Remote Indigenous housing procurement and post-occupancy outcomes - a comparative study


This project sought to understand how housing procurement strategies impact on outcomes for Indigenous people in remote settlements. It examined four cases studies where governments have intervened in housing procurement processes and what makes for success in achieving improvements in social, cultural and economic outcomes.

Project Number: 20583
Research Theme(s): Indigenous housing, Home ownership
Project Leader: Memmott, Paul
Funding Year: 2009
Research Centre: Queensland

Published research reports

Download now Positioning Paper: No. 129: Remote Indigenous housing procurement and post-occupancy outcomes: a comparative study
519 KB PDF Document

Download now Final Report: No. 167: Remote Indigenous housing procurement: a comparative study
5.6 MB PDF Document

Download now Research and Policy Bulletin: Issue 152: Building new housing in remote Indigenous communities
384 KB PDF Document


The project found that the way contracts for procurement are designed can play an important role in enhancing or creating positive social and economic outcomes (such as employment, education and community capacity building) as part of the construction process. By contrast, mainstream housing procurement contracts driven by economic imperatives (including minimising financial risk and maximising financial gain in set timeframes) will do little to contribute towards achievement of these outcomes in what are largely unskilled, highly mobile labour markets of remote Indigenous settlements.

In the design of procurement contracts, a number of factors can contribute to positive outcomes that are sustainable and have a longer-term legacy. These include:

  • Devising appropriate timeframes for staging of projects so that apprentices can finish their training over the course of one project rather than have to pick up work elsewhere to complete training.
  • Taking account of the specific social and environmental context (e.g. one project failed to take account of appropriate design for people with disabilities even though it emerged as an issue after the houses had been built).
  • Allowing for flexibility in contracting through ‘alliancing’ or ‘partnering’ so that risks (e.g. associated with a transient or a truant labour force) are appropriately shared.
  • Ensuring meaningful community engagement early in the project so that the community has a high sense of ownership over the end product, people are involved in capacity building and the design is appropriate to their needs.
  • Establishing supportive organisational cultures, which involve amongst other things, good communication between tiers of government departments and those undertaking grass-roots activities, and resourcing local organisations not adequately skilled or equipped to take on larger projects.