For the most part, the town camps of Alice Springs are brutal, dehumanising places where sexual abuse and domestic violence flourish, where drinking binges last for days and where people live 40 to a house in what emergency workers refer to as fourth-world conditions. It is not uncommon for the sewerage to be out of order, the houses so vandalised that they are uninhabitable and for garbage to sit uncollected and rotting.
What is extraordinary is that no level of government has a clear, agreed policy, let alone a plan of action to clean up the 19 camps and make them safe for the estimated 2500 residents. The majority of residents are women and children condemned to inhabit a deadly world on the fringes of mainstream society. And as the urban drift of Aboriginal families from remote communities continues to gather pace, conditions in the camps deteriorate further.