HOMESTART NT is a Territory Government initiative
that is helping more Territorians buy their own home.
With financial support from HOMESTART NT,
Territorians earning low to middle incomes can buy
their home using no more than 30% of their income.
Loans are available for eligible Territorians who
• are first home buyers or
• are non first home buyers who do not currently
own property or
• currently live in public housing.
HOMESTART NT loans are designed for low to
middle income earners and feature:
• a competitive variable interest rate
• a low deposit
• no lender’s mortgage insurance premium
• no monthly service fees
• up to 35 year loan term to make repayments
• low application fee
• assistance with associated costs to buy your
Eligible public housing tenants may also be able to
purchase their home. To be eligible to buy a public
housing home you must:
• be a public housing tenant
• not have any current rental arrears
• not currently own another property or share in
a property in Australia (this also applies to your
• be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
• intend to live in the property.
To find out more about HOMESTART NT, visit
www.housingnt.nt.gov.au, call 1300 301 833 or To find out more about buying a public housing
visit a TIO branch. home contact your local Housing Services office
(see back page).
DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING
entitlements boost for
Housing Services has a range of accommodation
types and sizes in major centres across the Central Australians at risk of homelessness
Territory to appropriately house as many will soon have access to new services with
Territorians in need as possible. This ranges the Territory Government announcing the
from one bedroom units to larger family homes, allocation of two properties for short term
including some homes that are purpose built accommodation.
and designed for senior residents or modified for
people with disabilities. Approval has been given to Aboriginal Hostels
Limited to operate the Mount Gillen Hostel and
Demand for family sized homes is especially to Alice Springs Youth Accommodation Support
high. To help us offer appropriately sized homes Services (ASYASS) to operate 9 Priest Street.
to families on our waiting lists, we may require
tenants whose children have left home to transfer Aboriginal Hostels will use the 11 one-bedroom
to a home that better suits their household size. units and 12 two-bedroom units to provide short
term accommodation to homeless Indigenous
Tenants who choose not to downsize to an people and families who are travelling into Alice
alternative public housing residence when Springs for medical treatment.
required to do so, may be charged an additional
amount of rent on top of their rebated rent. ASYASS will use four two-bedroom units to
provide transitional housing for youth aged
If you would like more information about housing between 16 and 21 years who are at risk of
entitlements or transfers, please contact your homelessness.
local Housing Services office (see back page).
“The government recognises the need for
short term accommodation services across the
Territory and these two properties will provide a
total of 43 beds in Alice Springs,” said Minister
for Housing Rob Knight.
Territory Housing has a new name:
As of July 2009 Territory Housing will be called Housing Services.
The name change is a result of a restructure of the Department of Local Government and
Housing. The restructure was necessary to ensure the department is well placed to deliver
housing support and services in urban and regional areas, now and into the future.
You will find that the change will not affect you. However, if you have any concerns or
queries please contact your local Housing Services office (see back page).
The Department of Local Government and Housing has had an exciting year so far
with the NT Government targeting unacceptable behaviour in public housing and work
underway to upgrade several properties.
Budget 2009 increases our housing investment by 92% and will see new urban and
remote housing built to meet our growing demand.
Work has started on the construction of 22 new homes under the Australian Government’s
Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan. Looking after our current stock is also important
and we are continuing to roll out our refurbishment program. More than $11.2 million is
being invested under the stimulus package to upgrade existing public housing properties,
and build new homes to help meet our housing needs.
We are committed to looking after our properties and our tenants - it is unacceptable
to have a minority of tenants behaving badly in public housing properties. We have
introduced four antisocial behaviour officers based across the Territory and these officers
are already making inroads.
Since the officers started they have investigated 88 tenancies and finalised three
evictions, with a further two pending. While more work needs to be done, the officers
complement other measures including Acceptable Behaviour Agreements, alcohol dry
areas, increased scrutiny of probationary leases, and work underway with NT Police to
target known hot spots.
