Marine debris on north Australian beaches doubles in a decade; foreign fishers may be to blame, researchers say

Trash from the sea washing up on Arnhem Land’s once-pristine beaches has doubled in the last decade.

Researchers say there is up to three tonnes of marine debris per kilometre along 11 monitored beaches in northern Australia, and that much of it is related to increasing foreign fishing activity, some of it illegal.

In June, the ABC spoke with residents of Cape Arnhem, near Nhulunbuy, who detailed the level of rubbish that was washing up on local beaches.

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Melville Bay Community Boat Ramp Project Update

The Nhulunbuy Regional Sports Fishing Club wishes to advise that the final stage of the Melville Bay Community Boat Ramp Project is now underway.

Over the next 3 months there will be periods of total exclusion of this area due to the operation of heavy machinery. During the ramp closure periods, the access roadway will be barricaded west of the Seaswift entry gate. At no time will the Seaswift yard entry be closed during normal working hours.

Only emergency services and freight delivery will be permitted during the following times : 15 – 19 June, 13 – 18 July, 11 – 15 August. Access and use of the ramps outside of these dates may be restricted in some way.

For your own safety, the general public is asked to follow the instructions of authorised site contractors and all signage and bollards that have been deployed. Please call 0417 879 031 for all enquiries.

Australian-first journey uses ‘ICU fit for the skies’ to save critically ill baby

Cradled in his mother’s arms, Davey Marika is just six weeks old and barely knows life outside of hospital walls.

He has yet to lay eyes on his home town of Nhulunbuy, and many of his family back in that coastal community at one point thought they would never see him alive.

Two hospitals at opposite ends of the country have coordinated an Australian-first rescue journey to save the infant, using new technology they hope will improve the survival rate of critically ill babies across the Northern Territory.

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Action thriller ‘HIGH GROUND’ Casting Call

We’re looking for ABORIGINAL actors keen to play a variety of roles. New stars to be found!!! No experience necessary. This is a nationwide search for ABORIGINAL MEN AND WOMEN aged 16-65yrs.

Reuniting director Stephen Johnson and writer Chris Anastassiades, creatives behind award-winning film YOLNGU BOY.

Witiyana Marika, Jack Thompson and the team are working with local communities, the Kakadu Board of Management and Traditional Owners including Jonathan Nadji, Alfred Nayingul, Adrian Gumurdal and Jeffrey Lee.

The new GPSLSC clubhouse open for business Friday the 27th April

It has finally happened!!!!

The Certificate of Occupancy has been issued and Liquor Licencing have sent our certificate to commence trading from the new clubhouse.

This means next Friday the 27th April the new GPSLSC clubhouse will be open for business.

This is very exciting not only for the club but for our entire community. A brand new, state of the art building and kitchen.

After nearly 12 months of hard work we have something we can all be proud of.

Get on down to the Surfy this Friday and join in with what we hope will be one of the biggest nights Nhulunbuy will have seen in a long time.

Live broadcast by Gove FM, music, good food, cold drinks and a secure place for the kids to run.

A time to celebrate.

See you all there!!!!!

Gove Peninsula Surf Club win NT Club of the Year

Tonight SLSNT Awards Night is underway.

Your Gove Peninsula Surf Club won NT Club of the Year.

While this may not be horrendously exciting as there are only three clubs in the NT, it does mean we get a crack at the National Life Saving Club of the Year in October this year.

Now that is exciting. I think we have a pretty good chance.

-Small club in a small town in the NT.
-Badly affected by fire that destroyed all our equipment.
-Cyclone damage to rock wall and fence.
-Curtailment of plant and associated loss of people and members from town.
-Over $1 Million dollars spent in 2017/18
– A club that has continued to thrive despite adversity.

I think we have a great story to tell on a national level.

Thanks to Michael Stimpson, Mikey Rogers and Jezza Kee for making the pilgrimage to Darwin to receive this award on behalf of the club.

Nhulunbuy should be very proud. Bring on the national award in October 2018!!!!!!!!

Cyclones didn’t stop Nhulunbuy riders competing at Australian BMX titles

Cyclone Marcus’ wrath was felt far and wide across the Territory but it did not stop a group of talented Territory BMX riders recently competing at the Australian BMX titles in Bunbury, Western Australia.

