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Town camp fight not over yet, says resident -

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PETER CAVE: The Federal Government says it's made major breakthrough with its agreement on the town
camps of Alice Springs but it's not a certainty yet.

Yesterday the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin announced 16 town camps had
agreed to sign up to a deal for $100 million worth of upgrades in exchange for 40 year leases.

But one town camp resident is pushing ahead with legal action against the deal in the Federal
Court.

Sara Everingham reports.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs has claimed a breakthrough in
negotiations with the Alice Springs town camps, one that she says will pave the way for massive
investment in the camps.

But not everyone sees it that way.

GEORGE NEWHOUSE: Look I think it's a sad day for Indigenous affairs in this country.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The lawyer George Newhouse is part of a legal team that's representing one town
camp resident Barbara Shaw.

GEORGE NEWHOUSE: I've never heard of another Labor minister crowing about winding back Indigenous
land rights. These town camps were established many years back as a result of dispossession of
Indigenous people from their homeland and now we're seeing a minister saying it's a great result to
see them, to see Aboriginal land rights even further wound back.

I think it's a very sad day and I believe that the interests of the households who live in the town
camps are not being adequately protected by these arrangements.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The Federal Government had been threatening the camps with compulsory acquisition.
The deadline was to be next week.

Barbara Shaw had launched legal action to stop the takeover but yesterday Jenny Macklin announced
16 town camp housing associations had agreed to the Government's offer of $100 million in upgrades
in exchange for 40 year leases.

In Sydney yesterday she said the deal was all but done and that the town camps were ready to sign
up to the 40 year leases but George Newhouse says the minister's comments are premature.

GEORGE NEWHOUSE: Look I think the minister has gone off half cocked. The leases are not signed and
the message that we're getting from the town camps is that the response of the town camps to the
minister was that they were only negotiating with a gun to their head and the deal is by no means
done.

SARA EVERINGHAM: She's saying the camps have indicated they will sign.

GEORGE NEWHOUSE: Well she can indicate that all she wants but if she has evidence of that why
doesn't she release the letter from the town camps to her so we can all see what their position is.

SARA EVERINGHAM: George Newhouse says legal action will be launched in the Federal Court this
afternoon.

GEORGE NEWHOUSE: The fight is not over and there are steps in train to protect the interests of
households in the town camps from both the 40 year leases going ahead without their interests being
properly protected and the Minister going ahead and resuming the land without properly notifying
the 200 households in the town camps.

SARA EVERINGHAM: George Newhouse is one of a number of individuals and organisations who've taken
out an advertisement in national newspapers today criticising the Government's approach to the
camps.

The list of supporters includes Pat Dodson and Ian Thorpe.

The Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has endorsed it too. She says the concerns people in the town
camps have about the conditions of the leases simply haven't been heard.

RACHEL SIEWERT: The approach they've been taking is the approach that many governments in the past
have taken which has failed, which is imposing an approach on Aboriginal people and saying, this is
how you'll do it; it's our way or no way.

Now that approach has failed in the past and the key message that the Government needs to get and
it doesn't seem to have is that they need to be negotiating with Aboriginal people from a community
perspective.

So the solutions are community driven, not driven from the top down, which has failed for decades.
And unless the Government gets that message they will continue to fail in delivering services for
Aboriginal people.

PETER CAVE: Greens Senator Rachel Siewert ending Sara Everingham's report and the umbrella
organisation for those town camps Tangentyere has declined to comment.