Tag: gove

Things have changed since you were young

Commercial hunting of saltwater crocodiles started in 1945. Before this there were about 100, 000 crocs in the Top End but by 1971 there was only around 3000 left and they were almost extinct.

This was a huge problem because crocs are important to the culture of many Australians. They are also the biggest predator wherever they live making them important to the environment. Many tourists now come to the NT to see crocodiles and many people are employed in crocodile farms making crocs really important to our economy.

Salties were protected by international law in 1971 and since then their numbers have recovered. It is important to remember that things have changed since you were young. What was once a safe place to swim may now be home to a large saltwater crocodile.

Things have changed, #becrocwise

Baby Boy Born in Ambulance

Only days after Australia’s population hit 25 million people, a baby boy has become the latest addition to the country’s population, when he was born just before 3am this morning in the back of an ambulance in remote East Arnhem Land.

When going into labour, the 18-year-old mother was talked through her contractions by a St John Ambulance Emergency Dispatcher via phone, while paramedics were en-route to the community of Yirrkala.

With the help of the paramedics the young woman gave birth to a baby boy in the back of the ambulance.

Both mum and baby were taken to Gove District Hospital.

Higher-than-anticipated birth rates and mass migration have seen the country’s population increase to 25 million earlier this week – 33 years earlier than predicted two decades ago.

Wanuwuy Closure

We would like to inform residents and visitors that Wanuwuy (Cape Arnhem) will be closed for a period of six weeks between the 8th of August and the 17th of September. This decision has been made by the Traditional Owners for that country.

We are entering a period of peak turtle nesting activity, and would like to give the turtles and hatchlings the best chance of survival. Wanuwuy is a key nesting area for Green Turtles in particular, but this region is inhabited by six of the world’s seven species and all of these are listed nationally as vulnerable or endangered. An individual female Green Turtle nests approximately every 3 years, and lays 1-6 clutches of between 70 and 110 eggs. Only one in one thousand hatchlings survives to maturity, so we need to give them a helping hand.

We appreciate the inconvenience this may cause, and thank everybody for their patience during this time. Bookings for Wanuwuy can be made for after this closure period. Key Traditional Owners will continue to have access to this area during the closure period, but everyone else will be excluded.

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

NT Indigenous housing funding fuels political standoff, as remote communities face ‘major uncertainty’

People living in poor and overcrowded conditions in remote communities in the NT face major uncertainty as a housing funding impasse between the Territory and federal governments intensifies, the Northern Land Council has warned.

The clock is ticking on the two governments to reach an agreement before June 30, the first expiry date for subleases that give the Territory Government responsibility for all aspects of Indigenous housing, including tenancy management and repairs and maintenance.

Numerous reports have shown that poor and overcrowded housing in remote Indigenous communities contributes to issues such as ill-health, higher rates of child abuse and poor school attendance.

Budding GPs get a taste of bush life to combat remote doctor shortage

A unique medical program in the Northern Territory has found a simple way to combat a shortage of skilled GPs willing to work in the bush.

Giving students a taste of bush life early in their training means doctors are more likely to take up positions in remote areas later on in their careers, according to Flinders University.

The Northern Territory Medical Program, run through the university, allows medical students to complete part of their study in a remote community health setting, with a focus on Indigenous health exposure.

As part of the partnership, budding GPs spend four months at various hospitals, including Gove in East Arnhem Land, around 900 kilometres from Darwin.

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