“We had a group of riders due to fly out of Nhulunbuy on Saturday 17 March, but Cyclone Marcus forced the cancellation of all flights out that day and it meant that our riders didn’t think they’d make it to the titles in time to compete,” Nhulunbuy Club President, Paul Mery said last week.

However, Marcus did not stand in their way and the group arrived in the early hours of Monday morning to join the team of 29 Territory competitors who raced at the events.

BMXNT Chair, Kylee Carter, said four Territory BMX clubs had riders at the event including Nhulunbuy (6 riders), Jingili (Darwin) – 15 riders, Satellite City (Palmerston) – 6 riders and Red Centre (Alice Springs) had 2.

“We had 12 female riders and 17 male riders competing in categories from ‘Sprockets’ (5-7 year olds) to riders in the 50 years plus class,” she said.

“Competing at the National Championship is a big deal as it is the largest event on the Australian BMX calendar with just over 1300 race nominations.

Mrs Carter said, that after months of training and preparations, attending this event was quite daunting – but also very exciting – for many of the NT competitors.

“A national championship event like this one gives our riders the opportunity to challenge themselves and reach new personal goals.

“Equally important are the life skills the riders get from their training, goal-setting, budgeting and travelling to new places. The perseverance and dedication these riders have shown is a credit to their clubs and parents,” she said.

BMX riding is classified as an extreme sport but the NT competitors were lucky enough to largely escape without too many serious injuries.

“Poppy Goat injured her elbow, Taj Sartori broke an arm and Jacob Mery was hurt in a crash early in the week, but we came home largely unscathed,” Kylee said.

Nhulunbuy BMX Club President, Paul Mery said he was proud of the team’s efforts at the event.

“We didn’t land a medal place at the event but what the kids (and parents) experienced in Bunbury was more than worth all of the time, cost and planning it took to get there,” he said.

The team’s next big event will be the NT Titles to be held in Nhulunbuy (October 3-6) on the club’s new track and facilities generously provided by a grant from the Northern Territory and Australian Governments.  Information on this event is available at nhulunbuybmx.com.au/nt-titles-2018

 

BREAK out box:

The NT athletes that made it into the main final of their class (listed from the most successful at the top):

  • Mickayla Perkins 15 year Girls. 2nd Oceania 20″ bikes, 1st Nationals 24″ bikes, 5th Nationals 20″ bikes.
  • Ian Orr 13 year Boys 2nd Oceania 20″ bikes. 3rd National 20″ bikes.
  • Caitlin Jong 13 year Girls 1st Oceania 20″ bikes.3rd National 24″ bikes,  2nd Nationals 20″ bikes.
  • Yasmin Ford 13 years Girls 2nd Oceania 20″ bikes.3rd Oceania 24″ bikes,  6th Nationals 24″ bikes, 7th Nationals 20″ bikes.
  • Catherine Carter 13 years Girls 7th Oceania 20″ bikes, 3rd Oceania 24″bikes, 7th Nationals 24″bikes.
  • Jason Eecen 50+ years Men 4th Oceania 20″ bikes, 3rd Oceania 24″ bikes, 6th Nationals 24″ bikes.
  • Kyla Sartori 10 year Girls 8th Oceania 20″, 5th Nationals 24″ bikes.
  • Maddison Walker 8 year Girls 5th Oceania 20″ bikes.
  • Isabel Spooner 13 year Girls 4thOceania 24″.
  • Taj Sartori 9 year Boys 8th Oceania  20″ bikes.
  • Hayden Russell 15 year Boys 6th Oceania 24″ bikes.

 

Story by Kylie Abood kyliemsa@gmail.com Images Courtesy BMX Australia

Make Fares Fairer – by Luke Gosling OAM MP

Northern prosperity translates to national prosperity. Strategic investment in the north yields enormous dividends for the nation as a whole. The north has 5% of the Australian population, but accounts for 50% of our nation’s exports. We need to grow the population of the Top End and develop the Territory’s infrastructure to support the pursuit of our national interests and provide a forward base for regional engagement.

We cannot continue our journey down this prosperous road without efficient, affordable air travel within the Territory, to capital cities down south, as well as into Asia and beyond. Better ‘connectivity’ with the south will boost tourism and enable people to stay in touch with family and friends across the country. This will help us retain people with professional and technical skills that assist the Territory to grow and develop.

