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Academic year: 2022



Full text







Published by the Northern Territory Government Department of Housing and Community Development

© Northern Territory Government, 2017

Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this document may be reproduced without prior written permission from the Northern Territory Government through the Department of Housing and Community Development.

ISSN: 2205-7676

Enquiries should be made to:

GPO Box 4621, Darwin NT 0801

Email: [email protected] Website: www.dhcd.nt.gov.au











This report ______________________________________________________________2 Letter from the Chief Executive Officer ________________________________3 01 INTRODUCTION

2016–17 Chief Executive Officer’s message ___________________________6 Overview of the Department ___________________________________________8 Our values _______________________________________________________________ 8 Our stakeholders and partners ________________________________________10


Overview ______________________________________________________________ 12 Early Careers __________________________________________________________ 16 Learning and development ___________________________________________ 18 Health and wellbeing _________________________________________________ 22 Work health and safety _______________________________________________ 23 03 THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY


Our structure _________________________________________________________ 26 2016–17 year in review _______________________________________________ 29 Housing services delivery______________________________________________29 Community Development _____________________________________________65 Local government ______________________________________________________75 Legal and compliance __________________________________________________90 Outputs and performance ____________________________________________ 93 Priorities for 2017–18 and beyond __________________________________ 101


Governance __________________________________________________________ 104 Audit findings and actions ___________________________________________ 107 Risk management ____________________________________________________ 113 Insurance arrangements _____________________________________________ 114 The Information Act and the department ____________________________ 117 05 FINANCIAL REPORTS

Department of Housing and Community Development ____________ 119 06 FINANCIAL REPORTS


NT Home Ownership ________________________________________________ 171


This report has been prepared to inform the Northern Territory Parliament through the Minister for Housing and Community Development, Gerry McCarthy MLA, stakeholders, partners and the general public about the functions, activities, people, performance, strategic intent and outcomes of the Department of Housing and Community Development against the approved budget for 2016–17.

The report satisfies the requirements of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act, the Financial Management Act and the Information Act.

The annual report for 2016–17 has five chapters:

Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Our people

Chapter 3: The Department of Housing and Community Development Chapter 4: Corporate governance Chapter 5: Financial reports.

Chapter 1

This section gives readers an overview of the department’s operations and services in the Northern Territory (NT) along with a message from the Chief Executive Officer.

Chapters 2–4

This section outlines the department’s functions and activities—its people, performance, strategic intent and outcomes against the 2016–17 approved budget.

Chapter 5

The financial statements for the department and for NT Home Ownership, a government business division (GBD).

Acknowledging traditional owners

The Department of Housing and Community Development respectfully acknowledges the past and present traditional custodians of this land on which we work. We show our recognition and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their culture and their heritage while working towards improved social outcomes for the NT.

Legislative requirements

In accordance with the Administrative

Arrangements Order, the Department of Housing and Community Development administers the following Acts of the Northern Territory Parliament and subordinate legislation:

Cemeteries Act

Community Housing Providers (National Uniform Legislation) Act

Crown Lands Act (section 79)

Housing Act

Jabiru Town Development Act

Local Government Act (except Chapter 8)

Local Government Grants Commission Act

Local Government (Katherine Rates) Act

Northern Territory Rates Act

Nudity Act

Pounds Act

Status of Darwin Act

Status of Palmerston Act.

Under the Northern Territory Administrative Arrangements Order dated 12 September 2016, the Chief Executive Officer for the Department of Housing and Community Development has responsibility for:

• Aboriginal housing

• communities and homelands

• community and social housing

• community development for regional centres, remote communities and homelands

• coordination of funding of essential services to remote Aboriginal communities not serviced by Commonwealth programs

• coordination of municipal essential services for regional centres, remote communities and homelands

• essential services for remote communities and homelands

• government employee housing

• homelessness services

• housing

• interpreting and translating services

• local government

• local government funding

• public housing

• remote communities and homelands.

This report






Letter from the Chief Executive Officer

The Hon. Gerald McCarthy MLA

Minister for Housing and Community Development Parliament House


Dear Minister

Department of Housing and Community Development 2016–17 Annual Report

I am pleased to present to you the Department of Housing and Community Development’s annual report for the financial year 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017.

Pursuant to the Public Sector Employment and Management Act, the Financial Management Act and the Information Act, I advise that, to the best of my knowledge and belief:

• Proper records of all transactions affecting the department are kept and that the department’s employees observe the provisions of the Financial Management Act, the Financial Management Regulations and Treasurer’s directions.

• Department procedures provide proper internal control, and a current description of those procedures is recorded in the Accounting and Property Manual, which has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Financial Management Act.

• No indication of fraud, malpractice, major breach of legislation or delegation, major error in or omission from the accounts and records exists.

• In accordance with the requirements of section 15 of the Financial Management Act, the internal audit capacity available to the department is adequate, and the results of internal audits have been reported.

• The financial statements in this annual report have been prepared from proper accounts and records and are in accordance with the Treasurer’s directions.

• In accordance with the requirements of section 28 of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act, all public sector principles have been upheld.

• Procedures in the department complied with the requirements of the Information Act.

