Housing refurbishments in remote Aboriginal communities worth $100,000 do not include floor coverings leaving families to live on bare cement floors, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion said.
Senator Scullion found out the startling fact that tiles were not included in refurbishments done under the Federal Labor government’s Indigenous Housing Program (SIHIP) during senate estimates on Friday.
“ I asked about why back In March this year, a tender closed for 60 houses in Santa Teresa scheduled to have floor tiles laid with funding from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), which was not from the SIHIP budget after refurbishments had already been done.
“The answer I got back was that the work had not been originally done as tiles were not generally done in refurbishments.
“Refurbishments average $75,000 and can be up to $100,000 but how does that not include having floor coverings?
“The government has said that refurbishments would make houses safe, healthy and liveable but how are kids running around on cement floors with no tiles or floor coverings safe and healthy?
“It is an absolute outrage that when families in remote communities finally vacate their house for the much needed refurbishment, they move back in to find their house has unsealed and bare cement floors.
“Despite a history of cost blowouts and shoddy work being reported as delivered through SIHIP, with many more examples of poor work detailed in the recently released final report by the Northern Territory government’s Council of Territory Co-operation, the government continues to claim SIHIP and the alliance model as a cost efficient, structurally sound, and wonderful housing program.
“The government denies that SIHIP’s high administration costs have seen fewer houses built and less work done in refurbishments but that is what the Council of Territory Co-operation (CTC) report concludes.
“Andrew Kirkman, SIHIP executive director, told CTC it was not possible to bring community housing up to an urban standard as there was not enough money.
“So our First Australians have to be satisfied with second rate housing?
“That leads me to ask Minister Macklin; where have all the millions invested into SIHIP disappeared because it certainly doesn’t appear to have been spent on houses,” Senator Scullion said.
Download media release:
120603 SIHIP estimates release.pdf