Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

More accommodation for visiting patients to Alice Springs

Joint Media Release with:

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

More people from remote Indigenous communities will have somewhere safe to stay when they visit Alice Springs for medical treatment, after the official opening of the Alyerre Hostel today.

The Alyerre Hostel is a re-developed 35 room facility providing accommodation for up to 40 patients visiting Alice Springs from remote Indigenous communities.

The facility was jointly developed by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments under the Alice Springs Transformation Plan with $4.6 million in funding from the Australian Government’s Social Housing Initiative.

The Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said the Alyerre Hostel, known previously as The Lodge, would help people who needed to visit Alice Springs for medical treatment and alleviate overcrowding in the town camps.

“Many who make the long trip to Alice Springs for medical treatment often end up sleeping rough or staying with relatives in the town camps,” Ms Macklin said.

“This not only places pressure on housing, it also affects people’s access to treatment and services and impacts on their health.

The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said Alyerre meant ‘healthy’ in the local Arrernte language.

“The Hostel will provide accommodation predominately for renal patients and support them to access vital medical treatment and focus on their health..

“This follows the Australian Government’s recent commitment to provide Alice Springs and Tennant Creek with $13 million to build new accommodation for Indigenous renal patients,” Mr Snowdon said.

It complements other short-term accommodation facilities developed through the Alice Springs Transformation Plan including Apmerre Mwerre Visitor Park, Aherlkeme Village and the Salvation Army Hostel.

“Together with new, rebuilt and refurbished houses in the town camps, we are well on our way to delivering on our commitment of more than 500 additional beds in Alice Springs for town camp residents and visitors by the end of this year,” Mr Snowdon said.

The Northern Territory Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton said the Northern Territory Government was serious about providing greater access to accommodation for people requiring renal dialysis in Alice Springs.

“The Northern Territory Department of Health has signed a Service Level Agreement with Aboriginal Hostels Limited to manage the facility and the Northern Territory Government will contribute $1.695 million to cover the facility’s operational and management costs over the next three years,” Mr Hampton said.

The $150 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan is a partnership between the Australian and Northern Territory Governments to improve the lives of Aboriginal residents and visitors to Alice Springs.

To date, 60 of the planned 85 new houses in town camps have been completed with a further 22 new houses under construction; and 104 of 134 rebuilds or refurbishment of existing houses have been completed with another 18 underway..

Major infrastructure works are also occurring in some of the larger town camps to improve road access and services such as power, water and sewerage.

More than $25 million has been committed to improve social support services including alcohol rehabilitation, tenancy support and family support services. More than 300 clients are currently receiving intensive support through alcohol rehabilitation services.