Friday, December 13, 2013

Vista Gold partners with Landcare for river projects

Funding for two environmental projects aimed at improving land management in the Katherine River catchment area has been given a substantial boost by Vista Gold.

The two projects, initiated by the Katherine Landcare Group, deal with the management of weeds by landowners in the Katherine River catchment and improving degraded sites throughout the Katherine region.

Landcare Project Manager Jamie Lewis said the $5,000 funding could not have come at a better time.

“We have had an overwhelming response to these projects, with initial funding now complete the Vista Gold support will enable us to continue to engage with local landowners to improve the river catchment.”

Vista Gold’s funding will support Landcare’s “Need help with weeds” and “Protecting the biodiversity of the Katherine, Edith, Cullen and Ferguson river catchments” projects.

The “Need help with weeds” project provides herbicide, loan equipment and advice to landholders in the Katherine River catchment to enable them to identify and treat infestations of invasive woody weeds on their properties and adjacent crown lands.

“In the past 12 months this project engaged nearly 70 rural landholders and managed woody weeds over 260 hectares. Vista Gold’s contribution will enable this project to continue and expand,” Mr Lewis said.

“Through the additional funding we will also be able to grow several thousand native seedlings for revegetation under the biodiversity project.”

Vista Gold Australia General Manager Brent Murdoch said that the company was pleased to assist and welcomed the partnership with Landcare.

“Looking after the environment in which we operate is our highest priority,” he said.

“Working with Landcare to build a better future for the Edith and Katherine Rivers will benefit the whole of the community. This partnership gives us an opportunity to share information we have gathered through our water monitoring program and contribute to community based activities.”

The Katherine Landcare projects are also generously supported by the Katherine Town Council, Landmark, Territory NRM and the Department of Land Resource Management.

Media enquiries: Jeannette Button on 8941 9169, 0407 727 080

Thursday, December 12, 2013

TIO helps shape next generation of leaders

TIO has opened its doors to two young achievers from Alice Springs to help build leaders of the future.

For first time the company extended its sponsorship of the Alice Springs Desert Leadership program and invited Monica Quan and Nathan McAuliffe to participate in its three-day leadership program in Darwin.

TIO Chief Executive Richard Harding said the company wanted to build confidence in the community and support its future leaders.

 “Desert Knowledge Australia presents us with a new and unique opportunity to engage future leaders and encourage them to make a difference in the Territory,” Mr Harding said.

“The program aims to help them foster their development and capabilities.”

Monica Quan, who is a Camera Person and Editor at Imparja Television, said the TIO leadership program encouraged her to face her fears.

“I learnt you that can make meaningful change in small steps,” Ms Quan said.

“TIO has cultivated a culture that questions itself, the way it does things and to challenge the status quo, which is important for any leader.”

Nathan, who is a plumber with Ingkerreke Commercial, added that the skills he learnt during the program relate to all areas of life.

“You can relate and apply leadership to your family situation, your footy team or your workplace and make a choice to make it a good environment – it’s about the positive role we play,” he said.

Monica and Nathan are both part-way through their one-year intensive leadership program with ASDL.

The Alice Springs Desert Leadership program aims to build the next generation of leaders by equipping participants with the knowledge to make.

TIO has been a sponsor of the program since April 2013


For further information please contact:

Tracy Jones, Creative Territory 89 461694

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Young Territorians least likely to finish studies

Mission Australia’s 2013 National Youth Survey has found one in seven Territory teens don’t intend to complete year twelve.

The alarming figure is more than three times the national average and coupled with the finding that less than two-thirds of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with their school studies.

The Youth Survey, which is the country’s biggest annual stocktake on the views of young people, was completed by 109 Territorians aged between 15 and 19 years.   

When asked to nominate the most important issues for Australia, young people in the NT rated alcohol and drugs at the top of the list for the second year in a row.

In a new concerning trend, mental health jumped from eighth spot in 2012 to second among young Territorians.

The top three personal concerns for young people in the NT continued to be school or study problems, coping with stress, and body image.

