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Greens call on Minister Macklin to start work on Town Camps

The Australian Greens say there is compelling evidence to suggest the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs is being disingenuous about her inability to act on the deplorable conditions in town camps in Central Australia.

"Minister Macklin claims desperately needed work can't proceed while Federal Court proceedings are on-going. However, according to advice we have received, this simply is not true" said Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal Issues.

"Ms Macklin has previously said it would be "unconscionable to leave the town camps in their current condition and yet that is exactly what she is doing. There is no reason why the Commonwealth can not undertake urgent repairs and maintenance to make housing habitable.

"The Human Rights Law Resource Centre has advised me that, in law, the injunction does not prevent the Minister from carrying out urgent repairs in the camps.

"This suggests the Minister is hiding behind the court injunction to justify her policy decision to deny urgent services to some of Australia's most disadvantaged citizens - as a way of forcing them to acquiesce to give up 40 year leases on their land," Senator Siewert said.

"This insistence that nothing can be done unless Aboriginal land is tied up in 40 year leases or compulsorily acquired is their policy decision - not a legal requirement.

"The minister should respect the aspirations of Aboriginal people and continue to negotiate a satisfactory outcome, while allowing urgent maintenance work to commence immediately" she concluded.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0417 174 302

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