You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.


A home-building project is making a lifechanging difference to people living in a remote Northern Territory community.

A new 24-lot subdivision has been completed in Gunbalanya, 220 kilometres east of Darwin.

Fifty seven homes will be built and an additional 67 bedrooms added as part of works under the Territory Government’s Room to Breathe program.

Twenty six properties have been completed and 10 handed over to excited residents.

About $30 million worth of work has already been awarded.

The contract is being carried out by a joint Aboriginal Business Enterprise venture between Gunbalanya-based Demed Aboriginal Corporation and Darwin-based, Indigenous-owned construction company Dice Australia.

Six Aboriginal trainees from Gunbalanya have signed on for a Certificate II in Construction over the next 12 months.

Five of them are being hosted by the joint venture, which has achieved an Aboriginal employment rate of more than 35 percent.

In addition to the face-to-face block training run by the Batchelor Institute, the trainess will be working on building new homes and renovations and additions through the Room to Breathe program.

Work is being created in other ways at Gunbalanya, which has a population of 1200.

Jabiru-based Aboriginal Business Enterprise Kakadu Contracting has created meaningful job opportunities since winning the Gunbalanya housing maintenance contract in late 2021.

It has upskilled workers in the community, taken on apprentices and achieved an Aboriginal employment rate of 58 percent.

Five of the company’s six apprentices are Aboriginal, including 2024 GTNT Group Award finalists Jaxen Mitchell and Josiah Ross-Kelly.

Kakadu Contracting is also nominated in the GTNT Group Host Employer of the Year, along with Stuart Hodgkin for Supervisor of the Year.

Since September 2016, the Territory Government has built and upgraded about 3800 homes, including those underway.

To capitalise on this momentum, the NT and Federal governments have announced a landmark joint $4 billion investment into a new 10-year program called the National Partnership for Remote Housing NT.

Up to 270 homes will be built each year to reduce overcrowding and improve living conditions in remote communities.

The key focuses of the program are:

  • reducing overcrowding and improving living conditions
  • local decision making and engagement with communities
  • developing Aboriginal Business Enterprises
  • sustainable local employment
  • economic development

The unprecedented investment will create local employment and support the sustainability of Aboriginal Business Enterprises. The Territory Government works with Aboriginal communities to promote local economic development and support local skills to build and manage housing. In the 2022-23 financial year, $143.2 million was spent through Aboriginal Business Enterprises and for the first six months of the 2023-24 financial year, $109.7 million has already been spent.

Seventy seven capital contracts and 45 property and tenancy management contracts had been awarded to Aboriginal Business Enterprises by the end of 2023.