Other survey highlights include:

·         Around 1 in 5 young people in the NT indicated their family’s ability to get along was poor – more than twice the national average

·         Almost one in five young people in the NT were negative or very negative in their outlook for the future (compared to 8 per cent nationally)

·         More than one third of young people in the NT aged 15-19 are currently looking for work (including part-time/casual)

·         Only 35 per cent of young people in the NT plan to go to university (compared with 65 per cent nationally)

·         The internet is the number one source of information for young people in the NT, with 40 per cent of respondents spending at least 20 hours a week on social networking sites

Mission Australia’s 12th national Youth Survey not only asked young people about their personal and national concerns, it also surveyed what young people value, who they turn to for advice, what activities they engage in, their views on employment and how they feel about the future.

Sue Kendrick said the fact almost 15 per cent of young people surveyed in the NT said they didn’t intend to complete year twelve – more than three times the national average – is a serious concern, coupled with the low rate of young people planning to go on to university, TAFE or college.

“We need greater investment in youth education, training and employment, particularly in communities where there is entrenched disadvantage,” Ms Kendrick said.

“There are significant economic and social benefits that flow over many years from improving the participation of young people.

“Encouraging our young people to not only complete their schooling, but also to pursue higher education and training will be crucial to meeting their career needs as well as the needs of our future workforce.”

Ms Kendrick said it was also concerning that young people in the NT are becoming increasingly concerned about mental health issues.

“When asked how positive they felt about the future, almost one in five respondents in the NT was negative or very negative in their outlook - this compares to 8 per cent nationally,” she said.

“We need to ensure that young adults in the NT have the support they need, so they can look to the future with confidence and do not fall through the cracks while trying to make the journey from adolescence into adulthood.

“If we take this opportunity to listen to their voices and act on their concerns, we can provide hope for the future of our state and the next generation of NT youth who will lead it.”

Mission Australia is a leading community organisation, focused on standing together with Australians in need, until they can stand for themselves. We want to support our young people to gain independence and lead productive, fulfilling lives.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Thousands of Territorians sign on to save badminton

The Northern Territory Badminton Association will tomorrow submit the single largest petition in NT Parliament history.

The petition, which calls on NT Government to “defer the eviction of badminton from the Sports House facility and agree to allocate funds for and facilitate construction of a new multi-purpose facility for badminton, table tennis and judo at Marrara during the 2014-2015 financial year as detailed in the NT Badminton Association New Venue Proposal September 2013”, has been signed by more than 12 300 Territorians in the past five weeks.

The petition will be presented to the Hon Gerry Wood MLA on the steps of Parliament House at 9:30am for submission to Parliament later that day.

And to make sure their plight is heard, a group of local badminton players have planned a “Badminton Flashmob” at the handover.

“People we meet are very surprised to hear that we’re being thrown out on to the street and that the NT Government is not proposing a replacement facility - they say that it’s very unfair,” NT Badminton volunteer Monica Beadman said.

“We have been absolutely overwhelmed with support from the people of Darwin, Palmerston and Rural Areas,” volunteer Helena Gibbons said.

“People have been incredibly sympathetic to our plight and we thank everyone for their fantastic support!”

The NTBA said it calls on the NT Government to listen to overwhelming community opinion and “give our sport a fair go and support our proposal for a replacement facility”.
For more information visit or follow NT Badminton on and

Friday, November 29, 2013

New land to fulfil Christmas wishes

Territorians looking to purchase land before Christmas have had their wishes granted.

Urbex, in association with the Northern Territory Government, have released their last land sale for the year at Johnston Ridge.
Seventeen large lots starting at an affordable price of $260,000 went on sale to the public today.

Urbex General Manager Wayne Rex said the release will help to ease growing pressures on housing affordability.
“We have strong demand for affordable land and housing, and have brought the Davies release forward to help meet some of it,” Mr Rex said.

