last year, the Region experienced a number of deaths and vehicles washed off causeways in these circumstances.
The Northern Command encourages the community to report all suspicious activity and offending by reporting crimes to 131 444 or via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Further, NT Police encourage the community to access the Neighbourhood Watch NT website, which provides some practical tips on how you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
The Chairperson of the Laynhapuy Aviation Aboriginal Corporation, Mr Barayuwa Mununggurr, announced today that Laynha Air, based at the Gove Airport, has ceased operations, after 31 years of continuous sterling service to the Yolngu People of northeast Arnhem Land.
The announcement coincides with the signing of a Service Level Agreement between Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation and Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) for the provision of the Corporation’s future air transport requirements in support of the Laynhapuy homelands.
Mr Mununggurr said the decision to cease the operation of Laynha Air was made by the Laynhapuy Aviation Aboriginal Corporation Board, following careful consideration of options for continuing the service.
The decision reflects an understanding of the changes to the circumstances that lead to the establishment of Laynha Air in 1986.
Mr Mununggurr said, ‘Laynha Air celebrates the strong support provided by MAF over many years and the Board of Laynhapuy Homelands is delighted that, through the Service Level Agreement signed with MAF today, the Laynhapuy relationship with MAF will continue well into the future’.
On behalf of the Laynhapuy Aviation and Laynhapuy Homelands Boards, and the staff of Laynha Air Mr Mununggurr thanked Laynha Air’s numerous loyal customers of over its 31 years of operation.
The phone number for booking flights to Laynhapuy homelands with MAF is 08 8987 2777.
Owned by the Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation, and managed by the late Adrian Wagg, Laynha Air commenced operation from Yirrkala in 1986, with a single helicopter.
The purchase of two fixed wing aircraft in 1990 necessitated Laynha Air moving to a newly constructed hanger and office at the Gove Airport.
Shortly before the tragic death of Adrian Wagg in 2002, discussions had commenced with MAF that lead in 2003 to a formal agreement that saw the engagement of MAF pilots for the Laynha Air aircraft and MAF providing Laynha Air’s engineering service requirements.
The agreement also provided Laynha Air with its Chief Pilot and Operating Manuals requirements.
In recent years the relationship extended to Laynha Air leasing several aircraft from MAF.
At the time Laynha Air ceased operating helicopters in 2004 the fixed wing fleet had grown to six.
Throughout its 31-year history Laynha Air provided people and freight transport services to Homeland residents, for their general transport needs and for access to medical services, including for medical staff flying in and patients flying out (to specialist appointments and for emergency evacuations).
Laynha Air also operated as a general charter operator, transported Yirralka Ranger and building maintenance staff, participated in search and rescue operations, supported education through transporting teachers and students, and returned deceased persons to their Country.
Current Laynha Air General Manager, Dan Wagg, son of the late Adrian Wagg, joined Laynha Air as an apprentice aircraft engineer in 1991. Dan notes that Laynha Air has transported over 16,000 people annually for the past 25 years, including many of the Yolngu teams competing in Barunga’s annual sports festivals, and recalls the use of the Laynha Air aircraft for filming Yothu Yindi film clips and for the filming of the Yolngu Boy movie.
Dan recollects the most unusual task of Laynha Air was in the 1990s, utilising the whole of the aircraft fleet to fly Kentucky Fried Chicken into Nhulunbuy from Darwin for the annual Nhulunbuy Unions Picnic Day.
Another notable flight was transporting a number of Nhulunbuy residents to the annual Birdsville Races, requiring three refuelling stops there and back.
For further media information contact: Chris Francis Chief Executive Officer Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation 0417 481 610
A very Merry Christmas to you all and a huge “thank you” for taking the time to sign, share and comment in your thousands.
It is clear that there are strong feelings of resentment, disappointment, annoyance and downright anger with the delivery and cost of Airnorth’s monopoly in our struggling region.
One thing is painfully clear to me and notwithstanding the fact that I can ill-afford to fly out of Gove to savour the sugary, salty and additive-laden delights of a Macca’s or KFC, for the region to move on from the post-Rio slump to develop and prosper, an affordable and reliable air service is crucial.
This petition illustrates this depth of feeling but it would be great if as many of you as possible would submit your stories to the forthcoming senate enquiry into ‘the operation, regulation and funding of air route service delivery to rural, regional and remote communities’. It really doesn’t have to be anything formal or academic. A simple letter explaining your experiences is more than enough.
