Karl Hampton MLA, Minister for Central Australia
The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health Member for Lingiari
The highly successful Dog Control Program, which has seen over 670 dogs removed from Alice Springs town camps since December 2008, will receive an extra $450,000 over two years from the Australian and Northern Territory Governments.
The Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and the Northern Territory Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton, today announced the funding for the Alice Springs Town Council to continue the program.
The funding is being provided under the $150 million Alice Springs Transformation Plan, and will extend the program for a further two years to 30 June 2012.
The funding will help employ two full-time rangers to run a dog eradication program, and education campaign. The dog control strategy will limit the number of dogs to two per house, and provide health checks, micro-chipping and chemical sterilisations to help manage the dog population.
"Dogs in the town camps pose a health and safety risk to everyone, particularly children. They carry many infectious diseases including scabies, as well causing a number of tragic deaths in recent years," Ms Macklin.
"It is unacceptable for young children and their families to live in fear of attack.
"The health and safety of Indigenous families in the town camps remains the number one priority for the Australian and Northern Territory Governments."
This additional funding builds on the Governments' previous commitment of $205,000 in 2008, and a further $90,000 to extend the program from January to June 2010 to support responsible dog ownership in town camps.
Mr Hampton said this was another step in improving the health and safety of children and families living in Alice Springs.
"Dog control in town camps has been an ongoing issue for many years. This funding will ensure the ongoing success of the program which has two dedicated rangers working with residents," Mr Hampton said.
"The next two years will see increased efforts to actively engage town camp residents through the provision of dog owner education, increase dog registration, and encourage sterilisation."
The program has been well-received by town camp residents with a further 175 dogs registered by Council rangers in 2009.
Mr Snowdon said the removal of more than 670 dogs had helped improve health and safety issues in the town camps.
"We know some dogs are treasured companions to town camp residents. This program will ensure they are monitored, registered and controlled, while at the same time protecting people from attacks and generally improving the health and safety of town camps," Mr Snowdon said.
"This is a sensible and welcome approach for town camp residents and the broader community"
The Alice Springs Town Council Chief Executive Officer, Rex Mooney, said the Council was pleased that the Australian and Northern Territory Governments have continued to support town camps dog control program for a further two years.
"This program has had many positive outcomes for town camp residents and the wider community. This funding means that the good work of our Ranger unit is able to continue," said Mr Mooney.
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