National support for Tangentyere Council’s strong stand against takeover

Media release *For immediate release 26 May 2009* Media Release

This morning the Intervention Rollback Action Group (IRAG) met with the Tangentyere Executive Council to inform them of the national support building for the Council’s decision to stand strong against the federal government’s lease deal and takeover of their town camps.

“The government’s justification for the takeover is to improve the situation in Alice Springs town camps, but in two years of the intervention not a single house has been built despite the so-called emergency. Every community needs housing and services immediately, but people shouldn’t be forced to sign over their land” said Lauren Mellor from the Intervention Rollback Action Group.

“The government is trying to blackmail Indigenous communities by denying people basic services unless they sign long term leases and give away their lands. The government is hoping their unjust actions to take over Aboriginal land and close homelands will go unnoticed by non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians. This is not the case” said Pru Gell from the Intervention Rollback Action Group.

The executive was read a statement opposing the Federal Government’s takeover that is being widely circulated and endorsed nationally by organisations and individuals titled Statement Opposing the Commonwealth’s Proposal to Compulsorily Acquire the Alice Springs Town Camps.

Extracts from the statement read:

“We recognize the right of Tangentyere Council and town camp residents to self-determination. Town camp residents have called upon governments to address overcrowding and poverty in their communities over several years. More often than not, their demands have been ignored.”

“We recognize the long struggle for land by both town camp residents and Aboriginal land holders throughout Australia. We condemn the Federal Government’s policy of withholding funding for desperately needed housing in Aboriginal communities, before Aboriginal people relinquish control of their land.”

“It is disgraceful that the party who championed the first land rights legislation in Australia is holding impoverished Aboriginal communities to ransom. We offer our full support to the Tangentyere Council in their struggle.”

A large delegation of town camp presidents and residents from town camps, communities and homelands will be travelling to Darwin for the third Prescribed Area People’s Alliance (PAPA) meeting in June. The meeting will shape their response to the Northern Territory and Federal government’s push for assimilation, denial of Aboriginal people’s rights to self-determination and the continued takeover of Aboriginal land.

A rally of town camp residents and supporters, targeting both the NT government and federal government over its announcement of homelands closures and the compulsory acquisition of Alice Springs town camps, will take place on Thursday this week in Alice Springs.

– – – – – – – – – end media release – – – – – – – – –

Source of media release:

IRAG (Intervention Rollback Action Group) Website:

For evidence of national support for Tangentyere Council, see list of organisations and individuals endorsing this statement:

Statement Opposing the Commonwealth’s Proposal to Compulsorily Acquire the Alice Springs Town Camps:

To endorse this statement, email <>

This media release was posted by Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (WGAR) as a community service, with the kind permission of Marlene Hodder of IRAG. Please note, WGAR is not the author of this media release.

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