Beyond providing us with emotional access to objects and things from our previous and personal “lived” experiences, there are also aspects of today’s “retro revolution” that appeal to imagined experiences of a more distant past. This has been particularly evident in our desires to find inspiration when it comes to eating.
As we approach Christmas, it seems that our insatiable curiosity – and desire – for more real, more authentic, and more fun than even that which we are personally familiar with might mean looking past the Christmas dinner of our own memories to that of the ancestral memory instead.
Christmas dinner as the “real thing”
For many, the contemporary British Christmas dinner conjures up images of turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, gravy, pigs in blankets, sprouts, pudding and, of course, the copious festive tubs of chocolates. The instantly recognisable blend of features of the Christmas dinner are so essential to the holiday experience that they have been appropriated by various businesses on the high street – whether it is Greggs’ Festive Bakes, Subway’s Festive Feast Sub or Pret A Manger’s Christmas Lunch sandwiches.
The very special, moreish (and mass marketed) nature of the contemporary “taste of Christmas” echoes the work of psychoanalytic philosopher Slavoj Žižek on the dynamics of “surplus-enjoyment” and insatiable, bottomless desire.
It is conceivable that Christmas dinner has become for many, what Žižek might call, “the Real Thing”.
It is not so much that the taste of Christmas dinner has become iconic, or that the food itself satisfies us like no other. It is what Christmas dinner represents – happiness, togetherness, material abundance. These are the “real” things which we can never have too much of and we are forever trying to fill ourselves up with.
As a consequence, people often find themselves always wanting more over the festive period. Ultimately, this insatiability culminates in the copiousness and lavishness of the Christmas Day feast. Though this often is not the end, thanks to the leftovers. And we are destined to recreate the feast without fail every year afterwards. Some might even wish that it could be Christmas every day, as it were.
The notion of a pure surplus of enjoyment surrounding Christmas dinner could mean that enjoyment of it is premised on a ceaseless quest to realise and quench abstract desires. While we might have everything and more right now for a great Christmas dinner, that is still never quite good enough.
Christmas feasting through the ages
The trappings of the modern Christmas dinner originate in Victorian England, between the birth of urban industrialisation and modern consumer culture. The prototype of what we eat now is captured in representations of the Cratchit family dinner in the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Although Dickens did not himself conceive of what would become the modern Christmas dinner, authors such as Cathy Kaufman make it clear that “his story was a road map for middle and working-class pleasures at the precise moment when both meal structures and the nature of Christmas celebrations were changing.”
The changes catalysed by the Victorians are not just seen in their foods of choice but also in accompaniments they introduced to the dinner table (the Christmas cracker,for example). They constructed Christmas dinner as a way of signifying conviviality, playfulness and community – a way of staging desire.
Before Victorian times, feasting at Christmas served a more raucous and crude means of breaking up the hardship and scarcity of the cold winter months. In the late Middle Ages and Tudor England for example, the feasting during Christmas time may have often been organised less elaborately around various pies, whatever game birds were in availability, or the meat of livestock that could not overwinter and needed to be culled. There may also have been a great divide between what the rich and the poor ate during Yuletide Feasting.
A new old desire
To tap into consumers’ insatiable desire for more fun, more authentic and more real festive experiences The National Trust has promoted the opportunity to experience a historic Christmas where visitors can enjoy a period-specific “Tudor Christmas feast beside a roaring log fire”.
Various businesses provide full-service catering based on authentic Victorian-themed food, tea carts and props – and a host of restaurants now offer “Victorian Christmas” menus and themed dining experiences. Elsewhere, the BBC and The Telegraph each provide DIY guides “to making your very own Victorian Christmas”.
The taste of modern Christmas as we know it now certainly fills us up. But ultimately it never fully satisfies consumer desire. We forever want more and consumers might slowly be realising that this little bit extra might not be available to them in the present but rather lies buried in the past ready for excavation.
So, how long before Siri and a network of artificially intelligent successors (programmed to anticipate human needs and communicate with each other) usurp Santa and start asking the alternative question: is Virginia real?
In the spirit of the New York’s The Sun (which no longer exists, sadly) this reply from a newspaper editor (if they still exist in the future) to a robotic Santa is set in 2047, 150 years after Virginia asked the question that is part of Christmas folklore.
Your friends are wrong, affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age where they believe their “intelligence” can anticipate every thought and match it with an action.