“We’ve worked hard with the government and Council to get land ready for sale and Territorians into their homes sooner.”
Construction of the lots released for sale has commenced which Mr Rex says “means that purchasers will be able to commence construction of their homes next year”.

Nestled between Farrar Boulevard and the Stuart Highway, Johnston Ridge is now well developed.
Residents are moving into their homes and Johnston Ridge is becoming a real community,” Mr Rex said.

“More than 175 lots have sold to date, which is two-thirds of the suburb.
“We sell land with plenty of room to move at very competitive prices.”

The lots in the current Davies release range in size from 780sqm to over 1,100sqm and are some of the largest available lots within a new community in the Darwin/Palmerston market.
Mr Rex said that “families who purchase in Johnston Ridge can build their home and add to it later or have plenty of room for a tinny and the kids to run around”.

Johnston Ridge is located within five minutes of the amenities of Coolalinga and Palmerston City Centre.
Territorians interested in land at Johnston Ridge can visit or call 1300 556 950.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NT Badminton says “We won’t leave Sports House without a new home”

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Members of the NT Badminton Association have vowed to stay at Sports House in Fannie Bay until a new venue for their sport is secured. 

The motion “…that members of NTBA only agree to leave Sports House when the NT Government identifies an alternative single venue accommodation solution that is acceptable to NTBA and a binding agreement is made” was passed at the NTBA Annual General Meeting yesterday.

The AGM, which was likely to be the NTBA’s last at Sports House, focused on badminton’s future after the NTBA rejected the NT Government’s offer of a 5 year commercial lease on a property in Woolner last week.

Independent Member for Nelson Gerry Wood MLA , ALP Member for Johnston Ken Vowles MLA, and a number of concerned local Fannie Bay residents participated in the spirited and emotional AGM. 

“The NT Government doesn’t seem to recognise the disastrous consequences that closure of Sports House, and the absence of a replacement facility, will have on our sport,” NT Badminton President Rodney Pearce said at the meeting.

“All of us at this meeting know that without a new home the sport is stuffed.”

Gerry Wood stated, “The Government sometimes has its priorities wrong. If it’s real about people’s health then the facilities that are required should be made available. They need to re-prioritise their land plans and allow NT Badminton’s new facility to be established before the Sports House site is sold and developed. I don’t think that it’s too hard.”

The NTBA said it will continue to impress the urgency of its need upon the NT Government and request that it allocates funding in the May 2014 Budget for construction of a new multi-purpose facility for Badminton, Judo and Table Tennis at Marrara.

“The proposal that NTBA has submitted is excellent,” Ken Vowles MLA said, adding that “the cost of the proposed facility is good value as it incorporates facilities for a number of sports”.

“While the ball is obviously in NT Government’s court, we’re happy to sit down with them to work together to come up with a solution,” NT Badminton’s Rodney Pearce said.

For more information visit or follow NT Badminton on: and


Sunday, November 24, 2013

TIO ready to respond to Cyclone Alessia

With Cyclone Alessia approaching the Top End, TIO has activated plans to ensure it ready to respond to potential customer claims.

Insurance General Manger Michael Hoare said staff would be ready and available should the cyclone or associated flooding cause any damage.

“It is too late to update insurance for this event but there is still much Territorians can do to ensure they are ready,” Michael said.

“People’s homes should now be prepared and they should be familiar with their family emergency plan.

“We hope this cyclone causes no damage, but we are ready to respond if it does.”

In addition to having an emergency plan, Top Enders should:

·      Know where to go and what to do in the case of storm surge or flooding

·      Have their emergency kit prepared with portable radio, fresh batteries, non-perishable food, water and enclosed footwear. Don’t forget special medical or baby needs.

·      Have loose items secured and a safe place to protect personal belongings, photographs and documents.

·      Care for friends and neighbours.

For more information visit or call 1300 301 833.

Media enquiries – Tracy Jones on 0407 727 813

Friday, November 22, 2013

Future of NT badminton to be debated

The home of badminton in Darwin will be discussed at the NT Badminton Association (NTBA) Annual General Meeting on Monday 25 November 2013.

