Government failure over NT Aboriginal housing
Aboriginal Elders Walk-off, challenging the NT Intervention
Community Consultations on NT Intervention
Attempt to Takeover Alice Springs Aboriginal Town Camps
Other NT Intervention articles
Other Aboriginal articles


– Special Investigation

National Indigenous Times:
NIT Special Investigation:
Macklin sets a cracking pace building public housing…
in the Brisbane electorate of her boss
22 Jul 09: “The federal Minister for Housing, Jenny Macklin
has boasted that her government has begun construction on
its 1000th home in just three months, as part of the Rudd
government’s $6.4 billion national social housing stimulus
package. … Now here’s the bad news. The Rudd government’s
mainstream public housing success comes amid revelations
that the pace in Macklin’s other portfolio – Indigenous
Affairs – is nowhere near as frenetic. Construction has
begun on zero homes under the NT intervention’s housing
program, despite federal Labor supporting the declaration
of a ‘national emergency’ in remote NT communities more
than two years ago. But Macklin shouldn’t be surprised –
leaked government documents obtained by the National
Indigenous Times reveal that she was warned in early 2008
that the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure
Program (SIHIP) – which the Rudd government inherited from
the previous administration – had major flaws, and that if
the $700 million program proceeded it would not deliver
any black housing in the Northern Territory until 2011,
at the earliest.” Chris Graham

– News

ABC: Macklin under fire over Indigenous housing ‘failure’
23 Jul 09: “Federal Indigenous Minister Jenny Macklin is
under fire over a $672 million Indigenous housing program
under which not one home has yet been built. The ABC
yesterday obtained documents which suggests that Ms Macklin
was warned more than a year ago that the five-year
Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program
(SIHIP) had problems and would not result in any houses
being built by 2011.”

Australian: Costs erode 70pc of indigenous housing fund
23 Jul 09: “NORTHERN Territory government ministers have
been warned that the federal government’s $673 million
remote housing package is likely to deliver as few as 300
houses – less than half the number originally promised.”

Age: Macklin approved housing scheme despite warning
23 Jul 09: “INDIGENOUS Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin
ignored a warning that a $700 million indigenous housing
program was flawed and would inflate the cost of homes in
remote black settlements. Despite the warning, in a
briefing memo written by parliamentary secretary Ursula
Stephens that was obtained by the National Indigenous
Times, Ms Macklin approved the scheme.”

Canberra Times:
Indigenous housing program too slow, Brough says
23 Jul 09: “The lack of progress in a $672 million housing
program in the Northern Territory proves successive
governments have failed indigenous people, former Howard
government minister Mal Brough says.”

ABC: $672m Aboriginal housing plan ‘shoddy’: memo
22 Jul 09: “The federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny
Macklin, was warned more than a year ago that a $672
million Indigenous housing policy had major problems,
leaked documents obtained by the ABC suggest. … A private
briefing memo from April last year, obtained by the ABC
this week, advises Ms Macklin that the program would not
result in any houses being built until 2011.”

Koori Mail: Govt takes heat over leaked housing memo
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
22 Jul 09: “OPPOSITION MPs have called on the Rudd
Government to explain why it ignored apparent advice from
within its own ranks that fundamental flaws in the $672
million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure
Program (SIHIP) would delay much needed housing in the
Territory for at last three years.”

– Opinion

Australian: End remote rip-offs
23 Jul 09: “Indigenous people deserve better value for
taxpayers’ money. EVEN allowing for the tyranny of distance
and the high costs of building in remote areas, indigenous
people in the Northern Territory and taxpayers are being
badly shortchanged over housing.”

– Radio

ABC The World Today:
Not one house built out of $700m Fed Govt fund
23 Jul 09: “For decades politicians have been promising to
tackle the seemingly intractable problem of Indigenous
housing. Now the Rudd Government has been forced to defend
claims that the largest ever investment in new homes in the
Northern Territory has failed to deliver. Seven-hundred
million dollars in housing program was announced by the
Howard government and adopted by Kevin Rudd. But two years
on not even one new house has been built.”
[includes comments by Jenny Macklin, Nigel Scullion and
Mal Brough]

ABC AM: $700 million available for remote housing scheme
and no houses built
23 Jul 09: “The Federal Government has made some big
commitments to Indigenous Australians but one of its
largest, a $700 million remote housing scheme, has failed
to come up with the goods. Not one house has yet been built
under the program that was brought in by the Howard
government under its Northern Territory intervention. There
are also reports that the program has been mired in red
tape and that much of the money will be spent on
[includes interview with Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin]

