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$3.08 million housing investment in Maningrida.



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$3.08 Million Housing Investment in Maningrida

MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION & MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS, RECONCILIATION & ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AFFAIRS THE HON. PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission National Ofice

The Aboriginal community of Maningrida will receive more than three million dollars for the construction of 14 new or replacement houses under the next stage of ATSIC's implementation of the National Aboriginal Health Strategy (NAHS). The Minister for Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Philip Ruddock, said the task of raising the standard of living in Indigenous communities remained enormous.

"However, the government and ATSIC are committed to making real improvements on the ground and we are continuing to identify and meet the needs of individual communities," he said.

"Our commitment is a major investment in the future of Indigenous communities -providing housing and infrastructure to support them in their efforts to take charge of their own affairs and find answers to their own problems.

"In fact, this $3.08 million project results directly from another government initiative - the ATSIC/Army Community Assistance Program (AACAP). Because AACAP was able to tackle the needs of another community, NAHS funding became available for the next project in the queue - in this case, Maningrida."

ATSIC Commissioner for the Northern Territory North Zone, Kim Hill, said the Maningrida project was the latest of 31 high priority NAHS projects in the NT for which the ATSIC Board set aside $84.405 million in 1998.

"Each project has been assessed by a specialist consultant in terms of its health impact in order to determine its position on our priority lists," he said.

"There's no doubt that NT communities have a high overall priority because of the urgent and extensive needs in our communities. Our people face extremes of climate and distance unknown in the rest of the country. This investment by ATSIC in capital works means Maningrida will have more space to devote energy and attention to the important responsibilities of enriching culture and pursuing economic opportunities."

Steven Milaidjaidj, vice President of the Maningrida Community Governing Council, said:

"Communities function best when we don't have to worry about where our children will sleep. This project will provide us with good housing and training in construction for some of our young people. It will make a difference to our lives now and our futures in Arnhem Land."

The project is due for completion by June 2003.

Maningrida is a base for some 2300 people on the coast of Arnhem Land at the mouth of the Liverpool River 352 kilometres east of Darwin. During the wet season there is no access by road.

Established in 1957 as a trading and medical centre, Maningrida today serves 13 major language groups. The settlement offers a range of retail and community services including police, health clinic, post office, banking, food stores, arts centre, education and mechanical work to the local population. There is a high seasonal and social mobility between Maningrida, the many neighbouring outstations and other Arnhem Land communities.

Contacts: Russell Patterson, Minister's Office 02 6277 7860 Francine Chinn, ATSIC 0419 819 025