The AGM will be held at Sports House, Waratah Crescent in Fannie Bay from 7:45pm and is open to the public.

Earlier this week the NT Government granted badminton an extension of tenure at Sports House until 31 March 2014 and proposed the NTBA take on a 5 year commercial lease on a warehouse in Woolner at a cost of $165,000 per year, shared equally between badminton and the government.

But NT Badminton’s Dr Di Symonds said the NTBA rejected the lease proposal as it was too expensive.

“A lease of that value would without doubt destroy the sport and leave us financially ruined,” she said.

“We understand that most sport associations in the NT have peppercorn lease arrangements with government, or pay negligible sums of money, if anything, to ensure sports develop and the community benefits.

“We're not aware of any major sport associations in the NT with a commercial lease.”

Dr Symonds said the NT government also asked NT Badminton to reassess using community halls located on school grounds.

“To be told to go back and look at school halls again is very frustrating and  especially since we outgrew school halls back in the late 1970s, which led to the CLP Government at the time to allocate badminton Sports House,” she said.

“Sports House itself doesn’t meet our current needs or plan for development and growth."

NTBA continues to urge the government to support its proposal for a new, multi-purpose facility at Marrara.

Dr Symonds said the facility would address badminton’s need for a new home and allow table tennis, gymnastics and judo to meet current demand.

Sixteen years ago NTG came up with a plan for a new multi-purpose facility at Marrara, incorporating badminton, table tennis, basketball and netball but the project was shelved,” she said.

“But the timing is now right. Please help us to save our sport!”

For more information visit or follow NT Badminton on:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Top Enders should prepare for cyclone threat

As the chance of a tropical cyclone affecting the Top End builds Territorians are reminded to review their insurance cover before it’s too late.

 Advice issued by the Bureau of Meteorology at 2:15pm today said the likelihood of a cyclone forming in our region on Saturday was ‘high’ (more than 50 per cent).

 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.

 He said now is the time for people to contact TIO to purchase or update their cover.

“When a tropical cyclone is called it’s unfortunately too late for people to make changes to their policies,” Mr Hoare said.

“We encourage Top Enders to look at their cover for cyclone, flood and storm surge. TIO customers are automatically covered but those insured elsewhere should check their policies carefully.”

Mr Hoare also advised Territorians to prepare their homes and families for a cyclone 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, non-perishable 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 more information visit or call 1300 301 833.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Relationships Australia opens its doors in Katherine

After more than 25 years of operation Relationships Australia NT now has a permanent home in Katherine.
The charity organisation, which provides counselling and mediation services to local residents, has opened its doors on Katherine Terrace in the heart of town.
Relationships Australia NT Acting Chief Executive Officer Robyn Donnelly said the move reflected growth and increased demand for its services.
“It’s a wonderful time for the organisation, the community and our Katherine staff,” Ms Donnelly said.
“We’re very thankful to Sommerville and Catholic Care who have supported and shared their rooms with us over the years, until it was sustainable for us to open an office.”
Relationships Australia NT started offering counselling to Katherine residents in the late 1980s and extended its services to include mediation in 1990.
“During this time we evolved from having Darwin staff visit town to building our local team, from using hotel rooms and space at other industry providers to now having our own office.”
Relationships Australia NT helps up to 3500 Territorians on average annually and more than 20 per cent identify as Aboriginal.
Ms Donnelly said the organisation increasingly works with families and children.
“We provide assistance to families in various ways including strengthening relationships, mediation, counselling and support for those going through tough times,” she said.
Relationships Australia NT is located at Unit 5, 15 Katherine Terrace, Katherine.
For more information please call 1300 364 277 or visit

Monday, November 18, 2013

Territory business woman awarded Life Fellowship

Territory business woman Tracy Jones has been honoured with the highest award given by the Public Relations Institute of Australia – a Life Fellowship.

The Managing Director of Darwin-based public relations agency Creative Territory was inducted as a Life Fellow at a ceremony in Adelaide last night. The former journalist is the first Territorian to be awarded this honour.

