Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$125 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan

Joint Media Release with:

  • Paul Henderson MLA, NT Chief Minister
    The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have written to Tangentyere Council with a significantly expanded offer of more than $125 million for housing, infrastructure and services for Alice Springs.

The $125 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan is a significant boost to the Australian Government’s offer of $50 million made in 2008.

This path-breaking offer demonstrates the governments’ serious intent to reach an agreement with the Council on lease arrangements in Alice Springs town camps.

We urge Tangentyere Council to accept this new offer. The welfare and future opportunities of too many men, women and children are at risk.

If agreed by Tangentyere Council, this offer represents a significant opportunity to transform the Alice Spring town camps and provide intensive support services to the individuals and families that live in the camps.

The Australian Government’s new approach will provide $100 million to fix infrastructure and housing in the town camps.

The Government will also commit $25 million to assist with the establishment of additional accommodation facilities and other support services in Alice Springs for Indigenous people.

Secure leases are the first necessary step for transforming the Alice Springs town camps.

Lease arrangements are required to secure the major public investment in the camps, reform tenancy management and improve housing standards for town camp residents.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have been consistent about the requirement for leases to begin work on new houses and upgrades.

Decent housing is essential for protecting children, improving health, education and employment and rebuilding positive community norms in the town camps.

The Northern Territory Government will introduce reformed tenancy management services in the camps and expand “good neighbour” agreement initiatives, life skills training and intensive case management in Alice Springs.

In recognition of social problems in Alice Springs, the governments have also agreed to establish a high-level steering committee to oversee expanded alcohol rehabilitation services, family support services, family violence services, and early childhood facilities in Alice Springs.

We have invited Tangentyere Council, Alice Springs Town Council and Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation to be representatives on the Steering Committee.

We are determined to turn around the shocking level of disadvantage in the town camps and combat homelessness, alcohol abuse and restore community norms.

A sustained and comprehensive effort is needed in the Alice Springs town camps to reduce the horrific level of overcrowding, violence and alcohol abuse.

We urge Tangentyere Council to agree to this path-breaking offer for a sublease over the town camps so the governments can start work on improving the lives for town camp residents.

Negotiations for the package have been underway for nine months since the signing of an Agreed Work Plan in July 2008.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have already honoured the commitments under the Agreed Work Plan, including:

  • $5.3 million for Tangentyere Council to continue their housing upgrade program in 2008-09;
  • Up to $200,000 for the planning and establishment of a Central Australian Affordable Housing Company in Alice Springs; and
  • Reimbursing legal costs related to negotiations to Tangentyere Council and the Housing Associations.

It is time for Tangentyere Council to meet its commitments under the Agreed Work Plan. We have asked for the Council’s final response by 21 May 2009.