A recent Australian Bureau of Statistics presentation to the Alice Springs Town Council recently showed that the median weekly rent in MacDonnell Shire is $25, and in Central Desert Shire, $20. The Alice Springs News Online asked Territory Housing to confirm this, and asked about the maximum and minimum rents for public housing in the shires. Andrew Kirkman, Executive Director for Remote Housing NT explains:-
Territory Housing manages approximately 5000 remote dwellings which include community living areas in the NT. In collaboration with the Australian Government there has been considerable capital investment through the building of new houses and improvements to existing housing stock under the National Partnership Agreement for Remote Indigenous Housing over the last 3-4 years.
The Remote Rent Framework provides equity through recognising the different levels of housing amenity and the calculation of rent through an assessment of household incomes. As outlined in the Remote Rent Framework there are four dwelling classifications applied, including maximum and minimum charges for rent and housing maintenance levy. As an example, the minimum range is $0 for an “Improvised Dwelling”. Up to maximum of $250 per week [is charged] for a four-bedroom new house.
People residing in “Existing houses” (classification 3) will continue to pay a dwelling charge called a “Housing Maintenance Levy”, which is also capped to a maximum amount for a household based on the number of bedrooms. In the main people occupying “Existing houses” will continue to pay the previous “poll tax” which can range from $20 to $40 each per person, per week depending on the historical charge prior to Territory Housing taking over management responsibility.
Therefore the amounts quoted by ABS reflect an individual’s payment of rent under the “poll tax” method rather than a cumulative total of household rent received in line with the Remote Rent Framework.