Tracy’s service to the Public Relations Institute spans 12 years, including two years as National President, three years as National Treasurer and more than nine years on the Board of Directors.

She became the first Territorian to be inducted as a Fellow of the institute in 2003 and has been a member of the Council of the College of Fellows since that time.

She has also won numerous national Golden Target Awards and in 2010 was awarded the President’s Award for services to the institute.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Local business takes out national new enterprise award

When Darwin girl Holly Copping decided to return home to set up her own business little did she know that in less than a year her business would be thriving and her efforts recognised by a national award program.
Holly, who established Territory Laser Clinic in December 2012, is a recent recipient of the National New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) Association award for the Best New Business in 2013, a first for a Territory business.

NEIS is a self-employment program funded by the Department of Employment. The program helps eligible unemployed people become self-supporting and independent of Centrelink by establishing and running their own business.

The goal of NEIS is to help set up a sustainable business. To ensure the success of the programme, NEIS providers carefully select people with viable business ideas.
Mission Australia, the largest NEIS provider within Australia, provides accredited small business training, business advice, mentoring and ongoing income support for the first year of operation.

Holly worked with Mission Australia in the Northern Territory to establish her business, Territory Laser Clinic, to treat skin disorders similar to those that she had experienced as a teenager.
After graduating with qualifications in Dermal Therapies, her parents mortgaged their home to allow Holly to purchase the laser equipment and establish a professionally appointed premise.

Mission Australia went on to nominate Holly for the national award in recognition of the vital service Territory Laser Clinic provides to people living in the Territory and Holly’s ability to nurture and grow the business.
In the first year, Holly has already firmly established her business and employed a full time staff member.

Holly was thrilled to win the award and said that the Mission Australia QLD and NT Team was and continues to be of invaluable assistance in establishing her business. 
“From my own experience, I knew that there was a need in the Territory to help people suffering from skin disorders, but the response has been overwhelming.

“The business has grown immensely in a short period of time and I am extremely lucky to have the support of Territorians,” she said.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

NT Badminton asks the public to “Please help us save our sport!”

The NT Badminton Association is calling on the local community to help save its sport, after the Northern Territory Government released plans to rezone and sells its home of thirty years in for new inner-city housing.

240 players from the Darwin Badminton and smaller clubs, including talented Territory juniors, will be left without a place to play and practice when Sports House in Fannie Bay is rezoned and sold.

The NT Badminton Association says the clubs will be evicted on 20 November 2013 and has called on the Northern Territory Government for an extension of tenure until a suitable replacement venue is made available. 

Association member Dr Di Symonds says the clubs have identified an alternative site but is concerned for the future of Badminton in the Northern Territory as its eviction nears.

“The clock is ticking,” Dr Symonds said.
“We’ve met with Government Departments, looked at alternative venues and commissioned an architect and engineer to design and cost a new multi-purpose venue for ready land at Marrara that would be an asset to the whole community.”

The $6.8 million proposal caters for a 3,500 square metre sports facility on land adjacent to the gymnastics facility at Marrara with eight badminton courts, eight table tennis tables, two Olympic-sized judo mats and enable gymnastics to double its current floor space.

Dr Symonds said the facility will service up to 2,700 Territory sportspeople every week across the four sports and fully meet community demand.
Badminton has built a strong community following over its 40 year history in Darwin and provides a range of health and social benefits to Territorians ranging in age from eight to 80.

The sport is played seven days a week, 50 weeks of the year and is home to national and international champions – the latest of whom represented the Territory in Sydney earlier this month at the Under 15 National Badminton Championships.
“Should the Northern Territory Government continue its intention to evict badminton without an appropriate alternative site, then badminton will most likely die,” Dr Symonds said.

“Please help us save our sport.”
NT Badminton will hold a Badminton Flash Mob in the Smith Street Mall at 12.00pm tomorrow to raise community awareness to their plight.

