Jobs and housing are the focus of an innovative project that will see prefabricated homes delivered to remote communities throughout the Northern Territory.
NT construction companies, Northern Transportables, PTM Group, NT Link and Murray River North have been awarded contracts totalling nearly $69 million to build, transport and assemble 134 houses and duplexes.
With manufacturing bases in Darwin and Alice Springs, contractors have been able to continue the project through the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping workers employed.
The houses are being delivered through the Homebuild NT program, part of the NT Government’s remote housing investment package, Our Community. Our Future. Our Homes.
Through Local Decision Making, the homes have been designed in partnership with communities to meet particular needs of residents such as those with disabilities or extended families.
Prefabricated housing provides an alternative to the usual on-site construction model, offering flexibility in delivery and ongoing transportability.
Following the lifting of COVID-19 biosecurity restrictions, the homes will soon begin to rollout to 24 remote communities.
As noted by Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Gerry McCarthy:
“We have invested in remote housing as part of our plan to change the social and housing landscape in communities across the NT.
“Apart from building new homes, we’re extending existing homes, upgrading and improving homes as well as building serviced lots to pave the way to build more homes.
“At the beginning of this term of Government, we acknowledged the shocking state of remote housing and we committed to making a change.
“We’re just three years into a ten-year program, so there’s a way to go yet however we are already seeing tangible improvements in communities from the Top End islands down through Central Australia.”
As noted by Northern Transportables Project Manager, Adam Griffiths:
“I have been involved in the construction industry for many years and this is the first time I have seen a project from the NT Government where we can not only achieve, but exceed what the Government stipulates in terms of training, job numbers, subcontracting and buy local policies.
“We have also been able to use innovative construction methods to make the building process more efficient and much safer – for example constructing houses at ground level to minimise time spent working at heights from a few weeks down to a few hours.”
As noted by Karen Sheldon, Saltbush Employment Services:
“Saltbush Employment Services has developed an exemplary model towards assisting Indigenous jobseekers into structured and sustainable employment while we provide wraparound support.
“Driven by Northern Transportables, the model involves bringing subcontractors on board to support apprenticeships and traineeships leading to real job outcomes providing security and longevity of employment.”
* Photos available on request.