Intervention Rollback Action Group
Takeover of Aboriginal Land marks Opening of Reconciliation Week
Today Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin marked the opening of Reconciliation Week by announcing that Alice Springs town camps will be compulsorily acquired. The announcement has been met with outrage by town camp residents. The move comes after Tangentyere Council, acting on behalf of town camp residents, rejected a 40 year lease deal which precluded all Aboriginal control and management of camp housing which would put decision-making and resources into the hands of Territory Housing.
The community housing model proposed by Tangentyere Council and the ability of residents to have input into housing management has been flatly rejected by the government. The community housing model was to be run by the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company, which Minister Macklin helped establish in March last year but has now been rejected in favour of a government takeover.
Residents represented by Tangentyere are opposed to Territory Housing management of the camps due to the high rate of evictions and predicted rent increases under government management. Many Aboriginal people who have been former residents of NT Housing, have already experienced evictions, with the most common reasons being for cooking kangaroo tail in the backyard or for having relatives from the bush visit. People are concerned they will have nowhere to go if evicted from town camps under Territory Housing, which already has a three year waiting list for new occupancy.
“This is an appalling decision by the federal government. It marks the start of a takeover for all Aboriginal communities who reject government leases. If the government were genuine about consultation with communities it would not be blackmailing people with long-term leases and the threat of compulsory acquisition” said Hilary Tyler from the Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs.
“You can’t take someone’s land without free, prior and informed consent. It is very hypocritical of the Government to endorse the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples when the Intervention contravenes at least 26 articles. By keeping the Racial Discrimination Act (1975) in place it goes to show the Government of Australia is in fact racist.” says Barbara Shaw from Mt Nancy town camp.
A rally of town camp residents targeting both the NT government and federal government over its announcement of outstation closures and the compulsory acquisition of Alice Springs towncamps will take place later this week in Alice Springs.
Contact: Barb Shaw on 0401 291 166, Hilary Tyler on 0419 244 012 or Lauren Mellor on 0413 534 125