The sporting association will also open its doors at Sports House to the public with a “Badmintathon” over the next 20 days and invites people to come and try the sport, meet the players, view a display of the proposed new sporting venue and sign their petition urging the Northern Territory Government to support their proposal for a replacement facility.

More information and Open House times visit,au or follow Save Our Sport on Facebook and SaveOurSportNT on Twitter.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New book tells tales of Relationships Australia’s beginning in the NT

Relationships Australian NT is a service that Territorians can depend on in trying times, yet a new book chronicling its 40 year history shows it too was lucky to survive Cyclone Tracy.

 In 1977 Secretary Alan Schreiber accounts, ‘The Darwin Marriage Guidance Council has gone through a very difficult and trying year. By about the middle of the year we lost the services of our Director, who was our only counsellor. The only lay counsellors that had served us, all left after the cyclone. After repeated and very costly advertising for a replacement, all applicants were found unsuitable.’

 The tale of the organisation’s recovery and other trials and tribulations will be unveiled at the launch of A history of Relationships Australia Northern Territory on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary on Monday 21 October.  

 Researched and authored by local historian Mickey Dewar, the book accounts for the organisation’s beginning in 1973 when it was deemed ‘the needs of the Northern Territory population at that time were so urgent that the normal requirement for a state council to self-fund for the first few years of operation were waived’.

 "In the beginning, the Marriage Guidance Council was an organisation which sought to provide advice and counsel for married couples living in Darwin who were separating,” Ms Dewar said.

 “Forty years later it is now a reflexive, multi-faceted support service providing assistance to the people of the Northern Territory across diverse areas of social need. This book is the story of how these changes took place.”  

 Renamed in 1995, Relationships Australia NT today has a broader emphasis on helping children and families in need and working with disadvantaged people.

 “We provide assistance to families in various ways including strengthening relationships, mediation, counselling and support for people going through difficult times,” Relationships Australia NT Marie Morrison said.

 “We also provide specialised services such as professional development and training through formal and informal courses, partnerships and community based programs for migrants and refugees, and culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal families, delivered by Aboriginal staff members.

 “Increasingly we’re also working with young people and have programs to divert them away from crime and disadvantage, through restorative justice community programs.”

 The launch of A history of Relationships Australia Northern Territory on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary will be held at Relationships Australia NT, ground floor 43 Cavenagh Street on Monday 21 October at 5:30pm, preceded by the organisation’s AGM.

 The public are invited to attend with light refreshments and canap├ęs available. Please call to RSVP on call 8923 4999.

 For more information please visit


Monday, October 14, 2013

Get advanced warning this Wet Season

TIO is helping Territorians be prepared this wet season with “TIO Weather Alerts,” an SMS and e-mail alert program that will be available free of charge to all Territorians.

“Almost 3000 Territorians are already benefiting from this free service, which alerts those registered to potentially dangerous weather systems by sending an SMS or an Email,” said Michael Hoare, TIO General Manager of Insurance.

The advance warnings allow residents to ensure that windows are shut, cars are moved under cover and loose outdoor items are properly secured to minimize the chance of damage,” he said.

The TIO Weather Alerts will also warn of impending or approaching cyclonic weather systems. The TIO alert is meant to act as a first warning, with homeowners then urged to monitor the Bureau of Meteorology’s website as events unfold. 

The alerts can be tailored to postcodes, ensuring that those in harm’s way are given timely warning and the opportunity to prepare for potential dangers.

For example, the most common warnings issued last wet season gave Darwin residents warnings on imminent severe thunderstorms. A typical thunderstorm alert will warn of flash flooding, damaging or destructive winds and large hail.

TIO has contracted the Australian Early Warning Network to deliver the alerts which are based on information generated by the Bureau of Meteorology. 

Simply go to to register.

TIO will also promote the service via in-branch brochures, on facebook and twitter and through community cyclone briefings.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Alice Springs garden watering planner a first for arid Australia

Alice Water Smart has today launched a new web-based tool that works out the ideal garden watering schedule for Alice Springs’ gardens and the local environment.

