Darwin’s main hospital, prison among over 300 buildings that may not meet NT building standards

The Northern Territory’s anti-corruption watchdog has revealed that hundreds of government buildings may not meet its own occupancy regulations, including Parliament House, the Royal Darwin Hospital and Darwin Prison.

In March, the independent commissioner against corruption, Michael Riches, launched an investigation into the use of Darwin’s main sports complex, the Marrara Stadium, which has had no occupancy certificate since its construction in the 1990s.

On Friday, Mr Riches said he has now expanded his investigation after obtaining details of other sites across the territory, which also do not have the required certification.

“I have received information suggesting that there may be over 300 other sites, owned or leased by the Government of the Northern Territory, containing buildings or structures that do not currently meet the requirements for occupancy certification under the Building Act 1993 [NT],” he said.

Mr Riches said the affected sites included Parliament House, the prison in Holtze, the Royal Darwin Hospital, the Darwin Entertainment Centre, as well as numerous public schools and police stations.

The seat of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly since 1994, Parliament House is one of the buildings considered uncertified.(ABC News: Michael Franchic)

Research to gauge how ‘non-compliance’ occurred

On its website, the government described occupancy certification as a “statement that construction work has reached a certain level of safety, health and amenities and is suitable for occupancy”.

Mr Riches said he would launch a joint inquiry with the Ombudsman “to assess the extent of the non-compliance and why and how it occurred”.

“We’d like to hear from anyone, especially those working in the construction, certification and construction insurance industries, who may have information relevant to this research,” he said.

Aerial view of the prison in Holtze, near Darwin.
The Darwin Correctional Center in Holtze opened in 2014.(Delivered)

Government says buildings are ‘safe for habitation’

In response to questions from the ABC, Infrastructure Minister Eva Lawler said preliminary investigations have found the affected buildings “safe for permanent residence”.

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