The NT Government is also committed to helping more Territorians to buy their own
home. Several initiatives have been recently launched to make housing more affordable
including HOMESTART NT and the sale of affordable housing properties at Emery
Avenue in Palmerston and affordable housing lots at the new suburb of Bellamack. There
will continue to be more affordable housing options made available to Territorians in the
As part of its commitment to stronger regions, the Department of Local Government and
Housing has recently undertaken a restructure to improve the support and services it
provides, particularly in regional areas. One of the changes you may notice is that we
will no longer refer to Territory Housing as a separate business unit – it is now called
Housing Services. Although the name has changed, you will continue to receive the same
This work will deliver real results for Territorians – improving our public housing and
helping more Territorians get into the housing market.
Minister for Housing
Win a $50 gift voucher
Do you have a great story for Our House NT? How to contact us?
Perhaps there is a community organisation in your Write to: Reader Contribution
area that you’d like to know more about? If you Operational Services
would like to share photos of your garden with other GPO Box 4621
readers, or have a question you’d like us to answer, Darwin NT 0801
please contact us with your ideas.
If your story is published, you could receive a $50
Bunnings gift voucher for your contribution. Phone: (08) 8999 8406
Telephone: Interpreter and translating services
8999 8855 As part of the Department of Local Government and
www.nt.gov. Housing’s commitment to customer service and cross
Alice Sprin cultural issues, housing staff can now access interpreter
gs services whenever necessary. An interpreter may help
8951 5576 you understand information and processes relating to
8951 5244 accessing housing assistance.
If you would feel more comfortable conducting your
business with housing staff in a language other than
English, our staff can arrange an appointment with the
ing interpreter service.
Interpreting and Translat
Service NT (ITSNT) The Interpreting and Translating Service (ITSNT)
provides an on-site interpreting and translation service
Darwin throughout the Northern Territory.
Telephone: 8999 8506
Freecall: 1800 676 254 The Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS) provides
Facsimile: 8999 8475 interpreting services to assist government and non-
Email: email@example.com government agencies to communicate with their clients.
On-site interpreting covers the majority of Aboriginal
www.itsnt.nt.gov.au languages within the Territory. For more information,
please refer to the contact details on the left.
2009 Public Housing Winners announced
Garden Competition soon! Registrations forCompetitionPublic
now closed and the judging of
entries will start soon.
Judging will be across a variety
of categories including Best
House Garden, Best Unit Garden,
Best Complex Garden and Best
Environmentally Friendly Garden.
The winners will be announced
in October. Prizes include home
improvement vouchers worth up to
This is our way of thanking you for the
time spent improving your garden and
showing ‘pride in your place’.
For information about the competition
visit your local Housing Services office
(please refer to back page) or go online:
F I N D P T G Yo
N H O J S T E $20 B win a
B A D L G H M gift v nnings
Z A J W O R D
A B P R I O R I T Y I F I N C O M E J O
S C D E F Q M X C P L H G A B L L O H N
Z A J H K M N G V B U F J K N F N I U E
Z W F A E L L U N C Q U G F W A E M V I
Z J H E H O U S I N G L O A R P W P O G
P P O T R X V N H D L A R B K L S Q E H
W E R Y I O J D A H A B D H L A L E R B
B Q W F B Z X V R E N T Y A B N E M U O
U L G S Y B F K R S D K P F W A T K I U
T Q S E C U R E P C L X Z Q K H T I L R
E Z X J F T I E R A O G L O P E E E V S
N T K N R M W R Y Z R A E F Q F R T O B
A E U P Q N P R B X D J L P K V S S K L
N O J E A O O P Q W F H K I U E A G N E
T W E T K T F V W H O M E Q C V Y M O G
E E R V I B V Q A V H G F D I P E S T H
A P B R W E R T Y L E A S E J L T F R Q
A Q R A X Z B N K O Y F D J O R E S V S
D E D F W J L P L I E A U T T B N H Q Y
T W P A F F O R D A B L E B V B O N D P
Find the words listed below in the grid. They could be written in any direction. There is one word
in the list that can not be found in the grid.
Write the missing word and your contact details (including phone number) on the back of an
envelope and send it to Department of Local Government and Housing, Operational Services,
GPO Box 4621, Darwin NT 0801 to enter the draw. Correct entries will be placed in a barrel and
the first entry drawn will receive a $20 Bunnings gift voucher.
affordable bond home housing income
keys landlord lease maintenance neighbour
newsletter priority rent safe secure
A home away from home
Finding accommodation when you come to town
can be a problem for many Indigenous people
in the Territory. That’s where Aboriginal Hostels
▪ Galawu Transient Hostel Darwin
Limited (AHL) might be able to help.
