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Nearly 100 social housing homes in Kimberley flood-affected areas require ‘significant’ work

Cain AndrewsBroome Advertiser
Shire of Broome environmental health officer Andrew Waters inspects a house.
Camera IconShire of Broome environmental health officer Andrew Waters inspects a house. Credit: Australian Defence Force/Royal Australian Air Force

Nearly 100 homes in flood-affected areas of the Kimberley require significant work to rectify damage, according to figures revealed in State Parliament.

Housing Minister Jackie Jarvis said in response to questions from MLC Wilson Tucker that detailed building condition assessments had been completed on 95 of the 1009 Department of Communities homes in flood-affected areas.

Of the 95 properties with completed assessments, 91 were identified as damaged to the extent that they had to be rebuilt, repaired or refurbished.

Minor repairs were needed to 29 dwellings, 50 required refurbishment and 12 needed to be completely rebuilt.

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Ms Jarvis said repair work on damaged properties had already begun.

“Currently, 11 dwellings have works underway,” she said.

“Procurement for the remainder of the properties requiring minor repairs is also underway, with works expected to commence shortly.

“A final decision as to whether some damaged homes will be either rebuilt or refurbished will be influenced by flood mapping and the subsequent recommended finished floor level.”

Ms Jarvis said the Department of Communities would build the new social housing properties to a Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme 7-star rating.

“(This) exceeds the minimum standards, with consideration for making homes thermally comfortable and sustainable in terms of costs for tenants to maintain,” she said.

“Design features are considered in all new construction in the North West to accommodate the climate in that region. Ceiling fans and ceiling and wall insulation have been included in all new construction in the North West since 1990.”

The recent floods have only exacerbated the already dire need for social housing in the Kimberley. ABS statistics released in March revealed the Kimberley had the highest rate of homelessness in regional WA.

It comes after local leaders said the announcement of a new $3.9m public housing allocation for Fitzroy Crossing in December last year was “not enough” to satisfy demand for housing in the town.

“The East Kimberley region was already experiencing a high level of unmet need before the devastating floods. The recovery and rebuilding efforts need to factor this in,” Shelter WA chief executive Kath Snell said.

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