First regular mail service commences in Alice Springs town camp
Residents of the Alice Springs town camps will now benefit from a regular postal service, as part of the work being done under the Australian and Northern Territory Governments $150 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon joined residents at Morris Soak (Akngwertnarre) today to welcome the delivery of the first letters under the new service.
Ms Macklin said the new mail service was an important step in the ongoing work of transforming the town camps.
“I am so pleased that residents of the town camps will now be able to have mail delivered to their door, just like other households in the Alice Springs community. This will make a real difference to people’s lives and provides them with better connections to businesses, services providers and the broader community,” Ms Macklin said.
“For the first time, there are street names and sign posting at Morris Soak.
“The community worked together and agreed to name the streets after family members and people who are an important part of their history at Morris Soak. They came up with the street names of Lechleitner, Miller and Glenmon.
“The houses have been numbered and letter boxes installed, and along with the new street signs, there is a renewed sense of pride in this community,” Ms Macklin said.
As part of the Transformation Plan, street signage and postal services will also be progressively rolled out to other town camps.
Sixty-six of 85 planned new houses have now been built across the town camps, with 19 houses currently under construction. All 196 rebuilds and refurbishments have been completed, providing people with better housing.
Since commencing, the construction program has also provided employment for 62 Indigenous people.
While visiting Morris Soak, Ms Macklin and Mr Snowdon also unveiled a new community sign.
Since 2010 communities like Morris Soak have had the chance to redesign existing signs around alcohol and prohibited material restrictions that were installed as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response.
“Morris Soak residents told us they wanted something that better reflected who they are as a community and informed visitors to respect their desire to keep this community safe and strong,” Ms Macklin said.
“The new sign includes a painting by Morris Soak resident Mervyn Franey who worked closely with community members on the design. It depicts the Akngwertnarre Dreaming, including an ancestral dog, as it travels through the community from west to east and is a beautiful and very public testament to the cohesiveness of this community.”
As part of today’s visit, Ms Macklin and Mr Snowdon also handed Mr Franey the keys to his new home in the town camp.
Mr Snowdon said the ongoing delivery of services and programs under the Transformation Plan, including housing and support services for remote patients and visitors, is making a difference to the lives of town camp residents and visitors.
“The physical changes taking place in the communities with improved housing and infrastructure are evident. Importantly, these changes are also delivering improvements to people’s health and wellbeing,” Mr Snowdon said.
“Added infrastructure like street signage and new services in Aboriginal communities will add to the residents sense of place and community pride, which will flow through to better mental wellbeing among residents.
“Unprecedented investments in new and refurbished houses, better accommodation options for visitors, improved road and essential services infrastructure and social support services are delivering positive change not only for town camps but for the broader Alice Springs community.”
The Australian and Northern Territory Governments will continue to work together with the Alice Springs community to improve the lives of residents and visitors to the town camps and deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal people in this community.