The Council of Territory Co-operation Committee First Report February 2010
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.
Council of Territory Co-operation 56 First Report It is expected that houses refurbished to such a poor standard will not meet the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act and may-well preclude them from being consumed into the pool of houses owned and/or managed by the NT Department of Housing, which is one of the programmed outcomes of SIHIP itself. The only rational conclusion that can attach itself to these facts is that the money in the program is being stretched to meet the targets originally claimed by SIHIPs drivers, namely the Federal and Territory Governments. This is a cynical result that will mean that Aboriginal people will be moving into smaller houses than they had originally expected and where they are moving into refurbished houses it is conceivable that the house will be dirty and grimy when handed back to them. It will be a cold comfort to them that they will know that the Governments who brought them their homes will be able to announce that theyve met their targets. The Country Liberals censure the Territory Government for its failures to effectively manage the program at the outset. The Country Liberals censure both Governments for raising the expectations of Aboriginal people unreasonably for the sake of positive political outcomes. The Country Liberals are highly critical of the current policy of winding back the refurbishments for the sake of budgetary outcomes. Another area of concern is the repeated stone-wall regarding the cost of housing in communities. Houses being built in major communities are going to cost ($450,000) on average.194 Whilst the Alliances accepted that the cost of houses will be an average of $450,000 it was asserted that this average would be a product of houses in the bush costing more. The CTC accepts this assertion, but then a suggestion in Alice Springs by an Alliance that even the houses in the major centres would cost that much (when pressed), then the $450,000 figure begins to gain an air of arbitrariness that may not be reflected in reality. It is interesting to note that in Wadeye (before GST and yard costs) the average price of a house will be between $350,000 and $400,000. The consistency of the cost of construction of houses at $450,000 is surprisingly consistent with the bench mark of $450,000 set by the tenderer. The Country Liberals understand that there are other social benchmarks that are being attempted by the Governments in terms of skilling and training, driving the reliance of Governments on the Alliance models to achieve these outcomes. The Country Liberals harbour reservations that the model is delivering as well as it could. Government assertions that the process of having imbedded public servants in the Alliances to oversee the expenditure are cold comfort when the details of those contacts, particularly in light of the evidence in Wadeye of the $350,000 to $400,000 average house, give cold comfort to the Country Liberals that as much as possible is being achieved by the program as could be done. It is probable that the margins for the Alliances are not as lean as they would have Government and taxpayers believe. 194 LANT, CTC, Transcript of Proceedings, Alice Springs, Monday 23 November 2009, p.11.