The Northern Territory Government’s solution is to provide a standard “one size fits all” approach to remote housing. Community members are provided with a house with limited airflow and natural light, stainless steel bathrooms and kitchens, plastic tiles and limited outdoor areas. While we understand that a production model of the same type and colour is meant to make construction efficient and affordable, the government is currently paying upwards of 1.2 million dollars per house.

The largest complaint of community members is that these houses are not culturally appropriate and can be dangerous in some situations.

A perfect example is our pop’s house in our community of Snake well. He passed away a few years ago; however, he built an elevated house back in the ’90s, which is now sitting vacant due to a lack of maintenance. He did not use the house except underneath it, where he set up a place to sleep and cook. He gave the upstairs part of the house to his dogs, who enjoyed it more than he did.

The Directors have seen community members rip off doors in other areas to use as beds to sleep outside, allowing a breeze through the house. These houses also lack gender-specific bathrooms, which causes problems for multiple families living in one house.

An issue was also raised regarding violence in these homes, especially domestic violence. Generally, there are limited existing points, so it is very easy to corner someone as there are hallways from bedrooms. Female community members have raised this issue recently.

Warle is working with Traditional Owner Groups to design culturally appropriate houses. This is a key area for the company as the Directors understand the issues first-hand.