Yours sincerely

Jamie Chalker

Chief Executive Officer 29 September 2017



4 4









The Department of Housing and Community Development was formed through the amalgamation of the former Department of Housing and the Department of Local Government and Community Services as a result of machinery-of-government changes after the August 2016 general election.

Bringing together these two agencies, and

streamlining operations and services to Territorians, has formed a key part of this year’s achievements under my tenure.

The department is responsible for providing a number of key services to Territorians, particularly those living in remote communities

and those who are disadvantaged. These services and operations encompass:

• providing accommodation pathways and housing options from homelessness and crisis accommodation through social housing and rental and home ownership, for those who need them

• supporting development of a strong local government sector

• promoting Aboriginal languages and providing interpreting and translating services

• developing towns, regions and remote areas through respectful engagement

• leading homelands, land tenure and provision of Aboriginal essential services.

I am proud to lead an agency that is responsible for managing more than 12 000 properties and 9000 tenancies throughout urban, regional and remote areas of the NT. Our department also leads the way with Aboriginal employment in the NTPS.

The department recorded a net deficit of

$132.7 million for this financial year, compared to a budgeted deficit of $170.2 million.

There are a number of achievements I would like to highlight from 2016–17, including:

• restructuring the agency as a result of machinery- of-government changes to better align the department’s services and increase its efficiency

• introducing a Purpose and Direction Strategy that shifts the agency towards a social service as opposed to a provider of housing and infrastructure assets

• initiating an independent probity audit into town camp contracts and strengthening the independence and oversight of the department’s procurement function

Having been appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Housing and Community Development in December 2016, I am proud to present the department’s 2016–17 annual report.

2016–17 Chief Executive Officer’s message






• participating in the regional show display with the department’s cluster agencies under Children and Families, namely Territory Families and the Department of Education

• implementing $3.53 million in ongoing budget improvement measures

• establishing a program management office to support the delivery of the Northern Territory Government’s $1.1 billion Remote Housing Investment program over the next 10 years, which this department has the lead on delivering

• delivering $15 million in early works brought forward under the $1.1 billion Remote Housing Investment Program

• delivering the government’s $5 million urban public housing stimulus program to stimulate the construction sector and repair urban public housing

• continuing to deliver the joint Commonwealth agreements on the National Partnership on Remote Housing and the Remote Australia Strategies

• implementing a Homelessness Innovation Fund project, providing $2 million in funding over two years for four projects across Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs to trial innovative and transformational ways to deliver homelessness services

• delivering the Central Australian Renal

Accommodation project, which provides housing in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek for Aboriginal renal patients from remote communities with end-stage kidney disease

• conducting needs analysis modelling with the homelessness and housing sector to improve service delivery in future years

• publishing a revised, more accurate wait time calculation for urban public housing

• continuing to grow the community housing sector through transferring management of 22 units in Alice Springs to the non-government sector, and seeking proposals for management of a further 39 units and three houses

• facilitating home ownership for Territorians through NT Home Ownership

• drafting instructions for the revised Local Government Act and Cemeteries Act

• providing ongoing support to regional councils to strengthen local authorities

• administering more than $86 million in local government grants

• providing oversight and regulatory services to the local government sector

• participating in a working group with the Northern Territory Electoral Commission and Local Government Association of the NT to provide in-kind support, enrolment activities, promotion and awareness in preparation for the August 2017 local government elections

• managing the most comprehensive review to date of the Northern Territory’s 43 town camps, which encompasses an analysis of lease arrangements, infrastructure, service delivery, housing, legislation and economic opportunities

• upgrading and relaunching the Bushtel website, which provides a central point for information about the Northern Territory’s remote

communities, their people, and their cultural and historical influences

• delivering 30 787 interpreting hours in Aboriginal languages and 4983 hours in ethnic languages through the Aboriginal Interpreting Service and the Interpreting and Translating Service of the Northern Territory

• launching the first on-demand Aboriginal video interpreter service in Australia

• administering 908 grants and co-funding 141 positions worth $54.053 million to 36 service providers for more than 425 homelands and outstations.

The above achievements would not be possible without the dedication, passion and support of the department’s staff, who work across all regions throughout the Northern Territory. An organisation is only as strong as its people, and I will continue to focus on developing our people through a robust professional development program that will, in turn, provide staff with the tools, knowledge, expertise and confidence to continue to do their jobs well and to serve the people of the Northern Territory with professionalism and pride.

Jamie Chalker

Chief Executive Officer 29 September 2017



the NTPS respects all people and in particular, their rights as individuals.

Commitment to service The NTPS is professional, hardworking, effective, innovative and efficient, working collaboratively to achieve the best results for the NT.

Ethical practice

The NTPS upholds the highest standards of practice and acts with integrity in all it does.



Overview of the Department

The Northern Territory Department of Housing and Community Development is made up of two output groups: Housing and Community Development, and Corporate and Governance.

The Housing and Community Development output group incorporates Housing Services Delivery, Housing Program Delivery Office, Strategy, Policy and Performance, Tenancy, Support and Compliance, Community Development and Engagement, and Local Government.

The department manages more than 12 000 dwellings across the Northern NT’s 1.35 million square kilometres. In partnership with government and non-government agencies, the department strives to:

• build stronger regions and communities through effective local government

• deliver and coordinate essential infrastructure projects and services to remote communities

• provide interpreting and translating services to support members of our community who speak a language other than English.

