Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 7149

Mr BRENDAN O'CONNOR (GortonMinister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness and Minister for Small Business) (20:29): I thank the honourable member for this question. I am aware of the challenges around the allocation and the construction of NRAS homes in the Northern Territory and in Darwin. I can advise the honourable member that when the first tender was released in the Northern Territory there were no expressions of interest by companies. I do understand there was then an agreement. Subsequent to the closing of that tender, there was a discussion with a prospective company that had showed an interest in proceeding. It was not unusual that there was a slow take-up initially for NRAS. NRAS has proven to be a very successful innovative scheme, but it took a while because it was quite new for this country to have that sort of structure and the way in which it was done. For those who may not be aware, the NRAS constructs homes in partnership with organisations, and usually state governments, and it reduces the market rental rate to 80 per cent so that people who are having great difficulty in gaining affordable housing are able to access those houses. I am afraid to say that in relation to the Northern Territory, there has been a slow take-up—and as you say too slow. That is of concern to me and I have been working with the department, and the department has been engaging the Northern Territory government to see what we can do to realise the construction of homes.

There is no doubt that in Darwin, and in the Territory generally, there is a requirement for construction of dwellings because of the affordability challenge. It is compounded of course by the economic growth of Darwin. You are seeing some great economic success arising out of that city, and even in other parts of the Territory, but particularly in Darwin. That has compounded the challenge in dealing with housing affordability. I am very concerned that this matter be addressed expeditiously. For that reason, we will be looking at what we can do to ensure that the allocation of NRAS places in the Territory will see constructed dwellings as soon as possible for those people who are in need of affordable housing.