AHL has been around since 1973 and specialises
in providing temporary accommodation for
AHL tariffs are affordable if you are on a low
Indigenous people who are away from home. You
income and include three meals a day and clean,
can stay just one night if you are passing through,
or for several weeks, for example if you have to
be near a hospital or rehabilitation centre.
AHL has hostels in all mainland states and
territories. In the Northern Territory, there are
Some residents come from a background of
hostels in Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine,
homelessness and need a secure place to stay
Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek and Yulara.
while they find something longer-term. AHL also
has special categories of hostel for students and
for elders who need a long-term alternative to If you would like to know more, contact one of
living in their own home when that is no longer AHL’s Territory offices or visit their website.
▪ AHL Darwin - 8981 4388
Alcohol and drugs are not permitted at AHL ▪ AHL Alice Springs - 8952 6544
hostels, helping to make them safe and secure for www.ahl.gov.au
women, children, young people, the elderly and
men. Most staff are Indigenous and all are happy
▪ Topsy Smith Hostel in Alice Springs specialises in
accommodation for renal dialysis patients.
Hi, I’m Annie. Welcome to the ‘Critter Chatter’ section What should we teach first?
of Our House NT. The first thing I teach my pups is what I call the ‘Kath
and Kim’ exercise, in other words ‘look at me’. Until
I hope you will write in and share your stories, hints you can hold the pup’s attention it is hard to teach
and tips with us and get involved in this section of much else. The object is to have a pup that will stop
Our House NT. and look straight up at you when you ask for his/her
First, a little bit about me. I have trialled, shown,
bred and trained dogs to be companions for disabled • Put a lead and collar on the puppy.
people, as detector dogs and seniors companion/ • Sit down on the ground at puppy level.
assistance dogs. I have worked with the Animal • Chat or play with the puppy and then say your
Welfare League of South Australia and as a Local puppy’s name and ‘look’ in a very excited tone,
Laws Officer in Adelaide and Victoria. putting your finger to the tip of your nose.
• Once the puppy looks, feed the treat and give lots
I am passionate about responsible pet ownership of praise instantly.
and the great benefits there are for people sharing • Do this several times and finish with a little play
their lives with pets. break.
Pet ownership comes with responsibilities, but then Next issue we will look at some of the fun things you
so do most things worth having or doing in life. can do with your pets. If you have any questions
Owning a well trained and sociable pet is certainly please feel free to write to me:
worth the effort!
Our House NT
In past issues of Our House NT we’ve provided some GPO Box 4621
information about rewarding your pets with treats. In Darwin NT 0801
the dog training world this is usually referred to as or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
positive reinforcement. It’s a kind, gentle and non
threatening way to train a pet. In fact it should be fun
for your pet!
Because we are practising positive reinforcement
and our pet is learning, we praise and make a big
fuss of good behaviour. We ignore the failures right
through until our pet knows the trick or exercise really
Before you start:
• Think it through, what do you want to teach your
• Break the lesson down into small ‘bite size’
• Get your ‘props’ together, a favourite toy or a long
length of line with a clip on the end.
• Train when you are in a good mood, never lose
your ‘cool’ with your pet!
• Train your pet when it is hungry.
• Have a lot of tasty treats on hand to suit your
Remember, a treat is something your pet really
loves, but does not get as part of his/her usual meal.
For instance, my Whippet (Clancy) loves cabana so
I cut tiny slices. Lots of dogs, and even some cats,
love cheese so you could cut tiny cubes of a hard
All housing staff members are required to
have appropriate identification both in the
office and on field visits to clients.
Staff will clearly display their photo
identification cards when making home
visits and their name badge while on duty in
all housing offices.
You may ask to see any housing officer’s
identification before allowing the staff
member into your home.
▪ Matika Mitchell from Central Australia Housing
Services displaying her identification.
Alterations and additions
If you are planning on making any changes to your rental
property such as putting picture hooks in the walls, painting,
installing air conditioning or light fittings or building garden
structures, it is a requirement of the Residential Tenancies Act
that you get approval from your landlord, the Department of
Local Government and Housing, before going ahead.
