Work starts on 250 affordable housing dwellings


A program is under way to create 250 “affordable housing” dwellings in Alice Springs, within about three years.
Construction has started on the first project, 11 units in Gillen, obtained from a private developer. The first 50 dwellings are scheduled to come on stream by the end of next year.
They are being built and managed by Central Australian Affordable Housing (CAAH), a not-for-profit group founded by Tangentyere Council. The Central Land Council is a member of the company.
Funds are coming from sources including the Aboriginal Benefit Account ($4m so far), the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), borrowings and rents.
Once established, the scheme is designed to be self-sufficient and live on the rents collected, some of which would attract government support, says the CEO of CAAH, Hal Bisset.
“It is a self sustaining business,” he says. “Once it’s running and operational there will be no further subsidies. This is not public housing.”
Also part of Stage One will be 10 units in Braitling, the St Mary’s village south of The Gap leased from the Anglican Church (12 households), and 10 dwellings across two sites owned by CAAH in Gillen and Kilgariff, each block for medium density developments.
The CAAH dwellings have one, two or three bedrooms.
Mr Bisset says beyond that, in the “more ambitious” Stage Two, CAAH will pursue a string of options, guided by the experiences gained from Stage One.
There will be talks with private developers and real estate agents.
The CAAH says online it will be dealing with housing associations comprising of a “largely distinct Aboriginal community based on language and kinship groups” and the company “will provide people with affordable homes in Central Australia to support healthy communities, with  focus on Aboriginal people”.
The company is also providing tenancy management for 270 dwellings in 17 town camps, a function prior to the Intervention carried out by Tangentyere.
Municipal functions, such as litter control and removal, went to the Alice Springs Town Council, which is farming out the work to Tangentyere and Ingkerreke.
PHOTOS from the CAAH website.


  1. So here we have segregation being funded and supported by Federal and Northern Territory governments. More spin and propaganda to support NGOs that operate on taxpayers’ money.
    How can this be good for the Territory when apartheid is being financed by money that should be spent on all Territorians. And what is good for the Territory? CLP, WTF are you doing?

  2. Propaganda alright. The Aboriginals have had handouts for years, they have been allowed to destroy others’ property, they have been pampered, given things left right and centre so they have plenty riches – but the money is hidden in corporations.
    Now we have them getting housing while others in the same situation are being left out and ignored.
    They are not the only people who are Australian and if they say they were badly treated in the past then let them remember how badly they treated others too.
    There are plenty of poor in the Territory who do not get any help at all – why do they have to miss out?
    On top of everything else [some] Aboriginals have been stealing from others for years with the support of some around the place. We have been badly hurt by Aboriginals who just thought it funny to take our possessions, just for the fun of it.

  3. This major proposal by CAAH should help break the town’s logjam of unmet housing needs.
    It comes after several years of preparatory efforts by CAAH, working towards the provision of affordable and sensibly managed accommodation which can be rented to marginalised individuals and families who are resident in Alice Springs, and who are often unable to rent long-term accommodation from anybody else.
    The project should be applauded by anybody who has goodwill towards less fortunate people, although admittedly it would probably be an even better proposal if the plan made some provision for ethnically integrated complexes.
    However Ms Brown’s absurd suggestion that the CAAH approach constitutes “apartheid” is just demagogic hyperbole.
    Apartheid was fundamentally about using government powers to force people of varying colours to live in segregated townships and bantustans, Janet, whereas this plan is about the diametric opposite: enabling more people of different colours to form voluntary associations to live in non-segregated neighbourhoods.
    This announcement is very good news for many people who have been living in overcrowded or other unsuitable conditions on town camps and in hostels and public housing for way too long.
    Instead of rushing in to toss heavy criticism at the project, it would be more helpful if readers like Ms Brown allowed time for the CAAH directors to give their ideas a go. (It is encouraging that they are aware of the need “in the “more ambitious” Stage Two, [to] pursue a string of options, guided by the experiences gained from Stage One.”)
    Critics would be better advised to try to contain their paranoia. Constructive comments would be far more helpful than just kicking out at this plan with knee-jerk reactions.

  4. And Labor wasted millions of taxpayers’ money that was to be spent on housing and it was siphoned off by greedy middle people and a very small amount was spent on housing. The town camps were expected to fit into the rest of Alice Springs and Alice Springs town council was to maintain them. This did not happen and the town camps never reached this level with the millions wasted elsewhere. And here we have Bob from the labor Party with his spin.
    Still same middlemen in this plan also. Bob, what did you really think? Housing in town camps is not for everyone, it is for one race of people. That is apartheid.

  5. Trying to change the subject again, eh Janet (Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:25 am), in your usual scatterbrained way? The article above has nothing to do with town camps, it is about the provision of affordable accommodation for impoverished people in the suburbs of Alice Springs, the nature of which you were somehow attempting to distort, as you were claiming such provision is a form of “apartheid”.
    Anyway, if you really do intend starting an argument about town camps, the difference is this: apartheid is the enforced separation of races by the power of laws that oppress targeted groups.
    There is no law against non-Aboriginal people living on the town camps, and I know a number who do so, and have known many others who have done so over the years. People who live on town camps – of whatever background – apply to live there, and presumably still get accepted to do so on the merits of their applications.

