The washing machine debate

September 17th, 2012

Recent debate about the provision (or not) of washing machines in Indigenous ’public housing’ needs careful consideration.

Are washing machines white goods, provided by tenants or are they essential health hardware that prevents serious illness and should be seen as an essential service – Healthy Living Practice 2 – washing clothes and bedding.

Some questions for debate:

Why are stoves provided in the same houses by the same housing authority?

Is the argument that washing machines can be unplugged and moved?  But then so can modern stoves as many are not hardwired and have simple plug connections.

On a similar topic ….why are fridges not provided in Australia where the climate is generally hot but are provided by New York City public housing providers?

HH is not sure that this is an argument based on logic or merit but rather a culmination of past philosophy, myth and opinion about the worthiness of public housing tenants and the need for them to do something for themselves. After all ‘they’ can hand wash clothes and blankets, ‘they’ can buy a third hand washing machine from the remote community store and ‘they’ can arrange and pay for the ongoing maintenance by phoning (if there was a working phone) the technician in Alice Springs to drive 6 hours and complete the repairs.

HH thinks the health impacts of a working washing machine is important and the debate A BIG ISSUE.