During 2016–17, the department had two portfolio ministers.

From 1 July 2016 until the caretaker period started on 8 August 2016 ahead of the Northern Territory election, it was former minister Mrs Bess Price.

After the new government was sworn in, the Honourable Gerald McCarthy, MLA, was appointed as the Minister for Housing and Community Development on 8 September 2016.

From 1 July to August 2016, Ms Leah Clifford was the Chief Executive Officer for the Department of Housing, and Mr Michael Chiodo was the Chief Executive Officer for the Department of Local Government and Community Development.

Under administrative arrangements for the newly elected Northern Territory Government, Mr Andrew Kirkman was appointed as the acting Chief Executive Officer until the appointment of Mr Jamie Chalker, who was made Chief Executive Officer on 19 December 2016.

Our values

The Northern Territory Public Service (NTPS) promotes collaboration and professionalism and gives us a shared understanding of the values that underpin how we work in delivering services to Territorians. They guide us in achieving our best performance and set common expectations across the sector for all public servants.

The department’s values identify appropriate behaviours in the workplace and how we should interact with each other in our everyday work.


the NTPS is transparent and accountable in all its actions.


the NTPS is apolitical and gives the government advice that is objective, timely and based on the best available evidence.


the NTPS values the diversity of its workforce and the NT population it serves.






(L-R): Euan Hawthorne, Bianca Bogoev, Peta Butler, Jane McCrory, Karen Elligett, Jennifer Sekulich, John Sheppard accepting the award.

Our department took out the ‘Delivering Quality Customer Service’ category for the new tenancy agreement support resource at the 2016 Chief Minister’s Awards for Excellence in the Public Sector. This is the second year in a row the department’s focus on delivering services for tenants and clients has been recognised, following the joint win by Tenancy Support and Compliance in 2015 with the award going to the Public Housing Safety Officers.

The Corporate Communications team was recognised for the tenancy agreement support resource, which was developed to ensure tenants who may not understand complex legal terms understand their rights and responsibilities as a public housing tenant. The resource breaks down the 28 sections of the department’s new tenancy agreement and explains them using plain English, illustrations, and audio translations in 15 Aboriginal and nine ethnic languages.

The resource is easy to use and compatible with iPad, iPhone, laptop and Android devices.

The support resource is part of the department’s new tenancy agreement roll-out, a significant project involving implementing the new agreement across all urban and remote public housing tenancies in the NT. The Minister for Housing and Community Development thanked members of the project team at a lunch at Parliament House on 17 November.

Thank you and congratulations to everyone involved in the project, including (but not limited to) Tenancy Support and Compliance (Capability Development), Service Delivery, ITC, Legal and Risk Management, our executives, the Aboriginal Interpreting Service and Interpreting and Translating Service NT, and James Carter from Big Picture Graphics.

Corporate Communications rewarded for support resource







develop sustainable communities through partnerships to enhance the physical and social wellbeing of Territorians through connected and resourceful service delivery.

Our stakeholders and partners

The Department of Housing and Community Development works with a broad range of stakeholders to develop sustainable communities. These partnerships enhance the physical and social wellbeing of Territorians through connected and resourceful service delivery. Our stakeholders and partners include:

• non-government organisations (including in the housing and homelessness sector)

• legal advocates

• homelands service providers

• Aboriginal corporations

• local government councils and the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory

• land councils

• Aboriginal peak bodies

• Aboriginal business enterprises

• the construction and property development sectors.


an engaged, dynamic social service that maximises opportunities for Territorians to strive, thrive and prosper.


we will know our business, our people and our community to deliver improved social outcomes for the NT.

Purpose and direction

After consulting with staff, the department developed a Purpose and Direction Strategy that clearly outlines our purpose, vision and mission.










Our people are essential to the Department of Housing and Community Development achieving our vision and delivering on our strategic objectives.

We strive to position our workforce to ensure we have the right people in the right jobs with the right skills.

The department is dedicated to delivering best practice in human resources management.

Working with the senior management team, the Human Resources team supports and encourages a positive workplace culture through delivering a consistent advisory service and developing programs, policies and frameworks to comply with legislative requirements for employment.

The department is building its employee capability by delivering learning and development programs. This includes ‘growing our own’ through an early careers program, ensuring all new employees are properly inducted and providing whole-of-department training programs to build skills and improve performance.

Table 1: Workforce profile

Employee category 2015-16 2016-17

Full-time equivalent 621.1 584.23

Part-time 74.85 77.94

Ongoing (permanent) 442.54 411.32

Fixed period 125.9 117.29

Casual 52.66 55.62

Female 386.39 245

Aboriginal 221.4 205

Source: Personnel Information Payroll System and Government Accounting System Note: FTE figures represented at 30 June 2016 incorporates both the previous

Department of Housing and the Department of Local Government and Community Services.

As at 30 June 2017, the department had 584.23 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. This is a decrease of 36.57 FTE employees compared to the former Department of Housing and Department of Local Government and Community Services at 30 June 2016. Of those employees, 26.54 per cent are outside the Darwin region.

The average age

of all employees was 47,

with 66 per cent aged below 50.


ANNUAL REPORT 2016-17 13


JB keeps doing the things that matter most.