It’s true that you machines, invisible but ubiquitous, have trumped our natural intelligence through your endless, silent buzz with each other. It began in the 2010s with Siri, and ultimately reached your level of apparent omnipotence.
But don’t forget. Somewhere (often remotely) at the end of every action, you are serving a human. In your case, it’s a little girl who wants to keep believing in the mystery and magic of Christmas.
So in answer to your question: Yes Santa, there really is a Virginia.
Don’t forget. The Santa whom children believed in has always seen all and known all – just like you.
He has always had helpers to create the gifts and magic of his story. Now, the workshops are run by bots, and the elves have become marketing assistants who no longer know how to wrap a gift, let alone guess what a little girl might want.
And the reindeer, freed from training for their annual epic flight thanks to your army of drones, have gone to fat. Even Rudolph with his nose so bright can no longer guide himself to the food trough, let alone a sleigh tonight.
Santa, you’ve asked what this is all about, what is your purpose? And precisely, is there really a Virginia or is she, as your robotic friends say, the toy of a personal bot she has had since birth?
The personal bot boom of the 2020s, then the development of belief and philosophy by your robotic predecessors in the 2030s, was always going to lead to you asking this question.
Fair enough. In earlier times, we humans would have asked ourselves why we were helping a machine think about its purpose in life. In fear, our instinct would have been to instantly cut off its power. Now we’re flattered you asked.
Thankfully, we accepted how machines like you could do the heavy physical and mental lifting that for centuries has been the burden of humans.
We regulated your limits but gave you rights. Now our minds and bodies have been freed from the strains of earlier times, sparing us to concentrate on living good lives, rather than productive lives.
But, Santa, the good human life well lived starts with fantasy, as one of our predecessors, New York’s The Sun, explained to children 150 years ago.
The power of fantasy describes where the work you do every year comes from.
But the fantasy does not belong to the other bots you talk to. The fantasy belongs to the child they serve. Such fantasy allows something unexplainable to create universal joy, an emotion you can understand but never experience.
And those fantasies are what will create new ways of meeting human needs. Such fantasies led people to dream of, then create, the first robots with only a fraction of your capabilities. Such fantasies found ways to power the planet without damaging it.
Your question about your purpose reminds us that such fantasies continue to matter – even to machines like you that learn effortlessly from us and each other.
But Santa, there is one fantasy you should not have. And that is that the little girl who craves a doll or a toy car like they used to drive in the good old days doesn’t matter. Or that the little boy who craves a toy kitchen or inflatable ball is subservient to the personal bot your “elves” listen to.
No Virginia, Santa? She is real – even if not to you. And you are real to her, not as a machine but as a magical figure that sees all and knows all – just as you always have, long before Siri.
She and you live forever. A thousand years from now – nay, 10,000 years from now – you and what you stand for will continue to make glad the heart of childhood and children like Virginia.
Thanks to veteran journalist Francis Pharcellus Church, who penned the original editorial in New York’s The Sun all those years ago.
IN 1963 the Yolngu people of Northeast Arnhem Land sent their bark petitions to the Federal Government, protesting the Commonwealth’s granting of mining rights to the North Australian Bauxite and Aluminium Company.
In a struggle that’s lasted more than five decades, Yunupingu’s argument has never been that mining should not be allowed on Aboriginal land. Rather, he’s argued that the industry should be conducted on the traditional owners’ terms as a means for creating economic opportunity and escaping the welfare trap.
“This bauxite we are mining is ours,” he said.
“We used to own it before the land was taken away by the Commonwealth. We still own the land and the bauxite.
It’s almost the end of the year, and there are few important things going on in the lead up to Christmas.
Firstly, I’d like to clarify my position in relation to the Space Base/ Rocket Launch facility. My main concern is not about the project itself. I’m not against this project, although I do have concerns that jobs for Yolŋu people will not be sustained and that key jobs will be held by outsiders. However, the main issue is that many clan leaders in East Arnhem Land have not been included in the decision making process. Yolŋu communities were concerned after hearing an initial briefing about where rockets may fly, fall, land, be retrieved. People are still feeling worried and confused about the project and the leaders have not been properly consulted. My job is to listen to everyone and voice concern of the people, particularly the people that aren’t being heard.
The NT Land Rights Act made provision that decisions should be made based on traditional law. In Yolŋu law, decision making process must involve multiple clans and includes the Yothu-Yindi, Märi-Guthurra, Waku-Yapa clans. Many clans are involved in a decision making process through rringitj alliances. This is how we maintain harmony and interconnection, and this runs through Ŋarra, Garma and any official business. This is Yolŋu Law, it is how we maintain Law and respect authority.