It is the first tool of its kind for arid Australia, and was developed in partnership with the national savewater!® Alliance. Its launch also coincides with the launch of Alice Water Smart’s new website.

 In just a couple of minutes, anyone who owns a garden in Alice Springs, whether they be home or business owners, can find out how much water to use and when. It also compares the recommended schedule with current use, so gardeners can see how much water they can save.

 Alice Water Smart Project Manager Les Seddon says that more than half of all water wasted in Alice Springs is through overwatering plants.

 We have completed more than 1000 Water Efficiency Consultations and found that overwatering is the biggest culprit in water waste.”

 “The Garden Watering Planner will help Alice Springs garden owners save water, money and time. It is incredibly easy to use and each homeowner can print out a personalised watering schedule for their garden.”

 “For a long time, Alice residents have found it difficult to work out how much water their garden actually needs and very few were getting it right.”

 There are so many variables, such as plant age, size and root depth, as well as the types of irrigation being used and our unique climate. No wonder it is confusing!”

 “The Planner takes into account our varying climate, such as the mid-February heat when plants are under the most stress, and the mid-winter frosts when water in irrigation pipes is at risk of freezing.”

 It also works out the best watering schedule for different types of plants, such as natives and drought tolerant plants, grape vines, citrus, palm trees, vegetables and lawn areas.

 For example, if you want to know the recommended frequency and duration to water native shrubs that are between 3-12 months old, the Garden Watering Planner will do that for you.

 The personalised report details the ideal watering schedule for each season and offers advice on the best types of irrigation to use for those plants.

 The average water saved from making a simple irrigation change, such as scheduling or the type of sprinkler pop-up used, is around 224 kilolitres, or $390 per year.

 Garden design, local Alice Springs plants, and the importance of root depth are also features of the Water Planner.

 “Many residents water their gardens every day. This is encouraging shallow roots, which are prone to heat stress, dry out quickly and can only access a small amount of water.”

“We recommend watering longer and less often to encourage deep-rooted plants.  The roots live in cooler soil and can access more water so they help the plant better cope with hot, dry periods.”
The Alice Springs Garden Watering Planner can be found at

Alice Water Smart is supported by the Australian Government.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Spare a thought for those experiencing mental health issues

Mission Australia NT State Leader Sue Kendrick calls on the community to consider friends and family faced by mental health issues this week.

 “Most people will know someone who has faced mental health issues. It can affect anyone and every aspect of their life including relationships, study and work.

“During challenging times it is important that people know that they are not alone and support is available to help get them back on track,” Ms Kendrick said.

A 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that an estimated 3.2 million Australians (20% of the population aged between 16 and 85) had a mental disorder in the twelve months prior to the survey.

For the past five years Mission Australia has run a Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) service aimed at helping people such as these maintain or regain their independence.

The program assists people with severe mental illness aged 16 years and over to manage their daily activities and to live independently in the community. Activities include behavioural work and skills training in things many of us would easily take for granted, such as domestic chores or getting dressed correctly in the morning.

 “Mental illness should not be a barrier to community and social participation,” Ms Kendrick said.

“We need to do a better job at helping more mentally ill people into the workforce.”

Research shows that up to 85 per cent of people experiencing serious mental health issues can return to work or study with the right help.

“Mission Australia understands that supporting people through their recovery requires a holistic approach. We ensure that services accessed by participants are coordinated, integrated and complementary to other services in the community. We help participants better manage their daily activities and develop personal recovery plans as they regain their independence.”

People requiring assistance in dealing with mental illness can contact Mission Australia on 08 8935 0900.

Mental Health Week runs from 7 to 13 October and aims to raise awareness and understanding of the needs, experiences and issues concerning people with a mental illness.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Aboriginal Territorians who were abused encouraged to access support service

With the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses in Child Sexual Abuse due in Darwin in two weeks, Relationships Australia NT said it’s important Aboriginal Territorians aren’t forgotten.

