Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, handed over the keys to the first new house under the Alice Springs Transformation Plan on Friday 14 May 2010. Ms Pamela Lynch and her four grandchildren are the proud tenants of a new house in Larapinta Valley town camp. Ms Lynch said that the whole family is excited about moving into their new home.
The release of the first new house constitutes a significant step towards reducing homelessness and overcrowding in the town camps of Alice Springs. Ms Lynch tearfully stated that she had been “living for years in an overcrowded house with my kids and grandkids and now we have this opportunity to get this new house”.
Ms Lynch is very proud that her grandson was part of the team that built her family’s new home. His employment is an example of the Indigenous employment and training that has been fostered through the Alice Springs Transformation Plan and is helping to improve life outcomes for town camp residents.
New tenant Ms Pamela Lynch and her daughter Ms Anne Lynch inspect the new house and garden.
In addition to receiving the keys to the new house from Minister Macklin, Ms Lynch was both surprised and thrilled to receive an Alkart tree which is of great significance to her because it is a special dreaming tree. Pamela explained that the seeds from the Alkart tree are used by the women to grind into damper.
Ms Lynch receives an Alkart tree from Minister Macklin.
Seeds from an Alkart tree used by the women to grind into damper.
The housewarming gift represents the new life that both Ms Lynch and town camp residents as a whole can look forward to as new homes continue to be built.
The first full refurbishment of a town camp house was also completed this month. The tenant of the refurbished house, Mr Peckham, commented that the “house is totally different it looks really neat. Now, I got to make sure the kids start learning to keep it clean.”
The refurbishment involved gutting the entire building, removal and replacement of the roofing as well as replacement of all windows, doors and security screens. A new kitchen, bathroom and toilet were also installed, the house was painted, new air conditioning was installed and all electrical wiring and fittings were completely refitted.
Mr Peckham and his children inspect the refurbishment of their home in Palmer’s town camp.
Also this month, Minister Jenny Macklin announced the engagement of local company Sitzler Bros to construct the Alice Springs Accommodation Park, and Asbuild was awarded the contract to build a unit facility at Percy Court in Alice Springs. Both of these projects will significantly reduce homelessness and overcrowding in the community.
During her visit to Alice Springs, Minister Macklin announced the Ready and Willing for School program. The $1.5 million project will enable 300 young Indigenous children in Alice Springs to undergo health checks to prepare them for school.