Parliamentary record : Part I debates (19 March 1986)
Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 19 March 1986 disr.ussion earlier this evening. However, separately. will address several issues We heard the member for Arnhem advise us at an earlier time of the large number of Aboriginal people involved in the outstation movement - people who are moving away from settlements into the bush. I do not doubt for one moment that that is true. However, let me assure the honourable member that a large number of Aboriginal people, in fact I believe just as many, are now moving into our major townships. They are doing this without having arranged for suitable accommodation before they come. There are those of us who hold urban electorates who would be well aware of the difficulties that are created. Let me acquaint members with some of the issues which I have to address continually. These are facts. There are a number of well-established Aboriginal camps around the major towns. In fact, around Darwin there are probably 10 or more established town camps, as they are called. I understand that these are occupied by people from different settlements and perhaps different clan groups. I think I am right in saying that people from a particular clan group tend to go to a particular town camp when they visit Darwin, for example. They do this because they find that they are not compatible with people from another clan group, and I can understand that. However, the result is that some people who come to town and who do not identify with an existing town camp find that they do not have any accommodation. They then visit a friend - and I will come to that in a moment - or they find a suitable site on which to camp. That is exactly what happens. Sometimes they impose themselves on friends or relations who occupy Housing Commission homes. I do not have any problem at all with friends or relatives visiting somebody in the town and staying with them. That is not a problem; other people do it all the time. However, in recent times, I have had numerous complaints regarding transient Aboriginal people camping along Rapid Creek. Perhaps the honourable member for Millner has had similar problems. They are camping along Rapid Creek adjacent to the Water Gardens and also in the ablution blocks located behind the ovals in my electorate. I have had complaints from local residents. In fact, I have checked it out and discovered that a number of Aboriginal people from time to time camp in the ablution block behind the Moil shopping centre. That is a fact of life. Apart from the health hazards created by people camping in such areas, there is the debris that they leave behind - empty beer cans, empty flagons and other associated debris. This situation is totally unacceptable to our community and causes problems for residents and law enforcement officers alike. When I say this, I am not blaming the Aboriginal people. I am saying that this is the situation. Mr Deputy Speaker, there is another matter to which I draw your attention, and that is the abuse of Housing Commission houses. Many of these houses are occupied by Aboriginal people. Let me point out that I have no problem whatsoever with Aboriginal people or anybody else occupying Housing Commission homes. However, I am acutely aware that the majority of complaints I receive from residents emanate from disturbances that occur in the houses, particularly Housing Commission houses, occupied by Aboriginal people. Again, that is a fact. The nature of these complaints includes drunken fights and brawls, damage to Housing Commission property, local residents being threatened and visitors 2266
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