Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Driving Indigenous housing in the NT

Joint Media Release with:

  • Paul Henderson MLA, NT Chief Minister

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments are determined to achieve the ambitious targets they have set in housing reform to deliver long-overdue housing to Indigenous Australians in the NT.

Over the next 5 years, the Australian and NT Governments have committed $672 million to the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP).

This program will see the construction of around 750 new houses, 230 rebuilds of existing houses and 2500 upgrades plus essential infrastructure including power, water and sewage.

Given the scope of the program and the considerable investment being made by the Australian Government, Minister Macklin has decided that direct representation is needed to drive the program locally.

Senior Australian Government official Ms Amanda Cattermole – a senior executive in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs working in the area of Indigenous remote service delivery – and a senior officer with the Territory Government, Mr Ken Davies, have been appointed to work with the SIHIP team to make sure housing construction, rebuilds and upgrades are delivered as quickly as possible.

It will be their responsibility to make sure the governments’ housing priorities are addressed as a matter of urgency and they will have the authority to direct relevant government officials, the SIHIP program managers and Alliance partners.

This includes oversight of the $100 million housing allocation for the Alice Springs town camps for the construction of new houses as well as significant rebuilds of existing houses in poor condition.

Our overriding concern is to tackle the appalling living conditions endured by thousands of Indigenous people which are the result of years of neglect and failed policies.

This demands a comprehensive overhaul of the way we have delivered remote housing in the past.

The two senior officers will report directly to Dr Jeff Harmer the Secretary of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and to Mr Mike Burgess, Chief Executive of the Department of the Chief Minister in the Northern Territory.

Dr Harmer and Mr Burgess will provide an update to the Australian and Northern Territory Governments on the performance of the program in four weeks.