Spending quality time with his wife and kids, owning his home and working for the agency that provides housing support services for his mob out in remote communities—these are the things that matter most to Jeremiah Baker, an Indigenous Employment Program Coordinator based in Darwin.

Known as ‘JB’ by his friends and peers, Jeremiah spent the first 24 years of his life on a “very”

remote community and never got to see the inside of a year nine classroom—he started working at 16.

A self-described “talking machine”, Jeremiah’s first job was hosting community radio shows with Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA).

Jeremiah grew up speaking four Yolngu languages, 12 dialects and the Yolngu sign language, so perhaps it’s no surprise that his

early NTPS work was as an interpreter, offering a crucial channel of communication between his people (or countrymen) and service providers.

Since his first NTPS interpreting job in 1999, Jeremiah has forged a career spanning 18 years and numerous roles, including working with the Department of Health.

In 2007, he joined us as an Intense Tenancy Support Officer.

Jeremiah’s experience building his own NTPS career makes his work helping Aboriginal staff even more rewarding. He also enjoys educating non-Aboriginal staff about working effectively with Aboriginal staff and clients.

Jeremiah (Larrwanbuy) Baker – The man from north east Arnhem Land






Table 2: Employees by classification


Full-time equivalent (FTE) staff as at 30 June 2016**

Full-time equivalent (FTE) staff as at

30 June2017

Trainee 2.7 3

Graduate 1 2

Administrative Officer 2 18.7 27

Administrative Officer 3 54.65 53.09

Administrative Officer 4 73.6 67.95

Administrative Officer 5 95.36 88.96

Administrative Officer 6 84.1 72.5

Administrative Officer 7 71.8 64.18

Aboriginal Interpreter 47.79 47.86

Professional 2 1 1

Professional 3 0.8 0.8

Senior Professional 1 2 2.8

Technical 5 32.5 32.93

Technical 6 2 2.5

Senior Administrative Officer 1 60.2 62.36

Senior Administrative Officer 2 40 30.3

Executive Officer 2 2 0

Executive Contract Officer 1 14.9 17

Executive Contract Officer 2 9 6

Executive Contract Officer 3 3 0

Executive Contract Officer 4 2 1

Executive Contract Officer 5 1 0

Executive Contract Officer 6 0 1

Board member 1 0

Total 621.1 584.23

Source: Personnel Information Payroll System and Government Accounting System

**Note: FTE figures represented at 30 June 2016 incorporates both previous Department of Housing and Department of Local Government and Community Services







Table 3: Staff profile by equal employment opportunity groups Equal employment

opportunity group

Staff in our department as at 30 June 2016**

Whole-of-government target

Our department as at 30 June 2017

Aboriginal 472 or 45.56% 43.8%* 523 or 48.52%


background 140 or 13.51% No set target 178 or 16.51%

People with a disability 16 or 1.54% 4% 20 or 1.86%

Women in executive

roles (SAO2^) 37 or 50.68% 40% 34 or 58.62%

Source: Personnel Information Payroll System

* The Department of Housing and Community Development target to be reached by June 2020 in line with the Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy (IECDS).

**Note: headcount figures represented at 30 June 2016 incorporate the previous Department of Housing and the Department of Local Government and Community Services.

On 12 September 2016, the newly elected government announced new administrative arrangements for the Northern Territory Public Sector. The former Department of Housing and the Department of Local Government and Community Services amalgamated to form the Department of Housing and Community Development.

The department includes the functions of local government, public housing and community development. The Office of Aboriginal Affairs, Office of Men’s Policy, Office of Women’s Policy and Domestic Violence Directorate functions, formerly housed under the Department of Local Government and Community Services, were transferred to the Department of the Chief Minister and the newly created Territory Families agency.

As part of these changes, the department undertook a change management process, including establishing a Change Management Committee, which met regularly to discuss staff issues and concerns. The Chief Executive Officer communicated with all staff regularly and requested their feedback, which was considered when the new structure was developed.

Staff survey

The Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment (OCPE) released the biennial People Matter Survey to all NTPS employees in May 2016.

The department received its finding report in October 2016.

The department developed a survey response plan with a commitment to activities to improve in the categories where staff satisfaction was low.

The survey response plan was shared with staff, and the executive management board monitors its progress.

The main elements from this plan were included in the department’s draft 2017–2021 Strategic Workforce Plan.

Indigenous leadership network (ILN)

The ALN was established in 2015 and gives Aboriginal employees from across the department the opportunity to contribute to department plans, committees, and coaching and mentoring programs. In collaboration with Human Resources, the ALN helped develop the

‘Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategic Action Plan 2016–18’. The plan was developed in response to the Northern Territory Government Indigenous Employment Career Development Strategy 2015–2020. The plan ensures the department is well placed to deliver on the objectives outlined in the strategy. The department values the diversity and contributions Aboriginal employees make in delivering its business outcomes, and the plan recognises the contribution Aboriginal employees make to good public administration across our operations.





Early Careers

The department is committed to the professional development of its employees. Building the capability of its workforce is a central element in delivering its services and objectives.

The department offers a range of employment pathways through the Northern Territory Public Sector Employment Programs initiative.

Skills, employment and careers expo In August 2016, HR staff participated in the Skills, Employment and Careers Expo in Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine to promote the department as an employer of choice and to attract new employees.

Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) The department continues its commitment to increase its number of Aboriginal employees through its Indigenous Employment Program (IEP) - a six-month program for Aboriginal

jobseekers that includes accredited training, work readiness development and work-based learning.

In partnership with the Department of Corporate and Information Services (DCIS), in 2016–17 the department placed three participants across the Darwin offices under the IEP.

Graduate Development program

The Graduate Development program is designed to develop new generations of employees whose ideas, ambitions and leadership potential will help shape the future of the Northern Territory Government.

In February 2017, the department recruited a graduate with a Masters of Accounting and another with a Bachelor of Information Technology.

Trainee employment program The department gives trainees structured employment and training under this program.

In 2016–17, three trainees were recruited to undertake a Certificate II and Certificate III in Community Services. At year end, a Certificate IV in Business apprentice remained with the department to continue their studies under

the program.


Finance staff member Anil Basnet attained CPA status in 2016–17. This is a highly regarded and widely recognised qualification.

Anil joined the department as a graduate trainee in January 2016 and completed his traineeship in December.

He started his CPA studies in 2013 and

completed them in 2016. The program involved six units of study and three years of professional experience in the finance and accounting fields. Attaining a CPA is a sign of a person’s knowledge, integrity and commitment to maintaining a high level of professional ethics and standards. From 2017–18, Anil will work to achieve 120 hours of continuing professional development every three years to maintain his CPA qualification.

Outside work, Anil is involved in a range of community activities, including volunteering as Treasurer with the Nepalese Association of the NT and more recently with the Multicultural Council of Northern Territory in a similar capacity. Anil said that ultimately, he would like to make a contribution to ensuring non-government organisations maintain a high standard of financial management and accountability.

Finance trainee earns his stripes

Anil has spent time in many areas of the department while gaining his qualification.







Brianna Wright, Khalia Fuller, Shania Dolby, Javielle (Jal) Liwanag and Maria Conception Villanova were welcomed by Jamie Chalker.

A morning tea was held on 15 February to welcome five new starters as part of the 2017 Early Careers Program.

Brianna Wright and Khalia Fuller joined Service Delivery North, and Shania Dolby is with the Aboriginal Interpreter Service. All three are completing their Certificate III in Community Services through Charles Darwin University.

Javielle Liwanag and Mari Conception Villanova are both graduates from Charles Darwin University and undertaking placements with the department. Javielle completed a Masters of Accounting and has started with the Finance team. Mari completed a Bachelor of Information Technology and has joined Business Systems.

“Congratulations on your accomplishments, and enjoy these traineeships,” said CEO Jamie Chalker at the morning tea. “They are a good starting point, and we hope to have each of you on board for a long time.”

2016 Certificate IV Business apprentice Meg Sheppard completed her qualification at the end of February 2017, and Indigenous Employment Program participant Karrawa Quall has completed her qualification. She will complete a six-month employment placement in Corporate Services in 2017–18.

The Early Careers Program is an important part of building the capability of our workforce and a central element in delivering services and on our objectives. Early Careers includes the Graduate Development, Trainee Employment and Indigenous Employment programs.

“Everyone has a role to play, whether it’s in administration or supporting our frontline staff with finance or moving people around with access to vehicles”, Jamie Chalker said. “All roles are interrelated, and you can’t do business without the back-end support. Our back end, especially Corporate Services, is critical”.

2017 Early Careers Program kicks off






Learning and development

Table 4: Expenditure on learning and development 2015–16 and 2016–17

2015–16 2016–17

Full-time equivalent employees 621.1 584.23

Learning and development expenditure $772 232 $542 689

Total employee expenditure $65 865 766 $61 098 104

Learning and development expenses as a % of total

employee expenditure 1.1% 0.88%

Average per FTE employee $1 243 $929

Source: Personnel Information Payroll System and Government Accounting System






Key learning and development initiatives

Asbestos awareness

In October 2016 and April 2017, asbestos awareness training was provided for staff working in asset, property and contract management roles.

The course covered an introduction to asbestos, health hazards and effects, risk management, asbestos hazard management and codes of practice for asbestos hazard management. This training is accredited and awarded participants the unit of competency 10314NAT under the building training package to identify and report asbestos materials and/or products.

Clear writing

Twelve half-day workshops were held in Alice Springs, Darwin and Katherine on the basic mechanics of clear writing. The workshop covered planning, writing in plain English and the importance of reviewing work to ensure quality and accuracy.

Combat Bullying – call it like it is

A series of Combat Bullying workshops were held in August 2016 and May and June 2017 in Alice Springs, Darwin, Nhulunbuy and Tennant Creek. In total, 170 staff members attended the workshops across the regions. Combat Bullying aims to equip employees with the knowledge and skills to face up to bullying behaviour in the workplace and to respond to potential grievances quickly and professionally. It aims to develop the confidence of individuals to help create an empowered and performance-based culture.

Corporate induction

In 2016–17, the department ran full-day

inductions for new employees on the history of the department, its corporate plan, values, strategic direction and organisational structure. In total, 40 employees attended the inductions in Darwin and Alice Springs.