This may sound daunting but the department encourages
tenants to regard their public housing dwelling as their home
and will generally approve most applications for alterations
to rental properties.
Please be aware that the Department of Local Government ns and A
and Housing will not reimburse you for any changes made
to the property and all alterations and additions must be in Making a
accordance with relevant building regulations. If you wo
uld like to
property s make alte
uch as pu rations to
condition t picture h you
To request an approval to make changes complete an ing or buil ooks in th r rental
d garden e
of the Re
sidential T structures walls, install air
Application for Alterations/Additions form and return this your land
lord, the D
Act that y
, it is a re
Housing, ep ou ge
to your local housing office with copies of any plans or before go artment of Local G t approval fro
ing ahead overnmen
relevant approval from bodies such as the local council The depa . t and
or building authority, for consideration. If your request housing d courages
welling as tenants to
most app th regard th
is approved, the department will provide a letter with lications fo eir home and will eir public
r alteratio generally
ns to renta approve
written approval and stipulating any conditions. What alte l propertie
rations c s.
an I mak
In additio e to my h
Further information and forms are available from your n to the s
alteration above, fu
s that req rther exam
local Housing Services office (see back page) or visit uire appro ples of
• installin val includ
g carpet o e:
www.housing.nt.gov.au/public_housing/forms. r any othe
• paving r floor cov
the garde erings
including n or build
garden sto ing any g
enclosure rage shed arden stru
s s, shade cture
• remov or pet
Water Safety Who qualifies for the program? Every
parent and guardian caring for a child
Awareness Program under the age of five in the Territory can
take advantage of the program. Parents
and guardians must participate in the
water sessions with their child, and all
Keeping young children safe in sessions must be completed before the
child turns five.
and around the water is vital.
How do you access the program?
Water safety awareness is an important life skill and, You can register online at www.nt.gov.
combined with active supervision and pool fencing, helps au/watersafety or contact Water Safety
keep young children safe. on 1300 301 059 to obtain a registration
The Water Safety Awareness Program provides free water form.
safety lessons for parents / guardians and their children After registration, you will receive
under five. information on resuscitation, emergency
What does the program include? recognition and safety strategies, as
well as a list of organisations providing
The program is delivered in two formats to ensure young the program in your local area. Remote
children in all parts of the Territory can participate. program participants will also receive a
1. The urban/rural program includes five free sessions for
parents and their children. The sessions cover emergency It is your responsibility to contact local
care, revival skills and water awareness with activities providers and book into their sessions.
both in and out of the water. Vouchers will be provided by the instructor
at your first session.
2. The remote area program includes a DVD
about emergency care and revival skills and More information For more information
three in-water sessions when a Royal Life Saving about the Water Safety Awareness
Association (NT) instructor visits the area. Program or for advice on water safety in
Please call 8981 2758 for the remote area visiting general visit www.nt.gov.au/watersafety or
schedule. contact Water Safety on 1300 301 059.
to help you reduce
your electricity bill
There are some simple ways you can Power and Water sponsor CoolMOB, a community
reduce your electricity bill without changing organisation that can come to your home and conduct
an energy audit ($10 or free for concession card
your lifestyle and save money. holders). They will show you which appliances are
using the most electricity and provide you with more
• If you have an air conditioner, reduce the ways to cut down on your electricity use.
amount of time you use it each day and set the
temperature between 24 and 27 degrees. Each Power and Water also administers Pensioner
degree colder you set it, costs 10% more to run. and Carer concessions for electricity, water and
Running a 1.5 horse power air conditioner 180 sewerage services on behalf of the Department of
days for eight hours a day will cost about $435 Health and Families. Under the Northern Territory
per year. Reducing running time to five hours a Pensioner and Carer Concession Scheme, you can
day will save about $165 a year. obtain a rebate on electricity charges of 50% of your
• If you are not in the room, remember to turn off quarterly account, up to a maximum rebate of $1.00
the fan and lights as you leave. per day. (Water charges have a Pensioner and Carer
• Install 15 watt compact fluorescent light bulbs concession rebate of 62.5% of the quarterly account
instead of standard 75 watt bulbs. If you have ten or a maximum rebate of 27.4 cents per day, whichever
light bulbs in your home, this can save up to $100 is the lesser amount).