Federal Labor established a Senate Committee Inquiry into regional air services, recognising the effect of unaffordable airfares on the development of northern and regional Australia.

My colleagues Warren Snowdon, Malarndirri McCarthy and I advocated for the Inquiry to hold a public hearing in Darwin. A hearing was held at the Novotel Darwin Airport on Thursday, and the Inquiry Committee was able to hear evidence from the Territory’s commerce and tourism sectors, Northern Territory Airports, amongst others.

To ensure that Territorian’s experiences were heard by the Inquiry, I established FairFaresNT – an online platform to collect the stories of Territorians who have had unfair and often frustrating experiences with air travel. This evidence was presented in summary to the Committee.

These were accounts from ordinary Territorians, like the heart-wrenching account of a woman who couldn’t afford to fly her family down south to say goodbye to her elderly nana, who had been badly injured in a fall the week before Christmas day.

A Darwin resident questioned how it was possible that their trip to Sydney return economy was $1400, when they were able to fly the same airline to Chile for $1099 return.

We heard from skilled workers who moved to live in remote locations, but eventually gave up their jobs because of the exorbitant costs of flying to Darwin and then on to see their families in Melbourne or Sydney.

The Territory will continue to face challenges attracting and retaining a skilled workforce while airfares are unaffordable.

The punitive costs of travelling to and from regional centres like Alice Springs, Gove, and Groote Eylandt were highlighted. The unrealistic prices of airfares to Dili in nearby Timor-Leste were also cited as being a significant obstacle to the economic development of one of our closest neighbours, and an obstacle to the associated benefits for Darwin.

We know how important the tourism industry is to the economy of the Territory. That’s why we were dismayed to hear from a Darwin-based travel agent who explained that she had to consistently put together travel packages to Asian – rather than Australian – destinations. It’s a tragedy that Australians wanting to see some of the most magnificent landscapes of their own country cannot afford to do so.

I have some ideas about how to address accessibility and travel to Darwin and Alice Springs and will be workshopping them at the upcoming Tourism IdeasFest to be held at Darwin Airport on Saturday 28th of April. People from the tourism industry and from the broader public will gather to generate innovative ideas and seek to solve problems holding back this critically important industry in the Territory. (Full details about the Tourism IdeasFest are available from www.topendideasfest.com)

I believe the tourism industry in the NT has a vibrant future, based around two world-class natural heritage sites at Uluru and Kakadu, Litchfield and major events like the Darwin Cup, the V8’s, Indigenous cultural tourism and military heritage tourism. If we build it they will come – provided they can afford the airfares!

We are advised that at Christmas, Easter, and the Darwin Cup weekend, airfares will be inflated because of the high demand at these peak times. This thinking stacks up alright against the basic principles of ‘supply and demand’ and passengers may have a degree of tolerance for this rationale.

However, the same potential passengers have trouble swallowing the idea that at times of low demand it is necessary to increase the price of tickets because the fixed costs – fuel, maintenance, etc. – have to be spread across a smaller number of passengers. It’s easy to understand why the public is cynical. It begins to seem like ‘transport economics’ is three parts science and one part voodoo.

The Senate Committee heard evidence that Darwin Airport charges are not a significant driver of higher air-ticket prices. It would be interesting to hear why other comparable airports like Cairns and Townsville seem to have significantly lower airport charges than Darwin, and the airlines also offer lower airfares for apparently comparable journeys.

We understand that airports and airlines are businesses that need to operate efficiently so that they can employ staff and pay dividends to shareholders. The Darwin International Airport presented to the Inquiry and told their story. However, more accountability and transparency from airlines is needed. They need to come clean with the travelling public and explain exactly how the prices are set, and why there are such apparent discrepancies between apparently similar locations.

I call on the airlines to ‘sharpen their pencils’, or in other words: give Territorians a fair go. This isn’t about party politics. We need a serious and strong approach to growing the north to benefit the nation and we need these stakeholders to play their part.

by Luke Gosling OAM MP

Published in the Sunday Territorian, April 8 2018

Prince of Wales Inn Yirrkala

During a two-day stay, Prince Charles will fly to Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula in north-east Arnhem Land, where he will receive a traditional welcome to country.

The Prince is also expected to meet traditional owners of the region.

He will then visit artists and see artworks at the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre in the small Indigenous community of Yirrkala, before flying to Darwin.

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