Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Darwin Cup Carnival racegoers urged to go home safely

Darwin Cup Carnival racegoers who don’t plan ahead can leave their car at the track safely if they have a few drinks.
TIO is again sponsoring the provision of overnight security at the Darwin Turf Club as an initiative under its PartySafe road safety program.

The program raises awareness of the dangers of drink driving and encourages Territorians who have a few drinks to find alternative ways to get home.
TIO Community Relations Manager Chris Thiel said the car park security was one of a number of measures to give people peace of mind.
“Our aim is not to stop people having a good time but to make the right choices before getting behind the wheel,” she said.
“If they know their vehicle is going to safe if they leave it overnight, they will be more likely to leave it there and find another way home.”
The PartySafe program has teamed up with Darwin Cup Carnival since 2009 to drive home the road safety message.
On Darwin Cup Day the PartySafe tent will be at the races offering free breath testing and advice on getting home safely.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Supermarket giant wins state employer award

It may be a big business but it’s the small things that Coles stores in Darwin did for struggling job seekers that saw it win Mission Australia’s 2013 Northern Territory Employer of the Year award.

Coles, which has five stores in the Darwin region, took out the award from a field of businesses that Mission Australia’s Employment Solutions Team works with to find stable jobs for people who’ve been out of work or require additional skills, training and support.

Mission Australia Employment Solutions Manager Dean Procter said Coles went above and beyond to help workers referred by them.

“Coles shone out from the rest because of their willingness to teach people new skills and provide a range of employment options for job seekers to find their feet and niche, such as butchering, working in the bakery or on checkouts,” Mr Procter said.

“We’ve had numerous clients go through their Indigenous Employment Program and each time Coles has willingly worked with the individual’s personal circumstance to ensure continuity of employment and the very best outcome for everyone.”

Mr Procter said Coles provided skills development and a variety of hours to suit the many different job seekers in the Darwin market.

“Any business that commits to hiring job seekers with significant challenges or who require extra support, deserves recognition,” he said.

“Coles has not only made a difference to these workers’ lives by helping them turn around their circumstances, but the whole community and Mission Australia congratulates them.”

Coles’ Zone HR Manager SA/NT Roncie Briggs said winning Mission Australia’s top employer award for the Northern Territory was a great thrill.

“Coles is continually striving to develop as a leader in employment and training, so awards like this provide fantastic recognition of the programs we’ve put in place and our ongoing commitment to generating new job opportunities for people across the Territory and Australia,” said Ms Briggs.

Job seekers are referred to Mission Australia from Centrelink and other health providers.

Coles will now go in the running for the national award to be announced on 8 October 2013.

The national winner will be recognised at a gala dinner in Sydney with a prize to the value of $5000.

For more information visit

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Urban Quest discovers Darwin's next singing sensation

2013 Urban Quest winner
Charlotte Gittins
She may be just fourteen but that didn’t stop Charlotte Gittins from singing her way to Urban Quest success over the weekend.

The Dripstone Middle School student outperformed nine other finalists to win Mission Australia’s premier singing competition at the Darwin Waterfront on Saturday night.
Gittins sang Florence and the Machine’s I won’t call you a Liar to win the hotly contested event and land herself a career pathways package with Music NT, an Apple MacBook laptop and headphones.

"Darwin a star is born," former Australian Idol judge Mark Holden said about the Palmerston singer’s mesmerising performance.

The music industry veteran also awarded her one of his trademark “touchdowns” and said Urban Quest was just the beginning of her music career.

Crowd favourite VJ Bumanlag was the 2013 Urban Quest runner up while Katherine singer Sarina Pech was second runner up with an original track. 

Now in its third year, Mission Australia’s Urban Quest aims to help young people build self esteem and confidence through music.

Youth Services Manager Adrian McCann said the night was a huge success with a 600-strong crowd enjoying the concert under the stars.
“It was wonderful to see so many people come down and support these up and coming young stars”, Mr McCann said.  

“All of the finalists should be very proud and put on an amazing show for the Darwin community after three days mentoring with Mark Holden and Paul Costa.”
The night also included guest performances by judges Paul Costa and Dave Garnham, 2012 Urban Quest winner Gabby Wright, Darwin X Factor star Shiane Hawke and local hip hop group My Team Dilemma.

Urban Quest is proudly supported by sponsors Larrakia TV and Radio, the Darwin Waterfront Corporation, Dreamedia, Casuarina Square, Music NT, Inpex, the Office of Youth Affairs and Darwin International Airport.

For more information visit

New manual to help manage teenage offenders

Relationships Australia NT has teamed up with the NT Police to release a case management resource for people working with young offenders in the Territory.

The Youth Diversion Case Management Resource is the first of its kind in the Northern Territory and was launched by the Honourable Chief Minister Adam Giles in Alice Springs yesterday.

