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Town camp tenancy contract and failed NT housing system both need review

Posted: Wed, January 20, 2016

The Central Land Council has called on the NT government to review its decision to strip the CAAHC of its tenancy services contract and award it to a commercial provider with a poor reputation in remote communities. 

“This decision reflects an NT housing system that continues to fail the people who need it most,” said CLC director David Ross.

“The government must make its reasons transparent and get real about developing Aboriginal businesses and jobs.”

Mr Ross said the NT government boasts about its contracting policy of awarding 70% of small construction, repairs and maintenance contracts in remote communities to local Aboriginal businesses by next year while it applies different standards to town camps.

“To our constituents it looks as if the government doesn’t give a hoot about their community managed Aboriginal housing organisation that has built up significant expertise and relationships over the past five years,” said Mr Ross.

“The loss of this major contract could spell the end of CAAHC and will hurt our constituents and the wider community.”

“CAAHC has worked hard to sustain tenancies, reduce property damage, prevent evictions, avoid homelessness and increase social cohesion.”

Mr Ross said while difficult to measure, these social outcomes would have provided great value to CLC constituents and the Alice Springs community.

“Not taking them into account in a price-based tender process means the community will pay a higher social price in years to come.”

He said the track record of the winning tenderer, a non-Aboriginal business without experience in town camps, made the NT government’s decision even harder to understand.

“The CLC has received nothing but poor feedback about Zodiac Business Services from remote community tenants, with complaints ranging from Zodiac staff being rude to tenants, entering their houses without knocking to failing to attend to even the most basic repair and maintenance issues,” he said.

“The government needs to come clean with voters about how and why it has chosen this organisation over CAAHC.”

While the CLC welcomes the awarding of the property services contract for town camps to Tangentyere Constructions Mr Ross said it is silly to split property and tenancy management.

“A responsive social housing model needs to incorporate both. The NT public housing system ensures that no matter who wins the contract they are so constrained by the housing department that it is very difficult to deliver a decent service,” he said.

“The whole failed system needs to be overhauled so community housing providers are not only supported and win contracts but have the flexibility and independence to run a quality service.”

The CLC is a member of CAAHC and supports the creation of community controlled housing organisations adhering to national standards.

 

20 Jan, 2016

Contact: Emma Sleath, emma.sleath@clc.org.au / 0488 984 885