Cross-cultural training

As part of its commitment to cultural awareness, the department supported 42 employees to attend cross-cultural awareness training in Alice Springs and Darwin. The training gives participants a better understanding of the challenges, barriers and enablers in a culturally diverse environment.

Another two full-day sessions were held for managers and supervisors in the Darwin region.

Dealing with the Tough Stuff

This program aims to provide managers and supervisors with the skills to undertake hard conversations and give staff tools to have effective performance management discussions.

Domestic family violence awareness and policy training

The department delivered a combined initiative on domestic family violence with the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter across all regions in July and August 2016. Training was tailored to include department policy and process.

Four-wheel-drive training

This training helps improve the knowledge and skills of staff to safely operate a four-wheel-drive vehicle in hazardous conditions and all-weather situations in regional and remote areas. A number of sessions were provided in Alice Springs, Nhulunbuy and Tennant Creek in November and December 2016.

Situational awareness training – PART Situational awareness training—Predict, Assess and Respond To (PART)—was delivered to frontline staff across the department. This training aims to provide skills to de-escalate direct client aggression and challenging behaviours.

Mental health first aid

Participants learned about the signs and symptoms of common and disabling mental health problems, how to provide initial help, where and how to get professional help, what sort of help can be effective and how to provide first aid in a crisis situation.

Training was delivered in November 2016 for frontline staff and managers.

Work health and safety (WHS) awareness Six half-day workshops aimed at developing WHS awareness for all staff were delivered in February 2017. The workshops covered the general principles of the work health and safety legislation and focussed on duties and obligations, understanding the risk management process,



identifying hazards in the workplace, hazard reporting and elimination, and the consultation process for work health and safety issues.

Two full-day sessions were also held for managers and supervisors.

Working in the Northern Territory Public Sector

An in-house ‘working in the NTPS’ training course was delivered, focussing on core NTPS values, employee entitlements, Employment Instruction 12 – Code of Conduct, and internal policies and procedures. A total of 102 staff attended this training throughout 2016–17.

Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment training and development programs

The department uses cross-government training and development programs provided by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment (OCPE). Sixty-one employees participated in leadership and development programs:

• Public Sector Management program

• Future Leaders program

• machinery of government

• performance management

• Merit Selection and Simplified Recruitment

• Lookrukin – Indigenous Women’s Leadership Development program

• Australia and New Zealand School of

Government (ANZSOG) leadership programs.


Figure 1: Training courses and attendances









Asbestos Awareness Clear Writing Workshop Combat Bullying Combat Bullying - Management Workshop Corporate Induction Cross Cultural Awareness Dealing with the Tough Stuff Domestic Family Violence Awareness & Policy Four Wheel Drive Mental Health First Aid PART - Situational Awareness Resilience Training WHS Awareness WHS for Supervisors and Managers Working in the NTPS Refresher

27 94



40 42 21



60 62

46 46 31


Number attended


ANNUAL REPORT 2016-17 21



Study assistance

The department supports employees to increase their learning through formal studies in areas relevant to its core business. Study assistance and support was provided to 25 employees through reimbursement of fees and paid study leave to attend tutorials, lectures and examinations.

Approved courses undertaken included:

• Certificate III in Business

• Certificate IV in Accounting

• Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs

• Certificate IV in Project Management

• Certificate IV in Leadership and Management

• Diploma of Government (Investigations)

• Bachelor of Behavioural Science

• Bachelor of Communications

• Bachelor of Commerce

• Bachelor of Information Technology

• Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies

• Bachelor of Laws

• Diploma of Leadership

• Bachelor of Science (Honours)

• Bachelor of Behavioural Science

• Master of Business Administration

• Master of Statistics

• CPA Professional Program.

Senior leaders forum

These forums bring together senior staff to share knowledge and ideas and promote business improvement. Forums were held in July 2016 and in June 2017, which were attended by 43 senior staff.

Senior leaders forum.



Health and wellbeing

The health and wellbeing

program aims to help staff make informed choices and suggests activities and initiatives to inspire healthy decisions.

Some of the initiatives to raise awareness and fundraise for charities in 2016–17 included a monthly newsletter and supporting initiatives such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, R U OK? Day, the Fight Cancer Foundation, and SIDS and Kids NT. The department also provided general health checks, Cancer Council information sessions on smoking, healthy eating and sun smart advice as well as annual flu vaccinations for staff.

In June 2017, staff participated in a 10 000 steps challenge, which saw teams of four take 10 000 steps per day to reach a virtual destination. The initiative was a success, with 51 teams and 204 participants joining the challenge.

Overcoming the challenges of distance

Working in Nhulunbuy can be complex. Due to its remote location, there is often limited access to services that are easily accessible in an urban setting. The Nhulunbuy office can be subject to network issues and frequent power outages, which mean staff have to think creatively to overcome the challenges. Jessica Harris is the Regional Business Manager for Service Delivery North, Arnhem Region, and a large part of her role is to liaise with divisional staff in Darwin using teleconference and video conference technology rather than meeting in person.

“It can be quite challenging”, Jess said.

Jess has worked for the department since she moved to the Northern Territory from Queensland in 2011 and has always been part of the Service Delivery North team. She was previously in tenancy management until she was offered the opportunity to move into her current role in 2016. “This is a great career opportunity and one of the best things to happen to me since I started working for the department”, she said. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity”.

