Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Temporary police accommodation for APY Lands

The Australian Government is providing demountables to the South Australian (SA) Government to house police officers on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, while permanent structures are built.

Urgent accommodation is needed to accommodate extra police committed following the release of the Mullighan Inquiry into child sexual abuse in the APY Lands.

The demountables will be placed adjacent to existing facilities in Murputja and Umuwa to provide additional accommodation and office space, enabling an extra two police to be stationed on the Lands as soon as possible.

A domestic violence intervention officer and a child abuse intervention officer will be based at Marla as part of the Mullighan Inquiry response.

Urgent action is being taken to protect children living in these communities where drug and alcohol-fuelled violence, neglect and abuse are rife.

The Australian Government has also appointed an Executive Coordinator to lead the Australian Government’s response on the APY Lands and engage with Anangu leaders, the SA Government and other key stakeholders.

Experience in remote Indigenous communities has shown that having senior government officials dedicated to working with Indigenous leaders and communities is vital to making changes on the ground quickly and in a coordinated way.

The Rudd Government has provided $15 million for a third police station and accommodation for 13 extra police officers and child protection workers. This is in addition to the existing commitment of $7.5 million over two years to strengthen law and order by constructing two police stations and accommodation at Amata and Ernabella.

We are also progressing the Australian Government’s $25 million housing offer to the APY Lands.

This housing will be provided through a public housing model on land leased for 50 years to the State Government by the APY landowners.

Yesterday, one of the largest communities on the Lands, Amata, gave in principle support to the conditions of the housing package.

Officials from the Australian and South Australian Governments are attending a Special General Meeting today of the APY community to brief them on the details of the housing package and seek approval for leases so that construction of the houses can start.

The Executive Coordinator will join the Taskforce established by the SA Government to progress the other recommendations of the Mullighan Report.

The Executive Coordinator will be responsible for ensuring progress is being made on the ground as quickly as possible.