In 2013 and 2014, Intract Australia competitively tendered for and was awarded two contracts with the Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development. The contracts were for Tenancy Management and Housing Maintenance Coordination Services, each covering the remote Arnhem Land communities of Maningrida and Gunbalanya. The contacts have been extended twice to June 2020 since inception. The contracts service approximately 340 houses in Maningrida and 207 in Gunbalanya
The Tenancy Management Works include tenancy inspections and tenancy support visits, supporting Territory Housing in arranging for tenants to sign tenancy agreements, notifying housing reference group members and community residents of scheduled housing reference group meetings, and assisting community residents to complete and lodge territory housing property and tenancy management forms.
The project team provides advice and information to community residents on Territory Housing policies and processes, and responds to tenant queries.
The Housing Maintenance Coordination contract with aims to maintain the quality and lifecycle of housing while providing training in building maintenance for local residents. Scope of works includes first response for tenant requested maintenance and repairs, regular checks to identify required maintenance works, coordination of qualified trades for specialist works, program management, communication to tenants of works schedules, and monthly reporting the Territory Housing.
A key factor for the success of this project is ensuring local cultural values, belief systems and behaviours are understood and respected. The project teams maintain close relationships with Traditional Owners and local residents to ensure expectations are clearly articulated and communicated, and that the majority of the project teams comprise of local people allowing for local representation in the works.
The team in Gunbalanya have worked closely with various local stakeholders such as Department of Health, West Arnhem Regional Council, Gunbalanya School, Adjumarllarl Store, Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) and the Gunbalanya Health Centre to assist in the ‘Healthy Skin Program’. The program aims to reduce the prevalence of scabies and skin sores in Indigenous communities, and reduce the impact of associated chronic diseases including rheumatic fever and renal disease.
Intract have also hosted a Community Connector catch up to allow stakeholder members to workshop and identify activities that could contribute to the ‘Healthy Skin Program’. An outcome of this meeting was a ‘Clean Our Community Up’ campaign with incentives to promote a clean home, healthy habits and therefore healthy skin. Through this, a tidy house competition, house-by-house healthy skin checks, and free rubbish collection services were established. Intract contributed to the event by donating cleaning kits, administration support and good cleaning guidelines in support of the competition and Health Skin Week.
The two contracts require a minimum Indigenous employment rate of 40%. As of October 2019, the two contracts achieved a combined Indigenous employment rate of 72%, 53% being Indigenous women.
With many of the Indigenous personnel on the project being first-time entrants into the workforce, Intract provides culturally safe workplaces with flexible employment models, pastoral care services, and financial counselling and support.
All team members, other than the Project Coordinator, are locals or permanently reside in their respective communities.
Over 200,000 work hours completed since project commencement
72% Indigenous Participation achieved to date
53% of Indigenous Participation achieved is women