Loss of contract ‘cut to soul’ of housing company

11 February 2016

A housing company that lost a contract to provide tenancy services to town camps in Australia has claimed the procurement decision goes against the government’s aim of supporting indigenous businesses.

The Central Australian Affordable Housing Company (CAAHC) had been providing management services to Alice Springs town camp residents in the Northern Territory for almost five years.

Sally Langton, CEO at CAAHC, said the loss of the contract had “cut to the soul” of the organisation and its employees.

“We have written to chief minister Adam Giles and housing minister Bess Price explaining the impact of this procurement decision, which appears to be in contravention of the chief minister’s aims of supporting indigenous business and jobs,” she said.

Langton said the organisation had built up a level of expertise in providing services and developed good relationships with residents.

“We entered the tender process with the hope of implementing a new service model that would improve services to the community, resulting in better tenancy outcomes for residents and the Department of Housing,” she said.

Langton said that the CAAHC was now facing a very challenging future.

“As a not for profit community housing organisation, we have proudly employed many Aboriginal people over the last five years and sadly the majority of our staff will lose their employment in the next few weeks,” she said.

Adam Giles, chief minister of the Northern Territory Government said that the tenancy management tender, which was awarded to Zodiac Business Services, had been awarded via an open tender process in accordance with procurement rules.

“Zodiac Business Services is a locally owned and operated Alice Springs business that is highly experienced in tenancy management in remote Central Australian communities, and has an indigenous employment rate of over 50%,” Giles said.

Zodiac Business Services was awarded the contract for AUS$702,000. Giles said: “Town camp service provision is a priority for this government and we are aiming to provide value for money and quality for money."

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