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The Council of Territory Co-operation Committee First Report February 2010



The Council of Territory Co-operation Committee First Report February 2010

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Tabled paper 714


Tabled papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled By Gerard Wood


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Council of Territory Co-operation 43 First Report In particular, the Council wants to assess the impact of limiting spending on refurbishments to achieve an average of $75,000, on the delivery of a functional, robust house that allows for healthy living. The Council is concerned that emphasis on meeting dollar and number targets will be at the cost of making houses too small and inappropriate designs for Aboriginal living and expensive to maintain. There was also evidence from experienced Territory builders that indicates it is highly unlikely that housing can be built in remote areas for the post-review average cost of $450,000. The Council wants to determine if the emphasis on functionality of refurbishments, and the lower spending limit, allows for the alliances to undertake additional refurbishments or rebuilds. The Council is uneasy about the possible false-economy of spending less now on refurbishing houses, resulting in additional spending on upgrading and maintenance, longer-term for the Northern Territory. A commitment was made that about 50 houses would be commenced by the end of December 2009, however evidence provided to the Council to date, does not substantiate this has occurred. The Council will monitor progress in meeting construction targets and will seek updated information to assist in this. The Council notes the Under Treasurers comments about increased and increasing housing-related essential services and infrastructure funding over the last five years and that this will continue with the implementation of Working Future, and the related Remote Services Delivery NPA implementation. From evidence to date however, most of the SIHIP building work has occurred on sites with existing essential services and land servicing. It is clear significant additional infrastructure costs are associated with SIHIP and Working Future and that the Northern Territorys level of responsibility for infrastructure has increased. It is unclear how this will be met. While it makes sense that at the establishment of a large construction program like SIHIP significant spending would be needed on set-up costs, the Council notes that more than half of the administration funding has already been spent. The Council notes that the employment of consultants is lessening and undertakings have been given that only consultants with particular skills will be employed as needed. The Council will closely monitor the programs achievement of projected financial targets. The Council acknowledges the importance of Aboriginal employment in SIHIPs delivery and applauds Julalikaris approach in seeking a higher proportion of Aboriginal employment. The Council is interested to see if similar approaches can be applied elsewhere. The Council will also look into the links between Aboriginal employment in SIHIP and to Working Future and if the anticipated changes to CDEP will affect achievement of SIHIP Aboriginal employment goals. Local government The Council is concerned that most shires stated that they have inadequate funding to undertake core services and in most cases, inadequate administrative cost recovery for commercial services. In addition, it notes anticipated cost of leasing assets previously owned by community government councils, as reported on by the NT Coordinator-General. Many shire councils are reliant on government grants, with most in remote regions currently having an almost non-existent rates base.

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