Deep North Dispatch #1

A weekly wrap of what’s been happening across the Top End news-wise, which might be handy for former residents who really miss reading about this sort of thing. May contain cane toads and/or crocodiles.

Cane toads on the rampage across the Top End are evolving rapidly, according to research published in
scientific journal Nature. The NT toads are bigger, stronger and faster, and are now moving into areas five times faster than their 1940s predecessors. This is due in large part to today’s toads having longer, faster legs. March 14 has been declared a ‘Not in My Backyard’ day of action, with locals being urged to check their properties and nearby parks for the toxic superpest.
Source: NT News

Meanwhile, a Darwin company has been inundated with orders from around the country after trialling the production of cane toad fertilizer. The trial involved placing 200kg of frozen toads in a chemical brew that breaks proteins down into amino acids. Businessman Dean Walkley said he would need around five tonnes of toads to meet the demand. Mr Walkley urged toad hunters to take their prisoners alive to a detention centre – yes, you read that right – set up by Frogwatch NT. The centre can hold up to 1000 toads at a time. Another ten are in the planning stages.
Source: Sunday Territorian

More than 3000 litres of alcohol has been seized and 2709 people taken into protective custody by Darwin police in the last six weeks. That works out to around 60 cartons of beer and 450 people each week. Northern Territory Police Minister Paul Henderson says the startling figures pay tribute to the NTs Aboriginal community Police Officers, who took to the streets late last year. During their first six weeks of operation the patrols also moved on more than 7000 people from public places.
Opposition Leader Jodeen Carney says they are not figures the Police Minister should be proud of. “It’s extraordinary that Paul Henderson is gloating about it. The fact is we have more drunks on our streets that ever before. Labor promised to do something about it, they are simply moving them from one part of Darwin to another,” she said.
Source: Sunday Territorian/ABC News Online

NT Chief Minister Clare Martin says the level of violence on Darwin streets is unacceptable.The comment came after a 32-year-old man was stabbed at his home after telling a group of drinkers in a nearby park to be quiet. Knives, tree branches and a frying pan were used during the attack. The man’s mother was also injured. Ms Martin says recent figures on the number of drunks being moved on and taken into protective custody are disturbing. She says new alcohol courts will help to curb anti-social behaviour.
Source: NT News/ABC News Online

Despite the NT being $3.7 billion in debt, Chief Minister Clare Martin insists the economy is doing well and the Budget is in good shape. Citing Access Economics, who know what they’re talking about, Ms Martin described the economy as ‘turbocharged’. However, public debt is expected to rise to more than $4 billion by 2009. The NTs debt is already considered the highest per capita in the country. Economists reportedly prefer to assess it by the percentage of net debt and public liabilities against annual revenues. This stands at 119 per cent, down from 122 per cent in June 2001. Ordinary people are not expected to understand any of this. In the meantime, the potholes along Darwin’s main arterial roads seem to be getting bigger each time I hit them.
Source: NT News

The NT public service has grown by more than 1300 since Labor won government in 2001. Executivecontract positions have risen from 346 in June 2001 to 453 now. Public service wages now account for a third of the NTs budget. The bill for last financial year was $1.2 billion, $120 million over budget. Departmental heads have been told to keep within their budgets this time around.
Source: NT News

The Territory’s Licensing Commission will launch an investigation into liquor licences on Darwin’s Mitchell Street to determine if there are too many. The strip features a number of bars, cafes and nightclubs and is fast becoming notorious for violent brawls and anti-social behaviour. The Australian Hotels Association has welcomed the move, saying it may prevent the precinct becoming a ‘seedy hotspot’, which apparently are no longer welcome in Darwin.
Source: NT News

The Darwin branch of the Country Liberal Party is down to 100 members, a leaked internal document reveals, and the party’s northern suburbs headquarters is to be relocated to the city because ‘nobody visits the office’. The party denies it is facing a financial crisis, saying branches had been ‘re-invigorated’and membership is, in fact, growing. The document also reveals that CLP workers are to undertake lessons on how to win elections from the Liberals and Nationals.
Source: NT News

– A pack of dingoes eats a Maltese terrier in a Palmerston back yard.
– The NT Government is to inject $300 000 into public art projects across the Territory.
– A Statehood Steering Committee survey reveals 50 per cent of Territorians don’t understand what statehood would mean.
and, finally, a crocodile…
– Rangers from Kakadu National Park are called in to remove a crocodile from a Jabiru resident’s carport.

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18 years ago

=”Darwin branch of the Country Liberal Party is down to 100 members”=

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch. Use the remainder to top up the cane toad fertiliser in my view. Probably much the same genetic makeup…