I recently ran into the head of a small company that has been doing some great stuff in remote housing for about 20 years and I was keen to know why they weren’t involved in SIHIP.
But before we get to that – this company has had a focus on local employment and sustainability that would be invaluable to SIHIP. And by sustainability, I mean building stuff that is still working 12 months, and much longer, later. The problems common to remote housing are; use of incorrect materials for the setting, poor workmanship and failure to deliver ongoing maintenance. They have all these issues licked and the proven results to back it up –a recent study showed a decrease in hospital admissions by around 40% (no, this is not a typo) in communities where this mob were doing the housing. And just to address some common misconceptions, their survey of indigenous housing categorised housing issues based on cause, as follows; abuse/misuse – 10%, poor workmanship/incorrect materials – 25%, lack of routine maintenence – 65%.
So, why aren’t they involved in SIHIP? Didn’t want to maybe? – no. They were very keen and were part of the original consultations, but as described by my informer, the Government was very quickly swayed, and captured, by the major construction companies who argued that only they could get this going quickly and deliver the required cost efficiencies.
And didn’t that go well.