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Pipes, septic systems and running water have all been inspected as part of a pilot program targeting Indigenous community housing in the towns of Walgett and Lightning Ridge in New South Wales (NSW).
The Plumbing health check program is run by the NSW Department of Fair Trading, which regulates residential plumbing, and is designed to assist remote Indigenous communities with limited access to tradespeople.
The Department's Director of the Home Building Service, Lynelle Collins, says for the first time, some of their 20 inspectors travelled to the far west communities to help out. Inspections were carried out in about 30 homes in Walgett and Lightning Ridge, run by Barriekneal Community and Housing and Murdi Paaki Regional Housing Corporation. Ms Collins says good plumbing is important for the health and wellbeing of remote communities. 'It's fundamental to health and basic human rights. A lot of the remote areas only have one local tradesperson if that, so a lot of it's about access. Also about the housing providers being able to prioritise plumbing issues,' she said.
The majority of the 30 homes inspected had only minor plumbing issues, which included blocked drains, missing fittings and a stolen rainwater tank. Many tenants raised concerns about foul-smelling septic holding tanks and the inspectors informed them about what products to use to fix the odours.
It's hoped the plumbing program will be run annually and rolled out to other locations.