Jess knows that sometimes people get the wrong idea about the Territory lifestyle.

“People might have a preconception that working remote is easier because our lifestyle is more relaxed, but that is far from the case”, she said. When Jess is not managing the busy remote office, she likes to escape from it all through sewing, exercising and the most popular NT pastime, fishing with her family.

What people might not know about Jess is that she has a passion for work health and safety and is due to complete her Certificate IV in WHS in 2017–18. “I am very passionate about this role and enjoy my work and responsibilities,” she said.

“My position offers a great work/life balance and also gives me opportunities for training in both management and personal development areas. I work with a great team in Nhulunbuy, who are very knowledgeable in the business of the department, and it’s great to feed off that knowledge and apply it to my profession”.








Work health and safety

The department is committed to providing a socially responsible, physically safe and healthy working environment for all staff and contractors.

The department has committed to ensure work health and safety (WHS) is an integral part of its management and operational systems so preventing occupational injury and illness becomes embedded in its culture. The department has established and maintained a rigorous

consultation process through WHS committees and representatives in each building and region throughout the NT.

The department is dedicated to increasing staff awareness about WHS. It posts news on the intranet to inform staff about anything that could

affect their safety and wellbeing at work.

A WHS item is also published in the monthly staff newsletter.

The statistics from the department’s online incident reporting tool allow it to monitor trends, identify gaps in training and address them as quickly as possible. This table summarises the number and type of incidents for the year and the variance to the last financial year.

Table 5: WHS incidents reported, 2015–16 and 2016–17

Incident type 2015–16 2016–17 Variance

Being hit by objects includes items being thrown

at staff and swooping birds 29 33 +4

Biological factors such as contracting an infection

or transferring of blood 3 7 +4

Body stressing may include back pain caused by

manual lifting 11 6 -5

Chemicals and substances such as a mould growth

from excess moisture or strong chemical smells 3 3 -

Environmental factors includes dog bites scorching

from hot food 6 0 -6

Hazards may include the threat of lose light

covers falling 40 0 -40

Hitting objects such as other people entering or

exiting doors and injuries to self 7 8 +1

Mental factors can include verbal harassment

from clients 26 27 +1

Slips, trips and falls may be incurred from falling off

a chair or slipping on a wet surface 15 14 -1

Vehicle incidents and other such as employees

experiencing dizziness and damage to vehicles 12 37 +25

Total 152 135 -17

Note: totals varied due to machinery-of-government changes in August 2016.

Source: Department of Corporate and Information Services.



The reduction in hazard reporting between the periods is attributable to an improved understanding of reporting categories. All incidents reported for the 2016–17 period have been reviewed to ensure the correct category has been applied. There will continue to be a focus on training staff on the importance of reporting hazards and the difference between a hazard and an incident.

As a result of a rise in the number of incidents described as ‘mental factors’, the department identified a need for situational awareness training

for frontline staff who may be confronted with antisocial or aggressive behaviour in the line of duty. This specialised training was contextualised and delivered as an additional element of the PART training that was delivered to staff in Alice Springs, Casuarina and Palmerston offices in June 2017.

As a result of the increase in ‘vehicle incidents and other’ reports received, four-wheel-drive training was provided for staff across the regions.











Our structure

The Department of Housing and Community Development:

• provides accommodation pathways, housing options and client support for those in need

• empowers and supports communities to grow through respectful engagement, including by delivering interpreting and translating services

• delivers remote essential services and land tenure outcomes

• assists in developing and supporting local government and homelands.


Under changes introduced by the current government following the Northern Territory general election in August 2016, major agencies and departments were reduced from 23 to 15 and were grouped into four clusters that reflect the priorities of the government. They are:

• Chief Minister and Central Agencies

• Children and Families

• Development

• Tourism, Environment and Culture.

The Department of Housing and Community Development sits under the Children and Families cluster along with:

• Department of Territory Families

• Department of Health

• Department of Education

• Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Services.

These community-facing social service agencies come together to better coordinate policy and service delivery.








Functions of the department

Office of the Chief Executive Officer

This division undertakes a liaison service between the department and the office of each minister.

Staff allocate, coordinate and maintain quality control of all ministerial-related correspondence.

This includes ministerial briefs, Cabinet submissions, Executive Council submissions and departmental Cabinet comments on other agencies’ Cabinet submissions. Services support and enhance corporate performance and ministerial communications and liaison.

Office of the Deputy Chief Executive Officer

This unit is responsible for all operational services, including client-centric social housing services and day-to-day management of housing and local government assets.

It oversees tenancy and client support services in conjunction with non-government sector service providers and the Public Housing Safety program, local government support and grants administration, and community development support, including interpreting services in Aboriginal and foreign languages. The unit also oversees direction of housing program delivery for urban areas, the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Aboriginal Housing (NPARAH) and the roll-out of the $1.1 billion government investment in housing for Territorians living in remote communities.

Strategy, Policy and Performance This division provides strategic planning and review of housing programs, policy development, business intelligence, performance monitoring and reporting. The division comprises the following branches:

• Remote Information Coordination

• Strategy

• Strategic Performance

• Policy

• Planning.

Strategic, Legal and Risk Management This unit is responsible for coordinating the functions of the Public Housing Appeals Board and the Business Improvement Risk Management (BIRM) group.

