Monday, February 21, 2011

Singers will battle to help the homeless

Mark Holden and Deni Hines will touch down in the Top End in a bid to get a roof over homeless young people’s heads in Darwin and Palmerston.

The Australian pop idols will be in town to guest judge Mission Australia’s Urban Quest, a fundraising talent competition that aims to increase awareness about local youth homelessness. 

Holden and Hines will team up with local celebrity radio host Amanda Pernechele to judge the finals concert on 2 April at the Darwin Entertainment Centre.  

Mission Australia Operations Manager Brad McIver said the event will address an emerging problem in Darwin and Palmerston.

“The majority of young homeless people are fending for themselves and sleep out in improvised dwellings or shack in with friends, acquaintances and really anywhere they can,” Mr McIver said.

“Urban Quest will help generate funds to support the development of accommodation for them through event participation, public donation and finals concert tickets.”

In the Territory, up to 5000 people are homeless and more than one quarter are young people aged between 12 and 18 years.

Urban Quest is open to solo acts and groups aged between 10 and 19 years across vocal, street, rap and beatboxing categories. 

Heats will be held at schools in Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine and the Tiwi Islands with Mark Holden to judge the semi finals at Casuarina Square on 29 March.

Ten acts will go through to the finals concert and experience a workshop with Holden ahead of the big night at the Darwin Entertainment Centre on 2 April. 

The concert opens National Youth Week in Darwin and includes a guest performance by Deni Hines.

Competition details:

·         Entry closes 1 March

·         Heats at Tiwi Island College on 9 March

Maningrida Community 11 March

Darwin High School, Sanderson Middle School, Palmerston Library and Katherine High School on 9 March at 3:30pm

Malak Theatre, Palmerston Library and Browns Mart Theatre on 19 March at 2pm

·         Semi finals at Casuarina Square on 29 March  at 3:30pm

·         Urban Quest finals concert at Darwin Entertainment Centre on 2 April at 7pm

For more information, entry forms and to donate visit or


Friday, February 18, 2011

Darwin Symphony Orchestra launches into 2011

The great masters, Australian composers and pop rock are just some of the treats Darwin Symphony Orchestra will be offering in its push to entice the broader community to sample its musical delicacies in 2011.

DSO Chief Conductor, Dr Leif Sundstrup says that the 2011 program promises to deliver a vibrant and engaging program which will resonate with audiences across the Territory.

“We would love all Territorians to be part of the DSO experience. Be it the ‘classics’ of orchestral repertoire, creative collaborations between the orchestra and local artists or our first ever pop rock concert. We will open the wonders of our musical mastery to the broader Territory community,” said Dr Sundstrup.

DSO Chairman, Kevin Davis AM said he is equally excited about the DSO season.

“It is wonderful to see the DSO performing another free outdoor concert in the Amphitheatre. In 2006, the DSO performed with the Australian Ballet to over 9,000 people.”

“The orchestra will also tour to Alice Springs in September, stage a number of fun and affordable family concerts and the much loved Masters Series of classical works,” Mr Davis said.

The DSO is comprised of more than 60 volunteer players, a professional concertmaster and other principal players. The pro-am community orchestra is recognised for taking its music to isolated communities in the Territory which rarely have the opportunity to experience a live symphony orchestra as well regular concert appearances in Darwin.

“This year’s program has been developed to connect with our audiences and challenge our musicians. All Australian works have been carefully selected or commissioned with both the orchestral musicians and community audiences in mind.”

“We want to nurture the relationship between local and remote audiences and Australian composers. All Master Series performances, Darwin Festival collaborations and our NT tour will include works written by Australian composers. We want to offer something for everyone,” said Dr Sundstrup.

The DSO 2011 program is available at

The Northern Territory’s iconic Darwin Symphony Orchestra will launch its 2011 program this afternoon at 5.30pm at a function hosted by the Minister for the Arts, Gerry McCarthy at Parliament House.

Media enquiries:
Jeannette Button 8941 9169

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Local TIO staff and consultants assessing cyclone damage

TIO has deployed a team of local staff and consultants to help assess cyclone and flood damage from Cyclone Carlos.

CEO Richard Harding said extra help has been brought in from local experts to field the large number of potential claims.

“It’s important that we get people to the damage spots as quickly as possible, but it’s even more important that people secure their homes and belongings,” Mr Harding said.

“People will not be jeopardising their insurance cover if they take action to protect their homes and safety before assessors can get to them.

“We’ve had a large number of calls from customers, so we are asking people to be patient as we quickly work through all claims.”

To 3pm today about 200 claims have been lodged for damage valued at around $1 million, but it is still early days. Most claims have been for damage to buildings and contents while a small number have been for vehicles.

"We know a number of customers have had flood damage and I want to assure them that their TIO policy does cover them,” Mr Harding said.

“At TIO flood cover means flood cover.”

This is the text of a media release from TIO
For further information please contact:
Chris Thiel Head of Corporate Relations,
Telephone: 8946 2651, Mobile: 0407216650

TIO Working to Assess Cyclone and Flood Damage

Media release from TIO

TIO assessors are working in the community to assess claims as ex-Cyclone Carlos moves away from Darwin.

