Tangentyere Council negotiations extended
The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have agreed to extend negotiations on the $50 million housing and infrastructure package for the Alice Springs town camps, to provide more time for consultations to be completed.
The Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin said leases must be agreed by 4 May 2009.
“Construction will not be possible this year if leases aren’t agreed to by 4 May,” Ms Macklin said.
“I am concerned about reports from Alice Springs that information on the agreement has not reached the residents of the town camps. This extension will give Tangentyere Council time to make sure residents are fully aware of what we are proposing.
“The details of the Government’s offer are clear and the documents are ready to be signed.
“Lease arrangements are required to secure this major public investment in the camps and to make sure that housing management can be reformed to improve tenancy management, maintenance and repairs.
“We are committed to finalising the agreement so work can begin as quickly as possible on urgently needed housing and infrastructure.”
Negotiations for the package have been underway for eight months since the signing of an Agreed Work Plan in July 2008.
Chief Minister Paul Henderson said the Northern Territory Government was working closely with the Australian Government to reach an agreement.
“We have successful agreements in other centres such as Tennant Creek, where work to improve housing has begun, and we look forward to reaching a similar outcome for Alice Springs,” Mr Henderson said.
Ms Macklin said this extension of negotiations is proof of the Government’s commitment to working with the people of the town camps to improve the living standards of families and children.
“Decent housing is essential for protecting children, improving health, education and employment and re-building positive community norms,” Ms Macklin said.
The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have already honoured other elements of 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 to compete for housing funding in the future; and
Reimbursing legal costs related to negotiations to Tangentyere Council and the Housing Associations.