– Background

WGAR News:
No new Aboriginal houses under Northern Territory Intervention (12 Jul 09)


– Background

WGAR News:
30 Aboriginal Elders Walk-off to Protest NT Intervention (20 Jul 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.info/2009/07/20/200709-attempt-to-takeover-alice-springs-aboriginal-town-camps/

– Radio

Indigenous leader says it’s time for buck passing to stop
23 Jul 09: “While politicians will argue the toss, those in
remote Indigenous communities are struggling. Three-hundred
kilometres from Alice Springs they’ve left their homes in
protest at the Government’s housing program. A spokesman
for the Ampilatwatja community Richard Downs says they are
becoming sick from living in tin houses which are
ankle-deep in sewage.”
[includes comments Richard Downs]

– News

Solidarity: Walk off protest challenges intervention
July 09: “Echoing the dramatic land rights struggle of the
1960s and 70s, elders at the Ampilatwatja community, 300
kms north-east of Alice Springs, have walked off their
community demanding an end to the Intervention and
immediate action to address shocking housing conditions.
More than 150 of the 300 residents have joined the protest,
3kms from the township. They are threatening to take the
entire community to set up camp on ancestoral lands unless
their demands are met.” Jean Parker

ABC: Tin shed rent is ‘unacceptable’: minister
21 Jul 09: “The Minister for Central Australia, Karl
Hampton, says his own Government’s remote public housing
policy, which sees Aboriginal people charged $25 per
fortnight to live, in some cases, in tin sheds, is
unacceptable. Mr Hampton’s comments follow last week’s
walk-out staged by residents of the Ampilatwatja community,
325 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs.”


Community Consults on Intervention
– Important Information for all community people
18 Jul 09: “Attached are a number of documents related to
the Federal Governments current Consultations about the
Intervention (NTER). These are very important consultations
that the government needs to do so they can reinstate the
Racial Discrimination Act. … Please print out and read
all this information BEFORE your community consult. This
way your community will be prepared for telling the
government exactly what aboriginal people want.”
[to read the attached documents, click on the above link,
then click on links at bottom of the web-page]

– Background

Future Directions for the Northern Territory Emergency Response
“From June to September 2009, the Australian Government
will be consulting with Indigenous people in the Northern
Territory about future directions for the Northern Territory
Emergency Response (NTER). In its interim response to the
NTER Review, the Government said it would introduce
legislation into the Parliament in October 2009 to remove
the provisions in the current NTER Acts that exclude the
operation of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (RDA).”

Community visits/meetings schedule:

WGAR News: NT Intervention Consultations (19 Jun 09):
[scroll down page] http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-nt-intervention-two-years-19-jun-09

WGAR News: NT Intervention ‘Consultations’ (23 Jun 09):
[scroll down page] http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-attempts-phase-out-bilingual-education-northern-territory-23-jun-09

WGAR News: NT Intervention ‘Consultations’ (30 Jun 09):
[scroll down page] http://wgar.info/300609-united-nations-concerned-over-northern-territory-intervention/

Northern Territory Prescribed Area Peoples’ Alliance Statement:
Stop the intervention: self-determination, not assimilation (18-19 Jun 09):

National Indigenous Times: Special NIT Investigation:
Leaked advice reveals Rudd government’s deceit on NT
intervention consultations and Alice Springs town camps
land grab (6 Jul 09)


– Video

Rollback the Intervention: Video
“Women speaking up for Tangentyere Council to maintain
control of town camp housing”

– News

Macklin moves to take over Alice Springs town camps
July 09: “Communities are being held to ransom—told that no
funding will be released for housing until they sign 40-90
year leases with government. Tangentyere Council, which
represent Alice Springs town camp residents, has said they
will not sign any lease which hands the government total
control over land and housing. Desperate to prove she is
“taking action”, Minister Jenny Macklin is threatening to
use Intervention powers and compulsorily acquire the town
camps. This is a drastic move that threatens all
Aboriginal organisations across the country.” Jean Parker

– Tangentyere Background Briefing

Rollback the Intervention:
Background to the threatened Commonwealth acquisition of
Alice Springs town camps
July 09: “Contents
– Introduction to Tangentyere Council
– Brief history of recent housing and lease negotiations
– Concerns of town camp residents about the Territory
Housing takeover
– Article: “The Other Side of the Alice”,
Sydney Morning Herald, August 21, 2007.
Outline of the struggle for resources in the town camps
– Article: “Leaked advice reveals Macklin’s deception”,
National Indigenous Times, July 6, 2009”

