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Tuesday, 15 May 1973
Page: 2150

Mr Calder (NORTHERN TERRITORY) asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that 15 of the 21 houses delivered to Roper River Settlement in late 1972 are lying damaged and deteriorating rapidly in the long grass.

(2)   ls it also a fact that the Aborigines of the progress association are erecting 6 other houses allotted to them but are not in a position through lack of tradesmen to handle the 15 houses mentioned.

(3)   If so, will he urgently arrange for tradesmen to go in and, with the willing assistance of the Roper River men, erect the houses and prevent further damage to these much needed dwellings.

Mr Bryant - The answer to the honourable member's question is as fellows: (1-3) The components of 25 houses were delivered to the Ngukurr community in 1972; the autonomous Housing Association at Ngukurr has erected 5 of these and has substantially progressed with the erection of a further 5. The remaining 15, to be erected as part of the Government housing program, have suffered some damage and deterioration since delivery. The delays in the erection of these houses have arisen from adverse weather conditions and a shortage of tradesmen and equipment.

The Housing Association's building supervisor has recently resigned and the Association, with the assistance of my Department, is recruiting a replacement. Owing to delays in the delivery of materials, caused by unfavourable weather, contractors at present at Ngukurr have been unable to proceed with the construction of the new rural health centre and are assisting the Association with supervision. The target date for completion of the Housing Association program is the end of June.

There is an urgent need to proceed with the construction of the remaining 15 houses and my Department is negotiating with the Housing Association on a price for their erection. If necessary, to achieve an early start on building, my Department will post a works supervisor to Ngukurr.

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