Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Housing milestone for Alice Springs town camps

Joint Media Release with:

  • Karl Hampton MLA, Northern Territory Minister for Central Australia
    Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health
    Member for Lingiari

The transformation of the Alice Springs town camps has achieved a second anniversary milestone with all new, rebuilt and refurbished housing to be completed as planned by Christmas this year.

Today marks the second anniversary of work commencing on the town camps under the $150 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan.

Just two years in, the finishing touches are currently being applied to the last of the 85 new houses, and all 196 rebuilds and refurbishments have been completed.

Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin said the Alice Springs Transformation Plan is a joint effort from the Australian and Northern Territory Governments to transform the town camps, reduce overcrowding and improve services throughout the town.

“Over the past couple of years we have been working with residents to improve housing and infrastructure and create a place where families and children can live safe and healthy lives,” Ms Macklin said.

“We have delivered more than 500 additional beds in Alice Springs to help tackle overcrowding and homelessness. Through improvements such as weekly rubbish collection services, dog control programs and improved housing and infrastructure in the town camps, people are now living in healthier conditions.

“There’s a renewed sense of pride in the camps and more opportunities for families and children to have a better quality of life.

“We know there is still more to do and the Government will continue to work with town camp residents to ensure peoples’ lives are changing for the better.”

The Alice Springs Transformation Plan has delivered the following services in the two years to December 2011:

  • Four new visitor and transitional accommodation facilities to help reduce homelessness including the new 150 bed Apmere Mwerre Visitors’ Park , 35 rooms at Alyerre Hostel; eight extra beds for homeless men at the Salvation Army; and 79 beds at the Aherlkeme Transitional Accommodation facility (Percy Court).
  • 85 new houses and 196 rebuilds and refurbishments.
  • Intensive dog controls and registration in the town camps.
  • A weekly wheelie bin rubbish collection service.
  • Infrastructure upgrades to roads, power, water, sewerage, drainage and street lighting underway in Trucking Yards, Hidden Valley and Larapinta Valley.
  • Sewerage works are also underway in Anthepe town camp with new power, street lighting and upgrades to roads and water to begin soon.
  • Employment for 62 Indigenous people through the housing works.
  • The roll-out of regular postal services to all 18 town camps with services in place in Morris Soak and in Mount Nancy, Palmers and Basso’s Farm by the end of the month and in all remaining town camps by early 2012.
  • Street signs installed at Morris Soak; eight of the18 town camps have approved street names and work is underway on signage.
  • Expanded Gap Youth and Community services.
  • Additional 100 CDEP placements to help disengaged youth re-engage into the workforce.
  • The buy-back of two liquor licences at BP Gap and Hoppy’s Store.
  • Invested over $900,000 in support measures to strengthen the relationship between families and schools.

Northern Territory Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton said a key component of the Alice Springs Transformation Plan has been supporting people to make the most of the new and refurbished houses and improved infrastructure.

“We are providing more than $2.6 million in tenancy support programs over the next three years to give people the skills to effectively manage and maintain their houses,” Mr Hampton said.

“We recognise that one of the keys to transforming peoples’ lives is making sure they have the skills to succeed and access to support programs to help them along the way.”

Federal Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, said initiatives under the plan are starting to have a positive impact on improving safety in Alice Springs.

“We have provided additional street lighting in hot spots, funding for a patrol coordinator, expanded youth services and alcohol licence buy-backs,” Mr Snowdon said.

“We’ve also invested in the Safe and Sober support service which is helping more than 300 people tackle alcohol abuse and get back on track.”

Mr Snowdon said providing rehabilitation services for people with alcohol abuse problems, tackling alcohol misuse and alcohol related crime helps build safer and healthier communities.

“These initiatives are helping to make town camp communities safer for women, children and families.”

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments will continue to discuss options to secure long-term arrangements for delivering municipal services on the camps with the Alice Springs Town Council, so that the people of the town camps have access to the same services as those living in town.

Making changes to entrenched disadvantage takes time and sustained commitment.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments will continue to work with town camp residents, the Alice Springs Town Council, key Indigenous organisations and leaders to build a stronger and brighter future for the town camps and the broader Alice Springs community.