Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tough call at Urban Quest semi finals

Eleven acts are through to the Urban Quest Finals Concert on Saturday night after the judges struggled to choose just ten.

Former Australian Idol judge Mark Holden delivered three touch downs through the 20 performances including opening rock duo Jack and Sam Weaver.

More than 1000 people turned out to support the young performers, aged between 11 and 18, at Casuarina Square.

The youngest finalist Kaiyah Chadwick, who’s in Year 6 at Marrara Christian College, wowed the audience with her rendition of Halleluja without backing music, while beatboxer Kane Bishop reverberated through the crowd.

Mark Holden will now work with the young singers in mentoring workshops to polish their performances ahead of the big night.

“It’s fantastic being up here,” Mark Holden said.

“But what I really looking forward to is working with each of the finalists and improving their performance.”

Urban Quest, organised by Mission Australia, hopes to raise awareness of youth homelessness in the Top End and expand homeless accommodation services.

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

The Urban Quest Finals Concert, which includes a performance by Deni Hines, starts at 7pm at the Darwin Entertainment Centre this Saturday, 2 April.

Tickets cost $17.50 per person or $50 per family of four, with all proceeds supporting Mission Australia to develop homeless services for young Territorians.  

The 11 Urban Quest Finalists are:

Kaiyah Chadwich, 11, Leanyer                   

Peter Rautoke, 17, Palmerston

Casey Glennon, 16, Malak                           

Shaine Hawke, 13, Stuart Park

Gabrielle Wright, 16, Palmerston             

Jianynne Anastacio, 16, Katherine

Tevita Moala, 16, Darwin                             

Kane Bishop, 15, Darwin

Leighton Kay-Mick, 13, Karama                 

John Micairan, 18 Palmerston & Flyod McDonald, 18, Karama

Sam & Jack Weaver, 17 & 14, Wagaman

For more on each of the performers visit To purchase tickets to the Urban Quest Finals Concert visit


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Internet and radio leading sources of information in a crisis

The internet has emerged as the leading source of information during cyclone Carlos with radio a close second, a survey has recently found.

The survey, conducted by Darwin PR agency Creative Territory after Cyclone Carlos last month, found 75 per cent of people turned to the internet for information and that even more would do so in the future.

The rise of mobile internet devices including smart phones and iPads, means people use the internet and social media to get information even during power blackouts.

Creative Territory managing director Tracy Jones said social media and the internet have sped up the news cycle as well as allowing people to participate in discussions.

“Traditional media outlets that do not extend their offering into social media are in danger of lagging behind,” she said.

“ABC and the NT News did this really well dutring Cyclone Carlos and were rewarded with a high level of trust among residents."

The survey was conducted among 227 people in the weeks following the cyclone and found:
  • People who felt the least informed were less likely to listen to ABC Radio and Internet and more likely to watch TV.
  • People who followed Twitter felt the most informed.
  • People who lost telephone services felt the least informed.
  • In the future, people would switch to radio if they lost power for extended periods, although a large number of people would remain connected to the internet and social media via mobile devices.

  Tracy said the survey offered lessons to responders in future emergencies.


The survey results will be presented at a forum hosted by the Public Relations Institute of Australia and the Australian Marketing Institute in Darwin this week. The even will also feature experts from the Bureau of Meteorology, NT Police, ABC and Darwin International Airport.

When: Thursday 31 March, 12noon to 2pm

Where: Vibe Hotel, 7 Kitchener Drive, Darwin Waterfront NT

Cost: PRIA and AMI members $45

Non-members $55

Register online here.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Teens to battle for a Mark Holden 'touch down'

Twenty teens as young as eleven will battle for a top ten finish at the Urban Quest semi final at Casuarina Square next week.


The singers hope to impress guest judge Mark Holden and local celebrity radio host Amanda Pernechele for a spot in the Urban Quest Finals Concert on 2 April.


The acts include a brother duo from Wagaman, Palmerston hip hop pair and two singers from Katherine.


The event, sponsored by Mission Australia, hopes to raise awareness of youth homelessness in the Top End.


The Urban Quest semi final gets underway at 3:30pm at Casuarina Square on Tuesday, 29 March. The public are encouraged to attend.


The semi finalists are:


Kaiyah Chadwich, 11, Leanyer 

Peter Rautoke, 17, Palmerston

Casey Glennon, 16, Malak                           

Shaine Hawke, 13, Stuart Park

Taylor Fishlock, 18, Katherine                    

Rebekah Ainslie, 16, Darwin

Kimberly Harding, 16 Darwin                      

Jason Woodward, 15, Palmerston

Gabrielle Wright, 16, Palmerston             

Jianynne Anastacio, 16, Katherine

Tevita Moala, 16, Darwin                             

Kane Bishop, 15, Darwin

Veronica Maxwell, 17, Palmerston          

Jessica Pickworth, 18, Litchfield Park

Leighton Kay-Mick, 13, Karama                 

Katheryn Pickworth, 18, Stuart Park

John Micairan, 18 Palmerston & Flyod McDonald, 18, Karama

Sam & Jack Weaver, 17 & 14, Wagaman


For more on each of the performers visit


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Desert water plan to save water in Alice Springs

The desert town of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory will soon lead the way in water conservation.
Alice residents are being urged to cut water use through a $15 million plan that aims to drive smarter, more efficient use of water in homes, businesses, parks and gardens.

