Iwantja: new community housing

First posted on 23 January 2008 under Housing & Iwantja.
This article has been updated and archived.

Summary

In December 2007, the South Australian Government called for tenders for the construction of nine new houses at Iwantja. This project sought to address the critical shortage of housing in that community. It was also an important training and employment opportunity for Anangu.

The Paper Trail

Iwantja is one of the largest communities on the APY Lands (population 300+).[i] For many years, its residents have endured a critical shortage of housing.[ii]

Since 2000, some APY communities have received a significant number of new houses. To date, a substantial building program has not been completed at Iwantja.[iii]

In 2004, housing data for Iwantja and surrounding homelands recorded the community as having a combined population of 310 people living in 47 houses (28 houses in the main community, 19 on homelands). Of the 47 houses, five were “not suitable for habitation.” The same data noted that 22 families, couples and individuals were registered on the community’s housing waiting list, including 15 families with children.[iv]

In 2005, the South Australian and Australian Governments completed a survey of the housing and infrastructure needs of selected Aboriginal communities. The survey results, which were updated in September 2006, found that Iwantja had only 42 houses.[v] Of these, 20 were listed as being in need of a substantial upgrade while five needed to be demolished. The survey results indicated that Iwantja needed eight additional houses.[vi]

On 11 December 2007, the State Government issued a call for tenders for a project to build nine new houses at Iwantja and, at the same time, demolish three existing houses.[vii]

The tender documents do not establish a clear timeframe for the project’s completion. They do, however, highlight a requirement that the successful contractor provide employment and training opportunities for Anangu:

It is mandatory for Contractors working on projects in Aboriginal communities … within the APY Lands to participate in a supervised work placement program for an Aboriginal Building Trainee or Apprentice during the period of the contract.[viii]

The tender documents also state that the Government “encourages Contractors to provide Indigenous employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal workers [who are] not linked to any work placement scheme.” To that end, the Government has already allocated the provisional sum of $60,375 in support of such opportunities under the proposed contract.[ix]

This article has been archived and will no longer be updated. It will, however, remain accessible online as a source of background information for anyone wishing to undertake further research on this issue.


[i] Census data for 2006 recorded 339 people at Iwantja. This made it the third largest community on the Lands (after Pukatja and Amata). Furthermore, figures listed on the State Department of Education and Children’s Services website indicate that Iwantja Anangu School has the second highest enrolment (after Pukatja). http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/. Accessed, 22 October 2007.

[ii] In June 2004, AP Services identified Iwantja and Pukatja as the two communities on the APY Lands with the worst housing and serious overcrowding issues (Donald, D. 8 June 2004, Presentation to informal meeting of the SA Parliament’s Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee). Almost a year later, on 10 May 2005, the Chairperson of APY expressed identical concerns to the same parliamentary committee (Annual Report of the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee 2004/05, Parliament of South Australia, pp235, p12.)

[iii] For example, between 2000/01 and 2003/04, the State Aboriginal Housing Authority allocated funding for the construction of 20 houses at Amata. During the same period, only four new houses were built at Iwantja (Information provided to the Parliament of South Australia’s Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee in August 2004 by the Aboriginal Housing Authority).

[iv] AP Services, 2004, “Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands Community Housing Application Capital/Recurrent 2004/2005,” p14. In August 2004, the Aboriginal Housing Authority estimated that 83 Anangu were on Iwantja’s community housing waiting list ((Information provided to the Parliament of South Australia’s Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee in August 2004 by the Aboriginal Housing Authority).

[v] McCann, W. 18 May 2007, Letter and attachment to P. McDonald, UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide.

[vi] McCann, W. 18 May 2007, Letter and attachment to P. McDonald, UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide.

[vii] The documents were published on the SA Tenders & Contracts website  under Tender code HAS015245 (http://www.tenders.sa.gov.au/). Accessed 20 December 2007. On 30 January 2008, the State Government extended the closing date for tenders for this contract to 25 March 2008 (Tenders SA. 30 January 2008. Email to J. Nicholls).

[viii] Department for Families and Communities, 2007, “Request for Tender: Construction of 9 New Dwellings at Indulkana,” Part B, page 17.

[ix] Department for Families and Communities, 2007, “Request for Tender: Construction of 9 New Dwellings at Indulkana,” Part B, page 17.

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