• Out all day? Then switch off standby power – TV, Power and Water Corporation also recognises that
DVD player, stereo, microwave, computer and there are people living in the community who may
phone chargers. This could save you up to $100 at times have difficulties affording essential services
a year. such as power and water. Under its hardship
policy, customers can seek assistance, advice
• If you are buying new appliances such as a
and assessment by a community welfare agency.
washing machine or fridge look at the star rating.
Participating community agencies can provide $25
A 4-Star rating will save about $70 a year in
vouchers that can only be used for Power and Water
running costs over a 2-Star fridge.
• Use the clothesline whenever you can to dry
clothes. For further information on any of the information
• Turn off your hot water system when you go on above please call Power and Water Customer
holidays. If you have a solar hot water system, Service on 1800 245 092 or visit the website
make sure the electric booster is turned off. www.powerwater.com.au.
We are introducing a new bank
account number for all tenancy
Property assessments The new account number is:
The Department of Local Government and Housing has an BSB: 035-301
extensive social housing asset portfolio in the urban centres of ACCT: 510418-990001
the Territory and in mid 2008 assumed responsibility for remote
housing assets previously managed by Indigenous housing If you make payments through
organisations. automatic transfers from a
bank account or through payroll
The Department of Local Government and Housing is committed deductions, you should arrange
to improving housing outcomes for current tennants and for now to have the account number
people seeking accommodation in public housing throughout changed. Contact your bank or
the Northern Territory. employer and provide them with
the new account number.
The department is on its way to develop a long term social
housing strategy to help us make the right decisions. In light Always make sure your Housing
of this strategy the department will undertake a comprehensive Services account number is
assessment of the current configuration and condition of our listed on all payments.
public housing assets, in urban as well as remote areas.
If you have any queries or need
Over the next few months, contractors will collect information on assistance, please contact your
behalf of the department. They will carry a letter of introduction local Housing Services office
and they will have photo identification to show they are working (see back page).
on our behalf.
The purpose of the assessment is to break free of the cycle of
reactive maintenance and adopt a more effective and efficient
planned maintenance and renewal program. Better planning of
maintenance, asset renewals and growth will ultimately improve
outcomes for all tenants and prospective tenants.
If you have any queries about the assessments, please contact
your local Housing Services office (see back page).
What are my
as a tenant?
Housing Services provides you with a Welcome • notify Housing Services of any changes in
Pack at the commencement of your tenancy your household income, assets or property
that contains an outline of your responsibilities ownership as well as changes in household
as well as helpful hints about living in public members and size of household.
For further information in regards to tenant
responsibilities please contact your local Housing
Some of these responsibilities are listed below.
• maintain the dwelling in a neat, tidy and
• ensure the dwelling is kept free of pests such
as mice, fleas, ticks and cockroaches
• advise Housing Services of any white ant or
termite infestations that might damage the
structure of the dwelling
• promptly inform Housing Services of any
repairs required that are the landlords
responsibility, such as internal and/or external
repainting, upgrading of fittings (stove, bath,
toilet system, cupboards, bench tops, internal
doors, ceiling fans, floor tiles, etc)
• pay electricity, gas, telephone and ‘excess
Housing Services contacts
Casuarina - Ethos House, 270 Trower Rd, Casuarina p: 08 8922 5526
Darwin - Construction House, Cnr Mitchell and Briggs Sts, Darwin p: 08 8999 8814
Palmerston - Highway House, Cnr Broadland St and Palmerston Cct, Palmerston p: 08 8999 4767
Alice Springs - Cnr Leichhardt and Gregory Tce, Alice Springs p: 08 8951 5344
Tennant Creek - Government Building, Peko Rd, Tennant Creek p: 08 8962 4497
Katherine - NT Government Centre, First St, Katherine p: 08 8973 8536
Nhulunbuy - Shop 2 Arnhem House, Endeavour Square, Nhulunbuy p: 08 8987 0533
Client Relations Officer p: 1300 301 167
or 08 8999 8853
DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING
Our House NT is published by the Northern Territory Government. For enquiries or feedback please contact the Department of
Local Government and Housing on (08) 8999 8406, email to: email@example.com or send a letter to Our House
NT, GPO Box 4621, Darwin NT 0801.