A delegation of Alice Springs Town Campers has travelled to Darwin to present their case for an independent and transparent investigation into the failure of leasing arrangements on Town Camps.

The Tangentyere Council representatives  are calling for a review of:

·         The Alice Springs Town Camp tenancy management procurement process

·         The performance of the Housing Management Agreement between the Commonwealth and the Territory Government.

Tangentyere CEO Walter Shaw was accompanied by his board of directors who will continue to be the people most affected by the poor decisions made by the Giles Government.

Mr Shaw said the Territory Department of Housing had failed in its obligations under the subleases since it took on the role in December 2009.

“The Town Camp Housing Associations signed these Tripartite subleases between themselves, the Executive Director of Township Leasing on behalf of the Commonwealth and the CEO of Housing on behalf of the NT in good faith,” Mr Shaw said.

“Our elders fought hard to have Town Camps established and we’ve been fighting for decent living conditions and proper resourcing and recognition since, so we didn’t sign these leases lightly.

“But the fact is conditions on Alice Springs Town Camps haven’t improved, despite the expenditure of millions of dollars by the NT and Federal Governments, and in recent years things have gone from bad to worse.

“There’s no Closing the Gap with Alice Springs Town Camps. In reality the living conditions between suburban Alice and the Camps is an ever-widening chasm.

“The latest decision by the NT Government to award a cut price tenancy management contract to a non-Indigenous private business has seen Town Campers say enough is enough.

“Not only does taking this contract away from an Aboriginal-controlled community housing organisation mean residents have even less involvement and voice in decisions and actions affecting their homes and families, it effectively means a real cut in service delivery to people already living in conditions of overcrowding and disrepair.’

Mr Shaw said the Tenancy Management contract awarded to Zodiac Business Services was $702,000 over 16 months, a significant reduction compared to previous years.

“The Minister and the Department of Housing have repeatedly said this was a decision based on price. This contravenes their own procurement policies which state factors such as past performance, capacity and local development were much more important considerations.

“The NT receives Commonwealth funding under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) for Town Camps, as well as rental income from the 270 houses covered by the Tenancy Management contract.

“We would like to know why the NT needs to reduce service delivery to Town Camps and how this reduced expenditure will be invested for the benefit of residents.

“Both the Chief Minister and the Minister for Housing have stated that the Territory was required to align the tender process to requirements outlined in the Tripartite Alice Springs Living Area Subleases. If so, the procurement process requires further investigation as it deviates substantially from the process outlined by the sublease.

“We have briefed the Territory Opposition and Independents about the issues with the contract and wider leases this week and are grateful for their support in asking for an independent review.

“The Public Housing Management of Town Camps needs to end in favour of the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company operating a regulated and accredited Community Housing Model that both empowers and cares for the welfare of residents.

“We are hopeful the Chief Minister Adam Giles will also support this proposal, given his statements saying he supports housing being given back to communities.

“If he is serious about supporting the capability and capacity of Aboriginal Territorians to build economic sustainability housing is a logical place to start giving control back to Aboriginal entities at a local level.

“Give tenancy management back to CAAHC, review the leasing arrangements on Town Camps and prove that price isn’t more important than the welfare of residents.”


The NT Government’s decision to take a tenancy management program away from an Aboriginal-owned housing organisation and give it to a private business could lead to more homelessness and overcrowding in Alice Springs Town Camps.

Tangentyere Council CEO Walter Shaw has called on the NT Government to review the Housing Department’s decision to take the contract from the Central Australian Affordable Housing Company (CAAHC) and give it to a business service company.

“This decision is yet another example of how the NT Government’s housing policies are completely failing Aboriginal people,” Mr Shaw said.

“CAAHC has been operating the tenancy management service contract for five years and has established good relationships and a wealth of experience in Town Camps.

“CAAHC would advocate for Town Camp tenants with the Housing Department and push to get repairs and maintenance carried out on our houses.

“I suspect the new contractor will do the bare minimum and be there to represent the interests of the department rather than the tenants.

“Town Campers are concerned this will lead to even longer waiting times for repairs and more people being made homeless because of bureaucratic inaction.

