Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 23 November 1994 I come now to an issue relating to housing in my electorate and in Tennant Creek in particular. I have had correspondence over several months with the Minister for Lands, Housing and Local Government over a proposal that has been eagerly pursued by Tennant Creek Town Council and, in particular, the town manager with regard to development in Tennant Creek. As members will know, and I am sure will applaud, Poseidon Gold, the most prominent mining company in Tennant Creek, recently reopened the Gecko and Orlando Mines. This has resulted in a flurry o f activity in Tennant Creek although, even before that, exploration work and other commercial and industrial activity meant that housing has been at something o f a premium in our town. The Barkly Economic Development Committee was very interested to see more land opened up for development in Tennant Creek because, at the moment, while land is gazetted for development and blocks are available, they have not actually been made available for sale through the Department o f Lands, Housing and Local Government. What the town council has proposed is that, given that the housing market in Tennant Creek is at a low economic level - in other words, housing is fairly cheap in Tennant Creek by Territory standards - because we face a housing shortage in the town, the land might be made available by the government inexpensively or even free o f cost for a planned development to occur. That might be done by a spec builder or other builders who might be invited to tender for construction o f housing in Tennant Creek. Over the years, Tennant Creek has experienced difficulties with attracting and retaining staff in government jobs and in industry. Many o f these people seek housing o f a quality somewhat higher than the normal Housing Commission standard, especially given the age o f most Housing Commission properties in Tennant Creek. They are looking for quality housing, but they do not want necessarily to purchase a home because they may be living in Tennant Creek for a short period only. Government departments are often seeking to purchase houses in which to accommodate staff. Tennant Creek has lost many good people in recent times simply because suitable housing is not available for them. Even I have to admit that Tennant Creek is not a town that necessarily attracts people by virtue o f its environs or its climate, and it is a sad fact o f life that we have to be able to offer people other inducements to work and remain in the town. Accommodation in a pleasant home environment is one such inducement. Thus, the town council was hopeful that it would be able to demonstrate to the minister that such a release o f land would be in the best interests o f the economic development o f Tennant Creek. However, the minister has refused that proposition consistently, both in this House and by correspondence to me, on the basis that the release o f blocks o f land would lower the value o f housing already in Tennant Creek, given that it is very low. He even suggested that the member for Barkly might be a little concerned if the value o f her house fell following the release o f land for residential development. It is a theory that has yet to be tested but, at the same time, what is happening in the Housing Commission concerns me. I hope the minister will look into this because, over the last couple o f years, the Housing Commission has been selling off houses in Tennant Creek. It has sold them in lots o f 10, 5, 6, 3 and another 3. On each occasion, the manager o f the Housing Commission in Alice Springs very considerately has advised me that these houses were to be sold. He advised which houses were involved, their condition etc. On the last 3 occasions, I have been told that those would be the last o f the Housing Commission houses to be sold off 1850