The state of housing on the APY Lands

Posted on 14 November 2016 under APY Lands, Housing & Tracking.

Housing SA is responsible for all community housing on the APY Lands including all community housing that existed before Housing SA took on the property and tenancy management. Housing SA does not collect rent or manage the maintenance of houses on homelands and is not responsible for government or health worker housing or other staff housing.

Housing SA currently manages 367 properties on the APY Lands and is responsible for building new houses, upgrading or refurbishing existing houses and demolishing old or unsafe houses.

Number of new houses and refurbishments

In the past 12 months, Housing SA has built 15 new houses – 8 in Indulkana and 7 in Ernabella/Pukatja; and has refurbished 34 houses – 23 in Indulkana and 11 in Ernabella/Pukatja. Refurbishments usually include renewing bathrooms, toilets, laundries, kitchens, painting, upgrading floors, doors, screens and air-conditioners.

Since 2009, Housing SA has built 153 new houses and has refurbished 175 houses. Most of the 153 houses have been built in communities where significant over-crowding had been identified. According to Housing SA, reducing over-crowding has had a positive impact on health outcomes, the amount of sleep children are getting and, consequently, on improved school attendance.

Over the next two years, Housing SA plans to build 16 new houses across Indulkana, Nyapari, Kanpi, Pipalyatjara and Kalka and to refurbish 24 existing houses across Ernabella/Pukatja, Kenmore Park, Kanpi, Nyapari and Kalka.

Tenancy agreements and rental

A tenancy agreement is signed with the head tenant of each household who is responsible for paying the rent. Housing SA is responsible for collecting the rent and providing a maintenance service. All of the rent goes towards paying for the maintenance of houses.

There are no tenancy a
greements for houses in homelands and no rent is collected from homeland households and no maintenance services are provided for these houses.

Rent is charged per house and is based on the number of bedrooms in each house. Rental is charged as follows:

  • One-bedroom house: $45 per week
  • Two-bedroom house: $60 per week
  • Three-bedroom house: $75 per week
  • Four or more bedrooms: $90 per week.

The tenancy arrangements include a built-in safety net to ensure that the rental paid per household is not more than 20% of a household’s income.

Rental arrears

Most rents are paid via direct deductions from Centrelink benefits or employer payroll deductip1010606ons.

If households are having difficulties paying their rent, Housing SA says that it works with the family or tenant to work out a way to sort out the problem and/or link people with Centrelink or other support services. According to Housing SA, of those households that get into rental arrears, approximately 90% have set up an arrangement to repay the debt and have maintained their repayment arrangements.

State and Federal Government Agreements and Policies

At a Federal level, the National Partnership on Remote Housing (NPRH) was originally signed in 2008 (as the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing – NPARIH) between South Australia and the Federal Government. This Agreement was renegotiated in April 2016 and will run until June 2018.

Under the NPRH, a schedule for the South Australian Government sets out SA’s commitments in terms of housing3building and upgrading properties; this includes commitments regarding the employment of Anangu, contracting Aboriginal businesses, and supporting work-for-the-dole initiatives.

At a state level, Housing SA has policies in place to determine rent and maintenance settings and the programming of house maintenance. The intention of the policy framework is to ensure that everyone gets a consistent level and quality of service.

Housing SA determines the refurbishments and allocation of new houses in conjunction with community councils so that those who are most in need are responded to.

Housing SA has indicated that it will be important to plan ahead in order to keep up with the size of the population and the need for housing. It will therefore be important to consider the future funding for housing after the NPRH agreement expires in June 2018.

The Anangu Lands Paper Tracker recently interviewed the Senior Manager – Remote Aboriginal Housing, Strategy and Services at Housing SA, Jude Allen. To listen to the radio interview, click here.

The Paper Tracker works hard to provide accurate and up-to-date information. We will correct any inaccurate information as soon as it is brought to our attention. Please contact us if you have additional information or can provide us with an update.