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Prime Minister's visit to Alice Springs



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WARRINGAH

PRIME MINISTER’S VISIT TO ALICE SPRINGS

I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister will travel this week to Alice Springs to examine some of the serious problems afflicting the town.

In March I wrote to the Prime Minister proposing urgent action in the form of a new intervention to deal with the gathering social dysfunction in Alice Springs and some of the other regional centres in the Northern Territory.

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister declined to join me on a joint trip to Alice Springs in April, however this week’s visit is welcome.

While the Prime Minister is in the Northern Territory she must also inspect the quality of housing in remote indigenous communities.

As I did, the Prime Minister should travel the one hour from Alice Springs to Santa Teresa to examine the work that has been done under her Government’s $670 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Programme (SIHIP).

The houses in Santa Teresa are an embarrassment and a disgrace.

The so-called “refurbishment” work done on these houses is third world work in a first world country.

Regretfully, the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the houses in Santa Teresa has been completely wasted - tiles have been ripped up and not replaced, cracks in walls had been covered rather than fixed, and furniture and fittings had been removed and not replaced so that the families now live in worse conditions than they did before the so-called “refurbishment”.

If the Prime Minister is serious about addressing indigenous disadvantage in the Northern Territory then she must also see first hand and fix the appalling mismanagement and waste in her Government’s own Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Programme.

5 June 2011