Price turns back on Whitegate after using it in her election campaign: Lawrie


Bess Price 1
Opposition Leader Delia Lawrie says government frontbencher Bess Price (pictured) “was happy enough to use traditional owners connected to the Whitegate families in her election advertising two years ago, but now she will take no action to ensure these people get the water turned back on and their land tenure issues resolved.”
Ms Lawrie has called for a long-term solution to the land tenure issues around Whitegate to be negotiated.
She congratulated Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation for stepping up to ensure Whitegate residents have access to water, but this doesn’t mean the CLP Government can keep on washing its hands of any responsibility here,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Community Services Minister Price must stop referring to native title holders and traditional owners as ‘squatters’ and enter into respectful discussions that recognise the Whitegate residents’ cultural attachment and obligation to the land.
“As the Minister for Indigenous Essential Services Bess Price needs to restore water supply to Whitegate now.
“For Bess Price and Chief Minister, Adam Giles, to keep saying they have no responsibility for the people of Whitegate is a disgrace.
“There is nothing stopping the CLP Government sitting at the table with Whitegate residents, Lhere Artepe and the Central Land Council and working out a solution to land tenure at Whitegate that would see residents receive the same basic services that are delivered by the Government to other Alice Springs residents.”
Ms Price has not responded to a request yesterday for an interview with the Alice Springs News Online.


  1. Errr so what did you do about it in twelve years of government Delia? How in the hell Ms Lawrie could be so audacious as to make any kind of comment at all on Whitegate or for that matter, anything else Centralian with her record of neglect in the southern region beats me. What a hide!

  2. Re: Ms Delia Lawrie
    Now Ms Lawrie, NOT the Minister for Planning and Lands, might she clarify why concerning Lot 8106, aka Whitegums, as Minister did she NOT issue to someone, or some incorporated entity, a lease for Lot 8106 to enable them to lodge a development application to provide housing, starting with water?

  3. I think what happened, Paul Parker, (Posted September 17, 2014 at 6:18 pm), was that after the lodging of the Lhere Artepe group’s Native Title claim in the mid-90s, leasing and development of vacant Crown land (within the Alice Springs town boundary) was effectively frozen.
    As the claim was successful, this freezing has continued up until the present.
    The ball was henceforth in Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation’s court.
    The Labor Government negotiated with LAAC for the development of some mainstream housing estates and other works, but LAAC – for whatever reasons – seems to have chosen not to put the Whitegate settlement on the bargaining table. LAAC is now under new leadership, and its approach to this matter looks like it is changing.

  4. A few people have asked me why the CLP governments of the day failed to act on the original lease applications by the the Whitegate group’s Irrkerlantye-Akerte Aboriginal Corporation in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
    This is a bit of a puzzle, as the Hatton government did grant special purpose leases to two other town camp housing associations in the late 1980s: the Ilpiye Ilpiye and Karnte Aboriginal Corporations.
    However those two groups had become incorporated years ealier, and I think they had already applied for leases years before.
    The Whitegate group – like the Namatjira group on Lovegrove Drive – were a bit later than the other groups in deciding to go that route.
    It seems to me that the Whitegate lease applicants of the time (Myra Hayes and a large group of co-residents) were hit by a set of political problems which combined to create a triple whammy against them.
    One was the rise in influence within the Alice Springs CLP of people who took a hard line against the existence of the town camps (and the spread of Aboriginal land rights), and wanted them dismantled; these people included the hard rightwing MLA for Sadadeen, Dennis Collins, who later left the CLP to sit as a far rightwing independent, because the CLP was too moderate for him.
    Another major factor was the dominant idea, amongst some politicians and / or town planning people, that Alice Springs needed to expand in an easterly direction, and establish a new satellite town (“Undoolya”) between the Whitegate area and the Undoolya Station lease boundary.
    A third factor was the growing perception that the development of the town camp leases over the previous decade had been leading to growth and entrenchment of “the drinking culture”, and its associated addictions, illnesses, violence and social dysfunctionality.

  5. Re Bob Durnan Posted September 18, 2014 at 11:44 am:
    Left out is a possible fourth reason: Lack of preparedness by applicants to contribute towards costs to improve their own living circumstances.

  6. Your point doesn’t hold water Paul (Paul Parker, Posted September 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm).
    Whatever you may think of Tangentyere and the Alice Springs town camp housing associations, they were firm leaders in ensuring their tenants paid rent and electricity bills regularly throughout the 1980s.
    There is no reason to believe that the Irrkerlantye / Whitegate group would have been any different.
    The ADC (and later ATSIC) were prepared to stump up capital grants for development of essential services and housing, as they did for the development of the new leases at Karnte and Ilpiye Ilpiye during that period.

  7. Re: Bob Durnan Posted September 24, 2014 at 11:37 pm
    Delia Lawrie’s claims seem cheap shots at the Minister, perhaps to obtain sympathy and access to reticulated water outside conventional procedures. IMHO conduct unbecoming of a former Minister.
    Has Delia Lawrie obtained answers from the Minister in the Legislative Assembly?
    Discussion re Lot 8106, aka Whitegums, water turn off remains without basic information, thus assumptions water turned off as not compliant with conventional requirements.
    Such turn offs are not so unusual, particularly when access is obtained outside conventional access processes.
    Any inaccuracy arises due parties filtering relevant information.
    If a lease is sought, with public development plan including access to reticulated services, then public support would be far more likely.

  8. The “cheapshot” was to the Traditional Owners at Whitegate.
    Cutting the water without negotiating a contingency plan for an alternative water supply is not only a heinous act but a negligent breach of the NTG’s duty of care to its citizens.


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