“We already wait months for repairs and many properties are unsafe, even with CAAHC in there advocating. We are very concerned this is only going to get much worse.

“In March 2015 Tangentyere and other organisations at the APONT Housing Summit outlined to Housing Minister Bess Price how the current approach on housing was failing Aboriginal people.

“We called for a housing system that would put Aboriginal people back in control of the design, construction and management of Aboriginal housing – exactly what CAAHC was set up to do in Alice Springs.

 “Chief Minister Adam Giles and Minister Price have to explain why their department has dumped an organisation the Ministers themselves have praised and supported.

“It is a direct contravention of the Chief Minister’s recent commitment to grow Indigenous businesses.

“This decision has created a wet turd for the Chief Minister – it stinks and will stick to his boots for a very long time.”


January 7, 2016


The Central Australian Affordable Housing Company (CAAHC) is sad to announce the loss of our contract with the Department of Housing to provide Tenancy Management Services to the residents of Alice Springs Town Camps.

CAAHC CEO Sally Langton said the organisation had been successfully providing services to Town Camp residents for almost five years.

“We have built up a level of expertise in providing these services and developed good relationships with residents over this time,” Ms Langton said.

“We entered the tender process with the hope of implementing a new service model that would improve services to the community resulting in better tenancy outcomes for residents and the Department of Housing.

“Unfortunately CAAHC has been unsuccessful in this process.

“We were informed late on New Year’s Eve we had lost the contract, which has cut to the soul of our organisation and partners.

“We are now facing a very challenging future.

“As a not for profit community housing organisation, we have proudly employed many Aboriginal people over the last five years and sadly the majority of our staff will lose their employment in the next few weeks.

“We have written to Chief Minister Adam Giles and Housing Minister Bess Price explaining the impact of this procurement decision, which appears to be in contravention of the Chief Minister’s aims of supporting Indigenous business and jobs.

“Both Ministers have been very supportive of CAAHC’s work in the past, with Minister Price recognising CAAHC has runs on the board and is held in high esteem. (Minister Price Media Release 28 Aug, 2015)

“CAAHC will continue to provide community housing options to the Alice Springs community and we look forward to new opportunities to work with government and the NGO sector to grow the organisation and become a benchmark community housing provider for many Aboriginal people.”


For further information please contact Sally Langton on 0412 321 260

January 6, 2016


November 25, 2015

An Indigenous financial counselling service that works with some of the poorest people in Australia is being forced to close its doors due to Federal Government funding cuts.

The Tangentyere Financial Counselling service has been operating in Alice Springs for more than 20 years, supporting people living on town camps and in remote communities.

Tangentyere Council CEO Walter Shaw said the loss of the specialised financial counselling services will directly impact on people who most need assistance dealing with money matters.

“Our financial counselling and capability services have helped 1083 separate clients on 2582 occasions over the past two years alone,” Mr Shaw said.

“These are people struggling with debt and credit issues, who need support to increase their financial literacy and awareness.

“Tangentyere has built up a reputation as a safe and culturally appropriate place to seek assistance on sensitive financial issues over more than 20 years. Losing this service will penalise people who most need it.”

Mr Shaw said under new tender arrangements the Federal Government had implemented a ‘one size fits all model’ with Northern Territory financial support services and slashed available funding by almost half while increasing the scope of the work.

“Tangentyere has great respect for the organisation that has won the regional tender but they will not be able to fill the gaps left by the funding cuts.

“For example, our financial counselling service regularly helps:

·         Clients with payouts such as insurance. We operate a trust account that allows clients to meet their family obligations in relation to the sharing of money in a financially responsible way. This is very important culturally and no other service offers this

·         Clients who have disability (TPD) claims under superannuation policies. Many are not aware these avenues of support exist. As an example, clients who stop work because of illness such as renal failure have been assisted to make TPD claims which have helped address short and longer term financial issues

·         Assisting families locate funds to pay for funerals and estate issues. Our service assists around 200 families a year after the death of relative.

“The reduction in funding and change in service delivery means that people already facing financial hardship will no longer be able to access trusted and culturally appropriate services to assist them.

