Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Work to start on the transformation of the Alice Springs town camps

Joint Media Release with:

  • Paul Henderson MLA, NT Chief Minister
    Warren Snowdon MP, Member For Lingiari

With the last legal obstacle removed, work can now start in the Alice Springs town camps to make the changes essential to provide safe and healthy living conditions for residents.

The orders of the Federal Court which had prevented the finalisation of leases agreed over 16 of the town camps expired this morning giving the Australian and Northern Territory Governments the capacity to make real changes for residents of the camps.

While the Howard Government failed to achieve an outcome, the Rudd Government has persevered in the interests of the Alice Springs town camp residents.

Today, the signed leases have been collected from Tangentyere Council and sent to Darwin for execution by the Northern Territory Government and the Commonwealth Executive Director of Township Leasing. They are expected to be in place by the end of the week.

Work can start next week on a major clean up and ‘fix and make safe’ program, under the $150 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan.

In the New Year, work will start on the construction of 85 new houses, essential infrastructure and significant rebuilds and refurbishments of existing houses in poor condition.

Work is already underway to establish new and expanded services, including extra funding for family support services, alcohol counselling and dog control.

The Government is also establishing additional accommodation facilities, including managed accommodation in Alice Springs to help reduce homelessness.

The Government is looking forward to working with residents to overcome the acute overcrowding and sub-standard housing which has prevented them from having the most basic human right – the right to a safe and healthy life.

Housing reference groups will be set up so camp residents can contribute their knowledge and experience to the transformation process.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments welcome the decision by the applicants in the court case not to take any further action to delay the vital work we have planned as part of the Alice Springs Transformation Plan.

With these delays now behind us, we are keen to get on with the job of transforming the town camps where there is much squalor and despair, to places where families and children can lead safe and healthy lives.