  6. My dad was kicked out of a town camp house that he was renting at the time. Because they said he was a white man living in a town camp.

  7. @ Bob: Did you read the article? CAAH is the managed by Tangentyere Council and CLC.
    They are also funded by Territory housing to manage the town camps. And also, who is funding the buildings?
    As normal, Bob, you have no desire to tell the truth. And as president of the Labor Party here you should be more informed.

  8. Racism and apartheid are about qualification of a person’s rights, using racial identification as the measure.
    Racism and apartheid retain influence in the NT, particularly where legislatively created corporate land-owners refuse to issue tenants (even “Traditional Owners” – their corporate shareholders remain just tenants) with valid leases for their housing which also contravenes tenancy legal standards, just so they can maintain their racist segregationist policies and practices.

  9. @ Paul Parker: I agree fully what is happening in communities, it is criminal and it is permitted to continue. Where is Aboriginal legal aid on this one?

  10. No Janet (Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:23 pm) I don’t believe that “anyone can take up this accommodation”. It is being part-funded under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), so there would have to be some kind of means testing of applicants. I imagine that James Packer, Gina Rinehart and Warren Mundine would be wasting their time if any of them were to apply to rent one of these properties.
    And yes Janet (Posted July 21, 2014 at 8:40 am), I did read the article. CAAH is not “managed by Tangentyere Council and CLC.” Rather it is governed by a board of directors who are appointed by Tangentyere, CLC and two other corporations, but these directors do not “manage” the company (that is the job of the CEO).
    The board’s job is to make sure that the CEO and other staff manage the corporation’s day to day business properly. That is, the board governs the company in accord with its objects and the laws of the land.
    See “The Board is the legal authority for the organisation. Board members are trustees representing the interests of the organisation’s owners both constitutional and moral. As such, both the Board and its members are entrusted to ensure that the organisation is soundly managed for the benefit of all.
    “Governance focuses on the organisation’s wider issues of organisational purpose, including the setting and monitoring of strategic direction, and the establishment and monitoring of Board-level policies.”
    As for the idea that I am president of the local ALP, bad luck Janet, wrong again.
    For what it’s worth, I hold no office in the Labor Party, although I would be proud to do so. Adam Findlay is the President of the Alice Springs Labor Party sub-branch.
    On other comments: I don’t know the facts of Mark’s father’s case (see Mark Lockyer, Posted July 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm), so I can’t comment on that matter. But I do know that racism and apartheid are not identical concepts (although apartheid is undoubtedly one distinct form or type of racism), and Paul Parker (Posted July 21, 2014 at 10:20 am) appears to be confusing the two.

  11. More good news for Janet (Posted July 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm): no need to get anxious about CAAH being a vehicle for segregation or apartheid, Ms Brown.
    Take a squiz at the CAAH’s objectives: (see
    1. Applicants must be able to demonstrate they can successfully maintain a rental tenancy.
    2. Applicants must be able to afford the rent and an initial bond.
    3. People should be on a low to moderate income and be earning below the gross income levels listed below.
    4. Have a connection to Alice Springs and Central Australia.
    5. Not own a residential property.
    6. Not have assets of more than $20,000 (This does not include your car)”.
    GROSS INCOME LEVELS: for example, an individual with no children must have an income no greater than $42,386 to be eligible for renting a property from the CAAH. Four adults living together must have a combined income no greater than $91,048. Two adults with four children must have a combined income no greater than $86,710.

  12. The stated funding for this project makes no sense. The Aboriginal Benefit Account is contributing just $4m (so far) and the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) is named as a contributor but this scheme was defunded on the 30th May this year, with unspent funds returned to the Federal Government. That leaves funding sources of “borrowings and rent”.
    No private financier would even look a this project. So exactly where is the money coming from?
    It would be wonderful to see the CLC unlock some of its Centrecorp millions and fund this project.

  13. Re: Bob Durnan Posted July 21, 2014 at 11:39 pm
    I understand well how apartheid is a distinct racist policy approach involving segregation.
    Segregationist attitudes long were, and sadly remain, a significant contributor to many, perhaps most, the problems in the communities, and the ghettos.
    Community problems mostly result from Commonwealth purported exemptions which extinguish rights and responsibilities we all otherwise hold.
    Such is clearly visible to those who care look.
    Lack of private investment is one indicator, ongoing segregation of my family another.

  14. Gee whiz Bob, aren’t you a bit tough on her, all that material to read, let alone comprehend!

  15. I think that if it was an non-Aboriginal community maybe they would have done something about the starving dogs before they were eating people.
    When I asked Tangentyere about the dogs I was told that it was Aboriginal culture to live like that, and that the town council don’t go into the camps because they are scared of Aboriginal people, because they throw rocks at them.


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