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.