Relationships Australia NT Chief Executive Officer Marie Morrison said the resource will achieve better outcomes for young people going through the NT justice system.

“Relationships Australia NT is delighted to share this resource with other community based organisations who provide Youth Diversion Programs throughout the NT,” Ms Morrison said.

“The resource is built on our 10 year history of working with offenders under 18 years in Alice Springs and providing programs that lead them away from crime and disadvantage.”

Ms Morrison said Relationships Australia NT’s youth diversion program is modelled on restorative justice community programs, which include offenders meeting and apologising to the victims of their crimes.

“There is clear evidence that restorative justice community programs produce significantly less rates of recidivism and reoffending than incarceration,” she said.

“The model produces better long-term results for offenders, their families and the community.”

Relationships Australian NT services approximately 3500 Territorians annually with more than 20 per cent of whom are Aboriginal.

Youth Diversion caseloads that the organisation manages have doubled over the past ten years, with up to 80 per cent young Aboriginal males aged between 10 and 17 years.

“The Youth Diversion Case Management Resource is for all workers in case management and is hoped to better help these young people and produce lasting change.”  

Youth diversion programs managed by Relationships Australia NT have included drum making, drum  beat workshops, a Desert Park Leadership Program and a young women’s leadership program.

This year Relationships Australia NT will work with other community organisations and extend its youth diversion programs to remote communities in the MacDonnell Shire region.

For more information please visit

Friday, July 05, 2013

40 years of relationships success

Tomorrow Relationships Australia will celebrate 40 years in the Northern Territory.

In what started as the Marriage Guidance Council in 1973, the organisation then offered Darwin residents marriage advice and counselling services in the wake of Cyclone Tracy.

“Cyclone Tracy was difficult for Darwin couples and families and placed additional strain on the very best of relationships,” Relationships Australia NT Chief Executive Officer Marie Morrison said.

“The Marriage Guidance Council as it was known then provided one avenue to help people to navigate their way through.”  

Since then the organisation has undergone significant growth and change to be a cornerstone of help and assistance for Territorians.

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.”

To celebrate its 40th birthday, Relationships Australia NT has engaged local historian Mickey Dewar to collate a full history of the organisation’s 40 years in the NT.

Relationships Australia NT services some 3500 Territorians on average each year with more than 20 per cent who identify as Aboriginal.

The organisation has offices in Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin, and provides services to Tennant Creek, the Tiwi Islands, Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala.

We are proud to have contributed to a community where relationships are respectful, diversity is valued and where people have a sense of belonging and connection,” Ms Morrison said.

For more information please visit

Monday, July 01, 2013

Quest for the next Jessica Mauboy

Ten young Territorians will sing to win Mission Australia’s Urban Quest at the Darwin Waterfront this Saturday 6 July.

The hunt for the Territory’s best young singer kicked off earlier this year with auditions held in Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine and Alice Springs in May.

The ten Urban Quest finalists will fine tune their skills at a three-day intensive mentoring workshop with Mark “Touchdown” Holden and country singer Paul Costa, who’s latest single Big End of Town is at the top of the Australian Country Music Charts, ahead of the big night.

Mentor and judge Mark Holden has been involved in Mission Australia’s premier youth event since its inception in 2011 and said it will be difficult to choose a winner.

“The talent this year is the best I’ve seen at Urban Quest over the past three years - it’s true,” the former Australian Idol judge said.

Mr Holden and Paul Costa will team up with Darwin’s very own singer songwriter Dave Garnham and Music NT’s Amy Hetherington to judge the Urban Quest Finals Concert.

The Urban Quest Finals Concert is free for the public and will be held under the stars at the Darwin Waterfront from 6pm.

“We encourage everyone to come along to the Waterfront, enjoy a night of entertainment and support these young singers,” Mission Australia’s Adrian McCann said.

“Urban Quest is for the community and without our partners Larrakia TV and Radio, the Darwin Waterfront Corporation, Dreamedia, Casuarina Square, Music NT, Inpex, the Office of Youth Affairs, Darwin Airport Corporation it wouldn’t be possible.”

To follow the progress of the event visit

The 2013 Urban Quest Finalists are:
• Jenaya Allen (14 years), Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College, Alice Springs

• VJ Bumanlag (18 years), Darwin

• Tatiana Da Silva (14 years), O’Laughlin Catholic College, Darwin

• Brandon Folino-Driver (16 years), Darwin High School, Darwin

• Charlotte Gittins (14 years), Dripstone Middle Collge, Darwin

• Charlee Mullins (14 years), Taminmin College, Darwin

• Helena Smith (16 years), NT Open Education, Darwin

• Phoebe Wear (11 years), Larrakeyah Primary School, Darwin

• Dakota Oxenham (13 years), St Joseph’s College, Katherine

• Sarina Pech (18 years), Charles Darwin University, Katherine Rural Campus, Katherine