The start of October is usually the start of the wet season across northern Australia. I arrived in Darwin on the 21st September, just in time to experience the last few days of the dry season, a humid heat that I had never experienced before. There was a sense of anticipation in the air, the wet season was looming quickly and everyone was eager to make the most of the uninterrupted sunshine
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Conference was held at the Hilton Darwin from the 23rd to the 24th of September with two days of passionate and engaging presentations addressing the need to strengthen affordable housing in remote and regional areas. Representatives from across the country from both Government and NGO’s attended the event, some of the key themes highlighted were:
- Community engagement that leads to the shared decision making: Many of the speakers highlighted the importance of involving the Community throughout the decision process. If the tenant or community is not bought into the agreement then it becomes very difficult to manage tenancies and maintenance costs without their buy-in.
- Leading by example through strong governance: A strong board or management is necessary to lead by example. Without the appropriate governance framework in place it is difficult to implement a decisive strategy.
- Strengthening communication to improve tenancy outcomes: Speakers highlighted the value in creating a positive and regular relationship with tenants as it improves the overall outcomes of tenancies.
- Being innovative and intelligent when managing repairs in remote & regional areas: Some housing providers shared their stories of planning intelligently when it came to managing repairs. Colin Tidswell spoke of the benefits of investing in better quality materials if it meant saving on expenses of replacement in the long run.
Delegates and speakers enjoyed the opportunity to network and discuss the common challenges that they were all experiencing. It became extremely useful for the sector to compare strategies and share advice on what had worked for them in the past and what would work best in the future.
At the end of Day 1 delegates enjoyed some networking drinks by the poolside and a delicious buffet dinner on the terrace just as the famous Darwin sun melted into the horizon.
If you’d like to continue learning in this area, feel free to check our November Conference out: Indigenous Education & Transitions, 25th & 26th November 2014, Mercure Sydney.
Other posts you might interested in: Canada’s Dream to End Homelessness & Housing is one of the base requirements – so why the inadequacy?