While I congratulate the Minister on his apparent new openness …

Comment on 250 public dwellings would cost $100,000 each to fix up by Steve Brown.

While I congratulate the Minister on his apparent new openness and transparency this article raises a lot more questions than it answers and while some of the aspirational comment is good much suggests that the Minister is in urgent need of some outside expertise.
As a Minister in a new Government with the self-declared intention of “making a difference” the first thing you need to do is understand your department and its issues “as they are”, not as department heads would like you, to understand them.
Minister Chandler appears to have swallowed the department line, hook line and sinker!
Selling houses without reducing stock Mr Chandler I suspect every housing manager in the country would like to know how you manage that!
Selling off poorly maintained houses to fix other poorly maintained houses is a management joke that would assuredly send any private company to the wall!
Going backwards is what you are proposing Minister; going backwards is going backwards, no matter how you dress it up.
There are so many furphies and departmental myths in this article it hard to know where to begin.
Take general maintenance of Territory Housing stocks under normal circumstances this contracted out to reputable maintenance companies. This system has been in place for 30 years or more and has worked well until very recent times.
That the system has broken down has nothing at all to do with workmanship, it has absolutely everything to do with a shameless degree of departmental incompetence and mismanagement!
For instance, the introduction of a new computer system last year saw maintenance grind to a complete halt for months, staffing and competence issues since that time have seen this extend right up until the present.
This is very much at odds with the department’s claim, that they have expended this year’s budget, in the first few months of the financial year, making this claim either untrue or covering a huge increase in expenditure elsewhere outside of the normal maintenance regime.
Could it just possibly be that the inserting of another high cost parasitical NGO to do the management / maintenance of town camps has something to do with it?
Have a few hundred recently refurbished town camp houses used up the entire housing budget? A budget intended to maintain thousands of mainstream homes!
The NGO, a supposedly non profit group made, its appearance under the previous government but has continued to prosper under the new regime. Perhaps the minister would like to comment as to why the intention of inclusiveness, of bringing the town camps into the mainstream community for the deliverance of their services, has already been usurped by departmental support of this new group seeking to isolate control of camps in order to create another fringe camp empire?
Is this in line with CLP policy? Is this in line with the Chief Minister’ss stated intention of not separating indigenous issues from the mainstream?
Why is density of Housing homes an issue that gives excuse for selling off? House are houses, surely it doesn’t matter who owns them unless of course … there is an issue around say, poor maintenance and tenant behaviour!
“Yes Minister”, another management issue! Selling off houses to excuse departmental failure, to properly, adequately, supervise these houses! How on earth do you think we’d get on in private enterprise if we took this approach?
Selling off house to developers if we in the business can afford to buy renovate and market these house at a profit I am absolutely certain that the department can renovate and retain a asset for a good deal less.
Your statement says these homes would require the expenditure of up to $100,000.
[ED – our report said the 250 dwellings would require $100,000 each.]
Many I suspect would require a good deal less, therefore minister, for a rather small capital expenditure you could have a hundred ready made “affordable” houses, available almost immediately for sale to desperately needy home buyers.
If these houses are sold for development they will re-enter the market at prices well above what can be described as “affordable”. Is this what the CLP wants?
I applaud the minister’s stated intention of reintroducing a construction regime for new Housing homes along with an affordable home buyers’ scheme.
I would love to see the reintroduction of the Old Commission home ownership scheme that allowed tenants to rent and convert to purchase at a time of their choosing, with prior rent being converted to part of the purchase price and vendor finance provided by Housing.
In Alice Springs the intention to construct new homes revolves very much around the availability of “affordable” land. Until we have some we should do our best to maintain our existing housing stocks.
As an electrician who sub-contracts quite a bit of housing maintenance in Alice I can tell you that the story of the electricians visiting the lighting pole six times in twelve months is one of those departmental myths floated with the intention of deflecting responsibility and developing further roles for bureaucrats.
The absolute last thing that Housing or the Territory needs. I can tell you that it wouldn’t be unusual to visit a light post in a block of units many more than six times in a year, because minister, these post are sabotaged, switched off or smashed over and over again. So who do you think needs closer monitoring, the usually hardworking electrician or those office bound bureaucrats responsible for the management of these premises?
The management of Housing has been in crisis for a generation. During that time the department has been guilty of divesting itself of as many homes as it possibly could in an attempt to divest itself of difficult management issues and responsibility.
The result is that Territory Housings stocks are far lower today than they were 15 years ago! The selling off has occurred in complete disregard for the “years long” waiting list of struggling young families paying out enormous rents in the private market and looking to a Housing home for some chance, a start in life.
Minister, the Housing homes 30 years old or not, that are upgraded and returned to the pool for rental are every bit as good as a brand new home! There is not a young or old family that wouldn’t jump with joy at being provided with an opportunity to purchase or rent these houses from Housing, at an affordable rate!
So stop the rot!
Give our families a chance! Give our community some stability! Minister, during the party’s years in Opposition they continually railed at Labor for selling off homes and went to an election with a policy of “Increasing Housing Stocks”.
Do us all a favour, including your own party, stick to the policy, stick to the arguments given so many times prior to the election, stop the sell off!
Concentrate on taking Housing from being a welfare provider to an incentive provider, force the department to accept responsibility, to take up the role of being both a welfare and incentive housing provider and meet the community’s expectations of good management of these community assets.
If funding is required borrow the funds! If I can borrow to buy these houses you can borrow to provide them!
I wish the Minister all the best in his new role, decent affordable housing is the very basis of our industry, economy and general health and well-being. Give yourself a chance in reaching worthy aspirational goals hire some industry expertise from outside the department, sort the wheat from the chaff, make “Housing” happen for the first time in a generation! That really will be “making a difference”!

