Frequently asked questions


Our Community. Our Future. Our Homes. is a 10 year program being delivered in remote communities across the Northern Territory. Communities are prioritised to receive work based on a number of factors including overcrowding and housing need, availability of land and essential services to build new homes, and land tenure and leasing arrangements.

The Progress section of the website shows the work being delivered in each community to date.

Each community has different arrangements. To register for work on the remote housing program:

  • tell your CDP provider you want to work on the remote housing program (if you are not signed up for CDP you will need to do sign up first)
  • ask the contractor working in your community if they have any work available
  • if there is a labour hire company in your community, tell them you want to work on the remote housing program.

Aboriginal employment means employing Aboriginal people from the community where the work is happening, where possible.

Contractors are required to have a minimum of 40% Aboriginal employment to deliver work under the program. This minimum will increase by 2% each financial year from 2019-2020 to a maximum of 48%.

The Room to Breathe program is to help fix overcrowding. Overcrowding means too many people are living in a home.

The Room to Breathe program is for:

  • homes with people sleeping in living rooms, verandas or tents because there are not enough bedrooms
  • homes with 3 or more adults sleeping in the same bedroom
  • homes that need up to 5 bedrooms
  • homes with old people on walking frames or people who use a wheelchair
  • homes with boys and girls 5 years or older sleeping in the same bedroom.

Homes that will not get work done by the Room to Breathe program:

  • homes that are not overcrowded
  • homes that need more than 5 bedrooms, even if the home is overcrowded.

If your home will still be overcrowded after Room to Breathe, we will talk to you about other options for your family.

We work with local decision makers like housing reference groups to plan new housing in communities. As part of the planning we look at the needs in a community such as population size and growth, the level of overcrowding, and requirements for aged, disability and kinship accommodation.  
You must put your housing application in and make sure you are on the wait list to be considered for new housing.


An Aboriginal business is an organisation that is 50% or more Aboriginal-owned or controlled, and that is operating as a business (including a company, incorporated association, trust, social enterprise, or registered charity operating a business).

An incorporated joint venture is one that is 25% or more Aboriginal-owned.

Read more information on program procurement and tender opportunities.

The Northern Territory Government has a market-led proposals policy that outlines the process for proponents seeking to approach government with proposals that provide tangible benefits to the Northern Territory and provides guidance on how proposals will be considered.

The policy recognises that every proposal and proponent is different and provides the Northern Territory Government with the flexibility to progress proposals in a way that delivers value-for-money for Territorians, while providing certainty and advice to the private sector as early as possible to encourage good ideas to be developed and brought forward.

The policy is administered by the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation. For more information visit:

Local businesses can secure work by supplying equipment, tools, materials, food, fuel, labourers, skilled and semi-skilled tradespeople, and accommodation to successful tenderers.

The Our Community. Our Future. Our Homes. Gateway page on the Industry Capability Network NT website lists open, closed, awarded tenders and future opportunities for the remote housing investment package. To become a supplier to a contractor, contact the successful tenderer you wish to work with directly.


These frequently asked questions are intended to help explain the data on the Progress reporting dashboards. Definitions of the data can be viewed here.

The time period for the data is from April 2017 to the date stated at the top of the webpage, unless otherwise indicated. This reflects Room to Breathe early works which commenced in April 2017.

Baseline overcrowding data is taken at September 2017.

Contracts awarded is the value of the contract awarded to a construction company before a project commences. Total expenditure includes all construction and associated delivery costs, such as engaging architects or draftspeople for design work, adjusting the scope, and project variances.

The number of total homes includes vacant homes. A home is considered vacant (not occupied) if it is going to be demolished and replaced with a new home, where it is undergoing upgrade or maintenance work, or pending allocation to a tenant. Communities receiving significant work under the program may have a high number of vacant homes.

Australian state housing agencies including the Northern Territory Government, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, use the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS) to define overcrowding. CNOS is a measure of the number of people per bedroom for each home, taking into account household size and composition.

The bedroom requirements for CNOS are:

  • no more than two people per bedroom
  • children aged under 5 of the same or different genders can share a bedroom
  • children aged over 5 and under 18 of the same gender can share a bedroom
  • children aged over 5 of different genders should not share a bedroom
  • couples and their children should not share a bedroom
  • single household members aged over 18 should have their own bedroom.

Where these requirements are not, met a home is considered overcrowded.

The Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS) it is the internationally recognised standard for measuring overcrowding and provides a consistent methodology to calculate it, however it based on western social norms and does not necessarily represent all ways of living.

New homes are generally allocated to people on the wait list, in consultation with local decision making groups. People who are on the wait list are not classified as tenants until they are allocated a home, so as the number of new homes increases, so does the number of tenants who are housed.

Every effort is made to ensure new homes are not overcrowded when first tenanted, however this is not always possible.

The approved program is a guide and is subject to local decision making, land availability and essential services, and overcrowding. The program may be varied for these reasons and it may result in more or less homes at times.

An increase in completed bedrooms represents construction under previous housing programs during this period being finalised.

Sometimes a single contract may cover work in a number of communities. Contractors are required to report on employment data on a monthly basis. Where a single contract covers a number of communities, employment data may be captured in overall program employment data, but not at a community level.