Town camp review to have broad scope


p2322-Bess-Price-BadenBy ERWIN CHLANDA
The NT Government will soon call tenders for an “appropriate organisation” to carry out an independent review of the Territory’s 43 town camps, Housing Minister Bess Price announced this morning.
She says “lease arrangements, infrastructure assessment, service delivery, housing, legislation, challenges, opportunities specific to each town camp and capacity for local organisations or companies to be engaged in the economy” will be part of that review.
“A comprehensive review of this type has never been undertaken before,” says Ms Price. It will be completed in six months.
Asked at a media conference about the convoluted system of carrying out repairs reported by the Alice Springs News Online, Ms Price said the communities “do have these issues and I make sure my people deliver whatever repairs and maintenance need to be carried out.
“I work closely with the service providers and we make sure we talk to each-other and that is what has been missing.”
Is self-help an issue?
Says Ms Price: “The MacDonnell Regional Council has done very well with the employment of Aboriginal fellows. They are so glad to do the repairs and maintenance on their houses in their communities.”
Is alcohol management going to be part of the review?
“The review will  be up to an independent body that will probably look at issues of alcoholism. I am not a person to make comment on that. Hopefully we will make sure that we can address issues that people are raising.”
Will she instruct the reviewers to examine issues of alcohol management?
“I will be able to come up with the questions they will ask and that will be done in due course.”
Why is an external review needed? Could her department not identify the issues?
“A review like this has been a long time coming,” replied Ms Price. It will dovetail with the “review by KPMG into housing in the NT”.
Ms Price’s announcement, which media were told would be “on the future of Northern Territory town camps” came just as  Tangentyere Council CEO Walter Shaw and members of the Tangentyere Executive were appearing before the Public Accounts Committee Inquiry into Housing Repairs and Maintenance, being held at Parliament House in Darwin.
Mr Shaw’s submission to the PAC was to be about longstanding issues around the failure of public housing management on Alice Springs town camps, according to a media release.
Ms Price said her government would “consider all recommendations”,  from the PAC inquiry as well as her announced review.
She said she wanted to make sure Aboriginal people are “treated like human beings” but she rejected suggestions they were living in Third World conditions: “It’s not a Third World country. We are the richest people here. It’s not like we’re living in Africa. We have everything we need to look after ourselves. You can see the results when you go out to the MacDonnell Council’s region.”
The people there “would be so pleased to tell exactly what they have done and what they have achieved”.
PHOTO: Housing Minister Bess Price at Little Sisters’ camp with Baden Williams this morning.


  1. Jeez you mob, one solution to the problem … have some pride and look after what you have and it will last longer.
    I wouldn’t mind paying millions in fixing everything if it didn’t get broken / smashed 12 months later and have to be fixed again!

  2. Give the management of public housing on town camps to Tangentyere.
    Some Aboriginal people who have a tendency to run amok may look after houses if their own people have to come and clean up the mess.
    Tangentyere Executive would surely put shame on those who do not look after housing and bring disrepute to Tangentyere.
    I am not employed by or related to any Tangentyere executive or staff.

  3. Australia is a rich country. The town camps will never improve as long as they are segregated. They need to be integrated for life to improve.

  4. Werte Alice News Online Readers, since the inception of the Regional Council and Local Authority the Amoonguna community has been neglected and now is nothing better than living in a third world condition.
    In the years 1996 to 2007 this community was a benchmark community where everyone was happy to live in the well maintained and serviced housing paying a nominal rent.
    In the first 10 weeks of the new company taking over, we have done more R and M than was executed in these eigh years prior.
    We are currently fighting a losing battle to make good the power, hot water, stoves, and air conditioning without touching all the structural damages which were not addressed prior to our inception.
    Can the Minister for Housing, Bess Price, please address the needs of this community?
    Should the members of this community invite the Australian press to have a look at our living conditions, it would leave the Territory Government in disarray and searching for the answers of why the Amoonguna community was neglected for those last seven years.
    Apmere Anwernhekenhe, Apmere Apurte-le Mwarre Atyinhetyeke.
    (Working together to keep our community safe.)

  5. Perrule, are you Aboriginal? What town camp or remote community are you from?
    We all create are own lives and are own choices. We live in a peaceful and safe country at the moment.
    Take back your own power, free yourself. Stop being the victim.

  6. Yet again our people are being used as a political football for Minister Price and her liberal colleges as they head to an election. Yes, housing and services for town camps has needed a review probably for some time however this review is all smoke and mirrors there is no substance to this review in fact is who will deliver this review the department responsible?
    Tangentyere is an organisation that was set up and is governed by town campers. These are the people that should be charged with the responsibility for delivering housing services to town camps, but yet we continue to see governments erode the resources and funding to organisations like this because they are afraid of the power these organisations will have.

  7. Aboriginal run organization that can’t do the job. It didn’t work. Help is needed for the first Australians to get out of their rut.

  8. Maybe there needs to be an urgent inquiry as to why the camp people trash their homes and they are like pigsties.
    Do they deserve them? Maybe they should start showing some pride.
    They seem to take a lot out of society and put very little back.
    It is time that some of the royalty money goes back I to the houses.
    Builders and maintenance people are in their glory and getting very rich with the fixing of these homes.

  9. Why hasn’t Minister Price addressed the town camps situation sooner? An election coming up Minister?
    Is that why all of a sudden you are jumping in this band wagon? Yes, Tangentyere could take on the task of “fixing” houses, general repairs etc just like Housing Commission does for their tenants but why should they take on this enormous job?
    Time overdue for government to settle this issue. Fix the bloody houses, you wouldn’t let non-indigenous people live in these conditions. Indigenous people are not victims. We want things fixed in our houses like that of everybody else who pays rent to the government.

  10. @ Fred the Philistine: How often do you go to the town camps? I have friends who live in a camp, and I can assure you that their homes are pristine. Take a look all around town to some back yards.
    Pigsties? Pigs are by nature clean if they are given the chance and the space. In a healthy environment, pigs naturally sleep, eat and go to the bathroom in separate areas.

  11. They have and are fixing the town camps houses. Zodiac is doing a great job since they have started. My air condition and my stove have been fixed. We do not live in third world conditions. At least this inquiry into housing has got things going.

  12. It’s hard to keep a house clean and up to decent standards when you have 20 people using the facility. Chronic overcrowding and poverty make it difficult.
    And no-one wants to throw their family out on the streets. Poor design doesn’t help either.

  13. Unless Minister Price and the CLP build new homes (no new homes built in Town Camps by this wonderful Minister over the last four years) then the overcrowding will continue to put pressure on the families and wear and tear on these houses.
    Maybe Minister Price and the CLP should start putting families into all the vacant public housing homes in Alice Springs that have been vacant for years instead of selling them off.
    As the old saying goes “don’t listen to what they say, look at what they do”!

  14. Why doesn’t the government add onto the existing houses more bedrooms in town camps and remote communities.
    The electricity and plumbing and structure are already there. This would be cheaper than building new housing.


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