More than half a billion dollars given to the Territory for remote housing has been eaten up by administration fees, according to figures cited by Chief Minister Adam Giles.
Eight years into the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) – which committed $1.7 billion of federal money over a decade – Mr Giles claims only 60 per cent has ever made it to capital works.
If correct, and if consistent since the deal was signed in 2008, it means about $520 million of the estimated $1.3 billion given to the Territory so far has been lost to administration. The staggering information was revealed at a media event with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion at Mutitjulu yesterday, but it appeared to be of only secondary importance.
According to Mr Scullion’s media release, the event was about “a $350 million investment by the Australian and Northern Territory governments”.
But this money is not new, rather it is the final two years of NPARIH rebranded as the Remote Housing Strategy (RHS).
The most significant change of direction – which did not get a mention in Mr Scullion’s release – appears to be a new procurement process to eliminate the wastage.
While details have not been fully explained, the NT News understands the NT Department of Infrastructure will now run the entire delivery program behind remote housing instead of leaving the long chain of subcontracting – where fees are generally accumulated – to head contractors or project managers.
Mr Giles told reporters at Mutitjulu it would mean 90 per cent of NPARIH’s (RHS) final two years would go directly to housing works and only 10 per cent to administration.
Mr Giles said this $350 million would help the Territory Government build 152 new homes, 256 replacement homes and refurbish 1000 homes. It was announced yesterday 20 of these new homes would go to Mutitjulu.
“The new agreement ensures we have opportunities on the ground for people here in Mutitjulu and every community across the Territory,” Mr Scullion said when asked to explain the new and old models.
Asked how many jobs it would mean in Mutitjulu, he said: “I’m not sure I can answer the question.”
Mr Giles said those carrying out the new housing work must employ at least 35 per cent local indigenous people.
Source: NT News