Creating a better future together

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Town Council and Tangentyere Council is set to benefit both Councils and all residents in Alice Springs.

"I see a closer working relationship between the two organisations leading to us addressing a range of issues adding to the health, happiness and quality of life in the town," said Alice Springs Mayor, Fran Erlich.

Tangentyere Executive Director William Tilmouth said that the Memorandum of Understanding creates a new dimension to the relationship

"It is a real partnership which will engage and improve our community," he said.

"This will be achieved by the steering committee made up of representatives from our two Councils and together we will concentrate on providing Local Government services to all residents.

"None of this threatens our separate identities.

"Cooperation does not mean losing distinctiveness &endash; it means pooling our strengths and addressing issues creatively in order to create a better future for our community."

While not limiting the scope of cooperation, the agreement names specific areas on which the Councils will work. These include youth development, employment, training, public health, environmental health, substance abuse, animal management, public transport, waste management, stormwater drainage and flood control.

"An important part of the agreement is that we will work together to create opportunities for disadvantaged members of the community to overcome that disadvantage," Mayor Erlich said.

"The Town Council also recognises that Aboriginal residents of Alice Springs, whether they reside within the Housing Associations or not, have a right to a level of Local Government services consistent with that provided to other sectors of the community."

Tangentyere Council is the body that has responsibility for caring for the Housing Associations. These are various enclaves that house Aboriginal residents.

Twelve months in the making, the agreement is seen as an historic step in Indigenous and non Indigenous relations. It provides the ability to have joint decision making compared with consultation.

"At an officer level, we are already working together on environmental health and night warden patrols," Mayor Erlich said. "This is a formalisation and extension of the present arrangements."

Alice Springs Town Council will also extend training that its own workforce undertakes, employing suitably qualified Aboriginal people in the workforce.