A local housing projects builder has described the living conditions of indigenous families in Alice Springs as "absolutely horrendous" and said that there's a reason kids don't want to be home and prefer life on the streets.
Carey Joy, who is also a former police officer, said that the reason young aboriginals flock to the streets instead of staying home is because the streets, for them, are safer than their own family homes.
"I don't know any child that would want to spend time in that, or use the toilet in that or bath in that sort of environment or just sleep on that ... on the floor with cockroaches and mice everywhere with rubbish, dirty nappies, smashed windows, intoxicated people, violence, sexual offences against children, women," he said.
He told me that it is part of a sickening issue in Alice Springs that our leaders just don't want to face up to and that it's Australia's "dirty secret" that nobody really wants to address.
"I've been to jobs where four-month-old and seven-month-old babies have been raped by grown men in their 30s and 40s in environments like that," he said while showing me through the shocking housing conditions.
"If I was one of those children I would be on the street as well .. you would not get me to spend a night in those properties."
Carey told me that the issues are compounded by a lack of responsibility and accountability, which sees the cycle of destruction continue again and again.
"If you or I would smash something, we would be prosecuted and then fined and probably blacklisted from renting another unit and put on a banned tenancy list, so it is a massive recycling event which doesn't stop," he said.
"And that's not every tenancy but there's a lot of them, obviously with the frequency and the amount of houses that are done here, it's quite a big issue."
Corey said that fixing the issue isn't simply a money problem, but more of a "family problem, an environment problem and an education problem" and called for new thinking to help solve the issue instead of "throwing money" at the same organisations and hoping the situation changes.
"These are not criminal elements or organised juvinile crime gangs, these are kids that need a family and need some love," he said.
"And I don't know of race or religion or anything that would do any different if they were in the same environment. They would all be the same if they were in that environment."
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