Recent Comments by Steve Brown

Gallery fiasco: school heritage process ‘massively flawed’
Oddly enough Domeninco, from around 1984 I’ve noted an escalating deterioration of our town’s earlier strengths and character.
Those of us who are amongst the town’s earliest families, the builders of the Alice and other towns in the Territory, understood what it took to create healthy, well balanced, economically viable, communities.
Unfortunately the vibrancy once driven by a very healthy private sector has long since given way to petty bureaucracy and welfareism along with all the blow in petty politic of envy and ignorance those sectors brought with them.
Replacing vibrancy, hope and belief with a petty mentality of obstructionism and envy, glaring down, standing in the way of, anything that might create, dare I say, the dirty words economic progress!
This attempt to save an ugly, rotten old, asbestos riddled building of no architectural merit is just another example of that moronic stifling mentality.
Crime and corruption about which these people winge constantly, flourishes in places that don’t offer hope and progress!
Sloth and disillusionment flourish in places of bureaucratic overload and petty envious obstructionism!
To clean our town up, to get it moving, to offer hope, we need to deal with those things!
We simply must learn to walk right on bye the wingers, specially the blow-in wingers, and to get right on with building our town, a place of enormous potential if only it is given enough air to breathe.


Gallery fiasco: school heritage process ‘massively flawed’
There is absolutely nothing architecturally noteworthy about this crappy old building, just because a particular person visited, walked past, looked at or went to this school doesn’t make it a place that must be preserved!
It would hang like a millstone around the community’s collective necks for perpetuity.
This building has been sitting there rotting for years yet you suddenly find a deep underlying passion and love for it when another use for its location is found?
I cry BS on this claim!
You are simply being obstructionist! As per usual I might add!
Keeping old completely un-noteworthy buildings in premier positions simply creates an enormously expensive ulcerating rot in the central locations of town, forcing us to extend our CBD over a wider and wider area destroying along with that expansion any chance of creating a thriving central CBD.
So while there certainly are buildings that are noteworthy and worth preserving despite this fact ie Flynn Church and Adelaide House etc.
Much less noteworthy building such as this old school must give way to the new!


Private forecaster tips massive rains for Alice
Heavy rains will certainly be welcome, no doubt about it Ed, but 30 to 50mm is a long way short of what’s required to produce floods like the one pictured.
That kind of flood requires closer to 200mm over a fairly short period of time … wouldn’t that be nice?


Big crowd at local School Strike 4 Climate Action
@ Evelyn: While I agree with the general intent of your comment it is important to note for the interested children’s education, that neither their action nor any taken by this nation will have the slightest effect on the world climate! Even if we could completely halt all of our carbon production tomorrow, it would not make the slightest difference to climate change.
So by all means kids work towards a cleaner environment, cleaner air and cleaner oceans, but don’t be taken for a ride by those who seek to create irrational fears about your own beautiful world, through politically motivated, fear mongering garbage, about climate change.
It is a natural part of our world and always will be!
The thing we really do need to need fear and guard against, are the mindless efforts of indoctrinated climate fanatics who seek through their ignorance and city bred real world isolation, to do something irrational about planetary warming.
It would benefit everyone to keep in mind that a warming climate is a more productive climate, while on the other hand a cooling climate very quickly becomes a threat to all life on earth, through starvation!
Let’s hope we get to sit somewhere in between. In the meantime there is one very real threat we should all fight and guard against, the life threatening efforts of climate science to artificially interfere with our climate. One stupid mistake and “Winter really will be coming”!


‘Arrogant’ government fails to answer 20 questions
Didn’t Robyn spruik long and loud the benefits of having an Independent Member for Araluen?
Now she is completely bound up in petty squabbling about more resources.
And not one single question to Government about things that affect the rest of us.
While the Territory goes to hell in a hand basket!
No pressure on Government at all!
Talk about ineffective.
You are payed a dam good wage plus expenses. Write your own speeches and for the Territory’s sake, get on with the job.
[ED – Mr Brown was the CLP candidate for Araluen.]


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