We’ll find a solution

The Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) has reaffirmed its commitment to find a solution for a family of six living in an asbestos-riddled home in South Dubbo.
HangZhou Night Net

AHO chief executive James Christian yesterday reiterated the offer to rehouse Wayne and Angela Wilson and their four children who have lived in the potential death trap for almost three years.

Both the AHO and Department of Aboriginal Affairs have also offered to cover demolition costs of the three-bedroom house. But the family is refusing to budge without guarantees they can return to a new house on the same Bennett Street site.

The issue was brought to light this week by the property manager, Dubbo Koori Housing Corporation, which said the AHO “should come to the party” and pay for the rebuilding.

Mr Christian described talks with the corporation as “ongoing” although the allocation of funding for this year’s capital works had been finalised.

In a carefully-worded statement he also referred to the “effective management” of housing properties but refused to say whether the running of the corporation had itself raised concerns.

“The AHO’s funding decisions are firstly based on need and then the identification of an appropriate organisation to manage housing assets,” Mr Christian said.

“Sometimes this involves funding being provided to an Aboriginal community housing organisation or a lands council.

“But this is only after they are able to demonstrate that they can provide appropriate and effective management of property and tenancies.

“If there are any concerns that the organisation is experiencing management difficulties the office will not consider providing capital funding and will instead offer assistance with management training.”

Housing authorities have known for more than a year about floating asbestos fibres from the Bennett Street property but concerns date back much further than that.

In 1994 a Dubbo City Council inspection rang alarm bells about “extensive weathering” of the roof surface.

A recommendation to seal the surface was, however, ignored by a previous corporation.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.