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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


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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Council of Territory Co-operation 53 First Report SIHIP SIHIP is the Territorys silent intervention. It cannot be more simply expressed than to say that SIHIPs management by the Territory was so bad that the Federal Government, after national embarrassment, was forced to intervene. Whatever the reason, the management by the Territory Government was a national shame. Much of the problem with SIHIP was that it was saddled with expectations that it could not hope to meet. SIHIP was steered towards the rocks when Governments, both Territory and Federal, used a myriad of press releases and launches to build expectations even before the program had been funded and described. As the language of those releases and launches were crafted in the vernacular of urgency and it was reasonable to expect that it was publicly expected that an urgent response was on the way. This didnt happen because it needed planning and because the new model of Alliances demanded a need for caution. The eventual slippage of three months in the roll out process as well as the extraordinary use of money on external consultancies, without the immediate results implied by Governments, ensured that it was going to be a program that would fail to deliver houses on time as far as the public expectation was concerned. It needs to be remembered that it did fail to deliver houses on time.192 Two houses released in Wadeye two and a half years after the initial announcements does not constitute a triumph. SIHIP also led to expectations being created in remote communities. After the initial consultations at numerous communities, larger houses were promised to the people who live in those communities. After the review that led to the effective Federal takeover of the program, those houses began to shrink in size and the quality of refurbishments began to be watered down. After the review, there was a Joint Announcement by both spheres of government that described: a stronger leadership role for the Australian Government by embedding an Australian Government Officer in the NTs program management team. This explanation was little more than a papering over of the fact that the Federal Government had wrested control of the program back to its own jurisdiction. Their concerns were well founded because of the incapacity of the Territory Minister, Rob Knight, to deal with the problems the program had developed. The performance of the Territorys Minister was so bad that the implications for the Territorys coffers have been substantial. The infrastructure component of SIHIP has been taken out of the SIHIP bucket and it has been forced onto the Territory Government to address the issue from unbudgeted expenditure. In November 2009 that expenditure had been taken from the Treasurers Advance at an amount of $20 192 The SIHIP Review says: There has been a three month delay against original timeframes in commencing work in the first three nominated locations, Groote Eylandt, the Tiwi Islands and Tennant Creek. Department of Families, Housing and Indigenous Affairs and the Northern Territory Government, Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program Review of Program Performance, 28 August 2009, CTC Tabled Paper No1, Darwin, 9 November 2009, p.26.

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