– Further Background Info

Tangentyere Council, Alice Springs:
Resolution on Lease Negotiations Close (22 May 09)

WGAR News:
Takeover of Aboriginal Land in Alice Springs (26 May 09):

WGAR News:
Compulsory Acquisition of Alice Springs Town Camps (30 May 09):

WGAR News:
National support for Tangentyere Council (3 June 09):

WGAR News:
Alice Springs town camps takeover (6 Jun 09):
[scroll down page] http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/wgar-news-marion-scrymgour-resigns-labor-party-alice-springs-town-camps-takeover-6-jun-09

WGAR News:
Alice Springs town camps takeover (12 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]

WGAR News:
Alice Springs Town Camps (19 Jun 09):
[scroll down page]

National Indigenous Times:
The Boxed Seat: A pox on all their houses (25 Jun 09)

WGAR News:
Alice Springs Town Camps (6 Jul 09)
[scroll down page]

National Indigenous Times: Special NIT Investigation:
Leaked advice reveals Rudd government’s deceit on NT
intervention consultations and Alice Springs town camps
land grab (6 Jul 09)

NT council slams town camps plan (11 Jul 09)

WGAR News:
Attempt to Takeover Alice Springs Aboriginal Town Camps (20 Jul 09)


– Background to Northern Territory Intervention

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Stop the Intervention website:

Rollback the Intervention website:

Working Group for Aboriginal Rights website:
[see WGAR NT Intervention e-newsletter archive]

– News

No fairy floss, no show, for NT kids under income management
23 Jul 09: ” “The showbags have been filled and the dagwood
dogs are on the cooker for the opening of the Royal Darwin
Show today” shouts The Northern Territory News. Yes, it’s
showtime in the Top End again – for those who can afford
it. The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services
and Indigenous Affairs (FAHCSIA) has ruled that Aboriginal
Territorians whose income is controlled through income
management under the intervention won’t be able to use
their Basic Cards to get into the Show.” Sophie Black

Koori Mail: Basics Card decision threatens show treat
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
23 Jul 09: “THE North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency
(NAAJA) says a Department of Families, Housing, Community
Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHSCIA) decision to knock
back the Darwin Show Society as a temporary Basics Card
merchant will stop some people on income management under
the NT intervention from attending the popular annual event
this weekend.”

ABC: Tasmanian breaches NT intervention laws
21 Jul 09: “A 28-year-old Tasmanian woman working in a
remote Northern Territory store has been convicted of
bringing alcohol into an area prescribed under the Northern
Territory Emergency Response. … She was fined $2040.”

ABC: No new homes for Tennant town camps
20 Jul 09: “The Northern Territory’s Housing Minister says
any new houses to be built in Tennant Creek will not be
built in the town camps. The Julalikari council signed a
$30 million deal with the Commonwealth last year to upgrade
infrastructure in the camps in exchange for three 20-year

ABC: ACPO of the Year praises intervention
20 Jul 09: “The Northern Territory’s Aboriginal Community
Police Officer of the Year says more young Indigenous
people should consider taking on the career. … The
father-of-three says the federal intervention in the
Northern Territory has been good for his community and
policing as takeaway alcohol restrictions have cut down
consumption. … “It’s like if you start dropping the grog
down then there’ll be more drugs.” ”

Green Left: NT intervention: ‘Where are the arrests?’
19 Jul 09: “Aboriginal leaders have questioned the motives
behind the NT intervention policy after the Australian
Crime Commission (ACC) failed to find evidence of organised
pedophile rings — a key motivation of the policy produced
by then-Aboriginal affairs minister Mal Brough in 2007.”
Kerry Smith

– Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let’s Talk – Indigenous presented talkback:
14 Jul 09: “Tiga Bayles spoke with The National Indigenous
Times Editor, Chris Graham. They spoke about NAIDOC week,
Indigenous issues & affairs and whats some of the story’s
are in this fortnights National Indigenous Times newspaper.”
[includes discussion of leaked documents concerning the NT
Listen to this interview on-line:

WGAR News:
Leaked documents concerning NT Intervention (12 Jul 09)
[scroll down page] http://perth.indymedia.org/index.php?action=newswire&parentview=144730

