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Overcrowding and poor quality housing are associated with poor health, educational and employment outcomes, and increased family violence. In Australia, the highest levels of overcrowding occur in remote areas of the Northern Territory.

In 2019, the Australian and Northern Territory governments entered into the National Partnership for Remote Housing Northern Territory (the National Partnership). The objective of the National Partnership is to improve housing conditions and reduce overcrowding in 73 NT remote communities and the 17 Alice Springs town camps.

The National Indigenous Australian Agency (NIAA) administers the National Partnership on behalf of the Australian Government. Operation of the National Partnership is governed by a Joint Steering Committee (JSC) with representatives from NIAA, the NT Government and the four NT Land Councils. An Implementation Plan, which sets out the strategy for delivering outputs, including performance benchmarks, milestones and associated payments, forms part of the National Partnership.

This audit was conducted to provide Parliament with independent assurance of NIAA’s effectiveness in administering funding for remote housing in the NT.

Main findings:

  • NIAA’s administration of funding for remote housing in the NT has been partly effective.
  • The development of the National Partnership was partly effective. The National Partnership largely aligns with the Closing the Gap policy objectives, and does not duplicate other sources of Australian Government funding for remote housing in the NT. However, the National Partnership Implementation Plan has significant weaknesses, and advice to the minister did not include analysis of some of the National Partnership’s key parameters.
  • NIAA has been partly effective in assessing the delivery of the program of works under the National Partnership. NIAA has not fully developed or implemented a risk-based approach to determining what assurance is necessary to verify the Northern Territory (NT) Government’s achievement against National Partnership targets.
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Auditor-General Report No.18 2021–22