The black and white of accommodation for travelers

p2253-Apmere-visitor-2 By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Holiday special: A cabin (might be shared) and three meals, all of this for free, for $10, for $15 or $30 or $60 a day, depending on your income. Conditions apply: You need to be Indigenous.

 

Location: Alice Springs, next to the showgrounds.

 

Under public management: The buildings were supplied by the Commonwealth Government in 2011 at a cost of $11m.  They were gifted to the NT Government which is covering the operating shortfalls.

 

The NTG has farmed out the running of Apmere Mwerre Visitor Park to Aboriginal Hostels Limited (AHL) which normally owns the properties it manages – with considerable aplomb.

 

How much is that shortfall? Housing Minister Bess Price won’t say: “A letter of offer has been signed by AHL and the contract is being finalised. Given this, the figure is unable to be discussed.” And neither, Ms Price says, can the previous grants. She gives no explanation for this.

 

It’s an intriguing situation: Most accommodation houses would calculate their room rates taking into account the price of land and buildings (the mortgage?) as well running costs.

 

As the first two components are being covered by the public purse, surely the running costs should be covered by what guests are paying. They are not. Why?

 

“The continued operation of Apmere Mwerre Visitor Park will help reduce short-term homelessness for visitors and reduce the impact of overcrowding in town camps and social housing,” says Ms Price.

 

p2253-Apmere-visitor-1And: “Grants are necessary to ensure the Territory’s most vulnerable are cared for in appropriate and affordable accommodation.”

 

The vulnerable getting a trip to the show at taxpayers’ expense?

 

Says Ms Price: “Apmere Mwerre Visitor Park has reopened after being closed for maintenance in time to receive visitors for the Alice Springs show.”

 

Meanwhile Chansey Paech, town councillor and – some say – Labor Party aspirant to a seat in the NT Parliament, comments: “The Giles Government closed Stuart Lodge and were attempting to get rid of the Visitor Park.

 

“Stuart Lodge is still closed but I’m thankful they’ve seen sense and have agreed to work with Aboriginal Hostels to keep Apmere Mwere Visitor Park open.”

 

Ms Price says: “We are currently in discussions with service providers around options for Stuart Lodge.

 

“A number of non-government service providers have been approached as part of the 2015-16 grant funding round to gauge interest in using Stuart Lodge to target housing and homeless needs in Alice Springs.

 

“The discussions with the non-government sector have been positive and proposals are anticipated from the non-government sector for the operation of this facility.”

 

 

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14 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Pagan
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 10:35 am

    A great pity that all Australians are not helping themselves for a better life instead of blaming the past for their future.
    It is up to the people to get off their backsides and start feeling proud instead of whining, poor bugga me.

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  2. Bob the Brewer
    Posted July 17, 2015 at 7:07 am

    @ Dr Wrong: It is still debatable whether the Indigenous were the first people to this country as they could not write and record. Who did they steal the land from in the beginning? In the past and till now they have been selling some of the land, so what’s happening to this money? As for compensation, they have been better treated and compensated better than the Anglo Saxons.

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  3. Dr Wrongo
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    So has Scotty got a gun? How big is it? If I can get a bigger one everything he owns is mine. I’m sure he won’t complain, just evolve a bit perhaps.

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  4. Fred the Philistine
    Posted July 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    The question I ask, is why aren’t the Aboriginal land council and the Aboriginal corporations funding this, as it is their people.
    If they are so concerned as to where they are to stay when they come in town, fund it for them, instead of hoarding the funds, which would and should normally be used for them.

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  5. Scotty
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Wrongo: The land wasn’t stolen. As I stated, like elsewhere in the world the most dominant nation won. Gun v spear, evolution …

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  6. Dr Wrongo
    Posted July 9, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Get over it? Lest we forget.

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  7. Scotty
    Posted July 9, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Wrongo: Get over it. All throughout history land has been taken over by dominant nations. When it comes down to it the gun was more powerful than the spear.
    Now if after 200 years you still complain about that and want to be compensated via bludging, not working, drinking in pubs all day, humbugging, committing crimes (yes, indigenous rate is highest, why? because they commit the most crimes, simple).
    Many Indigenous people are are valuable working members of society. As for the rest, stop complaining, get out of the pubs and get a job.

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  8. Dr Wrongo
    Posted July 9, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    All the rest of the population have been bludging off the benefits of living on and using the resources of the land stolen from Aboriginal people.
    Where did Australia’s wealth come from? The land.
    How did we get this land? By stealing it and killing or persecuting any of the owners who had the temerity to complain.

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  9. Bob the Brewer
    Posted July 8, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    @ Scott: Well said! 🙂 All hey have been doing is bludging on the Australian taxpayer.
    And as far as Abbot slashing $500m from Indigenous funding, I have got to say well done Abbot, and it should have gone further.

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  10. Lachlan J
    Posted July 8, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    If non-Indigenous people are homeless and in need as well, they shouldn’t be turned away. I’m all for this service, 100%.
    It’s unfair to complain about high rates of crime when that isn’t the issue, it’s a circumstance due to the issue.
    The issue is homelessness and poverty, to the point of desperation for people.
    I hope they trial this and extend it to all Northern Territorians who have fallen on hard times.

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  11. Janet Lee
    Posted July 8, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    @ Russell: True, true Russell BUT have criteriums been set down about the consumption of alcohol?
    Is it a safe place for women and children or are the agencies going to close blind eyes?
    It may be a NIMBY attitude to many with most wanting the “visitors off the streets and out of the locals’ hair” – the commentators to this blog should be grateful that they have a roof over their heads with a safe warm bed to sleep in – unlike most who are coming in from the communities with little prospects of achieving this criteria – little wonder there is a rise in the crime rate – the prospects of a roof over one’s head, three meals a day and a bed however uncomfortable to sleep in, courtesy of the tax payer!

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  12. Donna
    Posted July 8, 2015 at 9:17 am

    AHL do a wonderful job in the community and it’s great to hear that the NTG have finally seen the light and not awarded one of their mates the contract to this vital service that members of our region need to feel safe and secure when in town for a range of reasons whether it’s medical, business or personal.
    We’ve seen since this place has been closed for “upgrades” the increases in people sleeping rough in the town.
    The Visitor Park helps reduce short-term homelessness for visitors and reduce the impact of overcrowding in town camps and social housing. It’s a great model and is one that should be further developed to address the housing needs of our town.
    Perhaps models like the Visitor Park should be looked at rather than public housing ?
    I do hope that that young man Mr. Paech considers running for a seat in the NT House, I reckon he’d be a good representative for the regions.

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  13. Scotty
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Can I place an ad in a paper stating Accommodation Available, must not be Indigenous?
    Double standards for sure. Every day Alice Springs is becoming more and more racist against non indigenous. Do not reply with they need help reasons / social economic excuses.
    Who pays for government decisions? People in the community who work and pay taxes.

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  14. Russell
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You want these “visitors” off the streets and out of locals’ hair …

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