The Alice Water Plan project involves education, audits and infrastructure development to cut water use by 1600 million litres per year.

The Alice Water Plan consortium, led by Power and Water Corporation, comprises Arid Lands Environment Centre, COOLMob, Alice Springs Town Council, Tourism NT and the Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport (NRETAS).

Power and Water Corporation project sponsor Alan Whyte said the aim is to harness the environmental consciousness already shown by Alice Springs residents through Alice Solar City.

“The people of Alice Springs have already shown they are energy champions. We now want to add water to their environmental efforts,” Mr Whyte said.

“Reducing our water consumption through small achievable measures will help conserve this precious resource and allow our town to grow in a sustainable manner.”

The program will increase water recycling, provide additional rebates and retrofits for customers and encourage the installation of smart water meters to allow Alice residents to monitor their water use.

Funding of $7.5 million was provided by the Australian Government’s long-term Water for the Future initiative, through National Water Security Plan for Cities and Towns.

This was matched by the NT Government through Power and Water Corporation and additional funding from Tourism NT, $100 000, Alice Springs Town Council $ 300 000 and NRETAS.

The $15 million project has been put together by the consortium and includes:

• Water audits for homes and businesses

• Smart meters that help people understand their own water use and make changes

• An $8.5 million infrastructure project that would allow some large water users to use recycled water

• A $2 million project to regulate water pressure and reduce leaks

• A $1.2 million project to reduce water use in parks and gardens using smart technologies, and

• A program to reduce water use in hotels and other tourist accommodation.

The project is expected to be officially launched in May.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Top End talent hunt begins

Top End talent hunt begins

The hunt for the Top End’s best young talent will get underway today with the heats of Mission Australia’s Urban Quest.

Urban Quest kicks off at schools across Palmerston and Tiwi Islands at 3:30pm for artists under 19 years across vocal, street, rap and beatboxing categories. 

The competition will raise much needed funds for Mission Australia to develop accommodation for homeless young Territorians.

The heats are the first step for contestants vying for a spot in the Urban Quest Finals Concert, which opens National Youth Week in Darwin.

Australian pop idols Mark Holden and Deni Hines will team up with local celebrity radio host Amanda Pernechele to judge the Finals Concert on 2 April at the Darwin Entertainment Centre.  

Ten acts will go through to the finals concert and experience a workshop with Holden ahead of the big night. 

The concert includes a guest performance by Deni Hines and local hip hop group DT3.

Competition details:

·         9 March heats at Tiwi Island College, Sanderson Middle School, Palmerston Library at 3:30pm

·         10 March heats at CDU Training Centre, Katherine at 3:30pm

·         11 March heats at Maningrida Community

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

·         29 March semi finals at Casuarina Square at 3:30pm

·         2 April Urban Quest Finals Concert at Darwin Entertainment Centre at 7pm

For more information, entry forms or to donate visit or  


2000 Energy Audits to mark Alice Solar City birthday

Two thousand homeowners in Alice Springs have now undertaken a home energy audit, just as Alice Solar City celebrates its third birthday tomorrow.

Senior auditor with Alice Solar City, Lyndon Hodges, recently completed the 2000th energy audit in an uncanny coincidence as the project turns three.

“Alice Springs residents and business owners should be recognised and congratulated for their contribution to reducing the town’s energy use over the past three years”, says Brian Elmer, General Manager of Alice Solar City.

Since the project’s launch in March 2008, just over 2000 local residents and over 100 local businesses have joined the program, each receiving an energy audit, tailored advice and access to financial incentives to reduce their consumption and lower their bills.

Over 400 solar power systems have been installed on homes and businesses, and almost 600 solar hot water systems have been installed.

Just under $5 million in funding has been provided to homes and business to assist with the cost of installation measures to cut down their energy use.

“With Alice Solar City reaching the half way point of its scheduled life, our particular focus for 2011 will be on working with our existing residential and commercial participants to assess what actual savings and changes in behaviour they have been able to achieve”, said Brian Elmer.

“As part of that process, we will shortly be offering follow-up audits for our customers, which will help them to better understand their energy consumption patterns and find out other ways to reduce their bills.”

“By the end of the project we will have a good understanding of just how much energy the town has saved.”

Also completed as part of the Solar City project are two large iconic projects at Crowne Plaza and Alice Springs Airport, with two more underway at the new Alice Springs Aquatic Centre and the Uterne Solar Farm on the southern outskirts of town.

For media enquiries please contact Laurelle Halford from Creative Territory on 0417 222 211 or (08) 8952 9412 or

About Alice Solar City: The Alice Springs Solar City Consortium is led by the Alice Springs Town Council and includes broad community support from the Northern Territory Government, Power and Water Corporation, Tangentyere Council, the Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce, the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre and the Arid Lands Environment Centre. Funding sources include the Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government, Power and Water Corporation, and Alice Springs Town Council.