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A bit late or do they now realise that the government is serious?

RESIDENTS of Alice Springs’s squalid town camps will try today to revive a $70 million federal offer they spurned two months ago to rebuild their communities, in exchange for giving control of their land to the Northern Territory Government.

Tangentyere Council will propose a compromise in which residents who want to buy their own homes will be able take out Canberra’s stipulated 99-year leases. The rest of the houses will be held on 20-year leases.

The other plank of the compromise is joint Tangentyere-Territory Government control of the camps. (The Australian)

This piece in today’s OZ tells me that the notion that there has been a paradigm shift in the way that the government is going to deal with the problems indigenous communities may be getting through to those on the ground. Should the government revive the deal offer is the natural question. Well part of me thinks that “the deal is off the table” should be final and irrevocable but I also think that any deal could give the people in the community some ownership of the solution to the filth, squalor and degradation that bedevils such places. The later option is of course what many critics of the government claim is necessary for the plan to work.

Mr Donald said there were legally binding agreements signed by the head tenant of every house, and tenants and co-tenants of every house paid rent to their housing association. “If they cease to do, so they are in breach of their tenancy agreement and evicted.”(The Australian)

Of course the thing that I wonder about is wether there is enough will by the likes of Mr Donald to actually evict tenants who do not pay their rent or otherwise breach tenancy conditions, because without such will It will not matter what the terms of any lease are, because there would be no effective sanction for bad behaviour.

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