Urgent planned into N.Territory’s Indigenous town camps: NT Minster

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The announcement from Ms Price came on the same day the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met in Darwin to investigate the state of housing conditions at the town camps. Town camps describe Aboriginal communities situated in, adjacent to, or close to, town boundaries.

The new review also followed months of complaints by residents living in Central Australian town camps and remote communities about housing repair and maintenance delays.

In February, three quarters of households in the remote Indigenous community of Santa Teresa, about 80 kilometres south of Alice Springs, launched legal action against the Government for failing to carry out repairs to their houses in the required timeframes.

That action is currently before the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Last month, lawyers on behalf of residents in Papunya, more than 200 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs, sought compensation, saying the Department of Housing had failed to carry out repair works fast enough.

The latest housing stoush involves residents of the Larapinta Valley town camp in Alice Springs, who are threatening similar legal action.

Review urgent says Price

Ms Price said the timing of the announcement of the review had nothing to do with the PAC meeting or any legal action.

She said there was an urgency to announce the review after speaking with town camp residents.

“I’m doing it because there’s a need.

“I’m doing it because I’ve been driving through the communities out in the remote [areas] and they’ve spoken to me about all the issues they’ve had with overcrowding.

“I’ve been in these town camps, I’ve met with all my family members and everybody else that I know that lives in the Town Camps and its right now that we do it,” Ms Price said.

She said the Government will shortly release a tender for a consultant to investigate the state of living conditions in town camps.

The successful reviewer will have a six-month period to speak to a variety of stakeholders and look into a range of issues including lease arrangements, service delivery and infrastructure.

Ms Price did not say how much the inquiry would cost taxpayers.

“At the moment I haven’t been able to look at how much it’s going to cost but as soon as I’ve made the announcement we will look at how much it will be,” she said.

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