WGAR News:
Leaked documents concerning NT Intervention (15 Jul 09)
[scroll down page] http://wgar.info/2009/07/16/150709-attempts-to-restrict-aboriginal-languages-in-northern-territory-schools/


– Opinion

Solidarity: Racist paternalism is widening the gap
July 09: “A Productivity Commission report into Indigenous
disadvantage was released in July. Examining the period
2000 – 2008, it demonstrates the horrific human toll of
Howard’s assault on Aboriginal self-determination. … But
in the same week the report was released, the government
closed down Community Development Employment Projects
(CDEPs) across the country, putting more than 30,000
Aboriginal people onto the dole queue.” Paddy Gibson

See: WGAR News: Indigenous Gap Widens (6 Jul 09)

– Review

Confronting the myths used to justify dispossession
July 09: “Review: Possession
By Bain Atwood, Melbourne University Press, $54.99
Throughout Australia’s history, the argument that
Aboriginal people have no rights to land has been a
crucial element in establishing the legitimacy of the
settler government. The current Northern Territory
Intervention, for example, has seen Aboriginal land
compulsorily acquired by the Australian government. …
With Rudd continuing a new wave of colonisation in the NT
and across Australia, Possession is a timely reminder that
the living legacy of Aboriginal dispossession and the
unsettled question of stolen land cannot be apologised
away.” Paddy Gibson

– Radio

Indigenous radio station 98.9FM Brisbane
Let’s Talk – Indigenous presented talkback:
20 Jul 09: “Tiga Bayles spoke with Western Australia’s
Deaths in Custody Watch Committee Chair, Marc Newhouse.
They spoke about Deaths in Custody in particular the death
of Mr Ward a respected Warburton Aboriginal community
Listen to this interview on-line:

– News

Solidarity: Justice, not jail—stop black deaths in custody
July 09: “On June 20, coinciding with national
mobilisations against the NT Intervention, more than 1000
people marched in Perth demanding justice for Mr Ward, an
Aboriginal leader from the remote community of Warburton in
WA. … Since the NT Intervention, incarceration rates have
increased more than 10 per cent.” Paddy Gibson

Koori Mail: Proposed fines ‘beggar belief’
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
23 Jul 09: “THE Northern Territory Council of Social
Service (NTCOSS) says it is dismayed by an Alice Springs
Town Council proposal to impose fines of $130 on people who
are begging. It says the proposed fine system is draconian,
discriminatory, and will be difficult to enforce.”

Koori Mail: Death illustrates breaches, says Amnesty
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
21 Jul 09: “AMNESTY International says Australia is in
‘serious and grave’ breach of its international human
rights obligations with regards to treatment of people in
custody. The rights watchdog says the death of a WA Elder
in custody last year was shameful and preventable, and
government must act to prevent future violations.”

Koori Mail: Church vote acknowledges black history
[scroll down page] http://www.koorimail.com/index.php
21 Jul 09: “THE Uniting Church in Australia has voted for a
new preamble to its constitution, acknowledging Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Islander people as the First
Australians and the church’s troubled history with them.
“We’ve started to talk about ourselves and our history in a
more honest way,” said Reverend Dr Chris Budden.”

National Indigenous Times:
Stand by election promise to scrap NT nuke dumps: groups
15 Jul 09: “Indigenous communities are demanding the
federal government stand by its election promise to scrap
legislation which lays the groundwork for a nuclear waste
dump in the Northern Territory.”

– Video

ABC: Behind the News: Uluru Uproar
21 Jul 09: “It’s the rock in the middle of the desert that
attracts 350,000 people each year, but soon those visiting
Uluru, in the centre of Australia, might not get to see as
much of it as they’d like. A plan has recommended closing
the rock to all climbers. That’s got a lot of people fired
up… so let’s take a look at those on each side of this
ascending argument.”


  1. […] WGAR News: Aboriginal Elders Walk-off, challenging the NT Intervention (24 Jul 09)[scroll down page] http://wgar.info/240709-government-failure-over-northern-territory-aboriginal-housing/ […]

  2. […] WGAR News: Government failure over Northern Territory Aboriginal housing (24 July 09)http://wgar.info/240709-government-failure-over-northern-territory-aboriginal-housing/ […]

  3. […] WGAR News:Government failure over Northern Territory Aboriginal housing (24 July 09)http://wgar.info/240709-government-failure-over-northern-territory-aboriginal-housing/ […]

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