Coober  Pedy News

No.80                                                                 29 April 2005

Archived copy

The Coober Pedy News is published fortnightly. For updates between issues, on which comments can be registered, click the Coober Pedy News Blog.


Public Pack Council Meeting

Twenty-three people left standing room only in the District Council of Coober Pedy chambers for the April meeting.

Nine people took advantage of the time allocated for the public to address Council. 

Seven spoke on the subject of alcohol abuse by visitors to Coober Pedy, who hang around the main street causing trouble with tourists and locals. Sometimes they group in numbers over thirty.

Details: Albert Constant said it is a disgrace and not good for the town that nearly every time he goes near Ampol he sees mobs of aborigines drunk and littering. He said that he is pleased that this council does not spend much of the time arguing like the previous council did, instead they are getting things done.

Yanni Athanasiadis said  he had council permission years ago to plant trees on council land in front of Ampol, at his own cost, to make the area attractive. Now he couldn't understand why council did nothing about all the litter there, where visiting aboriginal people sat around drunk nearly every day. Mayor Baines said he had no idea it was council land - it was before his time in council. He promised to check it out. (The very next day council employees were seen cleaning up the area.)

Kerry Turnwald suggested there be a curfew to curb the drunken visitor problem, and that he hoped the problem of the recent baiting of dogs would be addressed.

Darryl Borrett told how he picked up his children from the school and had to walk past a drunken mob of aboriginals partying just outside the school gate.

Jill Wilson said council ought to write to the out-of-town owner of the old Caltex area in the main street, where drunken mobs of aboriginals milled around almost daily, and ask permission to go on the private (unfenced) area and get rid of the offenders. Mayor Baines said council had already done that, and had received the permission.

Graeme Thornton said he was very happy to live in Coober Pedy and have his children grow up here, and he wanted good Christian values supported in the town, but he was worried by seeing all the drunken aboriginals all the time, and all the rubbish they left behind.

Alex Morgan said he spoke not as a council employee but as a ratepayer. He told how he had attended just about every council meeting for the last 14 years either as a ratepayer or employee. He did not see why he should have to contribute as a ratepayer to the cleaning up of the rubbish that was left behind by all the drunk aboriginal visitors. The crowd applauded. He said even the MAPS workers had been seen chucking down their plastic gloves on the ground after delivering meals to aboriginal groups sitting around in the streets. He said people should lobby their councillors instead of writing letters to the local paper.

Melissa Rosewarne urged councillors to support the total removal of poker machines from Coober Pedy.

Geoff Sykes wanted to know what right council had to discuss the merits or otherwise of  legally established poker machine venues in Coober Pedy. When he said the poker machines brought money into the town there was loud laughter from the public.

CEO Trevor McLeod urged people to make sure they kept contacting police to make them aware of the problems of drunken behaviour in public areas, and of break-ins etc. 

Cr Athasaniadis' request in a question without notice for police to be in attendance at the next council meeting so they could be made aware of public concern received council support.



Mayor Baines said a few days after the meeting that people had become apathetic about contacting police every time something happened. A contributing cause was that although many times police had been rung, because no one was on duty the call was transferred to Port Augusta, and what was the use of that. Even when reports were followed up and police action taken, quite often nothing could be done either through a lack of evidence or leniency in the courts.

He said one of the major reasons why he has had no success in his many efforts to get 24 hour policing was that authorities said Coober Pedy did not need it because there were insufficient complaints being made to Coober Pedy police.



District Council Supports Removal of Poker Machines from Coober Pedy

The District Council of Coober Pedy in its April General Meeting voted three to two to support the Motion on Notice, "That Council publicly supports the proposal to remove all poker machines from the Town".

Cr Rapaic, in support of his Motion, said many people had come to him saying how bad were the effects of poker machines in Coober Pedy. That got him on the path of opposition to poker machines, resulting in a petition signed by nearly 1000 - that's more than the number of people who voted in the last election in the Coober Pedy Polling Booth - asking for the total removal of poker machines from the town.

Cr Blobel seconded the Motion.

Cr Athanasiadis said a handful of ratepayers had asked him not to support the Motion, but this number was far less than the number of those asking him to support it, and as a councillor he felt he had to reflect the majority.

Cr Doulgeris said that although she acknowledged the problems poker machines caused, she would not support the Motion. Instead, she would support a motion that recognised the need to push for gambling counsellors to come Coober Pedy to do the job that they are supposed to be doing, but are not here to do it.

Cr Temple did a complete backflip. She had previously signed a letter supporting the removal of poker machines from Coober Pedy: (, saying that it would be an infringement of civil liberties to remove poker machines from Coober Pedy.

The vote to support removal of poker machines carries absolutely no legal weight, and there can be no criticism of the legality of the establishment of poker machines in Coober Pedy.

However, through the Council voting to support the Motion, State Government and local poker machine operators must now acknowledge that the majority of people in this town are against their collective decision to operate them.


A patient went to his doctor for a checkup, and the doctor wrote out a prescription for him in his usual illegible writing. The patient put it in his pocket, but he forgot to have it filled. Every morning for two years, he showed it to the conductor as a railroad pass. Twice, it got him into the movies, once into the football ground, and once into the symphony. He got a raise at work by showing it as a note from the boss. One day, he mislaid it. His daughter picked it up, played it on the piano, and won a scholarship to a conservatory of music.

Oxiana Limited Managing Director Owen Hegarty's Annual Report highlights: 

 "the very strong demand for copper in China which looks set to continue at buoyant rates for the next decade" and

"the good progress recorded at the Prominent Hill project now owned 100% by Oxiana".


The people who came at very short notice to talk to the Adelaide Advertiser journalist about town support for the removal of poker machines from Coober Pedy


Adultery-Only Divorce Blog -