Northern Territory

Jul 27, 2009

Macklin botches Alice Springs town camp compulsory acquisition

Jenny Macklin has botched the compulsory acquisition of the Alice Springs town camps for the second time in as many months, and now faces the prospect of having to cut a deal with Tangentyere Council.

Chris Graham

Tracker managing editor

Jenny Macklin has botched the compulsory acquisition of the Alice Springs town camps for the second time in as many months, and now faces the prospect of having to cut a deal with Tangentyere Council — an organisation she has been publicly flogging for two months — or delay the government takeover until at least October, documents obtained by the National Indigenous Times reveal.

The latest blunder relates to the period of notice that must be provided by the Commonwealth to anyone whose interest in the town camp land is affected by the proposed compulsory acquisition.

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17 thoughts on “Macklin botches Alice Springs town camp compulsory acquisition

  1. David1

    Regretfully, although an apparantly caring, well intentioned person, Minister Macklin is out of her depth with the Indiginous Affairs Ministry. Maybe it is pressure of having two high profile portfolios or not getting the support from her staff she needs, it certainly wouldn’t be a case of not being concerned for the Aboriginal and Torris Straight people. Wonder how many other Ministers are not handling their jobs well. A certain Communications Minister immediately comes to mind and Peter Garrett is hardly on top of his . May well be time for the PM to have a good long look at his expectations and work load expected from the front bench. He may only want 3- 4 hrs sleep a night, but hardly a desirable accross the board imposition. Not saying it is, wondering?

  2. James Bennett

    Good work Chris,

    Your blackfellas have outsmarted Macklin again.

    That should teach her not to try to spend ‘ $125 million in housing and infrastructure upgrades ‘ on the community.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. John T

    Surely someone in the JM’s Dept is across the legislation the Minister is responsible for!

    Or is this a case of foot dragging by a reluctant public servant?

    Didn’t Chairman Rudd promise to stop this sort of bureaucratic game playing and obfuscation by the self-interested power brokers in govt and inthe slew of Aboriginal communities?

  4. Jenny McFarland

    Each of the town camps is run by it’s own housing association – it is they, not Tangentyere, that makes the call on the resumption of the leases. The town camps are justifiably concerned that their tenancies will come under the auspices of Territory Housing – who are notorious for not maintaining properties, gettting rid of public housing stock as fast as they can, evicting Aboriginal families, and for years-long waiting lists to get accommodation. Aboriginal people do not trust Territory Housing for very good reasons. A counter proposal has been put to government for a separate housing association (funded by the Federal government and already set up) to administer the town camps under a new lease agreement. For some unaccountable reason, the Feds find this practical proposal unpalatable – why??

  5. Gary Stowe

    I’m sorry Jenny, but your comment that the occupants of the town camps would not trust Territory Housing to maintain properties is really difficult to accept. I’ve seen the town camps of Alice Springs several times – they’re disgusting dumps. The people who live there trash the place – repeatedly, insistently and in spite of all supports. I can’t accept that these occupants, or their representatives, should maintain control of the area when they clearly refuse to take responsibility for something so simple as the rubbish they throw at their own feet.

  6. Chris Graham

    Spoken like a true middle class white Australian, Gary Stowe. I love how white Australians look at the town camps and despite massive unemployment, poor access to schooling, generational poverty and government neglect, misery, dislocation, disempowerment and every other nasty you can think of, all guys like Gary see is rubbish on the ground. How do you reckon you’d live Gary if you’d had your land, your wages, your kids and your ancestors remains stolen? Reckon you’d give a f**k about picking up litter?

    Jenny McFarland is spot on – the town campers do not trust Territory Housing and anyone with 10 seconds understanding of this issue wouldn’t either. It is decades of government neglect that got people here – try maintaining a house with 30 unemployed people living in it.

  7. Mark Duffett

    Poor access to schooling? Most of the town camps are within comfortable walking distance of local public schools.

  8. James Bennett

    So Chris,

    Do you really think those fellas living like dogs in those camps are spending their days thinking

    ‘ They have stolen my kids, my land ,my wages , my ancestors remains.
    Oh woe is me !
    We are a proud race but we cannot move on untill the injustices of the past are resolved.
    We will live in our own shit for as long as it takes! ‘

    Or would it be more like

    ‘ Man i’m bored , i think i’ll get on the piss again.’

    Also do you think maybe life in the town camps could be a microcosm of life for aboriginals before the invaders arrived ? ie

    – large caring community groups showing their love for the land and each other and many dreamtime stories related by wise elders around traditional campfires.

    It sounds so good , it must be true.

  9. David1

    Chris while you are an apologist for the ‘Town Camp’ inhabitants, why do the same standards apply in indiginous State Housing in every state and territory in this fair land. My daily visits to such housing at times has me dry retching, while walking among roaches and mice with children joining them on the floors. These are people who live in middle class Australia. Try doing an investigation of the public records on how much is spent on maintenance of indiginous State Housing, compared to other. There is no comparison to the housing provided in both situations but the results are the same. Do you insist those living in Govt provided Housing nationwide also suffer from massive unemployment, poor access to schooling, generational poverty and government neglect, misery, dislocation, disempowerment and every other nasty you can think of? I do not think so. The two words you have not used is “culturally inbred”. If the shoe fits…..

  10. Gary Stowe

    Ummm .. Chris Graham. Would it ease your rage, or help your understanding of perspectives other than your own, if I were to let you know that my own children are part aboriginal? And that I’ve spent significant time in not only Alice Springs but Hermansberg and Urandangie? The lesson I have taught my children is that they are responsible for their own decisions and actions – no-one else is to blame, no history makes them choose any path. As a result they are very successful people. Of course they could be sitting in squalor somewhere and accumulating a litany of resentment while they wait for someone else to change their lives for them, and you would probably be encouraging them that way, but they’re better than that.

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