Indigenous Australians distrust government

23 05 2009

And reject $100 million lease deal.

Under the Government’s plan to overhaul its services to remote Indigenous communities, traditional owners are being asked to approve long-term leases over the land.

Government funding will then be focused on 20 large communities to turn them into so-called “mainstream towns”.

Ms Anderson told ABC1’s Stateline program the traditional owners will receive compensation for signing over their land, but it could come in the form of assets and services rather than cash handouts.

“Let’s allow this process of consultation to happen between the land councils and the traditional owners,” she said.

“Because compensation could be something that the community says ‘well okay, if you put assets on the ground, we’re benefiting from those assets.’

“And that can be part of the compensation package. That’s all the alternatives that the people will have to look at.”

She says traditional owners may not be forced to sign lease agreements over entire communities to the Northern Territory Government.

“We can have whatever people want. That’s why I don’t think we should get into the nitty gritty of what arrangements we’re trying to do, because we can have leases just for certain parts of the land, or leases over the township if that’s what people want,” she said.

“These are opportunities for traditional owners and traditional owners need to be encouraged to make these agreements with government.”

Yesterday, residents in Aboriginal town camps in Alice Springs rejected a $100 million lease deal with the Federal Government because it would mean giving up control of their land, the Tangentyere Council said.

The Government had hoped to secure 40-year leases over the town camps in order to upgrade infrastructure, such as housing, which would have then been managed by Northern Territory Housing.

But Tangentyere Council president Walter Shaw said the deal was rejected because town camp residents wanted to maintain control of their land and did not trust Territory Housing to administer camp accommodation.

And, from the same article we have a little reference to those nasty unintended consequences which plague political decisions.

Indigenous rangers

Dr Barry Traill from the Pew Environment Group says he is concerned about the effect the plan will have on jobs in outstations.

He says it could impact on Indigenous rangers who have been doing vital land management work.

“Indigenous ranger groups west of Darwin, through their work in removing infestations of noxious Mimosa… have stopped that weed going further west,” he said.

He says it would be impossible for them to do the same work if they moved away from the outstations.

Although development would be good for many communities, the question that needs to be asked is whether that development should be delivered by bureaucrats who don’t know the people, don’t know the communities and don’t really care.

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One response

11 04 2011
samuel welsh

the aussie government is evil ,
the racism must stop

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