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The cri­sis that has un­folded at the re­mote com­mu­nity of Miny­erri 160 kilo­me­tres from Mataranka is an ab­so­lute dis­grace.

Ques­tions need to be an­swered about how a Ter­ri­tory Gov­ern­ment pro­gram de­signed to help Indige­nous Ter­ri­to­ri­ans has turned into a liv­ing hell for the very peo­ple it was meant to help.

It is damn­ing that the Hous­ing Min­is­ter Gerry McCarthy has only now fac­tored tran­si­tional ac­com­mo­da­tion into Ter­ri­tory Gov­ern­ment plan­ning op­tions for the Na­tional Part­ner­ships on Re­mote Hous­ing and Re­mote Aus­tralia Strate­gies pro­grams.

It should not be up to the NT News or coura­geous whistle­blow­ers to shame the gov­ern­ment into ac­tion.

How is it pos­si­ble that the min­is­ter, or any­body in the de­part­ment re­spon­si­ble, did not find a so­lu­tion for the ob­vi­ous con­se­quences of dis­plac­ing Miny­erri res­i­dents? What did they think was go­ing to hap­pen to th­ese fam­i­lies with in­fant ba­bies and young chil­dren? Where could they pos­si­bly go?

Miny­erri is re­ceiv­ing a re­place­ment of 14 dwellings and up­grades to 42 ex­ist­ing dwellings un­der the Na­tional Part­ner­ships on Re­mote Hous­ing and Re­mote Aus­tralia Strate­gies pro­grams.

This is a well-in­ten­tioned pro­gram de­signed to help some of the Ter­ri­tory’s most iso­lated and vul­ner­a­ble. But when you un­der­take this kind of work in a com­mu­nity where hous­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion is scarce, there has to be a flow-on af­fect.

And in to­day’s NT News the shock­ing im­pact of a lack of plan­ning is laid bare. For many months the peo­ple of Miny­erri have been forced to live with­out shel­ter, san­i­ta­tion or fresh water along­side a ran­cid bil­l­abong. Disease is rife with many in the camp hav­ing skin sores, ring worm, and boils. What makes this sit­u­a­tion even more hor­ren­dous is the ques­tion must now be asked about con­di­tions in other com­mu­ni­ties in­volved in the pro­gram.

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