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Tennant Creek Community Living Areas Memorandum of Understanding

Category: Agreement
Date: 7 August 2007
Sub Category:Memorandum of Understanding
Location:Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, Australia
Alternative Names:
  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government and Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation in relation to Tennant Creek Community Living Areas (formerly known as Town Camps)
  • Payments:
  • Consideration for entering into agreement - Australian Government ($20 million)
  • Consideration for entering into agreement - Northern Territory Government ($10 million)
  • Subject Matter:Housing, Construction and Infrastructure
    URL: http://www.formerministers.fahcsia.gov.au/malbrough/mediareleases/2007/Documents/tenant_creek.pdf
    Summary Information:
    The full name of this agreement is the 'Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian Government, the Northern Territory Government and Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation in relation to Tennant Creek Community Living Areas (formerly known as Town Camps)' ('MoU'). It was signed on 7 August 2007 by the following parties:

    - the Hon Mal Brough on behalf of the Australian Government;
    - the Hon Clare Martin on behalf of the Northern Territory Government; and
    - the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation, as represented by three signatories, on behalf of the Tennant Creek indigenous community.

    The purpose of this MoU is to provide $30 million in funding for upgrades to community housing in Tennant Creek in exchange for the transfer of its existing living areas into public housing owned by the Northern Territory Government.
    Detailed Information:
    Key parts of the Tennant Creek Community Living Areas MoU

    The parties to this MoU have given their consent to the following:

    - upgrading community living areas (formerly known as Town Camps;
    - making these community living areas standard suburbs of Tennant Creek (so that essential and municipal services can be delivered there by the Northern Territory and municipal government rather than by the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation);
    - reforming land tenure so as to create a mix of public and private housing; and
    - transferring the ownership of existing housing in Tennant Creek to the Northern Territory Government, so that its residents become public housing tenants.

    Funding provisions

    Pursuant to this MoU, the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation was to receive $20 million from the Australian Government and $10 million from the Northern Territory Government. This total of $30 million in funding is intended to cover the following:

    - upgrading essential services and infrastructure (such as roads) in community living areas; and
    - upgrading existing housing and constructing new houses and other accommodation in line with community needs.

    Ownership of housing provisions

    Prior to the signing of this MoU, the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation held crown leases and special purpose leases over the land in Tennant Creek, including its houses, infrastructure and access roads. It also owned the houses in this community.

    Since the signing of this MoU, existing housing in Tennant Creek has been owned by the Northern Territory Government. This was arranged via a 99-year sublease by the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation to the Northern Territory Government over its crown lease and special purpose lease areas. Since the transfer took place, the Government has been responsible for holding and managing subleases over these houses so as to provide security of tenure for public housing, private ownership and normal service delivery.

    According to this MoU, the Northern Territory public housing authority is to manage the housing in Tennant Creek in keeping with the Territory Housing Framework.

    Other provisions

    This MoU also provides for cooperation between the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation, the Northern Territory Government and the relevant local government authority in the following areas:

    - the delivery of municipal and essential services to community living areas in Tennant Creek (with the aims of complying with local government arrangements that took effect on 1 July 2008, and ensuring that such services are provided to the same standard as they are in other parts of Tennant Creek); and
    - the establishment of opportunities for indigenous business, employment and training in order to increase indigenous involvement in infrastructure and housing development.

    Background to this MoU

    Negotiations for an agreement similar to this MoU took place in Alice Springs, where the Australian Government offered $60 million for infrastructure upgrades in return for a 99-year lease. The Tangentyere Council, representing town camps in Alice Springs, rejected this offer in May 2007. Members of the Tennant Creek indigenous community then approached the Australian Government about a similar agreement for Tennant Creek (The Hon Mal Brough, 2007).

    The signing of this MoU means that the Tennant Creek community living areas will not be subject to 5-year leases under the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act 2007 (Cth), as they would otherwise have been (The Hon Mal Brough, 2007).
    Outcomes:
    On 26 October 2007, the general manager of the Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation was reported as saying that final negotiations for the housing upgrades were 'progressing well' (ABC News, 2007). It was hoped that the new housing arrangements would be in place by the end of that year.

    Nearly a year later, however, an article dated 18 July 2008 stated that there had been 'little progress' on either the making of housing upgrades or the signing of the necessary lease documents (ABC News, 2008).

    While an additional $6.5 million in funding has been allocated towards the building of new housing in Tennant Creek as part of the Strategic Indigenous Housing Infrastructure Program, no houses have been built so far (Tennant Creek and District Times, 2009). The $6.5 million comes on top of the $30 million promised to the Tennant Creek community under this MoU, and will now go towards the refurbishing of 78 existing houses by 2012. The decision against building new houses has been criticised by former Member for Barkly Elliot McAdam, who told the Tennant Creek and District Times that the money was needed to alleviate chronic overcrowding in the township.

    According to an article in The Australian dated 10 February 2010, it appears that indigenous communities in the Northern Territory have benefited from requirements for the employment of Aboriginal workers in housing refurbishment efforts. In Tennant Creek in particular, Aboriginal employees make up 35% of the workforce.

    Related Entries

    Organisation
  • Northern Territory of Australia - Signatory
  • Commonwealth of Australia - Signatory
  • Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation - Signatory
  • Tennant Creek Town Council
  • People
  • Indigenous Community of Tennant Creek

  • References

    Article
    ABC News (26 October 2007) Tennant Creek Housing Upgrades Expected by Year's End
    ABC News (18 July 2008) Federal Government Strikes Deal With Julalikari Council
    Media Release
    The Hon Mal Brough MP, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (7 August 2007) Historic 99 Year Town Camp Sub-Leases Agreed in Tennant Creek
    Clare Martin, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory (7 August 2007) Consultation the Way to Go
    Newspaper Article
    Tennant and District Times (11 September 2009) Housing Backflip a 'Big Shame Job'
    Natasha Robinson (10 February 2010) Indigenous Workers Busy Building Houses

    Documents

    Document
    Tennant Creek Community Living Areas Memorandum of Understanding - ( PDF)

    Glossary

    Memorandum of Understanding

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