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Delivering essential services in desert indigenous settlements

Anda, M.ORCID: 0000-0001-7398-4192 and Dallas, S.ORCID: 0000-0003-4379-1482 (2005) Delivering essential services in desert indigenous settlements. In: 4th National Housing Conference, 28 - 29 October, Perth, Western Australia pp. 305-315.

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Access to affordable and functional housing in remote Indigenous settlements is dependent on successful management and maintenance of essential services infrastructure. Access to these services is a measure of the settlement viability. Together they constitute the principal technical services that need to be sustained in by State and Territory government agencies, Indigenous community organizations and other enterprises.

The supply of essential services infrastructure, repairs and maintenance to large Indigenous desert settlements is provided through different arrangements across the various States and Territories delineated on whether the Commonwealth funding is pooled in the jurisdiction. In WA pooled funding into the Remote Area Essential Services Program (RAESP) provides capital, operation and maintenance to 78 large Indigenous settlements and allows supply of capital and emergency repairs to be extended to some smaller settlements (outstations, homelands, emerging communities less than 50 people) by one of 3 Regional Service Providers, which are an Indigenous community organisation or a community-private partnership. In other parts of Australia, Indigenous community councils or local government authorities in larger settlements (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) provide maintenance services to the smaller settlements. However, in these settlements, technical services (minor repairs and maintenance for power, water, sewerage, solid waste) are most often provided by regional Indigenous resource agencies, particularly in WA, NT and SA. The Commonwealth Community Development & Employment Program (CDEP) provides basic wages for Indigenous community members to participate in these activities. While these agencies are the preferred medium of service delivery, with their ‘community development’ focus, their asset management capacities vary considerably. The principal source of funding for these various arrangements was the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services’ (FaCS) Community Housing and Infrastructure Program (CHIP). The overall aim of this Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DKCRC) scoping study was to identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for improving the maintenance of essential services in small desert settlements by looking at 12 case studies. An ‘integrated technical services’ model was investigated and a number of initiatives were identified that would contribute to improved maintenance.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
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