 “Minister for Social Services Christian Porter will be seen as Malcolm Turnbull’s Ebenezer Scrooge with this decision.

“It strikes at some of the country’s most destitute, already struggling to cope with low incomes, high levels of debt and increasing costs of living.

“The cuts to our service will have flow on effects for emergency relief organisations, as people struggling to pay debts will need to seek food and other assistance to make ends meet.

“Financial stress is also associated with poor health, homelessness and increased levels of family violence.

“And of course there are the job losses, many of them Aboriginal workers, associated with this decision to slash funding. All this in the lead up to Christmas – a financially vulnerable period at the best of times.

“We are at a loss to understand the rationale behind this decision and call on Minister Porter to reinstate the $150,000 Tangentyere needs to continue our successful financial counselling service that empowers Aboriginal people to take control of their finances.”



OCT 28, 2015

More than 140 women have spent the past two days in Alice Springs discussing family and domestic violence and gender issues and identifying ways forward at the Putting Gender on the Agenda Forum.

The Forum was hosted by Tangentyere Council in partnership with the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter to discuss the disproportionate impact violence has on Aboriginal women and the evidence that shows the primary driver of violence is gender inequality.

Tangentyere Council Women’s Committee co-ordinator Barbara Shaw congratulated the women for sharing their stories and experiences over the past two days.

“At times it was very emotional as women shared their personal stories but the learning and support for each other on an individual and a service delivery level is something we are taking out of the Forum and will build on,” Ms Shaw said.

“Having a range of service providers attend enabled valuable sharing of information and feedback about what is working, what still needs work and where the gaps are.

“Aboriginal women took the lead in the conversation, presenting information, talking about programs and discussing the issues that are impacting them in dealing with family violence in the community.”

Alice Springs Women’s Shelter Executive Officer Dale Wakefield said the Forum had built a broader shared understanding of family violence issues in Alice Springs.

“Women have been very generous in sharing their experience and insights with the aim of improving services and making our community a safer place for women and children,” Ms Wakefield said.

“A very clear message to come out of the Forum was the need to have safe spaces where women can continue to talk about the issues around gender and family violence and propose solutions and action.

“The need to improve women and girl’s safety around the use of new technology, in identifying and preventing bullying and increasing personal safety in the use of social media and the internet was earmarked as an area for future action.

“The importance of ensuring LGBTI issues are recognised and incorporated in service delivery was another important issue raised at the Forum, as was the need to make sure the voices and experiences of remote women are heard in planning for the future.

“I’d like to thank all the women who took part and I’m confident this Forum will be the first of many valuable partnerships and actions where we work together to make a safer community.”



Messages promoting non-violence and community safety developed by Alice Springs Town Camp women will be proudly on display as new signage is rolled out across Town Camps.

The Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group today unveiled the first sign displaying their NO TO VIOLENCE statement at Hidden Valley Town Camp.

The Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group project was initiated in response to issues around family safety on town camps and grew out of work undertaken by the Tangentyere Women’s Committee.

Women’s Committee Coordinator Barbara Shaw said the Group had been working hard to promote non-violence and the new signage would make sure the message was seen and heard.

“Town Campers are proactive in working and advocating to make our communities safer places and we are addressing family safety through a range of strategies,” Ms Shaw said.

“So far 23 Town Camp women have been trained in identifying family violence and the impacts of violence on women, children, men and their wider community.

“We have created resources such as help cards, safety plan guides and posters that support anti violence messages and are developing an engagement strategy that has the long term aim of changing attitudes to violence.

“This includes working closely with the Men’s Behaviour Change Program and the 4 Corners Men’s Council in their work supporting men to say No to family violence.

“The new signs are part of our work in spreading the message that violence has no place in our lives or on Town Camps.

“The strong statement against violence developed by the Women’s Committee has now been made into signs that will be installed in all Alice Springs Town Camps, with the support of the Northern Territory Government.

“We want our stance on community safety seen and heard and designing our own signage is one highly visible way of making sure our important message about saying NO TO VIOLENCE is there for everyone to see and understand.”