The west Kimberley community of Looma has become the first Aboriginal community to sign the State Government’s new repairs and maintenance subsidy program agreement.
Housing and Works Minister Francis Logan said the community, which is near Camballin outside Derby, would now be eligible for a subsidy of over $100,000 for repairs and maintenance aimed at improving health and living standards.
Mr Logan, who visited Looma for the first time at the weekend, said he was very impressed with the community’s pro-activity and he hoped other communities would follow its fine example.
“This new subsidy program is a major initiative of the Department of Housing and Works’ Aboriginal housing infrastructure directorate,” he said.
“It was created with the express purpose of improving the maintenance and long-term sustainability of houses in these communities.
“The Gallop Government is committed to improving the quality of all services to all Western Australians wherever they live.”
Under the program, communities can qualify for a subsidy if they charge sustainable rents and install adequate housing management to co-ordinate the work.
“One of the conditions of the subsidy funding is for each community to charge rents at a more sustainable level, even if it means increases,” Mr Logan said.
“Looma has achieved this and subsequently been rewarded.
“The subsidy and the money collected from extra rent will be used to upgrade pensioner houses at Looma, and its homelands Bulanjarr, Djilmbardi and Yarri Yarri.
“I am pleased to hear that the upgrades will include new kitchens and disability facilities to ensure easier cleaning, pest control and pride within the home environment.”
The Minister said the capacity of individual communities to carry out maintenance work was often limited and had resulted in many community-managed houses becoming run down.
“This is a consequence of a number of issues, including limited or no training in the management and maintenance of housing when communities were first established,” he said.
“The high cost of maintenance services and the limited capacity of communities to undertake plumbing and electrical repairs are also factors.
“The department planned to set aside about $23million in 2005-06 to pay for major refurbishments, critical repairs and maintenance works in these communities.”
Minister's office: 9222 8950