Macklin's 'consultation': a piece of paper

Issue 

Aboriginal activists have attacked Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin's claim that a proposed government takeover of the Alice Springs town camps would involve consultation with residents. They say it is false and misleading.

Crikey.com said on August 27 that Mt Nancy town camp resident Barbara Shaw was "consulted" by having a legal document attached to her front fence without her knowledge.

The minister announced she would begin an "enhanced education campaign" about the changes to the town camps on August 24. The Federal Court ordered a stay on the proposal on July 30.

Macklin promised $125 million to build new houses in the overcrowded and run-down camps. In exchange, control of the camps would be transferred to NT Housing on 40-year sub-leases.

The deal would make Tangentyere Council, which has historically represented town camp residents, into a consultative body and turn what is Aboriginal land into NT Housing land.

Tangentyere Council has continued negotiations with Macklin, in the hope of securing the housing funding without losing representation or land rights. Macklin has threatened the council with compulsory acquisition unless they agree to the deal.

On August 25, AAP reported that Macklin had extended the period of consultation until October 27. But Shaw, who launched the Federal Court action, has condemned the government's "consultation" process.

Shaw told CAAMA radio on August 25: "I would've expected them to talk to us … to say 'Here's what the government has to offer. Coming out here with that piece of pape, it's wrong, it's not the way to consult with people.

"Just coming through the papers, I don't think people would understand the wording of it, the legal jargon as well, especially my 82-year-old grandmother that lives down the road. It's just a slap in people's face.

"It's just to show she's consulted with people and I know for a fact that she hasn't [done that] with me, except for a piece of paper", she said.