The Northern Territory (NT) is facing a major challenge with respect to housing across all segments of the Housing Market. These include:
- increasing housing stress
- increasing housing demand from clients with complex needs
- increasing need for remote housing to reduce over-crowding
- increase in housing demand generated by significant population growth and economic development
A cross-government task force was established to develop a strategy to address these challenges. Development of the Territory Housing Strategy was set to a tight timeframe of nine weeks, for incorporation in a Cabinet Minute to be presented in early December 2008. Territory Housing engaged the consultancy services of WSP to assist the taskforce in developing the Housing Strategy within the time frame.
Roadmap to Meet Housing Demand
WSP applied a market segmentation approach to develop the NT Housing Strategy. This involved a demand and supply analysis to understand the extent of housing need based on the target groups identified in the statement of objectives.
Various market responses were evaluated to determine the most effective strategies to meet future demand. The financial implications were assessed based on existing costs from Territory Housing and other housing providers. In parallel to developing the Territory Housing Strategy, the NT Government requested WSP to identify opportunities for demonstration projects that would deliver affordable housing in the short term. Our approach towards the demonstration projects included:
- reviewing affordable housing models and planning levers
- assessing a number of Territory government sites in Darwin and Alice Springs to identify potential for demonstration projects
- preparing development options and master plans to optimize yield, value and affordable housing
- undertaking financial modelling to assess viability
In December 2008, the NT Cabinet endorsed the recommendations of the NT Housing Strategy. Cabinet directed the NT Government to develop cross-agency plans to implement the Strategy. In early February 2009, NT Cabinet reviewed and endorsed these implementation plans. The Territory Government is proceeding to implement the plans on this basis.