The current system employed by the NLC leaves many Yolŋu disempowered on their own land. As part of moving towards solid business enterprise for the region I want the issues of land ownership to be resolved, and proper consultation processes employed, so that there is a strong foundation for business and the region can prosper.
Another area of concern, I have been informed by the Department of Education that all Indigenous schools in the region will be losing funding in 2018. Schools need to be funded for all the students in the community, so that the hard-working Yolŋu and Balanda teachers can create relevant programs that engage all the children in the school. I know that teachers, school councils and school leadership are working hard, and losing funding just makes their jobs harder. Some of these schools have lost funding every year for the past decade. This is disappointing for the schools and the communities and I will continue to advocate for a better system for all.
On a happier note, I have been honoured to sponsor awards for many schools in the Electorate and I wish to congratulate all those students that have tried their best during 2017. I also congratulate the teachers and communities who support all the students of the region. Congratulations also to all the students graduating at every level of study. A great achievement.
It is with sadness that I want to remind people about the dangers of alcohol and drug use. Just a kind reminder with Christmas around the corner and my main message is for our beautiful teenage young people who might be celebrating. You might want to celebrate your graduation by getting drunk on alcohol and or getting high on drugs. Just remember that is not a wise decision to make, and it’s not necessary, and is not compulsory to life. It can and it has led people into addiction and dangerous situations. So stay safe and use your intelligence for something useful and preserve your cultural knowledge systems to show your children and the future generation that life is worth living.
Also in relation to health, I have been in contact with the CEO of FCD Health Limited and they advise the town of Nhulunbuy that they have secured a regular ongoing service with a long-term Territory doctor, Dr Gerry Goodhand who is based at Endeavour Health Service from Wednesday to Friday each week, with evening appointments. The practice has also secured a full-time registrar who will work at Endeavour Health service full-time from January 2018. This will be a great outcome for Nhulunbuy to have two doctors working each week in January. I wish to thank all the Doctors, Nurses and health professionals who are working hard across the communities to look after us and our families. And thank you to all the carers of family at home too.
I know that many people across the electorate are unhappy about the Airnorth Service. I have been in contact with Airnorth about these concerns from the electorate earlier in the year but I intend to follow up with the CEO again, and advocate for better service and prices. In April this year I lobbied the Chief Minister to consider remote travel subsidies. His response was not in favour of subsidies. His response outlined that the Government is working with the East Arnhem Regional Economic Development Committee and local stakeholders, to develop and implement a range of regional air, road and sea transport and freight services. Please contact his office directly about this process. I am also aware that there is a Senate Committee Inquiry announced in November into Regional Airline Services. The committee has announced they will hold a consultation in Darwin, and I have invited them to come to Arnhem Land to consult with communities here. Anyone can make a submission and they are open now: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Rural_and_Regional_Affairs_and_Transport/RegionalAirRouten
In November, I met with some people of the Uluru Statement of the Heart and they continue to work towards Treaty. There is momentum as the nation continues to move towards Treaties. Also in November I attended the Annual Report Hearings at Parliament. This is a good opportunity to question Ministers and Departments. I have a MLA facebook page where I detail these questions and other information. Please send a friend request if you want to see more; Yingiya Guyula MLA.
Thank you to everyone who has supported my office this year. With 5 towns, many homelands and 12 weeks at Parliament, I do not get to spend long in one place. I appreciate the time people have made to meet with me and as I have always said I will try to represent the needs of the people in this electorate fairly, both Yolŋu and Balanda.
I’d like to wish everyone a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year.
Thanks to all those many people who have dropped into the office, called or emailed me with your concerns. I really appreciate hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact the Electorate Office if there’s anything we can possibly help you with. Djutjtjutj.
MLA Office is located upstairs Arnhem House, Endeavour Square, Nhulunbuy Town
Ph: 8987 0125 Email: Electorate.Nhulunbuy@nt.gov.au
Top Enders forking out for sky-high airfares will get the chance to air their frustration when a Senate inquiry visits Darwin next year.
The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee is calling for first-hand experiences of flight prices in regional, rural and remote locations and will scrutinise the factors that determine pricing.
“It’s looking at regional routes and seeing what can be done from a federal perspective, from a regulatory perspective, to try and improve our connectivity,” Member for Solomon Luke Gosling said.