The board is a non-statutory body, appointed by the Chief Executive Officer with the approval of the Minister for Housing and Community Development. Members from diverse backgrounds are recruited from across the NT and are

appointed for a two-year term.

The (BIRM) drives business improvement for the department through the development of risk mitigation strategies, noting that any improvements must align with recommendations made by the Risk and Audit Committee.

Corporate Services

This division provides strategic advice and

coordination for the development, implementation and delivery of financial and budget management, human resources, communication and stakeholder relations, information management, workplace health and safety, business systems, office management services, governance, risk and audit, procurement and grants management.

It supports the service delivery areas of the department through the provision and administration of systems and processes that enable the efficient conduct of the department’s business.

The division comprises the following branches:

• Finance

• Human Resource Management

• Corporate Communications

• Procurement and Grants Management

• Governance

• Information Technology and Business Support.




Deborah Hall, General Manager CPA Australia NT branch, with Michelle Walker.

Michelle Walker’s 16 years of hard work in the department were recognised when she was named as a finalist in the 2016 Northern Territory Telstra Business Women’s Awards in the Public Sector and Academia category.

Michelle was chosen as one of 16 finalists from more than 1000 applicants across the Territory who demonstrated ‘the unique combination of skills required for professional excellence:

the courage to take risks, sound financial management, strong leadership skills and sophisticated business acumen.’

Starting with the department as an AO2 in 2000, Michelle found her passion. “Before starting with the Department of Housing, I’d had various management roles in retail and hospitality, but nothing really challenged me”, she said. “After about three months with the department, I knew that was it—I wanted to stay.” Michelle worked in tenancy, client services, system administration and management roles and spent time as the Department Liaison Officer under two previous ministers. These roles gave her experience in service delivery, policy and legislation, business

improvement, disaster management and leadership development, which guides her in her current role as Executive Director, Service Delivery North.

“I am passionate about housing” Michelle said.

“Housing is fundamental to people’s wellbeing. A home gives people opportunities to improve all other aspects of their lives. We are one of the only agencies to have long-term relationships with our clients. We provide services to people for decades, often work with generations of families, and are a constant in people’s lives. Working with people who face adversity is a humbling experience, and if I can clear the way to make someone’s life a little better then I have made a difference.”

Michelle said working with passionate frontline staff is one of the most important and rewarding parts of her role.

“My advice is to always believe in yourself—instead of asking ‘why me’, you should be asking ‘why not me?’ And never be afraid to go against the norm.

Someone has to!”

Telstra Business Women’s Award finalist








Housing services delivery

2016–17 year in review

Our department has the following categories of properties:

• public housing

• social head-leasing

• community housing

• government employee housing

• industry housing

• emergency accommodation

• affordable rental housing.

Public housing is further distinguished as:

• urban public housing, which includes social head-lease dwellings

• remote public housing (which includes communities and the Alice Springs and Tennant Creek town camps).

Community housing are dwellings that are owned by the department and transferred to a community housing provider to manage.

Government employee housing dwellings are head-leased to government agencies and their eligible employees.

Industry housing dwellings are predominantly head-leased to non-government organisations.

Emergency accommodation is allocated in Galiwin’ku to clients whose dwellings were affected by Cyclone Lam.

Affordable rental housing dwellings are head- leased to individuals who are key service industry workers with low or moderate incomes.

Dwellings can be transferred from public housing stock to government employee housing or industry housing and vice versa.

Dwellings that are approved for sale/

redevelopment, awaiting disposal, reinvestment decision, or requiring major works are considered to be non-operational dwellings as they are not tenantable.

At 30 June 2017, the Department of Housing and Community Development managed a total of 12 076 dwellings consisting of 10 706 public housing dwellings and 1370 government employee housing dwellings.

Of the 10 706 public housing dwellings:

• 4888 were urban public housing

• 123 were social head-leased dwellings

• 5032 were remote public housing

• 550 were industry housing assistance scheme dwellings

• 42 were emergency accommodation dwellings at Galiwin’ku

• 59 were community housing provider-managed dwellings

• 12 were affordable rental dwellings managed by a community housing provider.

The 5011 urban public housing and social head-lease dwellings across the NT’s main towns have some 11 000 occupants. The 5032 remote public housing dwellings have some 22 000 occupants.




Remote public housing dwellings (including town camp dwellings in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek only)


Urban public housing dwellings (including social head-leased dwellings)


Affordable rental housing


Emergency accommodation


Community housing


Government employee housing dwellings


Industry housing dwellings

Figure 5: Housing stock







The housing continuum

An effective housing system supports individuals and families to access safe, affordable and secure housing. The system must also provide safeguards for vulnerable members of the community who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The housing continuum refers to a range of housing and shelter options:

• emergency shelters and transitional housing

• supported accommodation for vulnerable people, such as people with mental illness

• social housing provided by government and non- government organisations

• affordable rentals for low- to medium-income earners

• private rental

• home ownership.

The department delivers and funds programs across the housing continuum. It aims to support client movement along the housing continuum towards stable, safe, affordable housing and accommodation and away from the vulnerabilities and risks of not having access to appropriate accommodation.

home ownership


supported accommodation

social housing

affordable rental

private rental


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