Friday, 7 August 2009


See story of this picture here.

The Federal Court has made a decision which holds up Jenny Macklin's plan to take over Aboriginal land in Alice Springs.

The Rudd Government claims it needs security of land tenure before it begins to build public housing. That's what they say...but are there other options.

Aboriginal people are getting a bit sick and tired of whitefellas giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Governments acknowledge Aboriginal ownership of land in national parks for instance, and then arrange leasebacks. Now whitefellas are doing the same for housing. Now what gets me is this. Governments love the idea of Public Private Partnerships (P3s). Why can't the government enter into a P3 with Aboriginal communities and organisations to build the new houses that are so desperately needed? Why can't Aboriginal communities and organisations be treated as partners who hold some valuable collateral (namely land and existing houses) and enter into a partnership to do what needs to be done?

An argument might be surrounding the tenure of the land. However, that need not be an obstance - if it is one. New forms of land tenure have been developed in the Northern Territory before to-day: i.e. Land Rights and Land Claim, Territory Freehold are instances of this.

But, of course, to enter into a partnership of equals there has to be communication and consultation. This is something that Ms Macklin and her department clearly do not excel at.

So how about it, Jenny? The Federal Court has intervened. You may not realise it, but the Court has bought you time; it has given you an out.

How about using the time to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that involves partnership and true and effective consultation. Something that will enhance the skills of Aboriginal people and communities as they progress in partnership and something that will have satisfying results at the end of the day.

Further reading:

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