Owners of troubled Bellamack homes yet to be compensated under complex government housing insurance schemes

Home Politics Owners of troubled Bellamack homes yet to be compensated under complex government housing insurance schemes
Owners of troubled Bellamack homes yet to be compensated under complex government housing insurance schemes

For Michelle*, the trouble began with a load of laundry.

The single mother had only recently moved into a property — an elevated, tropical house in Darwin’s satellite city of Palmerston — she had bought for about $400,000.

She said that when the washing machine entered its spin cycle, the entire home began to shudder.

“It was like an earthquake,” she said.

In the same neighbourhood, Ben* had begun to notice problems of his own.

His house was built by the same builder and developer as Michelle’s and employed the same distinct design: a three-bedroom, steel-framed house perched on steel beams.

“Sitting down, watching TV, you could feel a little four-and-a-half kilo dog running up and down the stairs,” he said.

“You thought somebody was intruding the house, but it was just the dog.”

An aerial view of the Palmerston suburb of Bellamack.
Ben and Michelle’s homes are in the Palmerston suburb of Bellamack. (ABC News: Michael Franchi)

It was early 2014, and both homeowners had just bought into an NT government-backed affordable housing scheme that provided 18 almost identical homes in the fast-growing suburb of Bellamack.

But instead of providing safety and shelter, the houses went on to star in a notorious saga that has become a headache for the government and a nightmare for residents for almost a decade since.

Issues experienced by the residents in the homes — including cracked and lifting tiles, extensive corrosion and water ingress when it rains — deteriorated to the point that the government bulldozed and replaced some of the dwellings in 2021.

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