Chief Executive Richard Harding said the full picture on damage is not yet clear as calls continue to come into the claims centre.

"We've obviously had a high volume of calls, so we are asking our customers to be patient as we work through the claims," he said.

"The good news is that we have not seen widespread severe damage to personal property across the city and rural areas.

“As at 11am this morning, we have received around 140 claims at an estimated value of $700 000, but it is still early days and we expect to hear from more customers.

“Around 95 per cent of the claims have been for damage to building and contents, with the remaining being for vehicle damage.

"We know a number of customers have had flood damage and I want to assure them that their TIO policy does cover them. At TIO flood cover means flood cover.

"We have also seen some damage to cars and other property from fallen trees as well as water damage.

hope to have more information later today about the number of claims and the extent of the damage."

For further information please contact:
Chris Thiel Head of Corporate Relations
Telephone: 8946 2651
Mobile: 0407216650

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Follow Cyclone Carlos Progress With Us

Creative Territory is making it easier for clients and friends to find out what is happening in Darwin as Tropical Cyclone Carlos lashes our city and its surrounds.

Our home page features a live feed of Twitter posts about the cyclone while are consultants have been busy twittering their own experiences of the cyclone.

We also established the hashtag #NTcyclones2011 to help sort through the twitter feed, which was the leading source for information leading up to the naming of the cyclone this morning.

Our team has been out and about taking photos and gathering stories from people around the city, and we'll post them here as they become available.

To follow our coverage of Cyclone Carlos, visit our website

Creative Territory specialises is crisis and recovery communication. As well as providing strategic counsel to executives in times of crisis, we undertake crisis planning for organisations and have developed a a crisis communication training package featuring real scenarios on iPad consoles.

Read more about our workshop and how to book in for one here.

TIO says Top Enders should prepare for cyclone threat

Territorians have been reminded that it is too late to buy or update insurance policies for the current cyclone threat, but it is not too late to take other precautions.

TIO General Manager Insurance Michael Hoare said most insurers required cover or policy changes to be in place at least 72 hours before an extreme weather event.

Mr Hoare said TIO’s call centre had been busy with calls from people in the Top End looking to update their cover.

“Unfortunately, we are not able to do so for this event, although people have been taking the opportunity to update their cover for future events,” Mr Hoare said.

“Customers are also seeking reassurance that they are covered for cyclone, flood and storm surge. In the case of TIO, they are automatically covered but people insured elsewhere should check their policies carefully.”

Mr Hoare advised Territorians to prepare their homes and families by:
  • Having a personal disaster plan for their family, including where to go and what to do in the case of storm surge or flooding
  • Preparing an emergency kit with portable radio, fresh batteries, nonperishable food, water and enclosed footwear. Don’t forget special medical or baby needs.
  • Secure loose items and plan how to protect personal belongings, photographs and documents.
  • Care for friends and neighbours.

For further information please contact:
Chris Thiel, TIO Head of Corporate Relations
Telephone: 8946 2651 Mobile: 0407216650


Thursday, February 03, 2011

New GPS iPhone application to guide self-drive tourists in Outback Australia

A guided tour through the ancient landscape of Outback Australia is now possible through modern technology with a new iPhone application, which triggers precise GPS points and a map without the need for mobile phone or internet coverage.

Launched today in Alice Springs by DIY Tourguide, the first iPhone application for the Northern Territory offers detailed, location aware audio commentary over a distance of more than 100km and will give self-drive tourists a new appreciation of the region as they travel.

The West MacDonnell Ranges Self-drive Audio Tour departs from Alice Springs and travels through the West MacDonnell National Park, bringing to life stories of early pioneers, Aboriginal culture, flora, fauna, history, geology and more, in areas where there is no mobile or internet access.

DIY Tourguide, who already offer CD and MP3 audio guides between Alice Springs and Uluru, and the West MacDonnell Ranges, have developed the GPS triggered tour and technology to reach the tech-savvy tourist.

Laurelle Halford, Director of DIY Tourguide says that lack of mobile phone and internet coverage in regional Australia no longer needs to be a barrier to accessing latest technology.

“Many tech-savvy tourists are already using GPS guided iPhone applications in cities and towns around the world, but over a smaller area.”

“We wanted to better entertain self-drive tourists and help them to interpret the landscape in precise locations, where they might otherwise see an empty, barren place.”

The app plays audio commentary at predetermined GPS points with the driver’s current position moving along on a map, and is packed with 80 minutes of fascinating information, travel suggestions, and an image gallery.

“The technology is not just unique in its ability to work without mobile or internet access coverage, but it is designed to optimise sample GPS locations to maximise better life of the iPhone over long distances.”

The app, also available for iPad, allows the tour audio to be played anywhere in the world, meaning tourists can re-live and enjoy their trip when they return home.
DIY Tourguide is also developing new tour routes in Outback Australia, and are translating tours into French, German and Italian to give international self-drive tourists a fresh experience of Outback Australia.

Both the iPhone and iPad applications are now available through Apple’s iTunes store. For more information visit