Aboriginal visitors to Alice Springs will soon have a safe new place to stay following the announcement of a short-term accommodation facility.
On 19 February, Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, and Northern Territory Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton, announced that a site at Len Kittle Drive has been selected as the Alice Springs Accommodation Park. It will provide much needed short-term accommodation for Aboriginal people visiting Alice Springs from out of town.
The Accommodation Park will be a drug and alcohol free space that is able to accommodate up to 150 visitors in a range of affordable accommodation options, ranging in style from permanent cabins to camping spaces, all in a secure and managed environment. It will also help Aboriginal people visiting town for medical treatment and other services, and will be supported by regular public transport services.
The design plans are already near completion and the facility will be up and running by mid-year.
A proposed design for the site
In addition to the Alice Springs Accommodation Park, there are a number of other projects funded under the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Package that will soon be underway to help ease accommodation shortages in Alice Springs. These include a new 28 unit facility at Percy Court for managed transitional accommodation, refurbishment of a facility called The Lodge, which will provide 35 rooms for health patients, and finally, the addition of eight beds to the existing Salvation Army Hostel. These projects, to be completed by early 2011, will provide assistance to many people in need in and around Alice Springs.
On 22 February, following the Alice Springs town camps clean-ups and the Fix and Make Safe programs that were carried out during December and January, construction started in Larapinta Valley town camp on the first of 85 new houses to be built as part of the Government’s $100 million investment in housing and infrastructure across the town camps.
Minister Macklin, Minister Snowdon and Minister Hampton were there to welcome the start of the work, as were Larapinta Valley residents.
Minister Macklin and the new tenant watching the start of construction
The construction has opened up job opportunities for 13 local Aboriginal men who completed training through Tangentyere Employment Services and are now trade assistants with the Territory Alliance team that has been engaged to carry out the construction works.
The Territory Alliance construction team including the new trade assistants
Many more positions will become available as more works begin. The house at Larapinta Valley is only the first of eight new houses to be constructed under an early works construction package across five town camps.
Territory Alliance workers start construction of the new house
The locations for the rest of the houses are currently being finalised. As part of this process, engagement with town camp residents has continued through design workshops in which residents have been discussing which design options are best for them and their needs.
In the last week of February, wheelie bins were delivered to over 200 dwellings across the Alice Springs town camps and the Alice Springs town council commenced a weekly rubbish collection from 5 March 2010.
A town camp resident with her new wheelie bins
This means that the residents will be provided with the same rubbish collection services as the rest of Alice Springs, which is essential to providing safe and healthy living environments for people living in town camps.