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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 54 First Report million. Such an impost on a Government already running a $249 million deficit for the current financial year should be an unwelcome impost to say the least. It is notable that the Government is intending to run deficit budgets for the next three years at least and it is likely that the mistakes made with the implementation of the SIHIP program will continue to adversely affect the Governments financial commitments into the future. Also of concern to the Country Liberals is the dilution of what is being done by the program in communities. It was clear at the outset that houses had been, at a definitional level at least, reduced to mere dwellings. This meant that the program was not only going to deliver smaller houses but one and two bedroom dwellings were going to be counted in the houses list. Further the definition of what was a rebuild and what was a refurbishment has been blurred with the funding arrangements between the two becoming less clear. A refurbishment was to be done at an average cost of $150,000. It is important to note that what is required of a refurbishment has been drastically reduced. Originally a refurbishment was intended to bring a house from a structurally sound but run down state into essentially an as new state. This is reflected in houses in Tennant Creek where this has effectively been achieved. However, houses in the post review period have now seen a much lower standard being applied. For example, a house being refurbished in accordance with the later standards will only have fittings and wet areas repaired. It was explained to the CTC in Nguiu that under the new standards if a wall is dirty and written on but otherwise sound, it will not be attended to or repaired. The Nguiu example is one that adequately demonstrates the arms length approach adopted by the NT Department of Housing and the failure of the Minister responsible to provide any direction whatsoever. Prior to the review, Territory Alliance was given a budget of $53M to perform its obligations under SIHIP on the Tiwi Islands and given carte blanche go ahead and consult with the community to determine their housing requirements. After consultation, the Alliance arrived at figures of 29 new houses and 95 rebuilds and refurbishments. They costed a refurbishment at $150,000 each and costed a 2-bedroom, 6-person house at $560,000. If one calculates the cost of this proposal: 95 rebuilds/refurbishments @ $150,000 = $14.25M $53M - $14.25M = $38.75M 38.75M / 29 houses = $ 1.34M per house193 This figure beggars belief. However, if one was to factor in the 11.5% (pre- review administration) cost of almost $7M, the unit cost of one house on the Tiwi Islands would have fallen to $1 126 034 each. The point to be made at this juncture is that, had the review not taken place and the Federal Government stepped in to jointly manage and oversight this program, the unit cost of a house on the Tiwi Islands would have been $1 126 034. Another example of what we would call, questionable costings, 10 refurbishments and rebuilds (five of each) were undertaken on Groote Eylandt at an average cost of 193 These amounts were taken by way of hand written notes from an out of session hearing (i.e. not recorded by Hansard) by the Member for Katherine at Nguiu. The Country Liberals are surprised by the figures. Further investigation is needed to verify the figures.