By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Minister for Community Services, Bess Price, this afternoon denied having any responsibility for the embattled Whitegate camp.
In a statement today she says its residents continue to be hurt by “mistruths and poor advice from people with a political agenda” without specifying who these people are nor what they are saying.
She says the town’s native title organisation, Lhere Artepe (LA), is responsible, not the NT Government.
“Whitegate camp is on vacant crown land and is not recognised or funded by the government as a town camp,” she says.
The Alice Springs News Online was unable to contact LA chairman Noel Kruger but we have left a message on his mobile. There has been internal strife in LA for several years, most recently about a camp at 16 Mile on the North Stuart Highway.
“I have met with residents and assured them this Government has no intention of forcibly removing them from Whitegate camp or removing existing infrastructure,” says Ms Price.
“At a meeting on January 20 I made the offer of alternate housing, which was declined by the occupants. That is their prerogative.
“The water connection was not constructed, authorised by or the responsibility of government. The provision of services to Whitegate has always been the responsibility of Lhere Artepe.
“The connection was simply a piece of plastic pipe that someone had connected to a tap in the Ilpeye Ilpeye town camp water supply.
“LA was advised on July 8 they would need to make arrangements to supply water in preparation for the disconnection on August 11 as part of the upgrade to Ilpeye Ilpeye town camp.
“The arrangement for the supply of water to Whitegate would not have been to subdivision standard and has no back flow prevention which can pose a serious health risk.”