Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Audit report confirms Indigenous housing program on track in the Northern Territory

Joint Media Release with:

  • Chris Burns MLA, Northern Territory Minister for Public and Affordable Housing

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have welcomed an Australian National Audit Office report released today on the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing in the Northern Territory.

The report finds the significant number of new and refurbished houses being built under the program is a positive achievement.

The program is on track to deliver on our targets of 934 new houses and more than 2,900 rebuilds and refurbishments by June 2013. In some remote communities, such as Maningrida, this will represent a 65 per cent increase in their housing stock.

The report finds that the construction costs under the program are broadly comparable to general industry standards. Program management costs are running at 8 per cent. This confirms that the program is delivering value for money.

The Australian Government and the Northern Territory Government are working together to deliver the program and the ANAO has acknowledged the positive impact this joint management arrangement has had on outcomes.

The report makes it clear that the scale of work being undertaken as part of the housing program in the Northern Territory is unprecedented, and that before the program began, housing and infrastructure in the Northern Territory were in very poor condition.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments are tackling this backlog of housing need through the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing, which is a $1.7 billion investment over ten years.

More than 350 new houses completed and another 275 underway. Over 1800 rebuilds and refurbishments have already been completed as part of the program in the Northern Territory.

This is delivering improved living conditions for more than 2,000 Aboriginal families.

The program is also delivering Indigenous employment, exceeding its 20 per cent target.

The property and tenancy management procedures put in place as part of the program are also helping to ensure that houses will be better maintained and last into the future.

The report confirms that the housing program had a slow start, but since the Federal Government commissioned a review of the housing program in 2009, the actions taken by both governments have resulted in significant improvements and the program is meeting its targets.

The report makes three recommendations around clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the Australian Government as part of the program and providing some additional program reporting and performance indicators.

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments will accept all the report’s recommendations and will work closely on implementing the recommendations.

Decent housing plays a major role in improving lives. It is essential for protecting children, improving health, education, and employment, and re-building positive community norms.

Increasing the supply and quality of housing in remote communities is a critical element to closing the gap, and we will continue to roll out new houses, rebuilds and refurbishments in the Northern Territory as quickly as possible so that more families can live in safe and healthy homes.