‘Maintenance key to better remote Indigenous housing’

Housing supply, design, and maintenance in Indigenous communities needs to be reassessed in light of the growing impacts of climate change, new research suggests.

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) says indigenous and remote communities will experience climate change earlier and disproportionately compared with urban settings.

In its latest report, AHURI says operating and maintenance costs are three times greater for remote housing than in capital cities, “so developing strategies to reduce these costs is a key goal”.

AHURI says adopting life-cycle costing (LCC) frameworks “offer potential to reduce expensive responsive repair work while guaranteeing amenity to householders … [and are] likely to support local employment more effectively”.

AHURI researchers targeted the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia and north-western regional NSW to assess repairs and maintenance requirements and the on-the-ground challenges of asset management in the context of climate change.

Researchers also simulated housing performance drawing on data from Borroloola (NT), Alice Springs (NT), and Moree (NSW) to represent the three climate zones (tropical, arid, and hot/mild) where most Indigenous people in remote and regional Australia live.