New plumbing program flush with success

Published: 27 Sep 2016

A new program to improve health and wellbeing in remote Aboriginal communities, piloted recently in Walgett and Lightning Ridge, has been well-received by housing providers and tenants.

The new program offers annual plumbing health checks in communities with limited access to tradespeople to provide locals with a better understanding of and capacity to ensure optimal operation of plumbing and drainage systems.

Fair Trading Minister Stuart Ayres said agency specialists and Aboriginal housing providers, Barriekneal Community and Housing Ltd and MurdiPaaki Regional Housing Corporation Ltd, had worked well together to make the most of the new initiative.

“Fair Trading staff got a great deal of satisfaction from running this program,” he said.

“Officers said they really enjoyed the opportunity to make a difference in a remote community and to develop practical partnerships with housing providers whose services are so important for Aboriginal people.

“The plumbing health checks have been completed and the majority of properties inspected had only minor issues.

“Fair Trading is providing a full report to both housing providers and working closely with them on solutions.

“A common issue raised by tenants was septic holding tanks releasing foul odours.

“Fair Trading staff advised tenants this could be from the use of certain cleaning products like bleach. One fix was to try a septic friendly cleaning product or to try natural products such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. The housing providers have agreed to work with tenants on such simple solutions.

“Barriekneal and MurdiPaaki have also agreed to have licensed contractors rectify other issues including replacement of fittings and clearing of blocked drains.”

CEO of the Master Plumbers Association NSW Paul Naylor commended the NSW Government for taking what he described as a ‘very proactive approach and overdue initiative for Indigenous communities’.

“The health and safety of Indigenous communities through the provision of safe drinking water and safe sewerage services benefits all Australians,” he said.

“Master Plumbers encourages all remote Aboriginal communities to participate.”

Minister Ayres said Fair Trading had already been approached by another remote community wanting to be involved in the program.


Image caption: Fair Trading’s plumbing health checks in Lightning Ridge: Christina Pavlek (Fair Trading customer service officer), Rod Stowe (Commissioner for Fair Trading), Charlie Gauci (Fair Trading plumbing inspector), Samantha Howard (Lightning Ridge tenant), Frances Carpenter (office manager at Barriekneal Community and Housing Ltd), Lynelle Collins (Fair Trading Director), Brett Cunningham (Fair Trading co-ordinator Aboriginal programs).

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