The organisation says that many of the victims, survivors and people affected by institutional childhood abuse in the Territory are Aboriginal and Islander peoples.

“We have Indigenous advisors, cultural consultants and Aboriginal family workers who can, where appropriate, work with Aboriginal people who were abused in coming forward to give evidence,” Ms Morrison said.

“But we also want people to know that we are here for them whether or not they choose to share their story with the Commission.

“We can answer any questions about the process, be a friendly and supportive ear and also help those who want to tell their story.”

Relationships Australia NT was the only NT support service to be given Federal funding to support victims presenting at the Royal Commission.

Know More was funded to provide legal support across Australia, while the Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Association (NAAJA) will provide community education in the Top End.

Relationships Australia NT is meeting and working with these agencies and others, including Aboriginal services to ensure the most culturally sensitive and appropriate response.

Ms Morrison said Relationship Australia NT’s services are free to victims, survivors and people affected by childhood institutional abuse.

“Our staff will be there for people before, during and after the Commission,” she said.

“On the Tiwi Islands alone, including Nguiu, Milikapiti and Pirlingimpi, we have a qualified counsellor and three Aboriginal staff who can talk with people.

“People who live more than 50Km away from where they are scheduled to share their experiences in a private sitting can also apply to the Commission to assist with their  travel and accommodation costs.”

The Royal Commission will be in Darwin on Tuesday 15 October as part of its national tour to hear from victims and survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse.

Territorians who want to present their story to the Commission are required to register their interest via  but Ms Morrison said her staff can help people through this process.

To contact Relationships Australia NT for more information or support please visit or call 1300 364 277.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Alice Springs’ new recycled water scheme ready for testing

New water recycling facilities have been commissioned in Alice Springs this week and will undergo three months of testing before the water is supplied to businesses and institutions south of Heavitree Gap.

 As part of the Alice Water Smart Reuse Project, the new treatment processes at the Alice Springs wastewater plant will improve the quality of recycled water available.

 Around ten large businesses and institutions south of The Gap will use the water for irrigation and horticultural purposes, such as watering gardens at caravan parks and the cemetery, as well as road and civil construction works.

 “It will save around 220 million litres of the drinking water that is currently used for these purposes each year. That’s equivalent to 100 Olympic sized swimming pools”, says Alice Water Smart Project Manager Les Seddon.

The new facilities include an architecturally designed building to house gravity filters and UV reactors, as well as 3.5km of new network distribution pipe and an additional 2.5 Megalitre storage tank.

 As part of the three-month testing period, Power and Water Corporation and the Department of Health will carry out a series of validation checks to ensure the system is robust.

 "Along with water quality testing, we’ll be monitoring how the system works under various operational conditions, such as when there is peak demand or low water levels in the tanks.”

 “We are currently in discussions with businesses and institutions south of the Gap about how they can access the scheme and we look forward to that first turn of the tap.”

 95 tonnes of special sand media has been brought in from NSW for use in the system’s new gravity filters; which has some irony for a place that is surrounded by sand.”

 "The certified sand has a high quartz content, so it is quite strong and won’t break down into powder form to clog the system. The sand grains are uniform in size to allow wastewater to filter through, and small enough to pick up tiny solid particles along the way.”

 After the sewerage has travelled through several wastewater ponds over a 70-day period, the recycling process takes about one hour, which includes the following five steps:

 Acid and coagulant is added to a reactor tank to modfy pH and bind fine solids together

Waste water enters a Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF) tank to inject air and allow solid particles to float to the top (which are scraped off and sent to waste)

Partially treated water enters the new gravity media (sand) filters to remove more solid particles and further improve quality

Pumps push the water through 80 high intensity UV lamps to disinfect pathogens (disease forming bacteria)

Recycled water is then injected with chlorine and stored in two 2.5 megalitre storage tanks, from where it is accessed by the end user.

 Testing is expected to be complete by mid December and will be available for customers straight away.

 Alice Water Smart is supported by the Australian Government.